Hardcore RPG aficionados might find themselves a little dismayed over what would seem to be an underwhelming selection on the Xbox One. After all, it is a console more associated with high octane action-adventure titles, first-person shooters, and casual offerings that don't satisfy the need for depth and complexity that most RPG fans crave. But they definitely aren't entirely absent, of that much you can rest entirely assured.
In fact, after just a little bit of in-depth digging through the catalog, there are actually plenty of engrossing and immersive bits of RPG goodness to be had. Unfortunately, there are just as many titles that look entirely appealing at a glance, but almost immediately lose their luster once the player actually sits down for a dedicated session or two. However, GameRant is here to point you in the right direction. Here are five great RPGs for the Xbox One, alongside five that you may want to pass up, despite the temptation to the contrary.
10 TOTALLY AMAZING: Dark Souls (The Entire Series)
RPG experiences do not get much more hardcore than those offered by the Dark Souls trilogy, making them an obvious inclusion here. However, we're going to need to condense them into a single entry in order to avoid them taking up half of the entire list.
The Dark Souls series' legendary reputation for a high difficulty curve is well earned. Its combat system is punishingly intricate, and its infamously impressive boss encounters are without compare. Players can easily turn their hours into weeks as they tinker with different character builds, delve into its entire unique PVP and multiplayer options, or simply bask in its hauntingly beautiful atmosphere and setting.
9 BEST AVOIDED: Animus - Stand Alone
Animus is billed as a budget-friendly Dark Souls clone for mobile, and in that respect, it's actually a fairly decent offering. However, its latent arrival on consoles like the Xbox One really highlights why it should have stayed on the platform it originated on.
Aside from the usual complaints stemming from mobile games that are ported to every platform possible with the sole purpose of monetizing them more thoroughly, Animus really is almost purely a watered-down Dark Souls experience. It simply doesn't make sense when offered on a platform that actually supports the game it's lazily attempting to emulate and cash in on.
8 TOTALLY AMAZING: Pillars of Eternity
If you're one of those gamers that often find themselves pining for the golden years of the CRPG genre, then Pillars of Eternity was handmade for you. The industry veterans at Obsidian Entertainment shamelessly put their classical roots on full display here.
Taking place in the richly detailed and original fantasy setting of Eora, Pillars of Eternity plays exactly like a modernized take on timeless classics such as Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale. From character creation to party assembly, true RPG fans will find themselves absolutely delighted by its mechanical depth and immersive lore.
7 BEST AVOIDED: Lords of the Fallen
Lords of the Fallen is an answer to the less-than-intuitive question, "What if you took Dark Souls and made it a little easier, and shoved a bunch of Viking stuff into it?" Granted, Dark Souls' comparisons are something of a trope unto themselves in terms of reviews, but it's difficult to avoid when a title is so clearly attempting to cash in on the trend.
The plot swaps Dark Souls' vague, yet engrossing existential mystique for unoriginal and predictable plot devices. And while the combat itself can be an admittedly savagely fun romp, losing out on the punishingly high stakes typical to Dark Souls encounters robs it of the crucial sense of achievement that is the beating heart of their true merit.
6 TOTALLY AMAZING: Wasteland 2
Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic CRPG that calls back to the original, pre-Bethesda roots of the Fallout series, featuring classic turn-based combat and a party roster that can include up to seven characters. If you're a classic Fallout fan with reservations about Bethesda's take on the series, this is a love letter addressed directly to you.
Taking place within the setting established by the original Wasteland, released way back in 1988, players need to take a thoughtfully tactical approach when it comes to building their Rangers and tackling the titular Arizona wasteland. The game is actually due for a sequel set within Colorado, currently targeted for release in early 2020.
5 BEST AVOIDED: Kingdom Come: Deliverance
The basis of Kingdom Come: Deliverance looks fantastic on paper. It's essentially an Elder Scrolls title without the fantasy elements, set in fifteenth-century Bohemia and placing a laser focus on realism, attention to period-accurate detail, and mechanical complexity.
However, practically everything in its execution leaves an awful lot to be desired. It falls victim to a wide array of game-breaking bugs that would make even Bethesda a bit red in the cheeks, and the convoluted, "realistic" mechanics that should have been a selling point end up frustrating players into quitting more often than they contribute positively to the experience.
4 TOTALLY AMAZING: Darkest Dungeon
Darkest Dungeon is what you'd wind up with if you were to toss a pulp comic and an H.P Lovecraft novel into a blender and then sprinkle some dark fantasy elements over the top. Players are tasked with recruiting a ragtag group of dubious heroes to cleanse their inherited estate of eldritch horrors, all while attempting to maintain their sanity.
It's essentially a roguelike dungeon crawler, but with a heavy emphasis on party management and brutal, unforgiving combat. Permadeath of recruited characters is almost inevitable, and players are almost always attempting to make the best of a bad situation as they succumb to affliction, injury, and madness. It's a grueling experience in only the best of ways.
3 BEST AVOIDED: Immortal: Unchained
As if this list weren't overloaded with attempts to profitably repackage the Dark Souls experience, Immortal: Unchained breaks the mold in roping in a certain memetic Skyrim comparison. It's Dark Souls, but in space, and with guns.
While that seems like an interesting take at first, it gets incredibly boring, and it does so very quickly. There's little (if any) deviation from the dodge-shoot-dodge-shoot tactical doctrine, making encounters seem frustratingly trivial after players settle into its rhythm. At least the art direction is sound, as it is definitely a pretty game. It just isn't satisfying from a gameplay perspective.
2 TOTALLY AMAZING: Divinity: Original Sin
Divinity: Original Sin is an incredible spin on CRPG convention, rendering the typically dense and difficult to digest genre mainstays much more accessible to modern audiences. While that's a feat unto itself, it went on to prove that the genre could also be made an extremely viable option for couch co-op experiences.
The game's accessibility doesn't sacrifice challenge or depth. It contains a mixture of rock-paper-scissors elemental damage and environmental interaction, encouraging players to think outside of the box in terms of combat, and actively strategize with their cooperative partner. It's an absolute blast that any coop enthusiast should leap at the opportunity to snag.
1 BEST AVOIDED: Underworld Ascendant
The Ultima series and its associated spin-offs were once absolute cornerstones of the RPG genre, but its modern titles have become increasingly sub-par as it continues to desperately cling to relevancy. Underworld Ascendant, unfortunately, sums up this disappointing trend pretty succinctly.
The game was critically panned for its impressively bad state at launch, with many prominent reviewers proclaiming it unfinished and entirely broken. Repetitive, menial quests and an incredibly cumbersome save system did little to help matters. Though a significant patch aimed squarely at its worst issues would follow, it wasn't enough to render this game an enjoyable RPG experience.