Role-playing games are as popular as ever, and for good reason. The best RPGs are only getting more ambitious and the genre has come to be almost synonymous with vast open worlds, fully realised characters, and hugely detailed stories. Many RPGs embrace greater complexity and moral ambiguity, building on the idea that there’s no good or bad choice — you can’t be 100% the hero, and you’re going to make choices you regret. A complex story backed up by extensive side missions and an over-arching depth of world lore, coupled with a massive open world, intricate dialogue and agonising player choices make for games that you can get lost in for hundreds of hours. We thought we’d go back through our list and update it with the best RPGs available in 2021. These are only some of the hundreds of great RPGs out there, based on TA ratings, site review scores, and personal opinions, so if you don’t see your favourite on there, why not tell us about it and why you love it, in the comments?
Since Mass Effect Legendary Edition launched, it's managed to take the top spot as our highest community-rated RPG, garnering a solid 4.9/5.0 stars here on TA. The rating really does fit the bill when it comes to this awesome trilogy, which includes Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3, all remastered and optimised for Xbox Series X|S. Stepping into the shoes of Commander Shepard, Mass Effect Legendary Edition offers up all of the games' single-player content and over 40 DLC packs, making it a must-buy for any fan of the original trilogy — or a must-try for those that are yet to experience it.
Mass Effect™ Legendary Edition
The Mass Effect™ Legendary Edition includes single-player base content and over 40 DLC from the highly acclaimed Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 games, including promo weapons, armors, and packs – remastered and optimized for 4K Ultra HD.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt takes the bar for the standard of RPGs, runs off with it, and disappears with it into the stratosphere. Its story is unbeatable, and backed up by intricate side quests, contracts, encounters and activities, with the whole thing tied up neatly in one of the most immersive game worlds there is, and supported by an in-depth lore and mythology which sets the game apart all over again — it's so good, that Heidi says "this is my favourite game of all-time," almost every week. The after-effect of the “Witcher slump”, which puts you off all other games, is well worth it — you actually can’t go wrong with this one. Its DLCs again set a new standard — Blood and Wine in particular is like a whole new game by itself, while Heart of Stone adds a brilliant new storyline.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a story-driven, next-generation open world role-playing game set in a visually stunning fantasy universe full of meaningful choices and impactful consequences. In The Witcher, you play as a professional monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia, tasked with finding a child of prophecy in a vast open world rich with merchant cities, pirate islands, dangerous mountain passes, and forgotten caverns to explore.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has already established itself as one of the best and most beloved RPGs — now ten years since it first launched, it’s already on its way to becoming one of those grey-bearded games of legend that new-fangled RPGs try their best to live up to. The recent Anniversary Edition adds a whole heap of new content on top of the massive graphical upgrade and mod support that the Special Edition brought to the table. New side quests, fishing, a survival mode, and Xbox Series X|S enhancements all make an appearance in this new edition of the game — more proof that the only way Skyrim can be made any better is to just have more Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Winner of more than 200 Game of the Year Awards, the Skyrim Special Edition includes the game and add-ons with all-new features like remastered art and effects, volumetric god rays, dynamic depth of field, and more. Also bring the power of mods to consoles. New quests, environments, characters, dialogue, armor, weapons and more – with Mods, there are no limits to what you can experience.
Rated at 4.53/5 by the TrueAchievements community and 5/5 from the official site review, which says “NieR: Automata is without a doubt one of the best games of the generation”, it’s clear the game is one of the most beloved RPGs available. The review adds that “the gameplay is sensibly designed to ensure you're always having fun”, while “the story has impact on both a base level and philosophically, and will no doubt leave you with questions to consider for days after you finish if you enjoy that kind of thing… it's only so often a game this excellent comes around.” To make it even better, it’s on Xbox Game Pass.
NieR:Automata™ BECOME AS GODS Edition
Invaders from another world attack without warning - unleashing the machine lifeforms. To break the deadlock, a new breed of android infantry is sent into the fray: the YoRHa squad. Highly-acclaimed and award winning NieR:Automata™ is a fresh take on the action role-playing game (RPG) genre that gracefully blends mesmerizing action with a captivating story.
The TrueAchievements community rates Assassin’s Creed Odyssey just under Assassin’s Creed Origins, at 4.59/5 as opposed to Origin’s 4.60/5, but in our opinion, it’s Odyssey that most deserves to be on here, in terms of what it offers and what it tries to achieve. Odyssey is a huge game — while there is an end in sight if you stick to the main story or DLC and side quests, you can otherwise get entirely lost in the map and the endless side content. Sometimes Odyssey’s ambition can run away with it, and this can play against the game somewhat — something we ran into in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, too — but it also offers a lot of content to invest your time in. The story, world-building, and background of Greek mythology, coupled with Ubisoft’s extensive attention to detail and the level of choice offered to the player, make Odyssey a must-play.
Assassin's Creed® Odyssey
Write your own epic odyssey and become a legendary Spartan hero. Forge your destiny in a world on the brink of tearing itself apart. Influence how history unfolds in an ever-changing world shaped by your choices.
The Outer Worlds is wacky, weird, hilarious, and a lot of fun. It’s rated at 4.37/5 from TA community votes, and our Outer Worlds review put it at 4.5/5. Developed by famed RPG studio Obsidian, it’s seen as something of a spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas, but it’s still entirely its own thing. There’s a distinctive contrast between irreverent humour and some really dark themes, with you caught in the middle, faced with which path to pave. The game follows its own pace and sweeps you along with it — you’re woken up by a mad-scientist type who bombards you with a lot of information at top speed, before dumping you on one of many dangerous planets, with a vague idea that you’re on a mission to take down an evil corporation — and with that, you’re off on the weirdest adventure you might have been on for some time. The Outer Worlds is also on Xbox Game Pass, and can’t be recommended enough.
The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds is a new single-player sci-fi RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Private Division. As you explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter a host of factions all vying for power, who you decide to become will determine the fate of everyone in Halcyon. In the corporate equation for the colony, you are the unplanned variable.
Dark Souls III is iconic — it’s an exacting, demanding game, rated at 4.65/5 by TA community members, and at 4.5/5 by our Dark Souls III review, which calls it “an undeniable treat for both eyes and ears,” with “a challenge that, when overcome, will invigorate your desire to keep going, and when you do, you will be glad you did.” There haven’t been many games like Dark Souls III, and it’s likely to stay on the list of top Xbox One RPGs for some time.
DARK SOULS™ III
DARK SOULS™ continues to push the boundaries with the latest, ambitious chapter in the critically-acclaimed and genre-defining series. Prepare yourself and Embrace The Darkness!
It’s been a few years since this excellent RPG was released, and it’s still just as highly rated both by TA community votes and by our own Divinity: Original Sin 2 review: at 4.55/5 from TA members and at 4.5/5 by the review, which sings its praises, and calls it “one of the best tactical and role-playing experiences you'll ever have on any platform”. It’s “a game about choice in every aspect”, Kevin’s review says. “It's an RPG where it truly is your story, with no two playthroughs being alike thanks to the vast number of ways to tackle any given situation… There are few RPGs I'd dare to call essential, but Divinity: Original Sin 2 stands out among all others as deserving of that accolade.”
Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition
The multi award-winning RPG from Larian Studios. Experience a sandbox RPG with almost limitless opportunities in a highly interactive world. Supports 2-player split screen and 4-player online co-op. Choose from up to six origin characters, or create your own and embark on an adventure to restore the Divine!
Dragon Age fans continue to hope for any Dragon Age 4 news from BioWare, but in the meantime, 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition remains as beloved as ever. It’s rated at 4.45/5 by the TA community, and likewise at 4.5/5 by our Dragon Age: Inquisition review. Given it’s been six years since Inquisiton launched, and that Dragon Age 4 news seems to still be a way off, it’s likely that Dragon Age: Inquisition will hold its place on the list of the best RPGs on Xbox One.
Dragon Age™: Inquisition
The epic role-playing series from BioWare takes a thrilling leap forward with Dragon Age™: Inquisition. Beautiful vistas and incredible new possibilities await you.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls straddles the RPG, action, hack 'n' slash, and dungeon crawler genres, and seems to do so with massive success, if its 4.55/5 rating is anything to go by. It’s no easy challenge, with an estimated completion time of up to 100 hours, but it’s kept itself on our list of the best RPGs for the six years since its release, and has therefore fought its way onto our consolidated list of the best RPGs available on Xbox One.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition
This Ultimate Evil Edition contains both Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion set, together in one definitive volume. Rise as one of humanity's last defenders - crusader, barbarian, witch doctor, demon hunter, monk, or wizard - and collect legendary loot while mastering devastating new powers and abilities.
That’s just a short list of the many, many fantastic RPGs there are. If you’re not seeing your own favourite, you can head over to its game page and rate it, review it, or chat about it in the forums, or else share your thoughts in the comments below.
This article was updated on 31/12/2021