21 – The Witcher 2
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Initial Release Date: May 17, 2011
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: The Witcher series is known for its detailed character development, complex action battle system, and varied playstyles, but it didn’t come anywhere close to its now soaring heights of popularity until The Witcher 2 released, which added many of these staples that would be further polished in the third game. As Geralt of Rivia, you are one of only a handful of remaining Witchers–monster hunters with special powers. A good chunk of the plot is taken up with Geralt’s attempts to rescue the sorceress Triss Merigold, though you’ll encounter branching narrative paths, a band of rebels, and a dragon in disguise along the way.
The Witcher 2’s combat is complex and exciting. You can throw bombs, use magic, lay traps, use ranged or close combat weapons, and more. Skills can be improved and specialized in, too. Want to be a stealth character, specializing in laying traps and hitting enemies from a distance? Go for it. Is magic up your alley? Bring on those Witcher Signs. Engaging combat helped bolster an intriguing story with excellent writing and branching paths, making The Witcher 2 one of the best RPGs out there.
Next: 20 - The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind