Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (2024)

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Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (1)

By Ritwik Mitra

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Highlights

  • Old RPGs had consequences for character choices, modern ones focus on flexibility.
  • Classes matter more in older titles but still hold significance in some new games.
  • Immersive RPG experiences allow deep customization and impactful gameplay decisions.

Role-playing games have always been about character progression and deep immersion in the worlds carefully crafted by the developers. In some of the older RPGs, going down a certain path with a character carried much more weight than it does nowadays. Respeccing and easily created jack-of-all-trades builds allow gamers to be much more careless with their choices.

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There have been incredible and award-winning PC RPGs over the years. Here are some with the best main stories for narrative-focused gamers.

Classes and guild allegiances in RPGs used to matter a lot more in older games than they do now, but that doesn't mean that all modern titles discard their importance. Whether it's a 20-year-old cult classic or a modern AAA blockbuster, video games where class systems are fleshed out and have more impact on storylines and gameplay usually have a higher replay value than their more straightforward counterparts.

Updated on June 16th, 2024 by Ritwik Mitra: Role-playing games are a blast to play, with this genre pervading mainstream gaming and making its presence known across major releases that seemingly all employ minor aspects of RPG progression to help players feel a sense of achievement and progression as they explore these game worlds. While most RPGs feature enough deep mechanics to satiate players, certain games allow players to pursue particular builds or classes, which often creates even deeper immersion. Thankfully, there are RPGs with job systems or variants of the same where a player's class or build decision feels meaningful.

24 Final Fantasy 12

Metascore: 92

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (6)
Final Fantasy 12
Platform(s)
PS4 , PS2 , Xbox One , Switch , PC

Released
October 31, 2006
Developer(s)
Square Enix

Genre(s)
JRPG

It was clear that Square Enix was inspired by their work on the MMO front with Final Fantasy 11, given how much the combat system of the twelfth mainline Final Fantasy game was tweaked to fit into a template that fans of MMORPGs were familiar with at the time. This real-time with pause combat made from a fresh change of pace from the turn-based shenanigans of previous games, coupled with a Job System that was cranked up to 11 in the Zodiac Age.

Players can mix and match different jobs to mess around with different license boards and equip their characters with a suite of abilities. While there are min-maxing strategies players can pursue here, players shouldn't feel too pressured into selecting the best jobs for their playable characters and just take it easy as they explore the rich world of Final Fantasy 12.

23 Octopath Traveler

Metascore: 83

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (7)
Octopath Traveler
Platform(s)
Xbox One , Switch , PC , Stadia

Released
July 13, 2018
Developer(s)
Square Enix

Genre(s)
JRPG

Octopath Traveler is a great JRPG that harkens back to the golden age of the genre where players essentially control eight main characters, each with unique narratives of their own. Sure, the story can feel disjointed as a result, but players will forgive this once they experience the amazing gameplay for themselves.

Each character has a job of their own that can be combined with other roles to let players employ a suite of different strategies through the varying party combinations. Each job has a unique set of abilities that can synergize with the innate abilities of other characters, making for some wild moments in combat that are as engaging as they awe-inspiring

22 Dragon's Dogma 2

Metascore: 86

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (8)
Dragon's Dogma 2
Platform(s)
PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S

Released
March 22, 2024
Developer(s)
Capcom

Genre(s)
Action RPG

It's a shame that the controversies surrounding Dragon's Dogma 2's release dominated the conversation surrounding this game, since the core gameplay of this title is something that fans of the original will feel right at home with. There are a myriad of classes that players can choose from, with each role sporting a bunch of unique abilities that are a blast to mess around with.

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The fact that using a character who focuses on magic is somehow just as action-packed as controlling a melee-focused character is genuinely amazing, and the game does a great job of making combat fun and exciting, no matter what builds players pursue. Sure, the overarching issues of Dragon's Dogma 2, ranging from its technical issues to its microtransaction controversies, can take away some of the joy that players experience during this journey, but it only takes a few combat scenarios for them to get into the swing of the game.

21 Divinity: Original Sin

Metascore: 88 (Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition)

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (10)
Divinity: Original Sin
Platform(s)
PS4 , Xbox One , PC

Released
June 30, 2014
Developer(s)
Larian Studios
Genre(s)
RPG

Years before Larian Studios blew everyone's minds with Baldur's Gate 3, they were hard at work making modern CRPGs that broke new ground even then. To this day, the sheer level of interactivity in Divinity: Original Sin's world still blows most people's minds, finding elements of an immersive sim in both this title and its sequel. The addition of seamless co-op also goes a long way in making this title engaging.

The best thing about Divinity: Original Sin is how important of a role classes play in this masterful RPG experience. Players must be smart about the points they invest, to ensure that their character isn't limited by trying to multiclass too much. By investing points and putting a lot of thought into the builds of the two Source Hunters, players can decimate enemies with a suite of powerful techniques.

20 Tyranny

Metascore: 80

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (11)
Tyranny
Platform(s)
Linux , Microsoft Windows , macOS

Released
November 10, 2016
Developer(s)
Obsidian Entertainment
Genre(s)
RPG , Adventure , Strategy

It's a shame that Tyranny didn't achieve its full potential. A sudden ending was the only sour experience in an otherwise perfect CRPG. Tyranny's exploration of evil is unlike anything ever seen in an RPG before, making it well worth the price of admission.

Players can become outright warriors, dabble in magic, or combine both facets of the gameplay to make for a highly personalized style. While casting magic is more involved, sigils make spells fun to create, and mages level up at a faster rate. This shouldn't deter anyone from pursuing the build they like without any restrictions standing in the way.

19 Pillars Of Eternity

Metascore: 89

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (12)
Pillars of Eternity
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Switch , Xbox One

Released
March 26, 2015
Developer(s)
Obsidian Entertainment
Genre(s)
RPG

There was a time when Obsidian Entertainment was on the verge of bankruptcy, only for crowdfunding to save the day. Pillars of Eternity is one of the most successful Kickstarter projects around, letting players enjoy a new D&D campaign from the people behind Fallout: New Vegas.

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Pillars Of Eternity 2 is an overall improvement from its predecessor, but that doesn't mean it is completely without fault.

The story of this title is engaging, even if players won't remember the antagonist or most of the side characters. Still, the great worldbuilding and fun set pieces more than make up for some weaknesses in the game's writing.

18 Octopath Traveler 2

Metascore: 85

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (14)
Octopath Traveler 2
Platform(s)
Switch , PS4 , PS5 , PC

Released
February 24, 2023
Developer(s)
Square Enix , Acquire
Genre(s)
RPG

The first Octopath Traveler game was great, even if it had some issues of its own. The stories felt a bit disconnected, and party members didn't really interact naturally during the course of the game, which hurt immersion.

Not only did Octopath Traveler 2 fix these issues, but it also refined the gameplay to let players enjoy one of the best modern JRPGs of all time. Multiple characters could take the same second job, allowing for more robust combinations as players formed the best party around to deal with the many threats standing in their way.

17 Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

Metascore: 72

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (15)
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , PS5 , Xbox One , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S

Released
March 18, 2022
Developer(s)
Team Ninja

Genre(s)
Action RPG

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is certainly one of the oddest games that fans can try out. It may not be polished in some aspects, but even its loudest critics will have to admit that the title is anything but boring.

One of the best parts of the game is unlocking numerous jobs to completely change Jack's movesets and the equipment he can wear in battle. Switching around jobs does a great job of keeping combat fresh and tactical, forcing players to adapt to certain situations instead of banging their heads against a brick wall over and over again.

16 Final Fantasy 3

Metascore: 79

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (16)
Final Fantasy 3
Platform(s)
Nintendo DS , PlayStation 4 , Nintendo Switch , iOS , Microsoft Windows , Wii U

Released
April 27, 1990
Developer(s)
Square Enix , Tose

Genre(s)
Adventure

Final Fantasy 3 was never released on Western shores until the 3D remake came out. Now, with the Pixel Remaster, players can enjoy the original experience with modern visuals and enhancements, letting fans enjoy a title that is one of the more forgotten entries in the Final Fantasy series.

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The job system in this game was a blast to engage with, and players loved mixing and matching jobs to deal with certain bosses and dungeons. While the idea of treating jobs like puzzles in some instances didn't really resonate with fans, Final Fantasy 3 is still a unique chapter in this legendary series that fans can appreciate, if not admire.

15 Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

Metascore: 80

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (18)
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Platform(s)
PC

Released
November 16, 2004

Developer(s)
Troika Games

Genre(s)
Action RPG

It's a shame that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was released on the same day as Half-Life 2, pretty much dooming the game's sales for good. The fact that the game was pretty broken on launch didn't help things either. A slew of bugs and glitches bogged down the experience.

However, over time, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has accrued a reputation in the industry as one of the best-written RPGs in the genre. There are different kinds of vampires to choose from, and each class is wildly different in its own way. The Malkavian and Nosferatu vampire classes serve as great examples of how brilliant this game is. An entire playthrough can change based on the restrictions and unique eccentricities these classes possess.

14 Golden Sun

Metascore: 91

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (19)
Golden Sun
Platform(s)
Game Boy Advance
Developer(s)
Camelot Software Planning

Released
November 12, 2001

Genre(s)
JRPG

Nintendo has several great franchises that have unfortunately been lost to the sands of time, and Golden Sun is no different. This unique JRPG series allowed players to mix and match Djinns to form different classes that sported unique powers of their own. Not only did this help out in combat, but players could interact with the overworld in new and meaningful ways as well.

The magic of Golden Sun was accumulating numerous Djinns and figuring out the best possible permutations and combinations that could benefit the player both in and out of combat. It was a unique spin on the class system and made for a great and unique way to play through a JRPG that combined the age-old job systems of the series along with a unique mix-and-match system that made players feel smart when they finally figured out some innovative Djinn combinations.

13 Final Fantasy 5

Metascore: 82

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (20)
Final Fantasy 5
Platform(s)
SNES , PS1 , PC , Game Boy Advance , Android , iOS

Released
December 6, 1992
Developer(s)
Square Enix

Genre(s)
JRPG

Final Fantasy 5 is one of the most underrated games in the series. Many players lament the lack of a serious story, which the previous title in the series employed to great effect. However, while this criticism may be valid in certain instances, most people who go all-in on the negative points of this title fail to appreciate how amazing the gameplay of this title is.

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The fact that many Final Fantasy veterans feel like this title has the best implementation of the Job System in the series is hefty praise that goes to show how fun the moment-to-moment gameplay is. Mastering jobs and acquiring new ones before using the Freelancer job to utilize every skill the player has learned makes for an amazing time.

12 Grim Dawn

Metascore: 83

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (22)
Grim Dawn
Platform(s)
PC , Xbox One

Released
February 25, 2016

Developer(s)
Crate Entertainment

Genre(s)
Action RPG

Grim Dawn is a fantastic ARPG that did not get enough hype back when it was released in 2016. With smooth combat and a unique, interesting world, no role-playing enthusiast should sleep on this game. One of the better aspects of Grim Dawn is its class system.

Straight-forward and easily understandable even at first glance, the class mechanics allow for some surprisingly in-depth character customization, significantly altering the experience every time an upgrade is made. With six base classes to choose from (players can attach their characters to a second class later on in the game) and complex yet concise skill trees, the class system in Grim Dawn is truly something players can sink their teeth into.

11 Outriders

Metascore: 73

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (23)
Outriders
Platform(s)
PC , Stadia , PS4 , PS5 , Xbox One , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S

Released
April 1, 2021
Developer(s)
People Can Fly

Genre(s)
Third-Person Shooter

Developed by People Can Fly, the same studio that created Bulletstorm, and laid down the foundations for Fortnite during their brief stint as part of Epic Games, Outriders is a class-based looter-shooter that players have been yearning for ever since many have grown tired of the Destiny formula.

With four playable classes to choose from, each one of them comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Every class drastically alters the gameplay, forcing the players to re-learn the combat mechanics every time they create a new character. Combining each class's power in co-op multiplayer is incredibly satisfying and truly brings the brilliance of this class-based game.

10 Path Of Exile

Metascore: 86

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (24)
Path of Exile
Platform(s)
PC , Xbox One , PS4 , macOS

Released
October 23, 2013
Developer(s)
Grinding Gear Games

Genre(s)
Action RPG

It won't be an exaggeration to say that Path of Exile has the most complex class and leveling system found in ARPGs to this date, which is all the more impressive considering that it's a free-to-play title. With seven primary classes to choose from and 19 more "ascendancy" classes that players can reach once they progress far enough into the game, it is clear that classes in Path of Exile are a core element of the title's gameplay loop.

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A character's class also determines which skills they can use from the game's whopping 454 abilities. 276 of which these active skills, while the remaining 178 are support skills. As opposed to other RPGs, where skills are obtained via leveling up, in Path of Exile, players obtain skill gems they can receive as rewards for completing quests, purchasing from merchants, or looting enemies and chests scattered across the world.

9 Genshin Impact

Metascore: 81

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (26)
Genshin Impact
Platform(s)
Mobile , iOS , Android , PC , PS4 , PS5

Released
September 28, 2020
Developer(s)
HoYoverse (Formerly miHoYo)
Genre(s)
RPG , Action , Adventure , Gacha

The elemental powers of Genshin Impact characters may not fit the traditional definition of a class, but they sure do matter in terms of gameplay and combat effectiveness. With a total of seven possible elements, players have a lot of agency when it comes to finding their own unique playstyle.

Switching between characters and combining the right elemental powers to unleash the most destructive combos takes a lot of strategizing and knowledge of the game's systems to get right, but it's more than worth it.

8 Titan Quest

Metascore: 77

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (27)
Titan Quest
Platform(s)
Android , iOS , PC , PS4 , Switch , Xbox One

Released
June 26, 2006

Developer
Iron Lore Entertainment, Demiurge Studios

Genre(s)
Action RPG , Hack and Slash

To many gamers, Titan Quest is nothing more than a Diablo clone. While there is some truth to that statement, the game itself is so much more than what it initially looks like. One of the areas it truly shines in is the leveling mechanics and class system.

Titan Quest does not pigeonhole players into specific class categories but rather allows them to mold their destinies by implementing a complex system of skill trees that can be modified to one's heart's content. It may get confusing at times, but action role-playing games that put this much effort into leveling up and skill customization are hard to find nowadays.

7 Baldur's Gate 3

Metascore: 96

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (28)
Baldur's Gate 3
Platform(s)
PC , Stadia , macOS , PS5 , Xbox Series X

Released
August 3, 2023
Developer(s)
Larian Studios
Genre(s)
RPG

Released in the heyday of RPGs , Baldur's Gate and its sequel are two of the best games of their kind. So, it's only a given that expectations are through the roof when it comes to the third game in the studios, and many fans are happy to see that Larian Studios has done justice to this much-awaited sequel.

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The developer has proven their mettle with the Divinity: Original Sin duology, and Baldur's Gate 3 has continued this trend of excellence. With a number of classes that all prioritize different and unique approaches to both combat and other pillars of gameplay, this CRPG is bound to keep players occupied for hours on end when they boot up this title.

6 The Diablo Series

Metascore: 86 (Diablo 4)

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (30)
Diablo 4
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , PS5 , Xbox One , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S

Released
June 6, 2023
Developer(s)
Blizzard

Genre(s)
Action RPG , Hack and Slash

Many games on this list entail having to go through an opening sequence in order to fit into one of the classes. Diablo does away with all that. Players get to pick a character class before starting the first act.

In the Diablo games, class matters because it determines the entire playthrough, from the upgradeable skills to the items players can use. Once the choice is made, there is no going back.

5 Planescape Torment

Metascore: 91

Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (31)
Planescape: Torment
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Switch , Xbox One

Released
December 12, 1999

Developer(s)
Black Isle Studios
Genre(s)
RPG

Role-playing games set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe are known for their complexity when it comes to world-building and storylines but also the character progression mechanics. There are three primary classes to choose from in Planescape Torment: Fighter, Mage, and Thief. Each one comes with a different set of starting attributes, and they're all suited for a variety of different playstyles.

Players don't necessarily have to lock themselves into the class chosen at the start of the game. One can switch classes later in the game upon using the services of various practitioners and trainers found in the city of Sigil. Choosing a class in Planescape Torment is an impactful decision, as each class comes with restrictions regarding the types of equipment they can use and how they interact with the world. For example, only Thieves can pick locks and disarm traps, whereas Mages don't stand a chance against most enemies in close-quarters combat.

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Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters (2024)

FAQs

What are the three classes in RPG? ›

In fantasy games and role-playing games

In fantasy games, Fighter, Mage, and Thief form a common archetypal trio of basic classes, each ones' abilities offsetting the other's weakness.

What is the most common RPG class? ›

The Fighter, Mage, Thief trio covers the three most basic character class archetypes which serve as categories that most other classes are based on. This page aims to list some of the more common character combat classes in games - both electronic and pen and paper.

What is the RPG where you age? ›

Hybrid: Chronicles of Elyria utilizes a new business model never before seen in MMOs. In Chronicles of Elyria, players buy a Spark of Life that grants a soul the opportunity to live for between 10 and 14 months. During that time their character will grow old and eventually die, leaving their mark on history.

What was the first action RPG? ›

Released for the NEC PC-88, an early home computer sold only in Japan, Dragon Slayer is the first true action RPG. The game has the hallmarks of the genre, such as an emphasis on combat and a limited inventory that forces players to choose carefully what they carry.

How to choose an RPG class? ›

As a player, you want to choose a class that reflects your personality and playing style. You should also reference your playing history and see where you had the most success in the past.

What is a 3rd person RPG? ›

Third-person shooters are analogous to first-person shooters in terms of immersion, but simply displace the camera from being at the eyes of the character to a point slightly above and behind them in most cases.

What is the golden age of RPG? ›

Golden Age (late 1980s–early 1990s) Many early RPGs, including avatar, moria and Wizardry, used a primitive form of first-person perspective, and games like Dungeons of Daggorath and Dungeon Master also featured real-time gameplay.

What is the world's most powerful RPG? ›

RPG-7
Muzzle velocity115 m/s (380 ft/s) (boost) 300 m/s (980 ft/s) (flight)
Effective firing range330 m (1,080 ft) (PG-7V)
Maximum firing range700 m (2,300 ft) (OG-7V) (self detonates at ~920 m (3,020 ft))
SightsPGO-7 (2.7×), UP-7V telescopic sight and 1PN51/1PN58 night vision sights Red dot reflex sight
21 more rows

What is a real life RPG called? ›

The first larps were run in the late 1970s, inspired by role-playing games and genre fiction. The activity gained international popularity during the 1980s, and has diversified into a wide variety of styles. Play may be very game-like, or maybe more concerned with dramatic or artistic expression.

What is a real life RPG? ›

A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically portray their characters. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by real-world environments while interacting with each other in character.

What is the first ever RPG? ›

1974 to early 80s: the first modern RPGs, growth of the industry and controversy. The first commercially available role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), was published in 1974 by Gygax's TSR which marketed the game as a niche product. Gygax expected to sell about 50,000 copies.

What does CRPG stand for? ›

(Computer Role Playing Game) Role playing on the computer, typically in a fantasy environment, although some take place in a medieval setting. A major characteristic of CRPGs is the user's ability to move freely throughout the venue.

What does ARPG stand for? ›

An action role-playing game (often abbreviated action RPG or ARPG) is a subgenre of video games that combines core elements from both the action game and role-playing genre.

What does JRPG stand for? ›

(video games) Initialism of Japanese role-playing game, a traditional genre of role-playing video game generally understood as involving a pre-determined story and player characters, a party of multiple controllable characters, and an emphasis on narrative and storytelling.

What are the three types of RPG players? ›

The original postulated four basic types of RPG players: "Roleplaying", "Storytelling", "Powergaming", and "Wargaming".

What are the three pillars of RPG games? ›

For a decade now, we've been told that Dungeons & Dragons (and roleplaying more generally) rests on three pillars of play: combat, exploration, and social interaction.

What is the trinity of classes in RPG? ›

Anyone who is a fan of MMORPGs knows about the Holy Trinity, The Tank, The Healer, The Damager(Usually called DPS).

What are the classes in Whitebox RPG? ›

Five new character classes: the Bard, the Paladin, the Monk, the Hunter and the Druid. Each of them is designed to be simple and in the same fashion as the original White Box classes. 20 UNIQUE Druid Spells.

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