In the last generation, the PS2 was the undisputed king of role-playing-games, so it is with a fair bit of surprise that here we are three years into the current gen and the Xbox 360, not the PS3, is the RPG king. The Xbox 360 has a good mix of both Western and Japanese-style RPGs as well as both turn-based and real-time varieties. RPG fans, the Xbox 360 has you covered.
If the Xbox 360 wasn’t already firmly established as the RPG system of this generation, it definitely should be now. Tales of Vesperia is yet another great JRPG that is only available on the 360. It looks good, sounds phenomenal, tells a decent story, features great characters, and offers a nice real-time combat system that makes fighting fun rather than a chore. Tales of Vesperia is a great game that no RPG fan should miss.
And now for a GNR news update. After years of waiting, Fallout 3 has finally hit store shelves. It isn’t the same type of game as the first two entries in the series, but it also isn’t a hardcore shooter and it certainly isn’t just Oblivion with guns. It is a great mix of satisfying exploration, bloody combat with gruesome enemies, and a great story in an awesome setting that will grip you for 40-50 hours. It is an amazing game that we highly recommend. Thanks for listening, children!
Oblivion is a fantasy-themed open world RPG where you are free to do whatever you want. You can join a guild of thieves or mages. You can explore caves and tombs in search of treasure. Or you can even seek out and become a blood sucking vampire. The main storyline only covers a tiny fraction of the 100+ hours of total gameplay that Oblivion has to offer. This game is the very definition of a good value.
Borderlands 2 is a loot-RPG in the guise of an open world shooter, which sounds strange, but works fantastically well. The shooting isn't great, but the character building process is outstanding and the wealth of worthwhile randomly generated loot keeps you playing for hours because you never know if the next enemy or item box might drop some fantastic new treasure. It is a massive game as well offering 5 characters with three worthwhile playtrhoughs each (each playtrhough bumps the difficulty up), so there is a ton of gameplay here.
Our 2010 Xbox 360 Game of the Year, Mass Effect 2 is a perfect blend of great presentation, awesome story, and incredible gameplay. It is a little more shooter than RPG compared to some other games on this list, but an RPG heart still beats at the core of Mass Effect 2, so it definitely belongs here. Great, likable characters. Solid replay value. Mass Effect 2 is amazing.
Lost Odyssey is without question the Xbox 360’s answer to Final Fantasy (though, the 360 doesn't necessarily need an answer for Final Fantasy now that FFXIII is coming to the system). If it was called “Final Fantasy XIII”, I don’t think anyone would have questioned its place in that series. But it isn’t Final Fantasy. And it isn’t from SqueEnix. It is a brand new franchise exclusive to the Xbox 360. And it is darn good. Not exactly groundbreaking, mind you, but still very enjoyable.
Final Fantasy XIII has proven to be a controversial game as it casts aside RPG traditions like towns and exploration in favor of a tighter focus on a more linear story. FFXIII holds a tighter leash on you during gameplay than most RPGs, which is a bit bothersome, but it is an undeniably beautiful game that you should play as much to experience the grandeur of it all as you do to "role play". When you get into the rhythm of the battle sequences, it is also surprisingly fun and satisfying even though it isn't exactly traditional. It wasn't quite what everyone wanted, but Final Fantasy XIII is still a solid game that is worth playing.
Nier is a game with obvious, easily identifiable problems, but it is also a game that does other things well enough those negatives are forgivable. Sure, the endless backtracking and fetch quests will wear on you after a while, but probably not until you have seen two of the four endings and played for 20-25 hours. Nier is one of those games you know isn't all that good, but you keep playing anyway because it tells a great story and is easy, mindless fun. We liked it.
Brutally difficult, but at the same time rewarding and fun and wonderful, Dark Souls is a hardcore action RPG for true fans of the genre. It will frustrate you to no end, but when you get a great new piece of gear, or see a grand new vista in a new area, or finally beat a tough enemy, all of that frustration disappears. It will test you, but it will also greatly reward you. It isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy a challenge, Dark Souls is a solid RPG.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope pairs surprisingly deep real-time battles and great looking graphics to create one of the most interesting RPGs on the Xbox 360. The voice acting isn't stellar (okay, it is terrible) but the cutscenes are cool (and long) and it is all very, very pretty. Another bonus is that you eventually gain control of a spaceship and are free to travel to new planets which keeps the game always feeling fresh.