The Top Single-Player RPGs of the Past 3 Years
Role-playing (RPG) video games are nothing new, but it is only in more recent years that they have taken on a whole new level of immersion thanks to greatly improved graphics rendering technology. RPGs have long been one of the favorite genres of video game thanks to their immersive style and the many hours of gameplay that they tend to offer. Here are the post popular and successful hits in the genre from the last three years.
1 – DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS (2009)
A fantasy epic released in November 2009 by BioWare, Dragon Age: Origins is easily one of the most high-rated single-player RPGs of all time. Although it now has a successor, Dragon Age II, the original received considerably better reviews and praise from fans of the series.
Dragon Age: Origins takes place in the fantasy kingdom of Ferelden, a place fraught with civil strife in the midst of an invasion by hellish creatures known as the Darkspawn. The first game in the series, it allows the player to choose from six distinct "Origins" stories which greatly influence the entire course of the game. Each origin tells the story and background of a particular character, such as an Elf living in camps in the wilderness or a Dwarf living in the underground realm of Orzammar.
With an engaging and highly malleable storyline, the player will be faced with making many moral choices to help reach their goals. There are many possible endings that are shaped by your actions as you travel the fantasy world, building up a team of allies and searching for support among the many factions in the Kingdom of Fereldan.
You won’t be alone in Dragon Age: Origins. As you progress through the game, you will gather several allies who you can take with you on your quests. Each of these central characters has a distinct personality, brought to life by thousands of lines of dialogue and unique characteristics. A player’s character can even engage in more intimate relationships with some of the team members.
Although the game is starting to look dated graphically, the superb storyline and dozens of hours of gameplay more than make up for it. Due to the immense popularity of the game, Origins also has an extensive modding community. There are texture packs and models which greatly enhance the graphics of the original game. In addition to this, there are plenty of extra quests, characters and gameplay changes which give the game even more replay value than the enormous amount already provided in the vanilla version.
2 – MASS EFFECT 2 (2010)
For those who have played Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2 provides a continuation of the original’s storyline while remaining faithful to the genre and style. A space-faring science fiction adventure released by BioWare in January, 2010, Mass Effect 2 was blessed with extremely favorable reviews, placing it in league with Dragon Age: Origins.
Mass Effect 2 takes place a few years after the events of its predecessor. Bought back to life by the devious human-supremacist organization, Cerberus, Commander Shepard is back from the original game. In Mass Effect 2, he is faced with a challenge that, if not completed, may wipe out humanity as well as life on countless other worlds.
The player can import a saved game from the original game or choose to start anew. There are various character classes and backgrounds to choose from and players can be either male or female.
Commander Shepard, the player character, will end up fighting for an undoubtedly noble cause, though for an organization with a questionable reputation. As human colonies on other worlds start to disappear, a hostile alien race known as the Reapers is suspected. The player will need to travel around the galaxy to a plethora of alien worlds and space stations recruiting members for their team. These characters are diverse indeed and, due to their great differences, they certainly won’t always get along well! In your team, you will have a freedom fighter, a beautiful Cerberus operative, a psychopathic killer, a mercenary, a scientist and much more. The player will need to win the hearts and minds of his or her crew members, helping them with various tasks in order to earn their loyalty. It is even possible to engage in a romantic subplot with certain characters.
Once Commander Shepard has built up his team, he or she will be ready to begin the mission to save the galaxy from the Reapers. Whether the commander manages to succeed, let alone bring all of his teammates back alive, entirely depends on the decisions of the player.
Mass Effect 2 boasts realistic graphics and immersive sound effects as well as many official DLCs (downloadable content). Unfortunately, however, these add-ons are not free. There is very little in the way of a fan-based modding community for the game either, as the game is not very mod-friendly. Nonetheless, Mass Effect 2 is one of the most successful RPGs of all time and it definitely makes for a welcome diversion from the classic-style fantasy themes which are followed by most RPGs.
3 – THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS (2011)
Sequel to the highly successful original released in 2007, the Witcher 2 is a remarkable fantasy epic which enjoys an ever-growing fan base and extremely favorable reviews. Released in May, 2011, by Polish game developer, CD Projekt RED, the game is based on the award-winning Polish fantasy books and short stories by author Andrzej Sapkowski.
Unlike many role-playing games, the Witcher 2 only allows the player to play one particular character – the white-haired, battle-scarred monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia. The Witcher 2 takes place in a fantasy world in a place called in the Northern Kingdoms. Although keeping true to the familiar dark medieval setting complete with elves, dwarves and magic, the Witcher 2 prides itself on having a mature, immersive and original storyline.
Wrongfully charged with the assassination of King Foltest of Temeria, Geralt faces a grim fate as he is incarcerated and tortured. With the help of an undercover agent who believes that he is not the killer, Geralt must find the true culprits and clear his name. Throughout the adventure, he will have to make many decisions and choose his allies wisely. The storyline differs greatly depending on the path he takes and who he chooses to ally with.
Geralt will be fighting alone, for the most part, but that does not mean that he won’t be forging alliances and making friends along the way. The hero will also be working to recover the memories of his past while searching for his lover in the later stages of the game.
The Witcher 2 is a daring and sometimes controversial game with its mature themes but, this is also part of the reason for its great success. The Witcher 2 is certainly not a game for children with its adult content including plenty of nudity, mildly explicit sex scenes and abundance of bad language and violence.
The Witcher 2 boasts some of the best graphics ever to appear in an RPG (as of 2011). This also means that the system requirements are high, especially for those who want to enjoy the game with the highest settings. The main characters are truly lifelike and, in some cases, verging on the movie-level realism. Definitely not to be missed by any fan of the genre.