Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade

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

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

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

final-fantasy-xiii-2-serah

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

mass-effect-3-shepard

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

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.

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18 thoughts on “Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade

    • Hey, I could have topped it off with Xenosaga Episode III (came out 2006) just to troll everyone but I decided against it. While it is one of my favorite games personally/RPGs, it is very, very flawed with its execution re: story. There are so many games out there and I knew FF XIII-2 would get crap, but, the game has its technical merits and is very enjoyable. All the games you listed are fantastic, I just find these to be more engaging. If I could do a top 25 I would, but I don’t even read top 25s because they’re too long. So we have a top 5. take it for what it is.

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  1. Such a crap list! Games I’ve never heard of, you type of gamers are a dying breed and I’m glad. Make sure to post a more accurate title next time, like I’m a weaboo degenerate and here is my top 5 JRPG list.

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  2. Everywhere I read that Xenoblade was the best rpg of the previous generation & probably the best of the last decade, it also have a metacritic of 92 versus 84 XCX have & aside from pro critics I have read various discussions regarding who is best XC or XCX & always people end up saying that XC is by far a better game/rpg as the story/characters/music is by far of higher quality compare to XCX, & despite all that you put XCX on 1st place when it’s obvious based on reviews from both professionals & players is worst than the first one, actually I am even skeptical if the game deserve to be at all on this list as the main focus of an rpg, the most important element is the story & the characters something XCX lack entirely…

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    • XCX has the perfect balance between story and gameplay. The characters are well developed too if you put the time into the game. Who says though that the most important element is story and characters? I’m playing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE right now and the story is kinda lackluster but the game is fantastic.

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      • Do you seriously disagree that story & characters is the most important element on those games? let’s take the 5 most loved JRPGs for example, I’m talking for FFVI, FFVII, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Suikoden II, why those games left such a lasting impression & considered so many years later as the best the JRPG world have ever seen & they always appear at the top of everyone’s list with their most favorite JRPGs of all time? was it because they had so amazing gameplay &/or combat system? not at all it’s the story & the characters first of all & secondary the music that make all those people to love those 5 games so much, that’s what make you connect with a game in an emotional level & never forget it for the rest of your life, you can overlook a game that doesn’t have so amazing combat for example if the story is really good but not the opposite, good combat with boring/uninteresting story/characters can make you give up on it & loose interest early on & end up never finish it, & you know what, I have read lot’s of comments from people who stop playing XCX because they lost interest at some point because the game didn’t have an engrossing story like XC to keep them playing, the story & characters was not even important in the game, it’s more than obvious that devs invest on other stuff & although they did those stuff good the game end up being lifeless with no soul.. anyway the choices on this list is obviously the choices of the author & that’s it but if you decide to make a poll for example in order to see how many people agree with the games on this list I’m sure you already know how many negative votes this list is gonna get, actually I wonder if you’ll find anyone that agree with it…

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  3. I think I can speak on behalf of 80% of the N4G community (the real gamers of N4G, therefore the world) that JRPG is superior to western RPG. Always has been, always will be.

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    • I won’t say which one I actually prefer, but JRPGs get such a bad rap these days. There are so many games out there and I don’t do lists beyond top 5. I think right at 6 would be FE Fates/FE Awakening, essentially tied. There are others too, Western and Japanese, but there’s a myth that JRPGs suck now and that just isn’t the case.

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      • It’s not a myth, it’s a preference and trend. JRPG don’t push RPG genre anymore, heck Dark Souls a Japanese game although not a JRPG destroys JRPGs. That alone should tell you something. Narrative wise and if you’re really into the art style then yes that’s your preference, but overall it’s dying and for good reason.

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