Top 10 Western RPGs of the 2010s

Written by Kurt Hvorup In the modern era, Western role-playing has branched out beyond imagination. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Western RPGs of the 2010s. For this list, we're highlighting the brightest and most fitting examples of Western role-playing games released in the 2010s. As usual we're placing a limit of one game per franchise and we're not including MMORPGs for they already have their own list. We are also focusing on games that embody a Western style and sensibilities, NOT just where it was developed - for example, despite being Western-made, “South Park: The Stick of Truth” has the tropes and mechanics more akin to a JRPG, thus it won’t make the list. Special thanks to our user mac121mr0 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Western RPGs of the 2010s


In the modern era, Western role-playing has branched out beyond imagination. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Western RPGs of the 2010s.

For this list, we're highlighting the brightest and most fitting examples of Western role-playing games released in the 2010s. As usual we're placing a limit of one game per franchise and we're not including MMORPGs for they already have their own list. We are also focusing on games that embody a Western style and sensibilities, NOT just where it was developed - for example, despite being Western-made, “South Park: The Stick of Truth” has the tropes and mechanics more akin to a JRPG, thus it won’t make the list.

#10: “Wasteland 2” (2014)


Over twenty years since the original, and the series still stands strong. “Wasteland 2” picks up years after its predecessor, with the Desert Rangers returning to embark on a new quest: to investigate the death of their comrade Ace, and complete his original mission. Despite being a newer release, “Wasteland 2” maintains the first game's non-linear design and focus on exploration, mixed with a more character-driven tale and improved visuals. It's a blend of new and old that works well in practice.

#9: “Pillars of Eternity” (2015)


Retro revivals certainly have found their place in the 2010s. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment as a spirtual successor to games such as “Baldur's Gate” and “Icewind Dale”, this isometric role-playing game carries with it a certain nostalgia factor. From its pre-rendered environments to its tactical combat there's much in the way of classic design. Yet “Pillars of Eternity” paves its own way in execution – its story of a foreign traveller battling a curse remains compelling to the very end, the game's experience system rewards exploration, and the art style is equal parts detailed and idyllic.

#8: “Dragon Age: Inquisition” (2014)


Here and now, an inquisition is a good thing. As the third major game in the “Dragon Age” series, “Inquisition” acts as a climax of sorts. You take on the role of the Inquisitor, the survivor of a mysterious magical event tasked with unifying the land of Thedas... while also contending with a forthcoming demon invasion. Among other things, “Inquisition” constantly delivers compelling characters, plot threads with fascinating moral choices, and intense combat scenarios. Topping it all of is a huge open world, vividly brought to life by the ultra powerful Frostbite engine.

#7: “Borderlands 2” (2012)


This ain't no place for a hero – but don't feel discouraged from playing. Five years after the events of the original “Borderlands”, a new group of Vault Hunters land on the deadly world Pandora, only to be faced by a dictatorial regime. Thus, up to four players must once more engage in varied gunplay, with features such as Badass Ranks and increased character customization building on the role-playing aspect. Adding to that hilarious witty writing and the charismatic Handsome Jack as our villain, this action RPG doesn't lack for reasons to experience it.

#6: “Divinity: Original Sin” (2014)


Whether playing alone or with a friend, there's always good times to be had. This prequel to “Divine Divinity” focuses on a pair of magic-destroying Source Hunters steadily drawn into a broader conspiracy. The intricacies of the plot pairs well with the gameplay of “Original Sin”, based around intense turn-based combat and a world full of interactive options. From the way that enemies use the environment in combat to the openness of skill point distribution, this game is engrossing in its embrace of choice and consequences – without sacrificing thrill of adventure.

#5: “Fallout: New Vegas” (2010)


The desert can be a dangerous place, but it's worth the risk. Set in the Mojave Desert, “Fallout: New Vegas” both calls back to the earliest “Fallout” titles and deviates from them effectively. Players are put in the shoes of the Courier, shot in the head and left to die. From this introduction, the Courier can investigate their circumstance further or explore the Desert's various locales to their heart's content. Most notably, “New Vegas” marks the return of reputation as a gameplay factor, combining with a focus on skills to make for a player-driven experience. It does lose a few points because of it’s buggy launch, and no we’re not just talking about the Cazadors.

#4: “Dark Souls” (2011)


Prepare to die indeed. In “Dark Souls”, you are an undead being sent into the world of Lordran to ring the twin Bells of Awakening. Said quest takes you into a largely non-linear realm with an open skill system, numerous weapons with useful upgrades to invest in, and the ever-present threat of death. This is an RPG built around overcoming and dealing with death, right down to the collection of souls as currency. Yet it's a popular design decision, going by the existence of its spiritual successor “Bloodborne”.

#3: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (2011)


Long live the Dragonborn. “The Elder Scrolls V” takes place 200 years after the previous game, with a new player character destined to kill the returning dragons. Departing from previous games' class selection and using the in-house Creation Engine, “Skyrim” offers gamers not only the freedom to play as they wish but countless opportunities to do so. From a cavalcade of side-quests, to intricate crafting and magic mechanics, to the sheer scope of the province of Skyrim, everything on display is built for engagement.

#2: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (2015)


Greater stakes, greater freedom. This is the promise of “The Witcher 3”, which picks up with our lone witcher anti-hero Geralt in the midst of a personal quest. Yet despite the emphasis on Geralt's own struggles, players are granted an open world to explore and numerous quests to undertake. “Wild Hunt” builds on the action-based combat and magic elements of past games, introducing features such as fighting on horseback and use of the Witcher-sense. Combined with the stunning nature of the game world, this is truly a remarkable experience.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Bastion” (2011)
“Legend of Grimrock 2” (2014)
“Diablo III” (2012)
“Torchlight II” (2012)
“Shadowrun Returns” (2013)

#1: “Mass Effect 2” (2010)


A suicide mission like none other, and a smash success at that. “Mass Effect 2” kicks off with our space-faring hero Commander Shepard's demise, before leading into a bold quest to put together an elite team and investigate the disappearance of human colonists. While its combat leans more on action, with regenerating health and limited ammo to boot, this is still a matter of making tough choices and building a character of one's own. With tight pacing, a grim yet colourful visual style and a lively cast of characters, this is one of gaming's finest.

Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite Western RPGs from the 2010s? For more timely Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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