CRPG is generally considered a long-dead genre by modern-day AAA publishers and developers, due to the heavy reliance on the role playing aspect. Since the 2000s, they have been overcome by 3D titles such as Fallout 3 and Mass Effect that focused on action instead of storytelling. While those titles are amazing, classic CRPG games like Planescape: Torment and Baldur’s Gate offered way more in the storytelling, choices & consequences department.
In this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase the 5 best CRPGs to play on PC in 2022.
Underrail is an old-school, turn-based isometric RPG, similar to Fallout 2 as far as the base game structure is concerned, but without a party system. Set in the grim days following nuclear annihilation, this game takes place in the dark tunnels of UnderRail, a vast subterranean network of stations built in the decades after the apocalypse.
This title offers uncompromising Classic RPG gameplay, seemingly straight out from the golden days of old: for starters, character development possibilities are amazingly varied, allowing players to build significantly different characters every play-through, each offering a wholly different gameplay experience. A huge quantity of passive and active abilities are at players' disposal, unlocked with both level and attribute requirements mostly, Specialization points allow players to upgrade their favorite skills, to further focus a class' purpose, while from a certain level onward, Veteran perks come in to specialize characters even more.
Roaming the dark tunnels of Underrail will put players in many different situations, ranging from dealing with vicious bandit gangs, to exploring abandoned old world outposts, to discovering unexplainable events just not belonging to this world. How each character is built will change considerably what can or can't be done, that is why to really discover everything, many play-throughs are needed. The addition of crafting mechanics, divided into sub-categories such as Electronics, or Tailoring, adds a deeper dimension to commerce, looting and progression, if players choose to invest skill points into them.
Combat in Underrail is highly tactical and complex, varying a lot depending on the character type: each build will have to employ different strategies, and have an hard time in encounters another build otherwise would find easy. Stealth, loud, traps, or avoiding altogether are all viable approaches to enemies. The two XP gain choices, Classic where quests and enemies give XP, or Oddity, where only Artifacts give out XP instead, make interesting variations.
Overall, Underrail is an astonishingly deep, complex, varied and satisfying experience that I do not hesitate to put on the same tier as the best classics of old, such as Baldur's Gate, for how good it is. Anyone liking RPGs should get this game immediately, as it offers hundreds of hours of content, at least, for a bargain price tag even with DLC included.
2. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Obsidian Entertainment’s follow-up to the massively successful Pillars of Eternity that was released last 2015. The Watcher, armed with a ship and in the company of a motley crew of characters, must fight, convince, or connive his way to reach Eothas. But as you, the player does so, getting caught in the web of politics, betrayals, and 'go to X and do Y' quests. The Deadfire Archipelago is filled with unknown and yet unexplored lands. Four factions vie for control of the isles with each one having its own agendas and plans.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is and has always been conceived as a modern take on the 2D text-based RPGs of the 1990s. It is played with a top-down view and static camera, partnered with long lines of texts that can either enrich your vocabulary or irreparably cross your eyes altogether.
The game mainly uses the combat mechanics found in the first Pillars of Eternity. Each character has a recovery period which is determined by their previous action, their equipment, and their stats. Once the bar depletes the character can execute a move. You can also just leave things to the AI but this kind of approach isn’t recommended especially on higher levels of difficulty. Manually placing your units and giving them their commands during intense parts of combat is key to victory.
One huge departure from the first game is the introduction of ships as home bases. Here, the player can manage party composition, resources, and character interaction. Wandering across the seas of Deadfire requires both manpower and resources.
3. Wasteland 2
Wasteland 2 truly is a fantastic game, but you won’t see that until you’ve spent roughly 10-20 hours on this sprawling RPG.
The game suffers from an archaic user interface and the first half of the game isn’t very notable, I’d recommend having one character invest in the Outdoorsman skill, because random encounters can easily take off another 20 minutes of your time without really providing much of interest, plus you will likely find yourself walking away from your screen quite a few times as you wait for your characters to move all the way back on a map. It’s a slow, slow game.
Yet, Wasteland 2 has so much to offer. The second half of the game is an immediate improvement in quest and map design and features interesting factions and story choices. The second half opens up a lot more, giving you less directed main quests and giving you a good amount of freedom to solve your way through side quests at your own pace.
The roleplaying aspect of Wasteland 2 is great. Designing your specialized characters and seeing how they make their way through a story with real consequences offers a good deal of replay value. If you are patient and give Wasteland 2 the time it needs to show its potential, it will be a tremendously enjoyable experience. Time definitely worth investing in.
4. Planescape: Torment
Originally released in 1999 by Interplay Entertainment and Black Isle Studios, Planescape: Torment is a legendary cult classic among RPG enthusiasts. Picked up later by Beamdog, the same publisher/developer responsible for the outstanding Enhanced Editions of other classic RPGs such as Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment has received the same Enhanced Edition treatment, complete with a remastered soundtrack, native 4K support, and a few more modern features to make gameplay a bit more user friendly.
To avoid spoiling any part of this bewitching tale, only a very brief synopsis of the plot basics will be included in this review. You take on the role of The Nameless One, a possibly immortal man whom has awoke with a severe case of amnesia in a grim, zombie-infested mortuary. He is soon approached by a sarcastic, yet witty, floating skull named Morte, who helps to guide The Nameless One through his confused state, but can this seemingly harmless companion be trusted? Unsure of his past, his name, or even his purpose, The Nameless One and the skull then set off on their ultimate quest of attempting to restore The Nameless One's memory, and figure out just what the foreboding, instruction-like tattooed scrawls on his back mean.
The game takes place within the Planescape multiverse of the Dungeons and Dragons universe, a setting that entails various planes of existence; though do not let that deter you if you know little to nothing of the classic board game. Planescape: Torment does an absolutely stunning job of conveying both basic and detailed information about the vast and seemingly endless world that it takes place in; I went in with virtually no knowledge of this realm, and I feel as though I could now write a book on it. However, if getting to know the lore so in-depth is not your thing, a great feature of this game is being able to sink your teeth into it as shallow or as deep as you prefer.
It's true that you can lose yourself for hours at a time when becoming immersed in just the setting of Planescape: Torment alone, but each of the characters are equally as memorable, and most of them have intricate backgrounds. During your long and difficult journey, you will meet many, many people; some of which will become companions if given the chance, others are there simply for conversation sake, and some you will run optional errands for. This again boils down to how deep you wish to dive into this adventure, to which it is whole-heartedly recommended to let go of reality completely and sink all the way to the bottom of the countless fathoms of this story.
5. Divinity: Original Sin 2
DOS 2 is a single-player and cooperative multiplayer fantasy role-playing video game by Larian Studios. It is one of the best cRPG out there, if you are a fan of roleplaying games, this is definitely a must-buy.
One of the best things about DOS 2 is its gameplay. It's turn-based, slow-paced but really interactive with many different elemental combinations, and cool interactions between each ability and your surrounding environment. For example, you can create some nasty chain explosive reactions with a combo of Fire and Poison, any kind of liquid (water/blood/poison/...) left on the battleground can react to Air turning it into a pool of Electricity dealing damage and stun anyone in it.
Buffs/debuffs status usually do more than one thing and may interact with each other, Stone Armor not only increases your physical armor but also stop you from bleeding/burning because you are solid rock. Peace Of Mind is the kind of ability that let you see bigger pictures, it provides stats buff and cures Blindness BUT also removes frenzy status Rage, because the target has become wiser so no more bold actions. Rage on the other hand is also another status that increases damage output but at a great cost of defense down.
Talents in-game open up your playstyles depending on what you pick. Lone Wolf or One Man Army does what it says for those who want to go solo, Leech turns you into a vampire allowing you to heal when standing near blood or Zombie makes Poison heal you instead but normal healing will damage you. Because the game is classless, you can be anyone, mix and match anything you like, you may be born a warrior but dream to be a mage, go learn some magic and become a battlemage. Who says warriors can't be sneaky, go ahead and get yourself some rogue abilities...
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