No video game genre is more addictive than the RPG. Role playing games have an uncanny ability to suck the player in. Watching numbers go up, stat bars increase, and the sound effect of levelling up fires just the right amount of dopamine off in your brain to keep you coming back for more. If you are an RPG addict, you know the feeling of finishing an RPG and then going to try games from other genres only to suffer a sense of withdrawal which stems from a lack of performing activities such as exploring, talking to non-playable characters, collecting items, managing inventory, reading copious amounts of text-based story, and the sweet, sweet grind to max level.
2016 is just about a third of the way through, and it has already been a banner year for RPGs. With such a strong handful of games available right now, and a bevy of RPGs to look forward to. Whether you thirst for blood or you simply want to frolic around a fantastical garden collecting doohickies, you should find something that will tickle your fancy in 2016’s RPG line-up. And so, the following is a list of 12 RPG’s released in 2016 that are sure to keep you busy grinding into the next year.
12. South Park: The Fractured but Whole (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
South Park: the Stick of Truth was a not only South Park fan’s dream, it was a fantastic turn based RPG featuring an interactive town, laugh out loud jokes, and an engaging story that played like you were watching an entire season of the show. 2016 will see the release of the much anticipated sequel The Fractured but Whole. In the last game, we saw the kids in South Park role play as Game of Thrones type fantasy characters. This round, we see the Cartman and company role playing as superheroes as seen in the “Coon and Friends” series of episodes. Players will again go through the game as the New Kid, but hopefully will also get to experience playing as South Park kid superheroes such as Mysterion, the Coon, and Mint-Berry Crunch.
11. Persona 5 (PS4, PS3)
A Playstation exclusive, Persona 5 is the long awaited sequel to Persona 4, released almost a decade ago. Developed by Atlus, the Persona series is part of the larger Megami Tensei series, which are a collection of games that are very challenging and complex, involving the player recruiting and summoning spirits to join their team and do battle. A combination of dungeon crawling combined with its versatile combat system and difficult but rewarding boss fights, RPG fans who are new to the series may find an entry point with Persona 5 that will entice them to go and explore the back catalogue of Megami Tensei games after completion.
10. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
This may be your last year to pick up a brand new Wii U, as Nintendo confirmed recently that production of the console will cease by the end of 2016. Whether you still need to pick one up, or have a Wii U sitting at home, Paper Mario: Color Splash is sure to be a quality RPG that you could be proud to have in your game library. Mario RPG games always deliver innovative gameplay mechanics, lovable familiar characters, and well executed humor that is fun for the whole family. It will be interesting to see if any new and original gameplay mechanics are implemented through the Wii U’s tablet controller, and how ridiculous the Amiibo support will be for Color Splash.
9. XCOM 2 (Windows, Linux, Mac OS)
XCOM 2 was released earlier this year, a sequel to XCOM — a game that topped many top 10 lists after its release in 2012. A science-fiction strategy RPG, the XCOM games have you command a crew of soldiers to combat an invading alien species. In addition to the battles which have you playing as a general leading your troops in turn-based, strategic war, players command their own base stations as they develop new weapons, vehicles, and further research into the alien species for the benefit of the planet. With focus on the balance you must strike between prioritizing your base management alongside keeping your soldiers alive, XCOM 2 provides the perfect combination for RPG addiction.
8. Pokemon Sun/Moon (3DS)
What RPG is more addictive than Pokemon? Especially if you were hooked as a kid, the regular releases of additional Pokemon titles which always feature little improvements and the introduction of several new Pokemon species will leave you striving to catch ‘em all for the rest of your life. Being released for the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, Sun and Moon are rumoured to feature different vehicle types that can be driven by Pokemon, which if true would be an entirely new feature for the game and perhaps be an even faster means of travel than the already familiar bike and running shoes. The last original Pokemon releases on the 3DS, X and Y, were absolutely amazing and made Pokemon feel fresh again after so long. It will be interesting to see if Sun and Moon can keep up the positive momentum that the series has built on the 3DS.
7. Dark Souls III (Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC)
The Dark Souls series is a hardcore, violent, dark, scary, and addictive series of action RPGs. Starting with nothing, the player must acquire armour, weapons, and level up strategically according to their play style, while trying to figure out each individual enemy’s tactics with little help or forgiveness from the game itself. If you’ve never played a Souls game before, you will die many, many times before achieving only small victories. Remember to pick yourself back up after being knocked down. Also, prepare to experience the phenomenon of rage-quitting, and remember not to break the controllers that you bought with your own money.
6. Bravely Second (3DS)
Bravely Default is arguably the best RPG on the 3DS. While most of the gripes were with the repetitive nature of the story at times, the game’s perfect capturing of the classic 90’s Final Fantasy style RPG nostalgia, complete with an over-world and an airship, in conjunction with the game’s innovative job system and turn-based, team combat system, Bravely Default became the premier RPG on the system and grew quite the fan base. The high praise the game received warranted a sequel, and Bravely Second just hit North America earlier in April. Fans of the first are thirsting for more of the same, but hopefully there is enough variety in the gameplay and enough new experiences are implemented this round to warrant the future release of a “Bravely Third”.
5. I Am Setsuna (PS4, PS Vita, PC)
I Am Setsuna is a brand new release from Square Enix, featuring brand new IP that will excite fans of classic Square Enix games along the likes of Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger, and the lesser known Legend of Dragoon. The art in the game looks beautiful, as players will control colourful protagonists as they traverse across a winter landscape. The game looks promising, looking to capture the same nostalgic RPG feel like was done in previously Bravely Default. This is a highly anticipated release for Japanese RPG fans, and may be the sleeper hit of 2016.
4. Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One)
If you love the Final Fantasy series you have to be stoked for 2016. A quarter of this list alone has been dominated with Final Fantasy style releases from Square Enix. However, Final Fantasy XV plans to be a wild departure from the traditional gameplay of the series, and will focus more on realistic, human characters and a much darker than usual atmosphere. XV will also feature a brand new combat system and an open world environment. This game is sure to be different. Whether or not it will be a hit with older Final Fantasy fans is one thing, but be sure that it is still a Final Fantasy RPG and it will certainly be as addictive as ever.
3. Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)
Fire Emblem releases are few and far between, and 2016 is seeing a lot of them all at once. Like Pokemon is separated into different releases for one title such as X and Y or Red and Blue, Fire Emblem Fates features Birthright, Conquest and Revelations, all separate releases with separate stories, maps, and gameplay features. The hallmark of Fire Emblem is its melodramatic anime story and its very addictive turn-based strategy gameplay. Centered around one main character, who triggers an instant game over when killed in battle, players control an expanding team of warriors, all with different classes such as knights, mages and ninjas, who can also form relationships with one another to help strengthen one another in battle and eventually even bare children together who can then also join your team and fight. This game is incredibly, crazy deep, and a complete RPG with immense replay value worth picking up a 3DS for.
2. Darkest Dungeon (PC)
This game is incredibly fun, yet incredibly difficult. Released in early 2016 by indie developer Red Hook Studios, Darkest Dungeon is a rogue-like, turn-based, dungeon crawling RPG that is both funny and violent with its own unique charm. It is team-based like Bravely Default, but features “permadeath” for your characters like in XCOM or in the harder difficulty modes of Fire Emblem. However, unlike those other titles, Darkest Dungeon constantly auto-saves, so if you die, you can’t go back to your previous save file and find your character alive again. Your character dies forever, for real. Players must be prepared and strategic when crawling the dungeons, and may be pleasantly rewarded with loot or suffer the crushing defeat of having your entire party wiped out. While it is immensely punishing at times, the game is straightforward and palatable. Darkest Dungeon is all action and features very minimal exploring, and it’s easy to sink dozens of hours into the game without even noticing.
1. Stardew Valley (PC)
Stardew Valley is quite the feat. Developed by the one man team of ConcernedApe, this game is an homage to titles such as Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. You play as a gentleman or lady of your own creation who quit their soul crushing job in the city to take up life in the country, working the farm inherited from his or her grandfather. You toil to harvest your own crops, raise animals, and grow your farm to a respectable level at your own place, while exploring a quaint town and interacting with many NPC’s you become familiar with over time.
What this game actually is, is crack. This is the most addictive game of 2016, bar none. Even if you think you might not be a fan of what seems to be a kid friendly farming simulator, this is a deep, layered RPG complete with dungeon crawling, combat, fishing, questing, crafting, and a plethora of item collecting. This game has you constantly working towards new goals, playing through season to season, and before you know it, spring has turned into winter and you still haven’t restored the town community center, and the woman you’ve been gifting hundreds of jars of mayonnaise to still won’t marry you, and you fear that the evil Joja Mart corporation will ruin the economy of your town forever and put the small farmer out of business for good. This game is beyond great, and every minute poured into the world of Stardew Valley will feel like time well spent.