New Release: Pillars of Eternity, a new RPG perfect for fans of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale!

Role-Playing (RPG)

Description

Role-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.
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sorted in ascending orderGame Title
Mass Effect 3: Leviathan Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan is a DLC expansion for the Mass Effect 3 single-player game. It involves Shepard's quest to...

Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer Collection PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2013)

This compilation includes all five multiplayer add-ons for Mass Effect 3: Earth Multiplayer Expansion Rebellion Multiplayer Expansion Reckoning Multiplayer Expansion...

Mass Effect 3 (N7 Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

This collector's edition includes: Mass Effect 3 in a metal keep case 70-page hardcover art book N7 fabric patch with...

Mass Effect 3: Omega PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

Omega is a downloadable content (DLC) pack for Mass Effect 3. It is built like a side quest that can...

Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Multiplayer Expansion PlayStation 3 Front Cover PSN version

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

The Rebellion Multiplayer Expansion is a downloadable content (DLC) pack for Mass Effect 3. Includes the following content: Six characters:...

Mass Effect 3: Reckoning Multiplayer Expansion PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Windows (2013), Xbox 360 (2013) and PlayStation 3 (2013)

Reckoning is the final multiplayer DLC pack for Mass Effect 3. It includes the following content: Six characters: Alliance Infiltration...

Mass Effect 3: Resurgence Multiplayer Expansion PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

The Resurgence Multiplayer Expansion is a downloadable content (DLC) pack for Mass Effect 3. Includes the following content: Six characters:...

Mass Effect 3: Retaliation Multiplayer Expansion PlayStation 3 Front Cover PSN version

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

The Retaliation Multiplayer Expansion is a downloadable content (DLC) pack for Mass Effect 3. It includes the following content:The Collectors...

Mass Effect: Bring Down the Sky Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008) and Xbox 360 (2008)

Bring Down the Sky is the first downloadable content (DLC) for Mass Effect. The access to its plot is allowed...

Windows (2011)

Mass Effect: Edycja Rozszerzona (Extended Edition) is a compilation that includes: Mass Effect Mass Effect: Bring Down the Sky The...

Mass Effect (Limited Collector's Edition) Xbox 360 Front Cover Sleeve

Xbox 360 (2007)

This Limited Collector's Edition includes: Mass Effect A Future Imagined art book Galactic Codex: Essentials book (36 pages detailing the...

Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009) and Xbox 360 (2009)

Pinnacle Station is the second downloadable content pack (DLC) released for Mass Effect. After achieving Spectre status, Commander Shepard can...

Mass Effect (Zolotoe izdanie) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Zolotoe izdanie is a gold edition of Mass Effect by 1C Company. It includes: Mass Effect. Mass Effect: Bring Down...

Master of the Monster Lair Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

Master of the Monster Lair is a dungeon crawling RPG with a different twist, whereas in previous dungeon crawlers the...

ZX Spectrum (1984)

Masters of Serebal is a 2D top down RPG game. The player must recover the 10 lost Scrolls of Law....

TurboGrafx CD (1991)

It was just an ordinary cruise ship gig for the four musicians. The band leader, known only as the Flute...

SNES (1995)

"Maten Densetsu" is a RPG set in post-apocalyptic Japan, similar in style and in gameplay to Shin Megami Tensei and...

Genesis (1993)

Maten no Sōmetsu tells the story of a young boy (you can name him as you like) who was found...

Browser (2006)

Originally launched in 1996 and still being actively maintained and updated, Materia Magica is a complex fantasy MUD set on...

Windows (2014)

Mathoria: It All Adds Up is an educational math RPG that is set in the fictional island of Additio. The...

The Matrix Online Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

The universe of The Matrix goes massively multiplayer in this cyberpunk RPG. Players jack into one of the many districts...

Maze Heroes: Meikyū Densetsu PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2002)

This is a world where humans and monsters coexist. Legend has it that there are four treasures in the world...

Commodore 64 (1983)

In Maze Master you create a party of three characters, each either a Warrior or a Wizard and venture into...

Maze of Space Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2010) and Macintosh (2010)

In this prototype, the player controls a spaceman wandering the blocky confines of a randomly-generated space-maze (space station? planetary colony?...

Game Boy Advance (2006) and Nintendo DS (2008)

The ancient gods have passed judgment, and as a result all of mankind has been sentenced to be replaced with...

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