For those who love the thrill of strategy, turn-based RPGs are where it’s at. With countless entries in the genre, it can be daunting to pick out the very best.
So, we’ve done the hard work for you. Feast your eyes on this carefully curated list of the 10 best turn-based RPGs of all time! Get ready to embark on incredible adventures and immerse yourself in their rich narratives, deep character development, and engaging gameplay.
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10. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Available Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android
- Release Date: October 9, 2012
- Publisher: 2K Games
X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a gripping combination of turn-based strategy and RPG elements. As the commander of the elite XCOM unit, you’re tasked with defending Earth from an extraterrestrial invasion.
Balancing the responsibilities of managing your base, researching new technologies, and commanding your squad in thrilling turn-based battles, this game has it all. The perma-death system adds a sense of urgency and consequence to your decisions. Get ready to face off against otherworldly threats and save the planet!
|OS: Windows Vista||OS: Windows 7|
|Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core||Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core|
|Memory: 2 GB RAM||Memory: 4 GB RAM|
|Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or greater||Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9000 series / ATI Radeon HD 3000 series or greater|
|Storage: 20 GB available space||Storage: 20 GB available space|
9. Wizardry 8
- Available Platforms: Windows
- Release Date: November 15, 2001
- Publisher: Sir-tech Software, Inc.
Wizardry 8 takes you back to the golden age of turn-based RPGs. This classic game is the pinnacle of the Wizardry series, boasting an engrossing story and intricate character customization options.
You’ll create a party of adventurers and venture into a massive, open world filled with dangerous creatures, complex puzzles, and hidden treasures. Wizardry 8’s combat system is deep and strategic, rewarding those who take the time to learn its nuances. This game is a must-play for fans of old-school RPGs.
|OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP||OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10|
|Processor: Pentium III 450 MHz||Processor: Pentium III 1 GHz|
|Memory: 128 MB RAM||Memory: 256 MB RAM|
|Graphics: DirectX 7 compatible 3D card||Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible 3D card|
|Storage: 1 GB available space||Storage: 1 GB available space|
8. Wasteland 2
- Available Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: September 19, 2014
- Publisher: inXile Entertainment
Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic turn-based RPG that plunges you into a harsh, unforgiving world. As a member of the Desert Rangers, you must navigate a desolate landscape, making tough decisions that will impact the lives of the people you meet.
The game’s branching narrative and character development system ensures that no two playthroughs are the same. With its blend of tactical combat and immersive storytelling, Wasteland 2 offers a truly unforgettable gaming experience.
|OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 (32 or 64-bit)||OS: Windows 7/8/8.1 (64-bit)|
|Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD equivalent||Processor: Intel i5 series or AMD equivalent|
|Memory: 4 GB RAM||Memory: 8 GB RAM|
|Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB VRAM)||Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or Radeon HD 5770 (1 GB VRAM)|
|Storage: 30 GB available space||Storage: 30 GB available space|
- Available Platforms: PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Windows, Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: December 18, 1997
- Publisher: Game Arts, ESP
Grandia is a timeless turn-based RPG that combines captivating storytelling with an innovative combat system. Follow the adventures of a young boy named Justin as he embarks on an epic quest to uncover the secrets of an ancient civilization.
With a lovable cast of characters, stunning hand-drawn visuals, and an unforgettable soundtrack, Grandia is sure to capture the hearts of RPG fans. The unique, semi-real-time battle system keeps combat fresh and engaging, setting it apart from other games in the genre.
|OS: Windows 7 (64-bit Version)||OS: Windows 10 (64-bit Version)|
|Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E6700||Processor: Intel Core i5 4670|
|Memory: 4 GB RAM||Memory: 8 GB RAM|
|Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 640||Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960|
|Storage: 4 GB available space||Storage: 4 GB available space|
6. Dragon Quest XI
- Available Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
- Release Date: July 29, 2017
- Publisher: Square Enix
Dragon Quest 11 is a charming turn-based RPG that harkens back to the genre’s roots while offering modern refinements. Embark on a captivating journey as the Luminary, a chosen hero destined to save the world of Erdrea from the darkness.
The game features a colorful, cel-shaded art style, a memorable cast of characters, and a sprawling world filled with secrets to uncover. The turn-based combat system is easy to learn but offers enough depth to keep veterans engaged. A true love letter to the genre, Dragon Quest 11 is an essential experience for RPG fans.
|OS: Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 (64-bit)||OS: Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 (64-bit)|
|Processor: Intel Core i3-2105 / AMD A10-5800K||Processor: Intel Core i5-6600 / AMD Ryzen 7 1800X|
|Memory: 8 GB RAM||Memory: 8 GB RAM|
|Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470||Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX Vega 56|
|Storage: 32 GB available space||Storage: 32 GB available space|
5. Fallout 2
- Available Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
- Release Date: September 30, 1998
- Publisher: Interplay Productions
Fallout 2 is a post-apocalyptic turn-based RPG that stands the test of time. Set in a sprawling open world, players assume the role of a tribal descendant of the first game’s protagonist.
Your mission is to find the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK) to save your village from famine. The game features a rich, dark narrative and a character development system that allows for a high degree of customization. Fallout 2’s turn-based combat and deep, branching storylines make it a true classic that continues to resonate with fans of the genre.
|OS: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10), Mac OS X (10.6.8), Linux (Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04)||OS: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10), Mac OS X (10.6.8), Linux (Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04)|
|Processor: Pentium 90 MHz or faster||Processor: Pentium 120 MHz or faster|
|Memory: 16 MB RAM||Memory: 32 MB RAM|
|Graphics: SVGA or higher resolution||Graphics: SVGA or higher resolution|
|Storage: 565 MB available space||Storage: 565 MB available space|
4. South Park: The Stick of Truth
- Available Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: March 4, 2014
- Publisher: Ubisoft
South Park: The Stick of Truth is a hilarious turn-based RPG that transports players to the iconic town of South Park. Assume the role of the New Kid and team up with fan-favorite characters like Cartman, Kyle, and Stan in a quest to find the fabled Stick of Truth.
The game’s combat system is accessible and engaging, with a surprising amount of depth. With its spot-on humor and references to the beloved TV show, The Stick of Truth offers an authentic South Park experience that will have fans laughing from start to finish.
|OS: Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8 (both 32/64bit versions)||OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8 (both 64bit versions)|
|Processor: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2180 @ 2.0 GHz or AMD Athlon64 X2 3800+ @ 2.0 GHz||Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 @ 3.1 GHz or AMD FX 6100 @ 3.3 GHz|
|Memory: 2 GB RAM||Memory: 4 GB RAM|
|Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8800GT or AMD Radeon HD2600XT (512MB VRAM)||Graphics: nVidia GeForce GTX 560Ti or AMD Radeon HD7850 (1024MB VRAM)|
|Storage: 6 GB available space||Storage: 6 GB available space|
3. Persona 5 Royal
- Available Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Release Date: October 31, 2019
- Publisher: Atlus
Persona 5 Royal is a stylish turn-based RPG that takes the series to new heights. Players assume the role of a high school student who moonlights as a member of the Phantom Thieves, a group of vigilantes seeking to reform society by “stealing” the twisted desires of corrupt individuals.
With its striking visuals, memorable characters, and masterfully crafted narrative, Persona 5 Royal delivers a deeply immersive experience. The game’s turn-based combat system is highly strategic, incorporating elements such as exploiting enemy weaknesses and coordinating team attacks. With additional content and quality-of-life improvements over the original release, Persona 5 Royal is a must-play for both newcomers and returning fans alike.
2. Final Fantasy VII
- Available Platforms: Windows, PlayStation, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
- Release Date: January 31, 1997
- Publisher: Square Enix
My absolute favorite, Final Fantasy VII! This is an iconic turn-based RPG that has left an indelible mark on the gaming landscape. Set in the dystopian city of Midgar, players assume the role of Cloud Strife, a former member of the elite SOLDIER unit, who joins the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE in their fight against the Shinra Electric Power Company.
Boasting a rich narrative, unforgettable characters, and a groundbreaking material system, Final Fantasy VII remains a beloved classic that has stood the test of time.
|OS: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8 (32/64-bit)||OS: Microsoft Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)|
|Processor: 2GHz Processor||Processor: 2.4GHz Processor or faster|
|Memory: 1 GB RAM||Memory: 2 GB RAM|
|Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible graphic card||Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible graphic card|
|Storage: 3 GB available space||Storage: 3 GB available space|
1. Divinity: Original Sin II
- Available Platforms: Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: September 14, 2017
- Publisher: Larian Studios
Divinity: Original Sin II stands as a pinnacle of the turn-based RPG genre. This epic fantasy adventure offers unparalleled freedom and depth, allowing players to craft their own stories in the world of Rivellon.
Choose from a diverse cast of characters, each with their unique abilities and backstory, or create your custom hero. Engage in tactical, turn-based combat that rewards creativity and experimentation. With a captivating narrative, dynamic world, and robust multiplayer options, Divinity: Original Sin II is a masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression on fans of the genre.
|OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or Windows 8.1 64-bit or Windows 10 64-bit||OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or Windows 8.1 64-bit or Windows 10 64-bit|
|Processor: Intel Core i5 or equivalent||Processor: Intel Core i7 or equivalent|
|Memory: 4 GB RAM||Memory: 8 GB RAM|
|Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 or ATI Radeon HD 6XXX or higher||Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 or AMD R9 280|
|Storage: 60 GB available space||Storage: 60 GB available space|
1. What is a turn-based RPG?
A turn-based RPG is a role-playing game that uses a turn-based combat system. Players and enemies take turns executing actions, such as attacking, using items, or casting spells. This type of gameplay emphasizes strategy and planning, as players must consider their characters’ strengths, weaknesses, and available resources in order to succeed in battles.
2. What distinguishes turn-based RPGs from other RPGs?
The primary distinction lies in combat mechanics. Turn-based RPGs employ a structured system wherein players and enemies alternate turns, allowing for careful decision-making and strategic play. In contrast, action RPGs feature real-time combat, where players directly control their characters’ movements and actions, emphasizing reflexes and quick thinking.
3. Are turn-based RPGs suitable for beginners?
Absolutely! Turn-based RPGs can be an excellent starting point for those new to role-playing games. The turn-based combat system allows for a more relaxed pace, giving players time to think through their decisions and learn the game mechanics. Additionally, many turn-based RPGs feature engaging stories and memorable characters, making them enjoyable experiences for players of all skill levels.
4. Do I need to play previous games in a series to enjoy the ones listed in the article?
Not necessarily. While some games in our list are part of larger series, many of them can be enjoyed as standalone experiences. Familiarity with previous games might enhance your appreciation of the story or characters, but it is by no means a requirement to enjoy these top-notch turn-based RPGs.
5. Are there any turn-based RPGs with multiplayer features?
Yes! Divinity: Original Sin II, for example, offers a robust multiplayer experience, allowing players to team up with friends to tackle the game’s campaign or engage in competitive PvP battles. Other turn-based RPGs may include multiplayer components or cooperative modes, so it’s worth checking the specific features of each game to see if multiplayer is available.
In conclusion, the world of turn-based RPGs offers a rich variety of experiences, from epic fantasy adventures to hilarious romps through beloved pop-culture worlds. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the genre, these ten games represent the very best that turn-based RPGs have to offer.
With engaging combat systems, memorable characters, and engrossing narratives, these games will provide countless hours of entertainment for fans of all ages.