The role-playing game genre continues to be one of the most impactful and beloved formats in video games. RPG mechanics invade most games these days, but some titles adhere to the genre better than others with their deep characters, rich progression, level-up systems, player choice, and engrossing storylines.
The best RPGs of 2023 showcase the most vital titles for this genre in an already stacked year. There are so many excellent games arrived in 2023, but these best RPGs of 2023 offer some of the finest experiences players will find in one of the best years of gaming.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t revolutionize the RPG genre with new gameplay elements or mechanics, but it doesn’t have to. Instead, it focuses on players' freedom to do whatever they want and maximizes that potential.
This results in an award-winning and masterful experience, which rewards players for playing however they want throughout its rich fantasy world. It may not be perfect, but it captures the essence of an RPG better than any other RPGs of 2023 from start to finish, especially with other players.
2. Star Ocean: The Second Story R
This remake of the best Star Ocean game from Square Enix blends together 3D environments with the best visual style of 2023. It takes cues from HD-2D for a magnificent appearance that matches well with the hack-and-slash combat and blend of fantasy and sci-fi tales.
Bethesda’s grand RPG of 2023 takes players to space for a familiar but different experience. A lot of filler planets and content exist, but if players dial in on the player choice, main story, and various factions, they’ll find the best Bethesda game since Skyrim.
4. Octopath Traveler 2
The second attempt to have eight playable protagonists in a Square Enix game works so much better than the first one. The stories feel more interconnected, while the freedom to play as whoever players want feels unmatched. All the while, it has the latest iteration of the HD-2D art style.
5. Hogwarts Legacy
Harry Potter doesn’t have to be in a game for it to succeed, as this 19th-century open-world RPG of 2023 proves. Players take on the role of a custom character and shape their journey at Hogwarts with plenty of intriguing spells, quests, and puzzles. But the characters stand out the most here with some surprising storylines and moments.
6. The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
The long-awaited conclusion to the Crossbell arc in this masterful series came out in 2023. The graphics still look a bit older, but the game makes up for that in its exceptional combat, riveting story, and one of the finest cast of characters on this list.
7. Sea of Stars
This monumental indie RPG of 2023 takes inspiration from Japanese games of old to create an unforgettable experience. Players take on the role of one of two main characters as they go on a pretty typical but nonetheless fascinating and beautiful journey to save the world.
8. Fate/Samurai Remnant
The Fate/Stay Night series remains one of the most beautiful and emotional anime series. This spin-off game takes the premise of a battle royale to the death for a wish and goes full force with a stunning rendition of medieval Japan with excellent combat and characters.
9. Super Mario RPG Remake
The remake of the cult classic Square Enix take on Mario somehow works even better in 2023 than it did when it first came out in 1996. The glorious new visuals look stunning and modern, while the comedic writing and characters make it worth a look.
10. Honkai: Star Rail
HoYoVerse released its latest juggernaut game after Genshin Impact with the turn-based experience Honkai: Star Rail. It features the same classic art style fans know the developer for, with plenty of memorable characters and a beautiful sci-fi galaxy.
11. Lies of P
This Dark Souls-like game has the best combat, visuals, and mechanics, not from FromSoftware itself. The idea of a sinister take on the story of Pinocchio lends itself well to this strange aesthetic. It straddles the line well between a pure action game and an RPG.
12. Diablo IV
This always-online fourth mainline game in the dungeon-crawling action RPG series has its fair share of controversies, but the foundation of the game remains incredible. The excellent world of Sanctuary has plenty of enjoyment for solo and cooperative players alike.
13. Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince
Pokémon meets Dragon Quest in this latest iteration of the franchise’s monster-collecting sub-series. It has some work to do in the performance and visuals department, but the colorful, intriguing, and massive collection of monsters helps this game be an underrated RPG of 2023.
14. Persona 5 Tactica
This spin-off Atlus Persona game features the return of the beloved Phantom Thieves group, but this time for a grid-based strategy game. The turn-based tactical RPG combat works well, and the new art style takes some getting used to, but it works well in the end.
15. One Piece Odyssey
This One Piece turn-based RPG of 2023 somehow stands against the other excellent role-playing games of the year. The licensed experience makes full use of the popular anime and manga with a gorgeous art style similar to the source material, with an adaptation of some of the best story arcs in the series.
16. Persona 3 Portable
The third mainline game in this Atlus turn-based JRPG series revolutionized it all. The remastered version adds some neat quality-of-life features that make this game worth playing in 2023. Its dark storyline and complicated characters rank it among the best in the franchise.
17. Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 Golden has some of the best characters in video game history, and it returns for modern platforms with this remaster. It adds almost nothing new to the experience, but it doesn’t have to as one of the greatest RPGs of all time.
18. Final Fantasy XVI
The eternal argument regarding this massive, high-budget game remains if it even counts as an RPG of 2023. It does but with some caveats. This linear experience lacks some of the depth and progression of past games in the franchise, but its story and characters make up for it.
19. Tales of Symphonia Remastered
The remaster of this beloved game brings back one of the strongest Bandai Namco RPGs of all time. The story stands the test of time, and the art style works well in this remastered HD version. The action gameplay feels a bit shallow these days, but it still works well.
20. Atelier Ryza 3
The third entry in this sub-series about the alchemist Ryza makes integral improvements but nothing too wild. The open areas look gorgeous in the cel-shaded style, and the return of fan-favorite characters helps it feel like faithful fan service.
21. The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie
This strange collaboration entry in this otherwise masterful franchise feels like one of the weakest games. That said, even the weakest still reigns supreme over most RPGs of 2023. The turn-based combat feels faster than ever with the massive cast, even if the story feels a bit like bloated filler.
22. Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster
This remastered collection of the two MonolithSoft games many fans of the studio never played feels solid enough. It has better visuals and tighter mechanics, but not much else in the quality-of-life department. The turn-based card game-like combat feels unique alongside some solid storylines.