If you love tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons but don't have anyone to run the game or a group you can play with regularly, CRPGs can offer many of the same thrills. Whether you're controlling a single character or a whole party, these complex games let you explore strange and fantastic worlds and give you a wide variety of ways to solve problems. Whether you're looking to check out some of the genre's classics or newer entries, this guide to the best CRPG games on PC should provide you with plenty of exciting adventures.
Based on a tabletop RPG setting designed by the game's developer, Disco Elysium is a tribute to genre staples like Planescape: Torment. The gameplay eschews combat entirely in favor of rich world building and characters, giving you a huge range of choices with how to interact with everyone. Try to solve cases and improve the broken city of Revachol or just do drugs and sing karaoke. Disco Elysium is one of the best indie games on PC.
A true classic
Baldur's Gate 3 is still in early access and while the issues with that game are being worked out, now is the perfect time to revisit the series or try it for the first time. Using the rules of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and the iconic Forgotten Realms setting, this 1998 game helped define the genre. The upgraded version includes a new adventure, additional characters, and improved multiplayer functions.
If you're excited about Baldur's Gate 3, you might also want to check out developer Larian's previous hit, Divinity Original Sin 2. Immerse yourself in its rich world where you'll search for hidden treasure and be faced with tough decisions when it comes with how to deal with enemies and potential allies. Your choices will affect how others view your character and even change the story as you progress. You'll also need to think carefully about your moves to master the game's turn-based combat.
Welcome to Sigil
While Planescape: Torment is also based on the rules of Dungeons & Dragons, it has a very different feel from Baldur's Gate based on its setting. Rather than using the game's traditional Western fantasy world, its action takes place in Sigil, a city at the hub of the multiverse where you'll spend more than 50 hours exploring and trying to understand your own identity with the help of strange companions including an animated suit of armor and a chaste succubus.
Set in the same world as Baldur's Gate and also using the rules of D&D, Neverwinter Nights lets you choose from a wide variety of different hero types and playstyles as you navigate a world filled with magic and manipulation in order to save the city of Neverwinter from a terrible plague. Play through the approximately 40 hours of story and then try some of the modules that have been created by fans or build your own filled with monsters, traps, and treasure.
With Dragon Age 4 confirmed, you might want to go back to the series' beginning to meet or remember its complicated characters and world. Play as a Gray Warden, one of the last members of an order meant to protect the world from the terrible threat of the darkspawn while also trying to make alliances in the midst of a civil war. Characters will react to the choices you make, including deciding whether or not to follow or become romantically involved with your hero.
Play as a Watcher with the ability to see past lives as you try to unravel the mystery of why children are being born without souls. You'll be joined by a wide variety of companions in the party-based game and the class you choose will determine your dialogue options. You can also create characters to fill out your ranks and pay to recruit them from tavern, then head into monster-infested dungeons in search of treasure.
Assemble a party of customizable Desert Rangers accompanied by recruitable companion characters to try to establish a foothold in a post-apocalyptic version of Colorado. The tactical combat requires you to master how to use a wide variety of combat styles and special skills in concert to fight cultists, gangs, and a group of siblings threatening to tear the place apart as they fight for power.
Push your luck as you try to fight terrible foes in procedurally generated dungeons, since the longer you explore the bigger your rewards will be. Unfortunately your heroes will break under the stress of being injured, sick, hungry, or just staying in the dark too long and might turn on their party members and permanently kill them.
Use the force
Explore the Star Wars universe 4,000 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire with a party of customizeable characters including Droids and Wookies. Choose whether to protect the Jedi Order or to embrace the dark side as you journey to iconic locations including Tatooine, master more than 40 Force powers, and build your own lightsaber.
This spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment is based on the Numenera TTRPG setting rather than D&D. The science fantasy setting of the Ninth World features plenty of strange companions with their own goals that will shape their actions throughout the game. Characters will also react to your decisions, making for a highly replayable experience.
This low-magic, post-apocalyptic RPG inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire is less about fighting monsters and more about dealing with the threat of other people. More than 100 quests will take you to a wide variety of locations including temples and archaeological dig sites, and each can be solved in a variety of ways with your choices determining who your friends and enemies will be.
Join the party
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CRPGs offer huge complexity in their gameplay, encouraging players to seriously consider their choices and tactics as they'll affect their party and the world. For an awesome recent example of the genre, check out Disco Elysium. It's bizarre sense of humor and complicated world can be experienced without any combat at all.
You can also go back to the genre's origins by playing Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, which uses the rules of Dungeons & Dragons and one of its best known settings. If you like a high-stakes adventure, pick up Darkest Dungeon, where your party members can be permanently killed while fighting eldritch horrors. All of these games stress the importance of choice and strategy, so they offer plenty of replayability as you make new decisions that affect the outcomes.
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