DescriptionRole-playing video games are descendants of pen-and-paper RPGs. In those games character development is the main driving gameplay mechanic. Typically one or more characters are created and shaped by the player, then embark on a series of encounters that increase the inventory, wealth, or combat statistics of said character(s).
A role-playing game is not just any game in which the player "plays a role", i.e. controls a character and participates in exploration and narrative. Rather, the defining characteristic of role-playing games is player-dependent character growth. A role-playing game can be seen as such when player-controlled characters become stronger ("levels up") because of the player's actions (usually depending on experience points received for vanquishing enemies), rather than being upgraded automatically as dictated by the storyline. The degree of the player's involvement in shaping the characters may vary considerably: some RPGs offer vast customization possibilities, while others tend to simplify and even nearly automatize the process.
Traditional RPGs have turn-based combat and a fantasy setting (Wizardry series, Ultima series, Roguelikes, etc.). Later, other settings were introduced, and many RPGs - such as Diablo - began favoring action-based combat. In these games, Action is used as a modifier to the RPG genre.
By the late 1980's, the genre has been distinctly split into two main sub-genres: Western and Japanese (sometimes called console-style) RPG. Western RPGs typically favored free exploration and player-made decisions, while Japanese RPGs focused on following a linear story line. Japanese RPGs also tended to retain simple turn-based combat mechanics, and in many cases also random enemy encounters.
In many early Western RPGs the player was given the option to create an entire party of characters (usually up to six). Ultima games introduced the possibility of recruiting initially non-playable characters (NPCs) with their own personalities from the game world into the party. Beginning with Phantasy Star, Japanese RPGs followed this template and even elevated it to their cornerstone mechanic.
Late 1990's saw a "RPG revival" in the West. Fallout greatly expanded the usage of non-combat statistics and moral decisions during gameplay, while Baldur's Gate popularized real-time party-based combat.
In spite of its Japanese origin, Lunatic Dawn is in fact much more similar to very old-school Western RPGs than...
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SEGA Saturn (1998)
Madō Monogatari is an RPG featuring the characters and settings from the Puyo Puyo series. You start the game as...
Game Gear (1995)
The story of Madō Monogatari A takes place at a time between Madō Monogatari I and Madō Monogatari II. Arle,...
The heroine of Madō Monogatari: ARS is, like in all other games in the Madō Monogatari series, the young apprentice...
The game is set in the same universe and shares characters and storyline with Puyo Puyo puzzle games. Unlike Puyo...
Game Gear (1994)
Eleven years have passed since Arle Nadja, magician girl extraordinaire, has defeated the evil as part of her examination in...
Game Gear (1994)
You play as the young magician Arle Nadja. One day Arle goes out for a walk and meets a mysterious...
As in most Madō Monogatari games, the story of Michikusa Ibun is quite simple: once again, the young magician Arle...
Commodore 64 (1986)
Mafia is set in the Chicago of the 1920's and casts you as a small time criminal who has to...
Mafia Wars is a browser game that can be played on various social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Tagged, and...
Mafia Wars is an adaptation of the Browser game with the same name.Most of the game play elements are more...
In this ASCII rogue-like (dungeon crawls with randomized maps) the player explores 20+ levels of a dungeon in order to...
Magebane 2 is a top-down role-playing game where the player controls three monks on a quest to recover the holy...
Mage Knight: Apocalypse is an action role-playing game based on the world of the WizKids' tabletop game Mage Knight. Players...
Nintendo DS (2006)
Magical Starsign is Role Playing Game about a group of students at the Will O’ Wisp magical academy. When their...
This is another game in the Magic Candle series of top-down RPG's that bears more than a slight resemblance to...
Part of the Magic Candle series, this is much like the first game in the series, only with an enhanced...
Top games by as rated by the press:
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- 93 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- 93 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- 93 Panzer Dragoon Saga
- 93 Mass Effect 2
- 93 Final Fantasy VII
Games must have at least a Critic Score of 80 to be considered.
Top games by as rated by our users:
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- 5.00 Black Isle Compilation (2002)
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- 5.00 Borderlands 2 (Deluxe Vault Hunter's Collectors Edition) (2012)
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- 3.70 Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition (2010)
Games must have at least 1 votes and a User Score of 4.0 to be considered.