Just as we did recently with Racing Games, it's time to look ahead towards the rest of 2023, and to see what the year has in store, specifically for those who love a deep and lengthy RPG adventure. We've looked at the biggest and most exciting releases planned for 2023, and pulled together this list of the top RPGs of the year.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Release: March / Platform: Multiformat
There are surprisingly few games that explore the rich and vast Chinese mythology, but in the upcoming Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty we get to do just that. The game is being developed by Team Ninja's Nioh gang, which gives an indication of the kind of action RPG we can expect. Among other things, we're promised ample opportunities to create your own protagonist, who can be crafted in the way that best suits your play style. To top it all off, there's also support for co-op so you can explore the seemingly mighty game world together, and it's included with Game Pass right from launch day.
Octopath Traveler II
Release: February / Platform: Multiformat
Octopath Traveler stormed onto the scene in 2018. For anyone who thinks Square Enix has gone too far with their pixel RPGs that are now mostly action titles, it felt liberating to see that they still have the magic left when they want to explore it. And instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, they're returning next month with a sequel of a more classic style, that is, an adventure that follows in its predecessor's footsteps and offers more of what was already good, complete with just the right amount of novelty.
Final Fantasy XVI
Release: June / Platform: PlayStation 5
We love the Final Fantasy series and have played pretty much everything it has to offer. Of course, and of course we will also be playing Final Fantasy XVI, which will hopefully surprise us in a positive way and offer an epic adventure, despite seemingly featuring outdated graphics and a dull presentation.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Release: 2023 / Platform: Multiformat
People begged and pleaded for years for Konami to make a new Suikoden. However, Konami refused (they refused to make any games at all, basically). After seeing how well Castlevania legend Koji Igarashi did with his spiritual Castlevania: Symphony of the Night sequel Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on Kickstarter, the Suikoden-heads decided to do the same thing. And it was apparently a stroke of genius, because Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes raised insane amounts of money, and from what we've seen of the adventure, it looks like it's going to be downright criminally good. If you've been missing epic adventures and the ability to create your own gang from a huge ensemble, this is probably the one to go for.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Release: 2023 / Platform: Multiformat
It certainly didn't go well for CD Projekt Red with Cyberpunk 2077, the only game we know of that went gold and was subsequently delayed and released in a horrible condition. The studio had to run the gauntlet and try to fix the adventure, something that took almost two years. Today, Cyberpunk 2077 is quite entertaining and around the corner awaits the Phantom Liberty expansion, which the developers say is the biggest DLC they've ever made - which in turn means more extensive than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's add-ons. In short, bigger than most modern games, and with all the criticism CD Projekt Red has received and their desire for revenge, we can reasonably expect something pretty damn spectacular.
Baldur's Gate III
Release: August / Platform: PC
It feels like the hype for Baldur's Gate III has diminished somewhat as a direct result of it actually being available via Early Access since 2020, but it's hard to ignore the mighty and semi-unreal fact that the 23-year-old Baldur's Gate II (one of the best role-playing games of all time!) is getting a sequel this year. This August, it's launch time and once again it's time to explore the fantasy world, this time with a combat system based on D&D's 5th Edition. The Early Access version has been gradually improved thanks to player feedback and all indications are that developer Larian Studios has a real treat in store.
Lies of P
Release: 2023 / Platform: Multiformat
There's been an awful lot of Pinocchio lately, mainly in movies, and this year the trend continues with Lies of P. A game that became hugely hyped after its first trailer in 2021, it offers a much darker version of the classic tale than we're used to. Here, Pinocchio must search for the missing Geppetto in the city of Krant, and is also forced to lie, which has further consequences for the story - which you can largely influence yourself. Lies of P offers plenty of exploration, seemingly fine action and a hopefully matching ingenious story. An incredibly promising adventure that's also included from day one with Game Pass.
Release: June / Platform: Multiformat
Our first acquaintance with Diablo was walking into a classroom during computer science in high school. It was completely silent, and the only thing that could be heard was the sound of a whole lot of maracas. Something that, on closer inspection, turned out to be an entire computer class playing Diablo and clicking mouse buttons like crazy. And the love has endured ever since. Diablo combines action and loot in a wonderful gameplay loop and top-notch design that never gets boring. Beginning a new adventure in Diablo IV in June will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the year.
Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth
Release: Winter / Platform: PlayStation 5
We'll be honest and say that we don't actually think this will be released this year. Officially, though, it will come this winter, which could be late 2023 or early 2024. We're hoping for the former, even though we actually wasn't completely sold on the action set-up in Final Fantasy VII: Remake (no, we didn't think the strategy mode was well done) as well as what they've done with the narrative, but it kind of doesn't matter. Final Fantasy VII is one of the best gaming experiences to date, and the mere thought of hanging out with Cloud and the other heroes again is actually enough for a spot here.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Release: May / Platform: Switch
Sure, we could have a discussion about whether The Legend of Zelda is role-playing game or not, but the answer must reasonably be that some parts are - others are not. Among the role-playing games we find The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as of course the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. And considering how terribly good its predecessor was, it's actually enough if this one is even half as good to fit in this article. But... our expectations are much higher than that, and we think this adventure will be at least as good as its predecessor and a solid candidate for Game of the Year as well as one of Link's most impressive adventures to date.
Release: Summer / Platform: PC & Xbox
It's slightly surreal that Bethesda's first new game series in over 25 years is almost here, as well as being by far their biggest title to date. It's been described as a Han Solo simulator, Skyrim in space and NASA punk, all of which of course sounds almost too good to be true. We're promised plenty of planets (both inhabited and completely deserted), opportunities to create your own life among the stars, space action, huge amounts of side quests, incredible setting options and what's more; all of this seems to be wrapped up in really cool graphics. Since Bethesda now sleeps with Microsoft's wallet under their pillow, there's no need to rush the adventure, which has thus been given the necessary development time, and this suggests that we can look forward to something really special when it premieres. It's also included with Game Pass from day one, as if to make everything even a little better.