The PS4 is home to numerous excellent RPGs, making it difficult for RPG enthusiasts to decide which game to pick up and dive into for a few months. Some titles are clearly no-brainers. Others need an introduction first. To help you narrow down your choices, we made a list of the best RPGs that are definitely worth checking out.
Most of the titles included in this list are can’t-miss titles, so hopefully, you can afford to buy at least two. In order to prevent the list from spilling over to the 30s, we focused only on action-RPGs and turn-based RPGs. We also excluded online-only games such as Destiny, one of the best multiplayer games on PS4, and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Any list that counts the best RPGs on PS4 includes The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. And we’re not about to break that tradition here. Wild Hunt is an action-RPG developed by Warsaw-based CD Projekt RED. It was released in 2015, selling millions of copies in less than a month.
Wild Hunt is considered one of the best RPGs ever created, bagging numerous gaming accolades and setting a standard for other RPGs to follow. The Game of the Year Edition, which was released last year, includes the base game and the two previously released expansion packs, “Hearts of Stone” and “Blood and Wine.” The latter is especially notable for its huge content and is considered by many as a standard for post-release content.
The gameplay is fast-paced, with the main character, Geralt of Rivia, capable of using melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic to fight all sorts of enemies. Players need to complete story quests in order advance, though the number of available side quests often hogs most of the playing time. Wild Hunt is the ultimate RPG on PS4 right now, though some might argue the next title in this list now owns that distinction.
2. Persona 5
Persona 5 is one of the early candidates for Game of the Year this year. It is a turn-based RPG mixed with social simulation. It features pretty much the same core gameplay seen in Persona 3 and Persona 4 – but with tweaks and improvements.
This game features a much darker story than Persona 4, which is considered by many as the most lighthearted entry in the entire Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Other notable changes include the elimination of repetitive storyline dungeons and Shuffle Time, which have been replaced with Palaces and Demon Negotiation, respectively.
In terms of visual style, Persona 5 is in a category of its own. It is hands down one of the most gorgeous-looking games on PS4, with visuals so oozing with appeal an award should be named after it. Featuring a battle interface that is simply rocking with style, Persona 5 is a total eye-candy. For RPG lovers, this game is definitely a must-play.
Undertale is the most recent title in this list. Well, technically, it was released way back in 2015. However, the PS4 port only arrived this year. Undertale was developed by Toby Fox, an indie developer and composer. It was a surprise hit back in 2015, earning numerous awards and eventually selling over a million copies.
Two years after originally launching on PC, Undertale is finally available on PS4. Players control a human child who ends up in an underground world populated by monsters. It features exploration, puzzle-solving, and a heavy dose of excellent dialogue. Unlike other RPGs, Undertale features an innovative battle system where players control a small heart to dodge incoming attacks. The style is known as “bullet hell.”
However, players don’t necessarily need to kill monsters. Players can choose to spare monsters and go the pacifist route. Undertale can actually be finished without killing. The story and the dialogues change depending on how the player approaches the game. With multiple endings in place, Undertale offers a lot of replay value. We highly recommend picking up this game this year. You can buy it on the playstation store.
Are you a big fan of brutally difficult games? Or more specifically, do you find the Dark Souls series the best thing that ever happened in gaming? If you favor a challenging gameplay over anything else, then Bloodborne is for you.
Bloodborne was developed by FromSoftware, the same team that brought you the notoriously difficult Dark Souls series. It was released in 2015 and stands as one of the best-selling exclusives on PS4. In terms of gameplay, Bloodborne resembles Dark Souls in many ways. Players control a customizable character and battle enemies that range from fairly difficult to downright merciless.
Similar to bonfires in Dark Souls, Bloodborne allows players to enter a safe zone called “Hunter’s Dream” by examining lamps scattered throughout the game world. The most distinguishable difference between Bloodborne and Dark Souls is the setting. The former heavily features a Gothic and Victorian era design, while the latter is more tipped toward medieval fantasy. In terms of difficulty, there is no clear-cut “winner” between the two. You be the judge.
After a 10-year development that started back in 2006 when it was still titled as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Final Fantasy XV finally arrived last November. And the wait was certainly worth it for fans. Square Enix made a number of changes to the tried-and-tested Final Fantasy formula in FFXV.
Most notably, players only control one character, Noctis, throughout the game. Though far from perfect, Noctis’ AI-controlled companions do a good job at complementing him in battle. FFXV also eschews the usual turn-based combat seen in most Final Fantasy titles in favor of a fast-paced action-RPG gameplay. Those who played Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII on PSP will be familiar with the action-oriented gameplay in this game.
FFXV features some of the most jaw-dropping CGI scenes in the entire series, especially when a Summon is involved. Exploring every nook and cranny in the open world is a delight, though caution must always be practiced as the experience system has been changed, with players only able to level up using collected experience points when in a safe zone.
Imagine an age where, instead of dinosaurs, large mechanical beasts dominate the world. Horizon Zero Dawn brings that to the table with a beautifully created world that looks like an offspring between Far Cry Primal and Zoids.
Developed by Guerilla Games, it currently stands as the second best-selling game on PS4, right behind Uncharted 4. Seen from a third-person perspective, it features a sprawling open world filled with lush jungles and daunting mountains, which contrast with the large robots that populate the land.
Horizon Zero Dawn centers on Aloy, a young woman who sets out on a journey to learn more about her world. Using crafted items and modified weapons, Aloy can fight the mechanical beasts, which display animal-like instincts and behaviors, in different ways. She can employ long-range weapons, melee weapons, and traps during combat. Though the story has questionable holes, Horizon Zero Dawn is an adventure RPG lovers shouldn’t pass on.
7. Fallout 4
2015 was a great year for gaming. It saw the release of several notable titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Bloodborne, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Life Is Strange. Fallout 4 also launched later that year in November, providing that final punch that sealed 2015 as one of the best for gamers.
Fallout 4 is the fifth installment – Fallout 3 was succeeded by Fallout: New Vegas – in the Fallout series. Like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, copies of the game sold in droves upon release, easily breaking the 1-million mark in just 24 hours.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where players control a customizable character, Fallout 4 is an action-RPG that offers a lot of gameplay freedom. It has a deep item crafting and weapon customization system, with the latter able to produce hundreds of different combinations. Players can freely explore the open world, battle numerous monsters, interact with NPCs, build settlements, and complete quests. If you plan to pick up Fallout 4, we suggest waiting for the Game of the Year Edition, which releases on September 26.
Still can’t get enough of open world games? Not yet satisfied with the vast world in Fallout 4? We recommend playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, another action-RPG developed by Bethesda.
A world leader when it comes to sucking the social life out of gamers, Skyrim was originally released in 2011. The Special Edition is a remastered version of the game, which features improved visuals and includes all the expansion packs. Despite being a six-year-old game, Skyrim remains as one of the most popular RPGs around, especially the PC version.
The gameplay has a lot of similarities to Fallout 4. It includes exploration, interacting with NPCs, completing side-quests, and battling monsters of all shapes and sizes. It has a deep character progression system where players can define their own fighting style. In previous series entries, players were restricted to character classes. This is no longer the case in Skyrim. For players seeking an open world action-RPG set in a medieval world, Skyrim is a must-play.
Want another RPG with a female lead and a post-apocalyptic setting that features machines? Check out NieR: Automata, an action-RPG developed by PlatinumGames, the developer behind Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Bayonetta.
NieR: Automata is the sequel to 2010’s NieR and centers on 2B, a badass female android who is definitely well-versed in kicking butt. The gameplay mixes real-time action-oriented combat with elements typically seen in a traditional RPG such as a leveling system, side-quests, and character progression. The latter is done through chips, which are installed onto the androids.
The combat system places more focus on melee combat, with 2B capable of wielding short swords, long swords, bracers, and spears. Players can evade incoming enemy attacks and launch powerful counterattacks, provided the timing is spot on. NieR: Automata features an open world, though not on the same level as Horizon Zero Dawn in terms of scale. If you want a more “modern” open world to explore, we suggest picking 2B over Aloy.
10. I Am Setsuna
Tired of playing action-RPGs? Dive back into the world of traditional turned-based RPGs with I Am Setsuna, a charming RPG developed by Tokyo RPG Factory. I Am Setsuna was inspired by classic RPGs such as the early Final Fantasy titles and Chrono Trigger. It comes with familiar elements seen in turn-based RPGs such visiting towns, talking to NPCs, and finding treasures.
The influence is clearly demonstrated in the gameplay, with I Am Setsuna making use of the Active Time Battle (ATB) System first introduced in Final Fantasy IV. The game is presented in a top-down perspective and battles take place in the same environment where the enemy is encountered, similar to Chrono Trigger. Players can combine abilities called “Techs” to produce powerful combination attacks. One of which is called “X-Strike,” an obvious nod to Chrono Trigger.
I Am Setsuna focuses on the titular character Setsuna, a young girl chosen as a sacrifice in order to rid her homeland of demons. She is initially accompanied on her pilgrimage by Endir, with several other characters joining them along the way. If you enjoy a classic turn-based RPG with a well-written story, I Am Setsuna is a great pickup.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a turn-based RPG with a surprisingly dark story. It centers on a young detective assistant who has the mysterious ability to connect to electronic devices and enter digital spaces. The story takes place in real-world Tokyo, though exploration is only limited. A large part of the game takes place in digital locations where Digital Monsters (Digimon) coexist with virtual avatars.
The gameplay follows the familiar RPG formula, which includes dungeon crawling and going around NPC-populated locations. The main story, which is divided into chapters, can be finished in 50-60 hours, though it can easily go up to 70-80 hours with all the time spent on Digimon training.
Digimon training is no doubt the most addicting aspect in Cyber Sleuth. Shooting for the most powerful Digimon with specific skills is very time-consuming, even when using a particular EXP grinding trick that involves metallic poop Digimon. It is easy to get lost in Digimon training, especially when preparing for extremely difficult bosses.
Hungry for a challenge? If you’re looking to dive into an action-RPG that comes with an unfair level of difficulty, then Dark Souls III is the perfect game for you. Developed by FromSoftware, Dark Souls III, contrary to its numbered title, is the fourth entry in the Souls series.
Dark Souls III features the same unforgiving gameplay commonly associated with the Souls series. Players can use different types of weapon in order to fight off enemies, which become increasingly difficult to deal with as the game progresses. The developers made a few tweaks to the gameplay such as the return of the magic system and the improved movements. The latter helps players in evading and blocking attacks more effectively, which is huge in a game like Dark Souls III.
Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades is the definitive edition, containing the base game and the two previously released DLC packs, Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City. For the complete experience, we highly suggest picking up The Fire Fades even though you can easily find a discounted copy of the base game only.
Final Fantasy X is considered one of the best installments in the long-running RPG series. It features an almost-complete package, which includes a great story, an excellent soundtrack, and a well-developed character customization system.
Final Fantasy X HD Remasteron PS4 features improved visuals, with the character models looking more detailed than ever. It also includes the changes seen in the international version of the game. Or, in other words, the Dark Aeons are on hand to beat everyone’s ass, most especially the goddamn Magus Sisters. Aside from the improved visuals and the changes from the international version, Final Fantasy X HD Remaster pretty much stays true to the original. This means that tear-jerking ending is still around to make even grown-ups feel soft and warm inside.
Final Fantasy X-2 is the direct sequel to FFX. It was the first ever direct sequel in the Final Fantasy series before Final Fantasy XIII started spawning sequels that nobody really wants. Sadly, FFX-2 isn’t all that great. It pales in comparison to its predecessor. But on the bright side, at least it has an addicting character customization system.
Like the Final Fantasy series, the Tales series is a long-running RPG series that is well-represented on multiple platforms. It was kicked off by Tales of Phantasia back in 1995. Since then, the series has spawned more than a dozen installments, which are mostly standalone games similar to the Final Fantasy games.
Tales of Berseria is the latest main entry in the series. It was released last January, though the Japanese version has been around since August 2016. It is set in the same world as its predecessor, Tales of Zestiria, but taking place years before, thus making it a prequel. The story centers on Velvet Crowe, a resentful woman possessing a mutated arm, which she acquired in an incident that claimed the life of her brother.
Tales of Berseria features many elements seen in previous Tales titles. As usual, characters interact through skits. The battle system once again features the Linear Motion Battle System, a signature system that has become a staple in the series. It is more action-oriented compared to the turn-based mechanics seen in traditional RPGs. Fans of the Tales series will surely find Tales of Berseria unsurprisingly familiar despite some changes.
RPGs are usually lengthy games, requiring at least 50 hours of playing time in order to finish the main story. Not all RPG titles come with such distinction, however. Some struggle to even break the 30-hour mark. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an example.
Mankind Divided is the sixth entry in the Deus Ex series. It follows Human Revolution and once again features Adam Jensen. It was well-received by both fans and critics alike. However, many pointed out that it was lacking in length, with the main story beatable in less than 20 hours. A complete run will take around 40 hours, which is laughable compared to, let’s say, Tales of Berseria where at least 100 hours is needed for a complete run.
Despite the length issue, Mankind Divided is an excellent action-RPG. The gameplay is seen from a first-person perspective, with firearms as the primary weapons. Like most shooters, it features a cover system where the camera angle switches to a third-person view. It features an RPG-like upgrade system and weapon customization. Players can approach the game in a number of ways. Similar to Undertale, players can take the pacifist route by using stealth to meet objectives.
With Middle-earth: Shadow of War arriving soon, now would be the best time to play Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor if you still haven’t played it yet. Released in 2014, Shadow of Mordor is a must-play not only for RPG enthusiasts but also for fans of the world created by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Shadow of Mordor is set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It centers on a ranger named Talion who bonds with the wraith of Celebrimbor, the Elf Lord whom Sauron tricked into forging the Rings of Power. The merge with Celebrimbor gave Talion wraith-like abilities that players can use to defeat enemies during combat.
The most notable element in Shadow of Mordor is the Nemesis System. The system marks any Uruk – a different breed of orcs – who perform well during an encounter with the player. This includes actually killing the player and living to tell the tale. An Uruk who produces feats worthy of recognition gets a promotion. Defeating a promoted Uruk yields different effects. If you want an RPG with an already well-established lore, we really recommend Shadow of Mordor.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third main installment in the Dragon Age series by BioWare, the developer behind the Mass Effect series. It was released in 2014 and combines elements seen in the first two Dragon Age titles, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. It received largely positive reviews, though like most other blockbuster titles these days, it wasn’t free of technical issues at launch.
Inquisition features many familiar gameplay elements seen in other action-RPGs such as character customization, character classes, and side-quests. Players will be accompanied by a number of companions throughout the game, each with specific skill sets.
Unlike most other action-RPGs, Inquisition offers two ways to engage in combat. The first is a typical action-oriented combat system where players control one character while the other party members are AI-controlled. The second is more similar to a turn-based RPG where players pause the game and assign specific commands to party members, which are carried out once the pause is lifted. Due to this two-way approach, Inquisition appeals to both fans of action-RPG and turn-based RPG.
18. Child of Light
Not a big fan of open world RPGs with a lot of gameplay freedom? If you want an RPG with a more limited and straightforward game world, we recommend picking up Child of Light, an endearing RPG with platforming mechanics. It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and was released in 2014.
Child of Light features beautiful 2D visuals, making the journey from start to finish a charming experience. The story centers on a young girl named Aurora who ends up in Lemuria, a land populated by unfriendly creatures at every corner. Platforming takes center stage when exploring Lemuria, with Aurora able to hop onto any platform within reach.
Upon encountering enemies, the game switches to a turn-based battle system where an Active Time Battle System is in place. Only two party members can be active during battles. However, players can switch out characters in reserve when needed. Another RPG ingredient is the presence of a leveling system, which is responsible for boosting character stats. If you want to take a break from all the open world RPGs, we highly suggest checking out Child of Light.
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a remake of Odin Sphere, an action-RPG originally released for the PS2. The remake was released last year and received praise for all the improvements. Similar to Child of Light, Leifthrasir is presented in 2D visuals, though the former is the clear winner when it comes to charm. Leifthrasir is sharper and brighter, which is quite fitting for the action-packed gameplay.
Exploration is relegated to side-scrolling where players simply move in general directions to get to the next area. The goal in each area is to defeat all enemies, which includes mini-bosses and bosses at the end. Leifthrasir is very linear, though, in terms of length, it definitely beats Child of Light, which only offers around 20 hours of playing time.
Leifthrasir features a brawler style combat system, a stark contrast to the turn-based system seen in Child of Light. Players control five characters throughout the game, with each character possessing unique abilities and elemental affinities. A skill tree is also attached to each character. If you played the original Odin Sphere on PS2 and want to experience it again, Leifthrasir includes a Classic Mode that you can dive into.
Capping off this list is another remaster of a Final Fantasy title. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the HD remaster of the 12th main entry (excluding spinoffs and sequels) in the popular RPG series. It was released last July, giving PS4 owners another chance to relive the adventures of Vaan.
Much like Final Fantasy X HD Remaster, The Zodiac Age is based on the international version of the original game, which was titled Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System. Meaning, all the extra goodies added to the international version is now accessible to players who only played the North American version. The Zodiac Age also includes improved visuals and remastered soundtracks.
FFXII is notable as the first series entry to eschew random encounters, adopting a system similar to Chrono Cross where enemies are visible on the field. This makes backtracking a lot easier and faster, not to mention it makes low-level challenges quicker to go through. FFXII introduces the new gambit system, an elaborate system that allows players to assign specific battle commands to each character. When configured correctly, the gambit system pretty much makes regular battles trivial.
Hopefully, this list helped you in picking which of the best RPGs on PS4 is really worth spending time and money on. If you want to take a break from all the world exploration and text-reading, we suggest diving into a fighting game, which the PS4 also has a nice catalog of.
Latest posts by Glenn (see all)
- 7 Video Game Design and Gameplay Mechanics Everyone Hates - Sep 21, 2017
- How to Enjoy Video Games If You Suck At Playing Them - Sep 17, 2017
- Top 10 Nintendo Switch Games To Play After Breath of the Wild - Sep 15, 2017