Let’s take a look at some of the best Turn-Based CRPGs of the last years
Dungeons and Dragons, dice rolls, intricate builds, and diverse classes are quintessential elements that evoke the world of RPGs. However, introducing the term ‘isometric’ into the mix conjures images of the iconic classics that have shaped the genre since the 1990s.
This was the era marked by legendary titles like Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, and Wasteland, which steered Western RPGs into a prolonged golden age.
Their legacy endures, continuing to influence and inspire contemporary titles. These modern games, leveraging advanced development technologies, skillfully blend mechanics and graphic styles reminiscent of the old guard while simultaneously innovating in numerous other facets.
The Best Modern RPGs
We have often talked about isometric CRPGs. However, in this article, we aim to curate a list of the most recent and noteworthy titles in this genre that truly merit attention in 2023.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
If you’re one of the legions of players who fell in love with Baldur’s Gate 3 this year, you owe it to yourself to play Larian Studios’ previous masterpiece, Divinity: Original Sin 2. Set in a wholly original world, it offers all the open exploration, roleplaying, and tactical combat that made BG3 a success
Divinity’s freeform narrative gives players the ability to follow their own path to godhood. It’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best CRPGs ever made.
Fallout showed the potential for retro-futurist storytelling in games, and Encased carries the torch with pride. Inspired by the sci-fi of the 1970s, it puts players in an enormous alien dome overseen by a monolithic corporation.
Encased is full of important decisions to make, and the possibilities are nearly limitless. You can even complete the game without recruiting a single party member if you’re up to the challenge.
Another fantastic choice for Baldur’s Gate fans looking for their next adventure is Wasteland 3. It is simply one of the best turn-based RPGs that ever graced the world of video games. Its post-apocalyptic setting evokes classic Fallout, and is brought to life through memorable characters and high-stakes storytelling.
Vehicles, explosions, and big set-piece boss battles all make Wasteland 3 such an amazing experience. It’s a definite must have in any CRPG fan’s collection!
Translating the tabletop RPG experience to a single-player digital medium could be an impossible task. Even the most advanced AI can’t stand up to human creativity and adaptability. Disco Elysium comes very, very close, though.
Few games, if any, have as much depth of raw possibility as Disco Elysium. It takes all of your actions and character traits into account seemingly at every moment, turning a hard-boiled detective story into… well, whatever you want it to be, really. This is just one of those games that you have to play it yourself to understand what I mean.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
Pathfinder, the biggest competitor to tabletop titan Dungeons & Dragons, recently released a remastered rulebook, so now is a great time to try a new brand of fantasy adventure. If you’d prefer to check out the world of Golarion in a video game, Wrath Of The Righteous is a faithful adaptation of a classic campaign.
Many of the systems should be immediately familiar to fans of D&D or Baldur’s Gate, with just enough difference to keep the experience fresh and exciting. Your character can also achieve some exciting prestige classes as well, allowing for a surprisingly high power level in the late game.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Pillars Of Eternity II is another shining example of the isometric RPG renaissance that’s been flourishing over the last five years. It combines traditional fantasy with swashbuckling high-seas adventure, so you really can’t go wrong with this one.
Like any good CRPG, Deadfire lets you customize your companions with a deep class system and develop the relationships between them. It feels like a tabletop game in all the best ways.
Solasta: Crown Of The Magister
Of course, if you’re looking for a full adaptation of the tabletop experience, it’s hard to find a better example than Solasta. Built directly from D&D‘s Open Game License content, Solasta is designed with multiplayer co-op in mind so you can delve dungeons and slay dragons remotely, without the need for a DM.
Solasta also includes a robust dungeon-making tool, letting you create user-generated content to share with friends (or the world)! The possibilities in this game are really endless.
Imagine Fallout in the ruins of the Soviet Union and you’ve got a great idea of what ATOM RPG and its standalone sequel, Trudograd, are like. Filled with the trappings of the perestroika era, ATOM RPG evokes a very different feel than its darkly-humorous counterpart.
Most of the quests have multiple solutions, so building your character the way you want won’t lock you out of seeing the entire story. Of course, trying a new campaign with a new build could always let you see the story from different angles!
Hard West II
This gunslinging tale in a supernatural Wild West is a challenge even for fans of tactical RPGs. If you can master it, though, Hard West II offers satisfying gameplay that rewards taking big risks and doing flashy combos.
Hard West II goes all-in on its setting and theme; even character customization revolves around equipping your posse with cards to form poker hands. If you’re looking for a truly unique isometric experience, hop a train for the frontier and watch out for demons.
The Expeditions series has proven that historical settings make for great RPGs. Expeditions: Rome takes players across the breadth of the Roman Empire, commanding legions and navigating the Imperium’s famously dangerous politics.
Lately, the Roman Empire seems to be on people’s minds a lot, if social media is to be believed, so why not strap on your sandals and live the dream for a few dozen hours?
Isometric perspective comes to Fire Emblem-style battles in Lost Eidolons. Fans of the legendary tactical series will find a lot to love in this tale of a daring mercenary band in a kingdom at war.
As Eden, you’ll command soldiers, siege engines, and sorcerers to fight enemy troops and fearsome monsters alike. Of course, you’ll also get to know your troops in camp between battles, which can be just as compelling!
Jagged Alliance 3
2023 had a huge summer for games, with lots of quality titles flying under the radar. If you missed Jagged Alliance 3 when it first launched, it’s worth going back and giving it a try before the year is out.
Jagged Alliance‘s tactical modern combat puts players in command of guns-for-hire in a collapsing nation. Your actions both on and off the battlefield will decide the fate of Grand Chien.
Leave it to Square Enix to modernize a subgenre that they invented. Triangle Strategy is an RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics, with new characters, settings, and gameplay systems to explore!
With branching story paths that can shift the campaign in unexpected ways, Triangle Strategy lets players take command but reminds them that in war, you don’t get to make all the decisions. It’s one of our favorite titles from 2022, so give it a try!
Tactics Ogre: Reborn
If you’d rather relive the classics, Tactics Ogre: Reborn is the newest incarnation of the legendary ’90s RPG. Longtime fans will find the story and gameplay intact, with some balance changes to keep things interesting.
If you’ve never played Tactics Ogre before, Reborn is the definitive version. Players who loved Final Fantasy Tactics are sure to enjoy its unofficial sister game as well.
The Bearded Ladies, the developers behind Mutant Year Zero, are no strangers to weird, unique settings. With Miasma Chronicles, they once again show off their ability to create a world unlike anything else we have ever seen.
Of course, a setting alone doesn’t earn a game a spot on this list. Miasma Chronicles also has rock-solid gameplay and gorgeous visuals, securing its place in the pantheon of isometric RPGs.
Most RPGs have a set story and tell it well. Wildermyth takes a different approach, giving players the parts necessary to create their own stories. Heroes struggle, fight, age, and die, leaving a new generation to take up the battle against evil.
Each run in Wildermyth is a unique tale, but can hearken back to previous campaigns. Your newest crop of heroes will have grown up hearing the tales of the previous ones, giving a legendary lineage of your own.
Baldur’s Gate 3
It’s astoundingly rare for the biggest game of the year to be a turn-based RPG, but Baldur’s Gate 3 took the world by storm and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Fans of the first two games, D&D players, and total newcomers fell in love with Baldur’s Gate 3‘s characters and open-world gameplay across the globe.
We can expect Baldur’s Gate 3 to be the gold standard for RPGs in the coming years. Who knows what could be coming down the pipeline thanks to this epic tale?
Imagine a full-length CRPG that takes place aboard a single starship. Iron Tower Studios’ titular Colony Ship is a city in space, carrying the last of Earth’s people to a new home at Proxima Centauri. As you might expect, not all is well for the colonists who were born and will die along the generations-long journey.
Colony Ship lets players decide the fate of the expedition, even if they may never live to see the vessel reach its destination. It’s a great idea for an RPG, and it’s a very recent release; check it out if you’re in the mood for something new and novel.
Space Wreck is a testament to what a creative indie developer can do within the confines of a beloved genre. It’s not a very long game, but there is so much to do and so many possible stories to explore that you’ll find something new every time you play.
Space Wreck offers the possibility for pacifist runs, unexpected solutions to problems, and creative approaches to tried-and-true RPG mechanics. It’s even possible to be too good at something, which you almost never see in games.
Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader
The long-awaited RPG set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is finally here, and it’s everything we ever could’ve hoped for. As a Rogue Trader, you have the luxury of operating outside Imperial law, letting you explore the galaxy in a way players haven’t been able to until now.
While not every faction from the tabletop game is accounted for, Rogue Trader is one of the deepest dives into the lore we’ve ever seen. If you’re a Warhammer fan, you don’t want to miss this game.