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The best RPGs to lose hundreds of hours in

best rpg Skyrim Anniversary Edition
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The best RPGs will suck up hours of your time, transporting you to another world and letting you get lost in it. The best RPGs let you explore, fight, and grow alongside your protagonist until you almost feel like they're an extension of yourself. 

Before summer comes and we all flock to spend time outside to combat seasonal depressive disorder or get some space from your loved ones, why not spend your spare time with an RPG? No matter what you're interested in - be it monsters, space wars, murder, or the intricacies of high school - we've got something on this list for you. This list contains the 25 best RPGs you can play right now on various platforms, from Nintendo Switch and PC to Xbox Series X and PS5 (and their last-generation consoles, as well). Some of these top RPGs can also be found on our best MMORPGs list, so make sure to head there after to see more ways to fill up your free time.

RPGs can pull you out of your daily life and immerse you in an entirely new one, one with new worlds, new characters, and new conflicts that offer a respite from the real world. You can easily spend hours embroiled in the drama of Mass Effect's space opera or days trying to help an amnesiac detective in Disco Elysium - there are so many options, you're spoiled for choice. 

So no matter your preference - sci-fi or fantasy, monsters or magic, or maybe something completely different - we've got the 25 best RPGs you can play right now. 

The 25 best RPGs

25. Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World

(Image credit: Capcom)

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Just in case the title didn’t make it obvious, in Monster Hunter: World you hunt monsters. But although the main prize is the Diablos armour set or just the thrill of the hunt itself, how you take down those beasts is what you’ll be obsessing over as soon as you face your first Great Jagras. Experimenting with different weapons will take up your first handful of hours, and then once you develop an attachment to a particular implement you start to realize the crafting potential with all those bits and bobs dropped by your (now dead) quarries. The other half of the game opens up with this epiphany, so prepare yourself for some micro-management levels of tweaking and optimizing before you go out into the wild to perfect your character for the fight they’re about to face. 

24. Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

In Borderlands 2, you choose to be whatever kind of hero you'd like in a world that's ridiculous and obscene. There's fart jokes, sure, but there's also skill trees that offer endless character builds, whether you're more the Gunzerker, blow-stuff-up-type, or the Siren, make-magic-with-your-hands type. Pick your poison and Borderlands 2 serves it up with a wry smile just like its character, Moxie. Travel through Pandora looting and shooting your way to glory, customizing the living hell out of your character. Just don't bring an acid gun to a fire gun fight, ya know? Ultimately, it doesn't matter what kind of Vault Hunter you build, all that matters is you kick Handsome Jack's ass - and trust us, you'll want to. 

23. Final Fantasy 7 Remake

FF7

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Available on: PS4, PS5

Final Fantasy 7 is universally loved, so it's no surprise the Final Fantasy 7 Remake would end up on here. The beautifully detailed world you were already familiar with has changed - it seems bigger, more epic, and impresses at every turn. The world feels lived-in, the environment is vibrant - this is truly a reimagining of a classic. Final Fantasy 7 Remake honors the original game, while also introducing new elements to update it for modern players. Gone is the turn-based setup of the original game, and in its place is a real-time combat system that immediately feels more kinetic and dynamic. Your favorite characters have also gotten more depth, giving them even more pathos and helping you fall in love with them all over again. 

22. Middle Earth: Shadow of War

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

The Nemesis system is back in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and it sure as hell puts the role-playing into RPG. Cultivating a powerful hatred of that goddamn Torz the Flesh Glutton - or whatever your Nemesis happens to be called - won’t seem possible on your first encounter, but after they kill you and start to rise through the ranks you’ll soon find yourself fantasizing about taking down that vile imposter every single time you boot up the game. Sure, playing the Ranger Talion as a sneaky stabber or the kind of Ranger who goes in sword swinging is kinda fun too, but what makes Shadow of War one of the best RPG games is the way it encourages you to manage your followers. You can send them to be spies, or sow seeds of discontent if you leave them to die in battle. There are so many options even Sauron himself would be overwhelmed. 

21. Nier Automata 

Nier Automata

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Available on: PS4, PS5, PC

Come for the soundtrack, stay for the silky smooth combat and pitch-perfect blend of genres. There's hack and slash, there's shoot 'em up, there's text adventures, there's RPG elements – Nier: Automata has it all, and in spades. The dazzling combat is split between three crazy sexy cool android protagonists who twirl and flip in hypnotic ways - and while its fun to hack and slash away at enemies with the quiet fury of a robot, the game really shines when you start customizing those robotic elements. Pick what chip is installed in your metal head and swap them in and out as needed, depending on the enemies you're facing - add that to one of four weapons in your arsenal and you'll have an ever-changing flurry of devastating combos at your disposal. The ending will linger with you long after and make you want to go back and get whatever extra info you can.

20. The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds

(Image credit: Obsidian)

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

The Outer Worlds is a game that lets Obsidian show off its best talent: making RPGs with great dialogue, engaging characters, and a world that drags you in and never lets you go. The Outer Worlds feels like Firefly and Mass Effect had a neon space baby and you are the caretaker of its future - no pressure. Sure, this game asks you to do a lot of talking in order to get to the best, cystipig-meatiest bits it has to offer, but almost every conversation you have with the denizens of Halcyon will delight you in some way. Brilliant voice acting coupled with cracking writing and surprisingly deft facial animations means you're going to be picking favorites and picking them fast. This only makes every decision more difficult, which is the mark of a great RPG: the ability to make you sweat with anxiety over a superficially innocuous dialogue option.

19. Kingdom Hearts 2

Kingdom Hearts 2

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Available on: PC

Kingdom Hearts 3 might have fourteen years of dev time under its belt, but the second installment in the trilogy (excluding all the other games in the franchise, looking at you Re:Coded) is still superior. Kingdom Hearts 2, released three years after the original, expands on the brilliant Kingdom Hearts concept (a young boy named Sora gains the power of a mysterious keyblade and must travel through Disney worlds to stop the evil Heartless from spreading) while polishing rough edges and expanding outwards with gusto. Whereas the small worlds in the original often felt mind-numbingly difficult to navigate, the sequel boasts beautiful level design that feels more legible while still being expansive. Plus, the combat upgrades make gameplay faster and smoother, and the addition of Drive Forms allows you to change Sora's form to activate new abilities. The boss battles are tough, but not impossible (there's no way to get back the years I shaved off of my life during that Clayton battle in the original), making it the best game in the series for gamers who don't like to be frustrated to the point of ripping out their eyelashes individually (see the aforementioned Clayton battle).  

18. The Division 2

The Division 2

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

This is one to try out if you love playing RPGs with friends, as The Division 2 is a perfect example of how to get a sequel right. Its reactive world responds to the decisions you make and there's just so much to do, including building up your base and gradually becoming a top-tier Division agent. The blend of action and spectacle will keep your eyeballs very happy indeed, as some of the places you'll be fighting your way through are locations that just beg to be ranted about (in a good way, don;t worry). Although the plot might be lacking, there's tons to keep you busy and - more importantly - entertained, so if you're looking for an RPG with a ton of gameplay that'll keep you and your friends shooting for hours on end, The Division 2 is for you. 

17. Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Assassin's Creed Valhalla brilliantly returns elements of the stealthier aspects of the franchise without compromising the elements fans love about the newer Creed games. Valhalla ushers in the return of stealth, even giving you a tailing mission in the main campaign that hearkens back to Brotherhood days. It also gives you a chance to take part in Viking raids, and take a battering ram to a castle's gates to enjoy the spoils that lie within. In this game, you can complete an Assassins contract from the safety of anonymity, and ten minutes later you can blow a Viking horn while standing on the sternpost of a longship, ushering in your crew's arrival with flair. Valhalla has a beautiful, arresting story set in a gorgeous 9th Century England - both of which will stay with you after you put the controller down. 

Turn to page 2 to check out the rest of our picks for the best RPG games around...

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.