Best RPG Games Of 2022

Perhaps no gaming genre has developed as much as the role-playing game. While those vintage 16 and 32 bit role-playing games are undeniably some of the best games ever made, we’ve come a long way since then. So, without further ado, here are the best modern RPGs of all time.

1. Persona 5: The Royal

Persona 5 Royal - PS4 & PS5 Games | PlayStation

Persona 5 Royal is a living example of how to take an already fantastic game and make it even better. It’s not just a “game of the year” edition with some bonus stuff thrown in for good measure. Almost everything in Atlus’ magnum opus JRPG from 2016 (2017 in the US) has been sharpened, polished, and expanded in some significant and beneficial way.

The amount of love and attention to detail hidden around each old and new twist in the story left me in amazement after more than 130 hours of wandering around urban Tokyo and the weird realms of the human mind.

The most instantly visible and significant of Royal’s improvements come in the domain of combat, as someone who has played through the original version of Persona 5 twice. In this day and age, it’s difficult to make old-school, four-person, turn-based battles exciting, but nobody does it better than Atlus.

The role of weaponry in your arsenal has been completely reinvented, in addition to some spot-on rebalancing of abilities and enemies across the board. Bullets now renew after each battle rather than only at the start of an infiltration, but at the cost of being able to keep less ammo in total.

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In the beginning, this feels nearly game-breakingly powerful, but as time goes on, it allows firearms to settle in as a far more useful and trustworthy tool, rather than something you save for the toughest enemies.

Showtime attacks, in which two members of your party link up for a devastating super finisher, are another great addition. The animations are incredibly smart and outrageous, and they tastefully showcase the characters and connections of your party members.

Watching Makoto and Haru double elbow-drop a harbinger of the apocalypse in a showy, humorous reference to pro wrestling will never get old. Showtimes can happen at any time, but they’re more likely to happen while your party is in serious peril or you’re about to kill an enemy.

At just the right moments, this provides an added dimension of drama and unpredictability to particularly fierce clashes. There are some new encounter kinds as well, including a volatile form of some enemies.

They’re more powerful than the standard form, and for every strike that doesn’t kill them, they launch a deadly counterattack – but once destroyed, they also explode and cause massive damage to all of their teammates, frequently ending the battle in one blow. This adds variety to areas where you may be fighting a lot of similar enemies in a row, and challenges you to fight up your tactics.

The Velvet Room has also been improved. There’s a chance that completing a standard encounter will set off a fusion alarm in Igor’s sanctuary.

Any personas you fuse while it’s active will be more powerful than they would be under normal conditions, and their powers may even be replaced with more potent ones… but if you use the gallows too much during an alarm, you may get unexpected outcomes.

I decided to take a chance and ended up getting a copy of Phoenix with a full card of incredibly powerful passive abilities… There are no attack, support, or healing moves, making it almost useless. With the added motivation of powered-up identities, I found myself using the Velvet Room a lot more often than I would have otherwise.

If you’re a Persona 5 veteran, the combination of all of these new battle and progression possibilities can make certain areas feel a lot easier than they were in the original edition. However, even on Normal mode, the new and improved monster fights still provide a major challenge.

And do you recall our old pal The Reaper, the semi-secret enemy that is supposed to be the ultimate obstacle for Joker? He’s immune to the Despair debuff in Royal, thus you won’t be able to kill him the cheesy way by fighting him on certain days.

This means that putting him down is the most difficult endeavor I’ve ever attempted, and it felt incredible when I eventually succeeded.

With a third semester, the fantastic story has been greatly expanded, with one new palace, a new location in the Mementos mega-dungeon, and a new heart to steal. Overall, it’s a little longer than the previous palace story arcs, but not by much.

And there’s not much else I can say about the new storyline without giving too much away about it, except that it confronts our Phantom Thieves against a fascinating new opponent with aims, motives, and values that are vastly different from anyone they’ve encountered before.

Persona’s deep, thematic examination of human civilization and the pitfalls of the psyche continues to pose challenging and current themes about justice and suffering that made me reconsider my own beliefs – and it’s when a game isn’t scared to go there that it truly becomes a work of greater art.

It all comes to a head in an epic, action-packed, multi-phase boss battle that will put all of your skills to the test and serve as a fitting conclusion to everything that has gone before.

However, the third semester is merely one element of a larger story. The primary campaign has also been greatly beefed up with the addition of two new confidants to the already rich cast: cheerful, aspiring gymnast Kasumi Yoshizawa and calming but geeky school counselor Takuto Maruki.

Each character had a terrifyingly complex, tragic background, complete with its own set of dramatic twists and turns that were both terrible and fascinating to learn. And one of the returning confidants from Persona 5 has had their part in the story greatly expanded and modified – but I won’t say who.

Persona 5 was already a strong contender for best JRPG ever made, but Royal makes me question what else could ever compete. The wonderful story and its endearing, multidimensional characters, as well as the challenging, tactical combat, have all been fine-tuned and are back for another round, complete with new surprises and new companions.

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There are new areas to discover, as well as new twists that will leave you with your mouth on the floor. There has been very little left untouched, and almost everything that has been touched is better for it. My heart has been taken yet again by the Phantom Thieves, and I don’t want it back.

2. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age - The Journey Begins | PS4 -  YouTube

Dragon Quest XI is a streamlined, dynamic, mathematically elegant epic that expertly iterates on what I love most about conventional dungeon crawlers. On the surface, Dragon Quest XI appears to be a straightforward return to the single-player RPG style after Dragon Quest X’s foray into MMO terrain. But, after a short time in the vast, complex world, that simplicity is a carefully built facade that fades away.

Dragon Quest isn’t just a game… it’s a genuine experience. I’ve spent well over 65 hours in Dragon Quest XI’s huge locations, and I just want to keep going. Battles in Dragon Quest XI show that turn-based combat can be thrilling.

Combat is fast-paced, strategically engaging, and full of unexpected surprises and turns. Every fight with the enormous array of monsters brings new obstacles, and I found myself enthusiastically sprinting forward new types of enemies just to see what new twists they would throw at me. Boss encounters are tight, and my entire group was wiped off a few times, but not frequently enough to be frustrating.

There are no random encounters in Dragon Quest XI, with the exception of a few trips on the high seas. On my standard PS4, the Akira Toriyama-designed monsters jump to life with stunningly smooth animations, and every enemy is lavishly rendered in the open environment. The moments when I’m facing the fantastic beasties are my favorite portions of Dragon Quest.

There are hundreds of them, and while some of them are only color variations, their powers vary enough to keep things stressful and interesting. It was also simple to avoid fighting enemies I didn’t want to fight, due to a visual signal and an alarm that sounded when I came too close.

Weaker groups of enemies fled when they saw me, giving me a sense of authority while also preventing me from getting into time-consuming fights with monsters well below my level.

I was glad to see the powerful Zoom spell back, since it allowed me to travel between regions at my leisure, but I like to ride my fast horse, take in the landscape, fight monsters, and seek for manufacturing materials. On horseback, I had a delight bowling over monsters who bounced like rubber tennis balls off my thundering hooves.

Monster mounts, which I grabbed after winning bouts with riders and could use to scale sheer walls, leap over barriers, and fly through the skies, were less fun but more useful. Although none of these could be employed outside of pre-defined areas, I enjoyed using their unique skills to find hidden gems.

Dragon Quest XI is essentially one huge, magnificent treasure-filled dungeon that stretches on indefinitely in every direction, all set to a rousing orchestral soundtrack. The sheer amount of useful stuff lying everywhere waiting to be discovered is one of Dragon Quest XI’s true thrills.

If I found an out-of-the-way corner, there was a good chance there was some useful loot nearby. My inquisitiveness was rewarded freely and repeatedly. Many of the hidden things were rare crafting materials and recipes that I could combine to create a variety of powerful weapons.

The crafting system in Dragon Quest XI is deceptively basic at first, but as I progressed through the game, the forging minigames became more sophisticated and engaging, but crafting remained completely optional.

I could have sold all of my precious crafting discoveries to buy equipment in stores that would have done the job, but creating was fun, and it allowed me to indulge my perfectionist mentality by enhancing every character’s stats to the nth degree.

Although the voice acting in Dragon Quest XI is generally excellent, I elected to mute character dialogue in favor of subtitles early on. In any RPG I play, I tend to speed through conversations, but the heavy use of accents was irritating in this case. The text localization is fantastic, with the largest collection of brilliant English puns I’ve ever seen in a translated video game.

A community where citizens spoke in haiku was a particularly creative feat. But, while the citizens of the time have a lot to say, very little of it is important, so I back returned to stabbing and looking. There’s much to enjoy for long-time Dragon Quest fans, with callbacks and homages to previous games strewn over the environment.

Mini medals, familiar spells, metal slimes, and huge casinos, as well as a few more spoilery winks, are all back. However, I could have happily enjoyed Dragon Quest without any prior knowledge of the series. The mash-up of a symphonic instrumental soundtrack with delicate eight-bit sound effects works surprisingly well, serving as more than a gimmick, but rather a smart, evocative musical bridge between the past and present.

In at least one negative regard, Dragon Quest XI is a throwback: its inconsistent story simply isn’t a match for its mechanics. With a bit more polish, several of the rhythms may have been significantly more engaging. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t address some of Dragon Quest XI’s cringe-inducing sexualization. What value does a side quest requiring me to dress up female members of my party as fetishized bunny ladies provide to the Dragon Quest experience?

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Dragon Quest XI continues Dragon Quest’s lengthy heritage of “puff-puff,” a pseudosexual metaphor established by Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama. As a sort of Easter egg, Dragon Quest games have always incorporated semi-lewd puff-puff references, and Echoes of an Elusive Age leans too strongly into that tradition.

It’s sometimes played for laughs… a cliffside puff-puff turns out to be nothing more than bungee jumping, and another out to be nothing more than a harmless application of cosmetics. However, one optional encounter put me off completely.

I was called into a girl’s dim bedroom, where I was given a puff-puff in a dim room, and her father was standing there when the lights turned back on. He’d delivered the puff-puff in the dark, she explained.

The ramifications of consent disturbed me. I didn’t think it was amusing. When it comes to fighting bad guys, exploring dungeons, and obtaining wealth, Dragon Quest XI shines. It’s a visual feast with a colorful ensemble of monsters who are more interesting than the main characters.

Dragon Quest: Echoes of an Elusive Day is a top-tier JRPG for the contemporary age, with uneven story beats and some nasty bits slowing it down at times. However, the game’s great mechanics remain the focus, making it a top-tier JRPG for the modern age.

3. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen ve službě Steam

In the risk-averse world of console gaming, there aren’t many surprise triumphs nowadays, but Dragon’s Dogma was one of them last year. It’s a bold action-RPG with a fantastic combat system, a thrilling sense of adventure, and a slew of technical flaws that make it more difficult to adore than it should be.

Dragon’s Dogma is a lot more appealing this time around, both to the cheaper price and the many extra hours of late-game content, which showcase the abilities of one of Capcom’s most brilliant in-house production teams in a fresh context.

Dark Arisen features the full version of Dragon’s Dogma – with a few small tweaks – as well as 10 to 15 hours of fresh adventure on a mysterious black island rising from the sea outside of Cassardis’ fishing community. Don’t be deceived by its starting-area placement; the new content is mostly intended for the post-game, and you’ll be slayed if you don’t have a high-level save file from the original Dragon’s Dogma.

Even if you’re a high-level player, you’re still likely to get slayed; Bitterblack Isle’s difficulty occasionally veers between fist-eatingly difficult and simply unfair. That said, I appreciate that type of challenge, even if luck seems to play a bigger role in my success than skill at times.

The new dungeon on Bitterblack Isle is a particularly awful place, in that it excels at generating a sense of dread and doom. My expeditions into the depths of places like the Rotunda of Dread and the Shrine of Futile Truths were shaky at best, and they frequently ended in disaster.

It looks so bad in some parts that you can practically smell death, and I was enthralled by its desolation for the first few hours. However, in the game’s final third, there are several monsters who can kill you in one hit, even if you’re an experienced player, which feels unfair; even level 100+ characters can be despatched instantly.

You could always run away from whatever creature was kicking your ass out in the vast fields of Gransys. In these claustrophobic passageways, that isn’t really an option. The temptation is to saunter down them with a lamp blazing and save every 35 seconds. A word of advice: don’t try to fight Death. It’s almost never a good idea.

The heart of Dragon’s Dogma’s appeal remains its genuinely fantastic combat, at least when you have a fighting chance. You can start off as a typical mage, ranger, or warrior, but things become interesting once you’re permitted to mix them up in unexpected combinations, such as a magic archer, and you can switch between classes whenever you want if your current playstyle becomes stale.

I prefer to switch between magic and close-quarters combat, hurling walls of flame at a chimera in a gorgeous sorcerer’s robe one hour and clutching tightly to a cyclops’ leg while slashing at its legs with a sword the next. The challenge is satisfying; triumphs feel earned, and exploration is more exciting when you’re in real danger.

It was Dragon’s Dogma’s sense of adventure that drew me in. Going for a hike in the wilds feels like a true adventure. You must spend time planning beforehand, obtaining information about a quest, and changing your team and equipment, because once you’re out there, there will be nothing and no one to save you once night falls.

When the sun begins to set and I’m still far from a safe place to spend the night, I’m terrified. After dusk, visibility fades, and the most dangerous monsters emerge: the undead, phantasms, and formidable bandits who wait for the cover of darkness before striking. You never know what might be lurking around the corner.

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But here’s a hint: gigantic beasts that would be bosses in most other games prowl the wilds, compelling you to flee or fight to the death at the most inopportune times. Climbing these monsters to boldly slice away at their heads while they thrash around reminds me of Shadow of the Colossus. Itfeels best when it combines the challenge and variety of Dark Souls with the wonderful physicality of Monster Hunter.

Aside from those minor technological flaws, Dragon’s Dogma’s major flaw is the terribly uninteresting fiction and writing that surrounds its action-RPG gameplay. Gransys is a gorgeous and interesting land to explore, but the people and quests that inhabit it are, for the most part, as bland and uninteresting as cement.

While the overarching trend is for difficulty to rise, Dark Arisen makes a minor but important concession to convenience by adding a few extra Ferrystones, which transport you back to the capital or to a Portcrystal you’ve placed out in the wilds.

I was hesitant at first because exploration is such an important part of Dragon’s Dogma, and I never tire of the game’s long journeys, but I soon discovered that I only used fast-travel in emergency situations. Ferrystones are still uncommon enough that they are never used as a primary mode of transportation.

It’s impossible to deny that Dragon’s Dogma is a game that everyone enjoys equally. It excels at combat and exploration, but the quests are frequently tedious, the fiction is tedious, and the game’s technical flaws are unavoidable. But it’s such a terrific game and so engaging that I’m interesting to overlook most of its flaws because it succeeds in so many ways.

The Dark Arisen expansion content strains the borders of fairness towards the end, saving the best prizes for the most dedicated, but it’s an encouraging hint of what this creative team might come up with next in terms of design and atmosphere. Dragon’s Dogma is definitely worth a shot at this low price.

4. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium - The Final Cut on GOG.com

In Disco Elysium, as in all good detective novels, what appears easy at first becomes so much more – and it gets so much crazier, too. It modifies the ancient concepts of tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons in unexpected ways to fit a macabre story of violence, poverty, and a civilization on the verge of collapse.

It uses some innovative game elements – such as debating against 24 distinct areas of your own brain – to create a story that will linger with me for a long time, thanks to smartly written dialogue and a wonderfully built world. And it manages to make all of this enjoyable and, surprisingly often, humorous. The Final Cut improves on an already fantastic game by adding a fully voiced cast and even more side quests to do.

The basic notion of Disco Elysium is simple: A body has been discovered in the backyard of a hostel, hanging from a looming tree, and it’s up to you to figure out how it got there over the course of the 30-hour story. Everything surrounding this central enigma, however, is far from straightforward, not least because you begin with a massive dosage of hangover-induced amnesia.

You can’t recall your own identity, let alone that you’re a cop investigating a murder. Even as your snivelling limbic system fights it, a part of your consciousness known as your old reptilian brain – with which you literally converse – tries to urge you to abandon your quest.

As you stumbling around your ruined bedroom looking for traces of your former self, it becomes evident that this isn’t just a mystery, but a trip that will challenge your ability to solve crises on both a personal and global level. It’s an isometric RPG with a beautiful design that makes you think at every turn of its painted streets.

When you initially start Disco Elysium, you must decide whether you want to play as an intelligent detective (like Sherlock Holmes), a sensitive detective (think Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks), or a bruiser detective (think Marv from Sin City). Each sets your nameless gumshoe’s starting stats and alters the choices available to you right away, but they all provide a fun way to play.

Opening with the Intelligent build, for example, allows you to swiftly deduce that you have awoken in the city of Revachol, thanks to your high Encyclopedia skill level. However, if you start with the Sensitive option, you won’t know where you are and will have to piece together the same information.

The beauty of Disco Elysium’s skill system is that you are always rewarded for your decisions — a Sensitive might not know where he is, but he can start searching his necktie for clues. Yes, it’s true.

If that’s not enough variety for you, you can create your own detective from the ground up. Intellect, Psyche, Physique, and Motorics are the four pillars that make up your character sheet. Each of these is made up of six wacky skills (like Intellect’s Encyclopedia), each with its own set of benefits.

Do you want to command the respect of the general public? Spend your authority points. How about attempting to intimidate a witness? Increase the number of Physical Instruments you have. Do you want to converse with that necktie? Start messing around with the Inland Empire measurement, which was inspired by David Lynch.

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Each of these skills is a distinct voice in your detective’s head, reflected in the chat box during conversations. When you have high Empathy, you may hear a voice urging you not to press too hard during a victim interrogation, but when you have high Half Light (a skill that allows you to question suspects with more force), your brain may tell you to punch them in the face.

They’re both in-game tips and a tool to limit your progress. For every 100 XP you get by completing things on your quest list or simply having conversations with people and learning new information, you obtain another skill point.

However, because leveling up occurs seldom, you’ll have to think carefully about how you want to use them. However, it never feels like you’re waiting too long for the next skill point, and it feels just about perfect.

But hold on: there is no combat in Disco Elysium, at least not in the traditional sense. When your detective throws a punch, it’s a matter of willpower, and the consequences are usually more verbal than physical. You’re mostly armed with your (sometimes) silver tongue and a roll of the dice.

Not only while communicating with others, but also with the myriad voices crowding your head, your choice of dialogue is often critical to addressing difficulties. It’s a refreshing change of pace from more action-oriented RPGs when it comes to dealing with exciting situations.

In Disco Elysium, I actually found talking my way through circumstances and filling out my character sheet more fascinating than slashing down adversaries with yet another +2 sword.

Clothing has a good and negative impact on your skills, which will be familiar to fans of Bethesda RPGs. You can increase your Encyclopedia score by 1 by putting a replica of fictional detective Dick Mullen’s hat. When faced with a dice roll that appears to be too challenging at first view, quick wardrobe changes can come in handy.

I once found across a mural in a particularly filthy part of town that took a significant number of Shivers — a skill that allows you to “raise the hair on your neck” and “tune into the city” to comprehend your surroundings.

My character had a low Shivers stat by default, but by changing my jacket and putting some nice shades, I was able to make the percentage likelihood of my roll to an enticing 72 percent. I took a chance, got lucky, and quickly changed back into my usual attire.

Disco Elysium is a unique mix of noir detective fiction, classic pen-and-paper role-playing games, and existentialist thinking. Its complex plot, intriguing cast of characters, and enormous breadth of options combine to create an experience that begs to be savored. Aside from a few minor quibbles, it meets practically every single one of the goals it sets for itself, leaving me wanting to spend more time in its world.

5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - IGN

I was arranging books on a shelf in my Whiterun home when I saw a weapon rack right next to it. In one slot, I set a sacrifice dagger, and in the other, an Orcish mace. They were on display for only me and Lydia, my computer-controlled housecarl, who waited quietly at a table, waiting for me to invite her to go questing.

Extra weapons and armor were kept in the chest upstairs, smithing ingots and ores were kept in the bedside table, and ingredients were kept in the chest next to the Alchemy table. I’d methodically ordered my virtual property not because I had to, but because it was a welcome distraction from dealing with screaming frost trolls, dragons, a civil war, and job assignments that never seemed to go as planned.

It’s even a smart thing to do in Skyrim, one of the most fully developed, readily entertaining, and completely fascinating role-playing games ever made.

The heritage Elder Scrolls clutter has been simplified and in some cases deleted, which is part of what makes it so engaging. With a maxed out Acrobatics skill, there’s no more moon-hopping between hilltops in Skyrim. That, as well as Athletics, is no longer available.

The Elder Scrolls V reduces the number of skills available and eliminates characteristics like Endurance and Intelligence entirely. There’s no need to spend time thinking over which skills to assign as major on the character creation screen.

Instead of assigning major and minor skills, you choose one of ten races, each with a unique bonus. Orcs can enter a berserk rage for more effective close-range combat once a day, and High Elves can regenerate magicka swiftly once a day.

These abilities are best combined with specific character builds – the High Elf regeneration is particularly handy for a magic user – but they don’t imply a strict class decision. Major options can be made after you’ve been out in the world and have had the opportunity to try out magic, sneaking, and weapon combat, stressing first-hand experience over instruction manual study and allowing you to specialize only when you’re ready.

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It adds to the exciting sense of liberation that comes with existence in Skyrim. Do a quest, kill a dragon, catch torchbugs in the air, eat butterfly wings, or just meander around while listening to one of the best game soundtracks in recent memory.

Despite the vastness of the world and the enormous amount of content contained inside it, little feels random or pointless. Chewing on a butterfly wing serves a function, as it reveals one of numerous alchemical parameters that can be used in potion making at an alchemy table later.

Random books plucked from ancient ruins can trigger hidden quest lines that lead to valuable rewards, and mined ore and scraps of metal from Dwemer ruins can be smelted into ingots and fashioned into armor sets, pelts lifted from slain wildlife can be turned into leather armor sets, and pelts lifted from slain wildlife can be turned into leather armor sets.

Skyrim’s land is crammed with content and oddities, making every step exciting, even if it’s through what appears to be complete wilderness, because something unexpected is always just over the next rise.

The unexpected frequently takes the appearance of a dragon. They swoop over cities and attack at seemingly random times, sometimes to guard relics, and sometimes to swoop over cities and attack at seemingly random times. A dragon might strike in the middle of a fight against a bandit camp, shrieking through the skies and slashing foe and friend alike with frost or flame.

Everyone on the battlefield comes together for a brief period, aiming arrows and magic blasts upward to take down the creature, resulting in impromptu moments of friendship — a welcome departure from what could have been another by-the-numbers bandit camp sweep.

Dragons appear frequently, their arrival signaled by a frightening flap of broad wings or an eerie shriek from the skies. Encounters are fascinating because of the scale and astounding detail packed into each creature’s appearance and motions as it circles, stops to attack, circles again, and slams to the ground, yet their regular attack patterns dull the excitement after a few clashes.

In the long term, they’re significantly less annoying than The Elder Scrolls IV’s Oblivion gate, can be accomplished in a matter of minutes, and always provide a valuable reward.

A soul is obtained by killing a dragon, and it is used to power Skyrim’s new Shout system. Slow time, toss your voice, control the weather, summon allies, blast ice and fire, or knock back adversaries with a rolling wave of pure power are all magical abilities that any character can employ; you don’t need to be a spellcaster to utilize them.

Even if you prefer sword, shield, and heavy armor to magic, you’ll be able to fully utilize these abilities if you find the proper words – each Shout has three – hidden on Skyrim’s high snowy peaks and in the depths of forgotten dungeons, providing yet another reason to keep exploring long after you’ve completed the main quest story, joined the Thieves Guild, fought alongside the Dark Brotherhood, or thrown your support behind on one of the many factions

Not only is this land being ravaged by long-thought-to-be-dead dragons, but it’s also being torn apart by civil conflict. You can choose one side or the other, but part of Skyrim’s fascination is how, even outside of quest lines, the world’s precarious status is visible and entrenched in a rich literary past.

This isn’t Lord of the Rings, but with each new Elder Scrolls game, the fiction thickens and the cross-referencing for long-time fans gets even more satisfying.

The citizens of Skyrim are all aware of current occurrences. They’ll discuss the civil war, with some sympathizing with the rebels and others believing the establishment sold its soul. Many characters feel like whole, distinct personalities instead of vacuous nothings who hand out quests like a downtown greeter handing out flyers for discount jeans.

The peasants complain about the Jarls who control each settlement, the Jarls complain about the rebels or foreign policy, the overprotective College librarian complains when I drop dragon scales all over his floor; many characters feel like whole, distinct personalities instead of vacuous nothings who hand out quests like a downtown greeter handing out fly Characters stereotype based on race, double-cross at the first clue that it might be profitable, and respond to your changing status in the world.

It makes a crazy world full of computer-controlled cat people and humanoid reptiles, demon gods, and dragons feel real, as if it existed before you arrived and would continue to exist when you go.

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