4 – The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Initial Release Date: November 11, 2011
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: Skyrim took the dreams of Oblivion and Morrowind and realized them, with a larger open world than ever before that functioned more or less smoothly and without too many terrible, weird glitches. After (once again) escaping from the law, you discover you are the Dragonborn, one who can speak the language of dragons and take their powers. Very convenient, since the dragons just came back! They’re terrorizing the local villages, and you can help them or totally ignore them as you see fit.
With multiple classes and races, plenty of stats to allocate power to, and quests and sidequests that scale with you, you’ll never run out of things to do in Skyrim. I spent hours traversing the snowy peaks of the continent before bothering to climb the mountain and actually find out I was the Dragonborn at all. If there’s a complaint to be had about Skyrim, it’s that its main story isn’t substantial enough to carry the game. But given how much else there is to do outside of that–from becoming the Jarl of every town, to transforming into a vampire, to joining the Dark Brotherhood, to getting married–you may find yourself sinking hundreds of hours in before you even scratch the surface of the short main campaign.
Next: 3 - Mass Effect 2