[Top 20] Best Turn Based RPGs To Play in 2021

Top 20 Turn Based RPGs To Play in 2021
Taking turns is not only polite, but also the key to adventure in these games.

Games are a great way to entertain yourself for hours and hours. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve got more free time on your hands than you know what to do. With all this free time, 2021 should be the perfect year to sink your teeth into some awesome Turn Based RPGs that you might’ve missed.

RPGs are one of the longer forms of video games. You’re rewarded for taking your time with a mix of cutscenes, exploration, and side quests. Add to that some great replay value and 100% completion runs, these games will keep you occupied for the better part of the year.

20: Vigilantes

Vigilantes Release Trailer

In Vigilantes, the city of Reiker has declined into a cesspool of criminals and it’s your job to take care of them. You customize your crime fighting team with over 60 perks, interrogate captured enemies, help citizens in distress, and build your own base and weapons. 

This neo noir game is what you get when you mix The Punisher with XCOM. It’s a strategy RPG with a gritty story and tons of additional modifiers to keep the gameplay interesting. You can catch grenades, take cover in smoke, or challenge enemies to duels. 

My favorite feature of this game has to be its adversary system. If one of your enemies runs away scared in the middle of the battle, you might think you got lucky. But in Vigilantes, that same fleeing foe could come gunning for you later down the line. Bigger and badder.


ATOM RPG - Release Trailer

Is there any better way to spend a weekend than on a walk through a post-apocalyptic wasteland? In ATOM RPG, you play as a survivor of the nuclear Holocaust in the Soviet wasteland. Your mission is to explore, earn your place in this new world, and investigate a conspiracy with goals to wipe out the remaining life surviving on earth.

ATOM RPG is a game inspired by classics like Fallout, Deus Ex, and Baldur’s Gate. Exploring a post-apocalyptic wasteland is always a good time, and in ATOM RPG you’re sure to find hours of combat, multiple choice conversations, and random encounters.

And if character creation is as fun for you as it is for me, you should definitely give this game a try. They put a lot of emphasis on making the hero you want to play. The way the stats are used provides a unique experience with every playthrough.

18: The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos - Launch Trailer

For those of you that like a good dose of humor with your gaming experience, The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is for you. Delving into a massive dungeon with your classic RPG party, you will explore caverns, elite living spaces, and even a rowdy tavern. Even with all the humor, this game still takes itself seriously with different difficulty modes, as well as over a hundred different enemies.

What started as a parody of role playing games and fantasy stereotypes has become a great video game that highlights those tropes in a wonderful and hilarious light. The 7 members of your team have unique skills as well as unique personalities. And those personalities will crack you up throughout your playthrough.

17: Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics - Official Launch Trailer

The Gears of War series has been around for a long time, but if you’ve never picked one up, this game could be a good place to start. Gears Tactics takes place 12 years before the first Gears of War game. The Locust Horde has all but taken the planet, and it is your job to lead your squads of survivors against this army of monsters and defeat their leader.

Playing Gears Tactics is like playing a more brutal cousin of XCOM. You can curb stomp your foes, cut them straight in half with a chainsaw, or of course blow them to pieces.

But besides the bloody mess that Gears is known for, there’s also a very interesting character focused story here that will have you wanting to play more. Combine that with customizable squads and loadouts, and you’ve got a recipe for a game you should check out.

16: Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game

Fallout 1 - Trailer

If you haven’t heard the name Fallout in the last decade, you… are actually pretty impressive. This is not Fallout 3 or Fallout 76. This is the original Fallout game that started it all back in 1997. Explore the classic example of a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, use the SPECIAL stat system to make unique characters, and talk, sneak, or shoot past any robots, gangsters, or mutants that try to stand in your way.

No one can deny that this game is wildly different from the newer Fallout games, but it still possesses that same energy. You feel like you’re in the same world, just under a different scope. Trust me, running from Radscorpions is just as horrifying in this game.

If you’ve never tried out this gem, you’ve got to. It’s a classic in the truest sense of the word. If you’ve played the newer games by Bethesda and want to see where it started, or if you’re just a fan of the genre, you won’t regret checking this game out. 

15: Torment: Tides of Numenera

Torment: Tides of Numenera - Console Trailer (ENG)

In Torment: Tides of Numenera you will journey through a world alien to you. You’ll have a collection of odd companions with their own motives, to help you escape an unstoppable creature known as the Sorrow. All the while looking for the answer to a singular question: What does one life matter?

Tides of Numenera is an intimidating game to be sure. It’s all very different and interesting, which might worry you if you’re a fan of the norm. But I assure you, unique can be a good thing. The original setting provides beautiful visuals, creative items and stunning magic to color your experience. 

The story is an epic shaped by the unique, nontraditional characters. Of course, something to remember is that your choices do matter in this game. With no obvious right or wrong, there’s always a different path you want to see in your next playthrough.

14: Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns - Launch Trailer

The year is 2054. Magic has awoken powerful mythical creatures of legend. The line between flesh and technology has faded. And ruthless corporations intend to bleed the elves, trolls, orks, dwarves, and humans of the world dry. As a shadowrunner in this world, you are a mercenary living on the fringes of society, working for whoever can afford you. 

Shadowrun is Dungeons and Dragons’ little Cyberpunk brother. It’s a very interesting setting set in a future version of our world with urban fantasy elements. It has very intense tactical combat, and a gorgeous art style. But my favorite part of Shadowrun has to be their classless skill system. You can go from hacker, to weapons specialist, to summoner. All in the same character.

13: The Banner Saga

The Banner Saga - Your Saga Starts Now

The Banner Saga is an epic Viking saga where every choice you make will directly impact your overall journey. A new threat looms over an entire civilization and you have to choose, with the utmost care, who will help you fight against it. Not only in battle. You also have to carefully manage your caravan as you travel the harsh, frozen landscape in order to make sure as many people can survive as possible. 

The Banner Saga is a beautifully drawn adventure with over 25 characters that you will care about. I’ll openly admit that I’m someone who will restart a level just to save one of my characters from death. Even if I hate them.

The best part of The Banner Saga is that it’s a trilogy that carries over your unique progress from game to game. More games should do this, because it really gets you invested in characters and plot lines when you can see the path you’ve taken with them across multiple games.

12: UnderRail

UnderRail Release Trailer

Life on Earth’s surface has been made impossible. The last remnants of humanity survive in a vast system of metro station-states known as the Underrail. You are one such denizen of a station-state. And you will be caught in the violent conflict of the various factions that call the Underrail home. Will you be able to survive the harsh underground environment?

If you’re a big fan of DnD and other tabletop games, then UnderRail is the game for you. It has a deep character creation system, tons of content and things to do throughout the game, and multiple ways to tackle quests. 

Fair warning, this game doesn’t go easy on you and there’s no hand-holding here. But once you get the hang of it, it’s a very rewarding experience that could provide you with hundreds of hours of entertainment. 

11: Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler - Overview Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Octopath Traveler is a beautiful game inspired by retro 2D RPGs. You embark on an epic journey, forming a party of eight characters, with eight unique story lines, and eight sets of unique abilities.

With an interchanging job system (classic Square Enix stuff), this game is a wonderful way to spend hours upon hours. It becomes a little addicting leveling up your characters to find out what that next job ability is.

At the surface this is a very simple, yet well made RPG. But once you get playing, you discover the new mechanics such as pickpocketing NPCs with the Thief character, or Entrancing NPCs and making them follow you with the Dancer character, you can even force NPCs to duel you one on one with the Warriorcharacter. These mechanics are just one of the things that make this game so interesting.

Octopath Traveler is a very unique game that you won’t regret playing. 

10: Griftlands

Griftlands E3 2019 Announcement Trailer

Griftlands is a sci-fi, deck-building rogue-like with a focus on challenging the obstacles you encounter in different ways until you find the one that works best for you. Right now the game is still in early access, but it already has a lot of content there for you to enjoy. At a reduced price too.

You can tell with one look that Griftlands is a unique game. Its punchy artstyle and humor really add to the emphasis that you’re supposed to be learning from your mistakes. And when every choice matters, you’ll probably be making a lot of mistakes. But in a fun way.

The main gameplay in Griftlands is done through two different decks. You have a combat deck and a negotiation deck. If you’re usually a smooth talker in RPGs, then you’ll definitely want to pad out your negotiation deck. But if you’re a bigger fan of  brawling then you can get straight to fighting with the combat deck. 

9: Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark - Trailer

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a love note to Final Fantasy Tactics and the other games of its type. Set in a fantasy world with a dash of steampunk, play as the Arbiter Kyrie as they discover a new corruption threatening the land. It is your duty to lead your troops through challenging encounters and maintain stability throughout the land.

If you love FFT, then you’re already onboard. But if you still need some convincing then maybe the over 30 classes and 300 abilities you can learn in this game will help. Not only do you have an impressive selection, but you also have the ability to customize your characters’ classes, sub-classes, and passive abilities. 

Then go even further and change their appearances to fit your style. Portraits, outfits, and colors, all to fit your taste. In Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, you can really make the army feel like your own. 

8: Dragon Age Origins

Dragon Age Origins: GamesCom Trailer

The Archdemon has risen with an army of Darkspawn. As one of the last Grey Wardens able to stand up against this foe, it is your duty to slay it at all costs. Gather a party, make allies, and defeat great evil in the beginning of the Dragon Age series.

Dragon Age Origins is stunning. If you haven’t played it already, you need to as soon as possible. Full of complex morality with no obvious good or bad choices, a party of memorable characters with very different views on things, and a fully customized character of your own.

Origins is one of the best examples of RPGs, with 80+ hours of content and oodles of replayability. This is a game that you can play again and again and always find something new to do.

7: Tyranny

Tyranny - Launch Trailer

In a world where the tyrant has already conquered, you play as the arbiter of law. You can work with the system or against it, but will it be for the good of the world, your own ambitions, or something else altogether.

Tyranny is unique in that the bad guy has already won. You’re coming into a world that has been devastated and overcome by the big bad, and now you’re working for him. Where it goes from there is up to you, and those choices lead to unique, branching stories in this Tactical RPG.

6: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden - Launch Trailer

The world has ended with a wave of mushroom clouds. We all saw it coming. Humans are all gone, and left to scavengeour remains are the Mutants, deformed humanoids and animals. Controlling a squad of these mutants, your task is to sneak, scavenge, and fight your way through this post-human world and maybe find the Eden of legends. Or maybe just something to eat.

Mutant Year Zero is the bastard lovechild of Fallout and XCOM, but with a boar snout and wings. The game puts an emphasis on being stealthy, but you’re still capable of plenty of destruction when it comes down to it. Plus you can unlock new unique mutations for all of your squad members to make them even more freaky and awesome.

5: Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon - Release Trailer [OFFICIAL]

This gothic roguelike takes the classic tropes of adventuring and heroism and casts them in a new light. Recruit a flawed team of heroes of over a dozen classes and lead them through the darkest of adventures. You’ll battle not only foes, but also stress, hunger, and disease. And if you’re not careful, your party won’t make it out alive.

Even heroes deal with stress With Darkest Dungeon’s Affliction System you really get to see the different ways the adventuring life can take its toll on a person. Fear, disease, psychological breaks. Permadeath might not be the worst thing to happen to your beloved characters in this game.

But with procedural dungeons full of loot, innovative turn based combat, and new heroes with classes like Plague Doctor, you know it’ll be a fun time with incredible replay value.

4: Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition - Launch Trailer

Pillars of Eternity is an adventure built to recapture the joy of exploration and the thrill of leading an adventuring party through a fantasy realm to fight evil and reclaim lost treasure. All the while finding answers to mysteries and larger machinations. If you’ve ever been a fan of isometric RPGs, this game will slap you with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

As a huge D&D fan, Pillars of Eternity really feeds a lot of my Tabletop desires. You get to create a character from one of eleven classes, you build your reputation and side with various factions throughout the game, and you explore and take side quests and live in this fantasy realm for a little bit. 

Who doesn’t love a little escape from our current world now and then?

3: Wasteland 3

Wasteland 3 - Launch Trailer

Commanding a squad of desert rangers in a post-nuclear world, you’re fighting a losing battle to keep your new society safe. Then you’re promised aid from the Patriarch of Colorado. If you can put an end to the ambitions of his three bloodthirsty kids.

Build a base, train recruits, and choose who to trust in these snowy, post-apocalyptic mountains. Your decisions will have a serious impact on Colorado. You could be its savior or its greatest nightmare. 

Wasteland 3 is the newest in the Wasteland series and it shows. They really stepped up the game when it comes to graphics and animations. Another new thing they added is co-op, something you don’t see in these kinds of games much. If you’ve ever wanted to take on the post-apocalypse with a friend, now is your chance.

2: Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Trailer

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game made for D&D and fantasy tabletop game lovers. Explore the fantasy realm of Rivellon and awaken the powers laying dormant within you. Choose your character’s background, interact with everyone and everything, and defeat your opponents with over 200 skills. 

And if you want to play with friends, how does 4 player online or split-screen multiplayer with controller support sound to you? There’s also a PvP mode and the new Game Master mode that allows you to craft your own adventures. 

Truly a game made with tabletop players in mind.

1: Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 - Official Announcement Trailer

A Mind Flayer parasite planted into your brain is slowly changing you, awakening mysterious abilities, and corrupting you into something evil. These powers may help you survive, but the bond between you and your party could be your greatest strength.

Set in the Forgotten Realms, Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t just a game made for people who love D&D, it IS D&D. Choose from a wide pool of familiar races and classes and play online together with up to 4 players. Or you could split the party, because we all know that never ends with a Total Party Kill.

Baldur’s Gate 3 really brings some of the magic of the table to this game. Its player-initiated turn-based mode lets you pause the world around you at any time and think about what you’re about to do. Kind of like if you were sitting around a table with your friends.

Even in early access, Baldur’s Gate 3 has all of Act 1 available to play. That’s around 25 hours of content. If you’re missing the table during these stressful times, this is the game for you.

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Along the ravaged West Coast, you'll hear rumors of a wanderer roaming the wastes in search of video games and caps. Some say he's a man, some say he's a sheep, but all can agree that he's a gamer."
Gamer Since: 1997
Favorite Genre: RPG
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