In the vast realm of role-playing games (RPGs), some remarkable gems often slip under the radar, overshadowed by the big names. While franchises like “The Elder Scrolls” and “The Witcher” dominate the RPG scene, there are lesser-known titles that deserve much attention. These modern RPGs offer rich storytelling, immersive worlds, and captivating gameplay that can rival any blockbuster. Join us on a journey as we unveil the top 10 overlooked modern RPGs that you shouldn’t miss.
Before we jump into our list, let’s set some ground rules. We’re not ranking these games because they’re all excellent in their own right. Additionally, we’ll be focusing on RPGs released from 2010 onward. Lastly, we’ll save JRPGs for a future article, so stay tuned for that!
Now, let’s uncover these hidden gems in the world of role-playing games!
Table of contents
10. Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning
This game is essentially a fusion of Elder Scrolls and God of War, creating an exciting and well-executed gaming experience. Its combat system is a standout feature, where you accumulate Fate Points to unleash Reckoning mode, akin to Bullet Time, and deliver jaw-dropping finishing moves. Alongside the combat, there’s an engaging class-building aspect that adds depth and fun to the gameplay.
However, despite its remarkable qualities, this game didn’t receive the attention it deserved. It was produced by a company that appeared to be more of a vanity project by a retired executive. While the game featured talents like best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane, and Ken Rolston, it didn’t receive the necessary support and eventually filed for bankruptcy. Fortunately, the rights have been acquired by Nordic, with a remaster set for release in September. Whether it garners the recognition it merits or not, it’s a game that’s worth trying for anyone intrigued by the description.
9. Alpha Protocol
“Alpha Protocol” marketed itself as an espionage RPG, and while it had a few minor flaws, such as some inconsistencies in its cover system and combat mechanics lacking weight, the game excelled as a cohesive package. Its standout features included an intriguing storyline and robust role-playing systems.
One of the game’s unique aspects was its dialogue system, which forced players to make quick decisions with far-reaching consequences. Some choices, seemingly insignificant at the time, could lead to significant outcomes. Despite its imperfections, Alpha Protocol’s charm and evident passion from the developers make it a title worth revisiting. It also bears the influence of recent “Deus Ex” games, and it would be a smart move for Microsoft, now owning Obsidian, to consider a sequel or remake of “Alpha Protocol” in the future.
8. Divinity Original Sin 2
“Divinity Original Sin 2”, while undeniably successful, often doesn’t get the recognition it truly deserves during Thanksgiving dinner conversations, especially when compared to heavyweight titles like “Dark Souls”. However, it’s time to shine a light on this hidden gem. When you speak with a game critic about “Divinity Original Sin 2”, be prepared for a passionate outpouring of praise. This game, reminiscent of classic isometric CRPGs like “Baldur’s Gate”, captures the essence of the ’90s CRPG era and stands out as one of the finest modern entries in this genre. While there have been some outstanding CRPGs in recent years, Divinity Original Sin 2’s depth of customization, unparalleled freedom in character development, and captivating narrative make it a standout, deserving wider recognition.
The game offers players an incredible level of customization, granting them the freedom to shape their characters and build intricate systems. Coupled with an engrossing story, “Divinity Original Sin 2” has all the elements of a game that should have garnered a larger following. Despite its success, it remains somewhat overshadowed in gaming discussions, which is a shame considering its rich depth and quality gameplay.
7. Demon’s Souls
“Demon’s Souls”, released in 2009, is a game that has often lived in the shadow of its more successful successor, “Dark Souls”. However, there’s a remake of “Demon’s Souls” in the works, and it’s expected to be quite remarkable, potentially bringing this game the recognition it truly deserves. “Demon’s Souls” in essence is a slightly quirkier version of “Dark Souls”, with its own unique charm.
What sets “Demon’s Souls” apart are its innovative systems, such as character and world tendencies. The mechanics change the game’s difficulty based on your interactions with non-playable characters (NPCs) and your number of deaths. Different tendencies can even unlock new areas of the game, adding layers of complexity and intrigue. Overall, “Demon’s Souls” is a captivating and distinct title that paved the way for the “Dark Souls” series, and the upcoming remake is highly anticipated by fans and newcomers alike.
6. Grim Dawn
“Grim Dawn” is a captivating game that takes inspiration from the “Diablo” series, set in a bleak, apocalyptic fantasy world. It received widespread acclaim for being a spiritual successor to “Diablo 2”, offering the same dark and immersive experience. However, what sets it apart is its unique twist: the core objective is not just to vanquish evil but to rebuild the world. As you journey through this grim post-apocalyptic landscape, your mission is to piece together a shattered world teetering on the brink of extinction. You’re not only battling foes but also engaging in activities rarely seen in such games: reconstructing structures, rescuing survivors, and securing vital resources. It’s a thrilling fusion of action-packed gameplay with the noble goal of restoring hope to a ravaged world.
In this game, you assume the role of a formidable hero, slashing your way through a grand quest reminiscent of the epic adventures in “Diablo 2”. It’s a remarkable blend of traditional action RPG elements with a refreshing twist that adds depth and purpose to your journey. This unique combination makes it an outstanding gaming experience that stands out in the post-apocalyptic genre.
This open-world RPG is a unique gem that blends RPG and survival elements seamlessly. What sets it apart is its captivating visual style, which takes a departure from the usual detailed graphics. Instead, it embraces an intriguing blend of colors and character designs that breathe life into its world.
One of Outward’s standout features is the deeply intricate spellcasting system, adding layers of complexity and strategy to the gameplay. What truly sets it apart, though, is its co-op mode, offering both online and couch co-op split-screen experiences. It’s a refreshing take on the RPG genre, reimagining familiar elements in innovative ways. It’s hard to fully describe the game’s uniqueness, as it transcends conventional RPG tropes, delivering a captivating experience that’s well worth its price tag on Steam. Don’t hesitate to give it a try.
4. Kingdom Come Deliverance
“Kingdom Come Deliverance” was an ambitious game that aimed to blend the immersive storytelling of “The Witcher” with historical accuracy set during the Roman Empire era. While striving for historical authenticity, the game also needed to provide an engaging and fun experience, so some creative liberties were taken.
One of the standout features was the exceptional combat system and the meticulously crafted storyline that leveraged its historical setting to the fullest. However, the game’s complexity and occasional difficulty spikes made it less accessible to mainstream gamers, despite its deserving of wider recognition. The sheer amount of effort poured into this game is evident, resulting in an experience that, while occasionally frustrating, was impossible to put down.
Overall, “Kingdom Come Deliverance” remains a testament to the dedication of its developers and the desire to create a historically rich and captivating gaming experience.
3. Battle Chasers Nightwar
“Battle Chasers Nightwar” is another hidden gem that flew under the radar. Despite its minimal attention, it’s a true standout in the gaming world. This game effortlessly blends elements of dungeon crawling, turn-based combat, and takes inspiration from both JRPGs and CRPGs, making it a unique yet oddly familiar experience. While it might not be a JRPG in the traditional sense, its clear influence on the genre is unmistakable. Additionally, it draws inspiration from D&D and boasts dungeon designs that might remind you of a Diablo-like experience. However, what truly sets it apart is its stunning art style, vibrant colors, and immersive gameplay. If you haven’t heard of it, this is a game that should be on your must-play list.
“Battle Chasers Night War” isn’t just your average JRPG or dungeon crawler; it’s so much more. It’s a game that surprises and captivates players with its rich gameplay and beautiful aesthetics. Whether you’re a fan of JRPGs, dungeon crawlers, or just looking for a unique gaming experience, “Battle Chasers Night War” should not be missed. It’s a fantastic title that definitely deserves more recognition than it has received.
“Greedfall” is a unique colonial RPG set in a fantasy world, where players arrive on an island with the mission to colonize it. However, the game takes a mystical twist, allowing players to choose between siding with the native inhabitants or pursuing their own interests. Despite its seemingly straightforward premise, “Greedfall” delves deep into the complexities of colonization, forcing players to make challenging decisions.
This beautifully crafted game presents a thought-provoking experience, inviting players to grapple with the moral and ethical dilemmas inherent in colonization. While it may appear intricate at first glance, “Greedfall” offers a genuinely enjoyable gameplay experience, one that encourages players to reflect on their choices in a way that few games do. It’s a title that deserves recognition for its ability to engage players in meaningful decision-making and should be on the list for anyone seeking a thought-provoking gaming experience.
1. Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen
“Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen,” a hack-and-slash title from Capcom, might not dazzle with cutting-edge graphics, which could deter some players. However, this game’s true allure lies in its gameplay rather than its visuals. It excels as an open-world action RPG, seamlessly integrating elements like armor upgrades, skill enhancements, and character development. While this description simplifies its depth, the game’s intricate gameplay might even divert your attention from its storyline. Yet, the story is surprisingly engaging, although it takes some time to gain momentum. The deliberate pacing lets players immerse themselves in the gameplay and mechanics before delving into the narrative, making it slightly less accessible to a mainstream audience. Nonetheless, once the story unfolds, “Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen” reveals itself as a high-quality experience deserving of more recognition.
Overall, “Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen” may not shine in the graphical department, but its gameplay and storyline make it a noteworthy title. Its intricately designed mechanics, although challenging to grasp initially, ultimately reward players with a rich gaming experience.
Let’s revisit “Dragon Age”, even though it was technically a significant success. There might have been even bigger successes, but it’s essential to acknowledge that it had the most successful launch in Bioware history. However, it’s a game that has somewhat faded from the spotlight. Many RPGs of its caliber are still discussed years later, but it also debuted during a period when several other major titles were released. This might have slightly overshadowed its legacy. It was a massive game with an enormous response right from the start. Perhaps it’s time we appreciate it more in today’s context. Reflecting on it, I have a deep appreciation for that game.
“Child of Light” takes a unique spin on the JRPG concept. Although it appears to be a side-scrolling platformer at first glance, it’s anything but that. This game offers an in-depth JRPG experience, complete with an active time battle system reminiscent of titles like “Grandia”. Skillfully timed moves can even push back enemy turns, adding an exciting layer to the gameplay.
Then there’s “To the Moon,” another game with JRPG elements, although it doesn’t focus much on battles. Instead, it leans more towards being an adventure game that uses a JRPG framework. In this heartfelt adventure, you’re tasked with fulfilling the dreams of an elderly man by delving into his memories. It’s an intriguing and remarkable game that’s definitely worth playing, even if it’s not overly complex.
In the world of RPGs, venturing beyond the familiar can be incredibly rewarding. The RPG landscape is brimming with innovation, and these overlooked gems prove that greatness often lurks in unexpected places. From post-apocalyptic wastelands to enchanting fantasy realms, these modern RPGs offer a diverse range of experiences for every gaming palate. So, next time you’re on the lookout for a new adventure, don’t forget to explore these hidden treasures that have been quietly shaping the RPG genre.