Western RPGs have seemingly overtaken the RPG genre with titles like Mass Effect, Skyrim, Fallout, and The Witcher 3. Despite this though, there have been a number of incredible Japanese RPGs that have come out in the last decade. The dichotomy between the two halves of the genre is what inspired us to put together a list of the top 5 RPGs of the last decade. Some may surprise you, some may confuse you, some may enrage you, but these are five of the best RPGs of this generation.
Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 5. Bravely Default
Bravely Default was originally intended to be an installment in the Final Fantasy franchise until the development team wanted to do something original, establishing a new brand. The end result is Bravely Default. It is Final Fantasy without the Final Fantasy name and has memorable characters, an intriguing story, wonderful music, an endearing art style, and an extensive job system with turn-based combat. It is filled to the brim with content and will quench any gamer’s RPG cravings.
Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 4. Fallout 4
The Fallout series has become revered as one of the best franchises in recent memory ever since Bethesda took over development of the franchise. While both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas were wonderful additions to the series, Fallout 4 is by far the best. It has a fascinating narrative, the freedom of exploration due to its open-world nature, improved combat from earlier entries in the franchise, and a plethora of content that can keep you busy for hundreds of hours. For Western RPG fans, it’s a dream come true..
Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 3. Final Fantasy XIII-2
This choice may surprise some people, and it may enrage others. Final Fantasy XIII was a divisive entry in the series due to its linear nature and over-pretentious mythology, half of which you had to read through a codex. Final Fantasy XIII-2 fixed so many of XIII’s problems and was a masterpiece in its own right. From the non-linear nature of the story, the time travel aspect, strong protagonists, and incredible music, Final Fantasy XIII-2 established its own identity with its own set of characters, setting it apart from Final Fantasy XIII and simply being a “sequel.” The combat, while similar to XIII’s, was tweaked and lightning paced, making for a really enjoyable and rewarding experience. All-in-all, it is the best Final Fantasy game since X, and maybe even before that.
Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 2. The Mass Effect Trilogy
Bioware is one of the most successful developers in the business, and when they took on Mass Effect, they created a space opera that would go down in the ages as one of the best series’ of all time. The sheer scope of the mythology and the amount of creativity that went into crafting it is nothing short of astounding. The characters are both likable and memorable, and each entry in the series has its own flavor to it and improves upon the previous game. The ability to shape Shepard’s character through choices was, at the time, revolutionary with regards to how the choices did in fact carry over into the subsequent games. This could only go so far, but it was the first of its kind. While some were upset with the ending, Shepard’s journey was a miraculous adventure full of adventure, sorrow, and ultimately self-sacrifice.
Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 1. Xenoblade Chronicles X
Although the original Xenoblade Chronicles was an amazing game and would be on this list, it would be a little bit redundant to include both games. While the original had the facade of an open-world game with an incredibly linear narrative, Xenoblade Chronicles X is Tetsuya Takahashi’s masterpiece after almost 20 years and six installments in the Xeno series. The world is larger than Skyrim, Fallout 4, and The Witcher 3 combined. It is completely open-world and gives you the freedom to explore each of the world’s continents from the outset. The story is divided into chapters, while in the interim you can explore, complete requirements to advance the storyline, and take on sidequests and affinity quests. While some criticize the game for its story, the sidequests in the game actually expand on its story and furthers character development. Attack on Titan’s Hiroyuki Sawano composed the game’s music with a diverse score and while some had a disdain for it, Sawano is one of the best in the business. A game like Xenoblade Chronicles X only comes along once every 10 years or so and is a very special experience, which is why it rounds out our list of the top 5 RPGs of the last decade.