There are a lot of choices when it comes to CRPGs (computer RPGs) ranging from old and new. We’re going through a bit of a renaissance of late with several huge releases, including Baldur’s Gate 3. In no particular order, here’s a look at 15 of the best CRPGs of all time. Keep in mind that just because something is considered a CRPG doesn’t mean that’s the only platform it’s on.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3
Let’s get things started with the aforementioned Baldur’s Gate 3. This CRPG has taken the world by storm and it’s attracted players who aren’t even fans of the genre in the first place. With a wide array of character creation options available, you’re really able to step into the shoes of whoever you want and feel like you’re part of the world.
Related: What are Wares in Baldur’s Gate 3?
The tight storytelling and character development that people love from Larian Studios, best known for their work on the Divinity Original Sin series, has translated perfectly to the Forgotten Realms. Try not to save scum too much as you mess around the vast amount of ways to tackle any given situation.
2. Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is another recent option that drew critical acclaim. Instead of relying on brute force to solve your problems, Disco Elysium forced you to talk your way out of situations. It’s a very unique way to tackle a game, but it certainly works.
There’s definitely a learning curve here if you’re somebody who likes a lot of action. Instead of that, you’ll just have to be gripped by the characters and story being told.
3. Wasteland 3
Released back in 2020, Wasteland 3 dumps us into a more modern setting than you might expect in such a fantasy-dominated genre, but it works. Even though it’s the third in the franchise, you can hop right into this one without being confused.
The benefit of playing Wasteland 3 first is it’s by far the most polished of the franchise. However, you might want to play the others after finishing this one off, and that means you’ll be losing features and quality of life changes as you do that.
4. Divinity Original Sin 1 & 2
It’s tough to go wrong with the Divinity Original Sin series, so we’re going to put both of them here. As mentioned earlier, this is the same developer as Baldur’s Gate 3, so you should feel right at home if you’re coming from that game. With co-op available, both online and local, you can play with a friend as you explore the world.
You can start with either of the games, and it’s tough to say what one you’d like better. The two of these go on sale quite often, so maybe pick up what’s cheapest when you go looking.
5. Dragon Age: Origins
The Dragon Age franchise has strayed more into the action RPG realm these days, and we’re not saying that’s a bad thing! However, Origins holds onto the CRPG feel that you’re familiar with by having strategic combat and a wide range of dialogue choices.
Related: Who is the Dread Wolf in the next Dragon Age game?
Its sequels have seen it move further and further away from that, but it doesn’t mean you won’t like them. Dragon Age 2 is divisive among fans, but Inquisition was largely well received and feels more like Origins than 2 did if you’re looking for more of the same.
6. Pathfinder: Kingmaker
For people looking to capture the feel of Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a perfect way of making that happen. This game did launch in a poor state, and you might find reviews reflecting that, but it’s much better now.
It’s a complex game to get into, and if you’re not well-versed in Pathfinder rules you can have some issues. If that doesn’t describe you, then what are you waiting for?
7. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Although it’s getting up there in age, many still consider KOTOR to be the best Star Wars game ever made. KOTOR uses a modified third edition Dungeons and Dragons playset, so it’s dated in that regard, but it still works.
What keeps people coming back to this game is the cast of characters and story that’s being told. We get to travel the Star Wars galaxy in games today, but there’s just something special about this one and its sequel. You can find it on just about any platform these days, including mobile.
8. Fallout 1 & 2
Many Fallout fans got their start with Fallout 3, the first in the franchise to make the leap to consoles. However, it got its start as a CRPG that was made in the same style as the Baldur’s Gate series.
If you’re at all a fan of the franchise, it’s worth going back and checking these out. If you’ve never played a CRPG before then there will be a steep learning curve, but it’s worth the time.
9. Pillars of Eternity 1 & 2
Pillars of Eternity found life as a spiritual successor of sorts to Baldur’s Gate, and while it didn’t quite reach those lofty expectations, it’s still a fine experience. In fact, it was so successful that it spawned a sequel that helped usher in a new dawn of CRPGs.
There are hours upon hours of playtime ahead of you here, so do yourself a favor and pick up one of the two if you want to scratch that CRPG itch. It’s available on all modern consoles, so there’s no shortage of places to find either the original or the sequel.
10. Neverwinter Nights
You might notice a lot of Bioware games finding their way onto their list, and there’s a good reason for that. Neverwinter Nights is a look at Bioware at the height of their powers. This game is going to feel right at home for fans of the developer.
The sequel is developed by Obsidian, a dev team known for their work in the RPG genre as well. The two have their share of differences from each other, but if you liked the original you’ll probably like the sequel as well.
If you’ve played Pillars of Eternity, then Tyranny will feel very similar considering Obsidian developed both of them. If you’re a fan of the previous game, then Tyranny will be the next logical step to take. Both games take place in a fantasy setting, but there are some differences.
Instead of going with a class-based system like Pillars did, Tyranny goes with a skill-based leveling system. This means you’re not locked into playing as a specific class and you’re able to change your identity on the fly. It’s not perfect for everyone, but it’s worth giving a shot. Tyranny goes on sale often, so pick it up next time you see a deep discount.
12. Shadowrun Trilogy
If you want to take your CRPG gameplay into a cyberpunk setting, then the Shadowrun series will be what you’re looking for. You can start where you want with the Shadowrun series, but Hong Kong is a good entry point. You also can’t go wrong with Shadowrun Returns.
What makes this setting interesting is its blend of Cyberpunk with fantasy. Yes, you’ll be getting the futuristic buildings, but sprinkled in you’ll find orcs and dwarves. It’s worth checking out. You can snag a bundle of them as part of the Shadowrun Trilogy.
13. Planetscape: Torment
Another one in the same style of the old-school Baldur’s Gate games, Planetscape: Torment puts a huge emphasis on the story being told. If you’re looking to get immersed in a world, it’s tough to go wrong here.
It uses the same engine as Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, so the gameplay will feel quite. It’s since been ported to modern platforms, so you should have no problem tracking down a copy of this game for cheap. Don’t go into this one expecting a lot of combat, however, as the story is what’s going to be shouldering the load.
14. Icewind Dale
Another game set in the world of Dungeons and Dragons, Icewind Dale is another game that’ll feel similar to the older Baldur’s Gate games. Icewind Dale offers a bit of a twist as you create your six person party. This gives you full control over everybody, and it allows you to roleplay as each of them.
It can be a bit overwhelming as you have to come up with their personalities yourself, but that’s where the fun comes in. It also gives you a lot of flexibility because you’re just hand-picking exactly what you need for any given circumstance. That doesn’t mean much for a first playthrough, but future runs will be made easier.
15. The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
There’s debate as to whether Morrowind fits the CRPG bill, but we’re including it. The combat is vastly different from the future Elder Scrolls games where you’re dealing with behind the scenes dice rolls that can potentially cause you to miss point-blank sword attacks. It does feature real-time combat, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a traditional CRPG.
Related: Unpopular classless system will be returning in Elder Scrolls 6 according to interview with Todd Howard
Morrowind puts a lot of emphasis on player creation and builds, something that becomes far less important by the time Skyrim rolls around. While you don’t get a lot of the tabletop feel here, you’re getting a finely crafted story that’s well worth checking out.
For more Baldur’s Gate 3 news and guides, check out Baldur’s Gate 3: Who are the Companions? on MyFullGames.