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Top 10 Western RPGs of All Time

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Kurt Hvorup and David Thibault In the early days of video gaming, western RPG’s were a very niche market. Today they’re one of the most dominant genre’s in the industry thanks to these amazing games. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Western RPGs of all time. To conclude our series we’re taking the best Western RPGs of our previous 3 lists and picking out which are the best of the best. We’re adjusting our rank for how well the games have aged over the years, and how much they’ve had an impact on the industry; we’re also restricting our choices to one game per franchise. Special thanks to our user mac121mr0 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Written by Kurt Hvorup and David Thibault

Top 10 Western RPG’s of All Time


In the early days of video gaming, western RPG’s were a very niche market. Today they’re one of the most dominant genre’s in the industry thanks to these amazing games. Welcome to Watchmojo.com as today we’re concluding Our Top 10 Western RPG game series with the Top 10 Western RPG’s of all time.

To conclude our series we’re taking the best Western RPGs of our previous 3 lists and picking out which are the best of the best. We’re adjusting our rank for how well the games have aged over the years, and how much they’ve had an impact on the industry; we’re also restricting our choices to one game per franchise.

#10: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (2011)


Long live the Dragonborn. “The Elder Scrolls V” takes place 200 years after the previous game, with a new player character destined to kill the returning dragons. Departing from previous games' class selection and using the in-house Creation Engine, “Skyrim” offers gamers not only the freedom to play as they wish but countless opportunities to do so. From a cavalcade of side-quests, to intricate crafting and magic mechanics, to the sheer scope of the province of Skyrim, everything on display is built for engagement.

#9: “System Shock 2” (1999)


It might not be the deepest RPG on this list, but it’s definitely the scariest. Basically writing the book on creepy spaceships, chilling audio-logs and sci-fi horror games in general, the atmosphere that oozed out of every pore of this game just barely concealed it’s hardcore RPG roots. Although at first it appears to be a just another shooter, just underneath the surface you’ll find a punishingly restrictive RPG, one where you have limited inventory space and a constant need to upgrade your skills and abilities in order have even the faintest hope of getting out alive.


#8: “Ultima VII: The Black Gate” (1981)


Almost all the other entries on this list owe its legacy to the Ultima series, and as the seventh instalment of the “Ultima” series, “The Black Gate” served to inject the games' formula. New features ranged from real-time gameplay, to party members being controlled by AI, to the introduction of a dialogue tree. Matched by a darker take on the land of Britannia, a vast number of objects with which to interact, and a subtle morality system, “Ultima VII” was something to respect and adore in equal measure.

#7: “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” (2003)


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an iconic RPG came into our midst. “Knights of the Old Republic”, set thousands of years before main Star Wars saga, put players in the role of a random Republic soldier slowly embroiled in the conflict between Jedi and Sith. The game's roots in Western role-playing were immediately apparent – from its turn-based combat, to the focus on improving character skills. Those gameplay elements mix well with memorable characters, diverse and aesthetically pleasing worlds to explore, and a story that delivers powerful twists while encapsulating the classic “Star Wars” charm.

#6: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (2015)


Greater stakes, greater freedom. This is the promise of “The Witcher 3”, which picks up with our lone witcher anti-hero Geralt in the midst of a personal quest. Yet despite the emphasis on Geralt's own struggles, players are granted an open world to explore and numerous quests to undertake. “Wild Hunt” builds on the action-based combat and magic elements of past games, introducing features such as fighting on horseback and use of the Witcher-sense. Combined with the stunning nature of the game world, this is truly a remarkable experience.



#5: “Mass Effect 2” (2010)


A suicide mission like none other, and a smash success at that. “Mass Effect 2” kicks off with our space-faring hero Commander Shepard's demise, before leading into a bold quest to put together an elite team and investigate the disappearance of human colonists. While its combat leans more on action, with regenerating health and limited ammo to boot, this is still a matter of making tough choices and building a character of one's own. With tight pacing, a grim yet colourful visual style and a lively cast of characters, this is one of gaming's finest.

#4: “Deus Ex” (2000)


Time for a good conspiracy. Developed by Ion Storm Austin, this cyberpunk-style RPG set much of the tone and style of future role-playing games. Its narrative was one of a world in turmoil, following the rookie JC Denton in a complex tale of treachery, manipulation, and corporate control. “Deus Ex” was built to be challenging, yet brimming with options; players could sneak past foes, rely on hacking and lockpicks, or simply blast their way through trouble. From its character customization to its dynamic story, choices were around every corner... and with them, fascinating consequences.

#3: “Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn” (2000)


Once more, BioWare's impact is known. Opening shortly after the events of the original game, “Shadows of Amn” puts our hero Gorion's Ward in the midst of brewing conflict in the city of Athkatla. Using a variant of “Dungeons & Dragons” rules in its core design and relying on an isometric perspective, the game delivers a lengthy yet constantly engaging experience. With its emphasis on player-made characters, combat with plentiful strategic options, and an easy-to-follow plotline, “Shadows of Amn” walks the line between quality and quantity.

#2: “Diablo” (1996)


Stay a while and listen. Developed by Blizzard North, “Diablo” is the resulting brilliance that came of fusing real-time action, a 3D isometric style, and precious loot. Its narrative is relatively simple – you are a lone hero, sent to save a small town from the unspeakable evil that plagues them – but it’s really the gameplay that’s so key here. The game finds a healthy balance between hack-and-slash combat and classic role-playing item management, creating an incredibly addictive gameplay loop with remarkably punchy, satisfying combat. A formula that would work just as well for its well beloved sequel.

Before we get to the Best Western RPG of all time, here are some honorable mentions.

“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (2015)

“Planescape: Torment” (1999)

“Wasteland” (1987)

“Neverwinter Nights” (2002)

“Shadowrun” (1994)

#1: “Fallout 3” (2008)


After waiting a decade after the release of the just as amazing Fallout 2. “Fallout 3” marks the series' transition from isometric play to first-person action, while diverging from elements such as self-referential gags. Yet this change of formula resulted the finest Western RPGs ever, with a grim yet engrossing setting in the Capital Wasteland and plenty of worthwhile side-quests. All of this wrapped around a story centred on a young Vault Dweller following in their father's footsteps, providing opportunities for all sorts of fun, engaging and diverse activities. Truly, it was worth the wait.

Do you by any chance agree with our list? Remember that if you didn’t see an RPG you thought should be on here be sure to check out our 3 prior lists to see if it made it there, and for more decisive Top 10’s published daily, be sure to subscribe to Watchmojo.com
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