New Vegas‘ provides a compelling mystery that surrounds the parcel and gives players an excuse (and the systems) to figure things out however they want. The game offers more narrative freedom than the average Fallout game, and it also houses some of the most memorable characters in the RPG franchise. Who needs an NPC with a degree in theoretical physics when Fallout: New Vegas has one with a theoretical degree in physics?
The Shadowrun franchise is a series of tactical RPGs based on a tabletop game of the same name. In Shadowrun, the world is a unique blend of cyberpunk and magic. Megacorporations rule entire countries, and everyone wields katanas, uzis, and leather jackets. However, a large portion of humanity has turned into trolls, dwarves, and elves, too. Oh, and sometimes vampires serve as megacorp receptionists/security.
The Shadowrun series of games is best described as an RPG version of XCOM. Players control a squad of guns for hire as they navigate neon streets, take various jobs, and uncover conspiracies. Each entry’s story is a sprawling web of treachery and deception, and choices heavily impact the endings. However, quality varies between games, so while one Shadowrun title might keep players invested, another might not. But Shadowrun is a must-buy for any fan of cyberpunk dystopia, magic, and everything in between.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
2003 | BioWare
Long before BioWare revolutionized action RPGs with Mass Effect, the studio paved the way with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The game admittedly looks dated in the graphics department, and its combat system is relatively primitive to modern standards, but it outshines even the latest RPGs thanks to its writing.
Knights of the Old Republic offers a ton of choices that lets players build their own stories — a selling point of many BioWare games, honestly. But more than that, the game is brought to life by well-written, memorable characters. Ask any long-time Star Wars fan about their favorite character, and many will sing about HK-47, the game’s standout assassin droid. Without Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect might not be the series it is today.