The best CRPGs are about to change because Baldur’s Gate 3 is launching soon, and there’s no conceivable way that it doesn’t just flat-out ruin all of our spare time, our families, our work/life balance, and our sense of reality. It’s also going to have a big old impact on any list of the best CRPGs too, given that it already deserves to be up there just based on how it is in Early Access, and the full game is going to be so much more too.
To keep things fair, we’ve kept it off of this list for now, but there’s no reason why you can’t play some other excellent CRPGs in the meantime. Well, aside from the fact that these games regularly require hundreds of hours to finish. Look, we’re not going to judge you if you somehow finish all of these games before Baldur’s Gate 3 releases. In fact, do it, and then @ us on whatever the social media platform is next month.
Some would say this entry is cheating. We say good; cheating in real life should be the ultimate goal of all things. If you find a cheat code for infinite money, and it somehow doesn’t involve wage theft, then go for it. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is currently the best CRPG in existence thanks to an amazing story, one of the best magic systems around, and tons of charm. It’s also the game that Larian Studios made prior to starting on Baldur’s Gate 3, so ya know.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister is an absolutely incredible game that has you playing in an awesome fantasy world based on the SRD 5.1 ruleset. You can make a massive number of decisions, play with a team, and become a badass wizard or warrior. It’s also got dragons, and really that’s all anyone could possibly want from a fantasy game.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is the latest game in the series and is stunning. You take control of a group of characters who need to journey to the Worldwound, which is where a giant rift has appeared that has the Abyss trying to claim all that is good in the world. You’ll need to make countless decisions to fight back this evil, and the sheer volume of things you can do will keep you going for months.
Here we have a game that constantly wants you to question basically everything. Torment: Tides of Numenera does a staggering job of fusing both sci-fi and fantasy into one horrifying world where the value of a life is constantly questioned. It’s not as expansive as some options on this list, but it’s deeper than most other games in existence, and it allows you to fight in far more nuanced ways than just outright violence too.
Just so we’re clear, there’s no doubt that Disco Elysium is one of the best games to have come out in the last decade. It would be higher on this list were it not for the fact that it has no classical combat, which means it hits slightly different to Baldur’s Gate 3. This story puts you in the shoes of a detective who is either a genius or a complete idiot, and then basically sets you loose in a world where you’re constantly fighting your own inner demons. It’s a joy to experience.
Wasteland 3 is a very silly game. It’s exquisite, don’t get us wrong, but it can be just so very silly. There are so many awesome systems to play around with and exploit here that any group of characters navigating this post-apocalyptic world will be completely different every time the game is played. It’s especially good in co-op too, so grab a friend and get involved.
Finally, we have Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Please don’t view its place at the bottom of this list as indicating it is somehow less than the other games here, because it’s not. It’s as good as any of these really, it’s just a little more text-heavy than some. Then again, that’s really what CRPGs are about. This adventure puts players in the Deadfire Archipelago, and has them journeying from island to island, finding strange events, cults, new allies, and even gods. It’s an incredible game, so please play it.
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