- 20. The Outer Worlds
- 19. Nier: Automata
- 18. Horizon Zero Dawn
- 17. Shadowrun Returns
- 16. Starfield
- 15. Fallout: New Vegas
- 14. EVE Online
- 13. Final Fantasy 6
- 12. Fallout 2
- 11. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- 10. Warframe
- 9. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- 8. System Shock 2
- 7. Chrono Trigger
- 6. EarthBound
- 5. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
- 4. Deus Ex
- 3. Xenoblade Chronicles
- 2. Mass Effect 2
- 1. Final Fantasy 7
There have been some amazing Sci-Fi inspired RPGs over the years. Here are some of the 20 Best Sci-Fi RPGs ever made.
Role-playing games and science fiction go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, it’s challenging for fans to resist having aspirations of becoming characters like Sarah Connor or Han Solo. Nevertheless, if players are fortunate, a video game will appear that will allow them to achieve that plus much, much more.
The list that follows honors the sci-fi role-playing games that let you assume the role of legendary heroes by taking into account their nearly 30-year history. You can add a ton of titles to your wishlist if you’re new to the genre. For the veterans, get ready for some nice surprises as well as a walk down memory lane.
Updated on September 27, 2023, by Dominic Allen: There’s just something about sci-fi that people love. It could be because people want to immerse themselves in a future world and ponder what the future will actually look like. It could also be the various futuristic themes that arise in many of these pieces when it comes to AI and first contact.
All of these factors are ripe for sci-fi RPGs. With the recent launch of Starfield, this list was worth updating to include some notable absent titles.
20. The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds is a really enjoyable action role-playing game that was developed by the same team as Fallout New Vegas. It takes place in a future in which people have settled a new star system. Yet not everyone succeeded in getting to their new house. You just so happened to be a member of that unfortunate bunch.
Nevertheless, a mysterious scientist awakens you up at the start of the game and assigns you the responsibility of gathering the materials required to awaken the others. That merely serves as the foundation for what develops into a gripping story with funny dialogue. The gameplay is of equal quality to the tale and is quite enjoyable whether you choose to play stealthily or try to sneak about.
19. Nier: Automata
Although technically an RPG, Nier: Automata might also be categorized as a hack-and-slash. The two genres blend quite well, and the result is tremendously satisfying fighting. It also never gets boring because the title constantly switches up the format by presenting you with interesting new set pieces.
Yet, Nier: Automata offers a rich narrative as well, so it’s not just about fighting. The main conflict in the story is one between machines and androids. However the more you go into it, the more complicated it becomes. In reality, it occasionally might seem overly difficult, but it still manages to be fascinating.
18. Horizon Zero Dawn
You take on the role of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn, a gorgeous world where machines have taken over. The protagonist’s quest to understand herself and the environment she lives in serves as the central theme of the narrative. It functions as a gripping mystery the entire time.
The fighting is equally fascinating. You always have to contend with and dismantle various types of machines. There is a lot of strategy required because each creature has a unique vulnerability that you must find and utilize against them. You must be flexible because not every enemy will respond to the same strategies.
17. Shadowrun Returns
Shadowrun can represent an excellent go-to for fans when they’re not in the mood for D&D or pen-and-paper RPGs. Fortunately for the entire gaming community, this tactical role-playing game delivers the goods in Shadowrun Returns.
Admittedly, this title is one of the shorter games to make this list. Depending on how much you’re into reading the dialogue, you can finish it in around 12 hours. But finding out what happens next in the cyberpunk Seattle of the future is well worth the price of admission.
Starfield is a tremendously vast role-playing game that extends the Bethesda formula across 120 distinct star systems in the cosmos. The personalization and player choice are out of this world, but the objectives are of the same high caliber as you would expect from Bethesda. There are a ton of various playstyles and toys available.
If you only take the time to experiment with the shipbuilder, you can create some truly awesome ships. The narrative is really astounding, particularly toward the conclusion. Never before in a Bethesda game will the events merely leave you speechless. As long as you play the bits you like, the game is a delight. Not everything in this game will be to your taste because there is so much of it.
15. Fallout: New Vegas
Have you grown tired of games that promise to have a meaningfully different story based on your choices? Do you laugh when a developer claims that you could play the entire game with dialogue choices? Fallout: New Vegas will make you believe that both are possible.
This game accomplishes having on-point gameplay while delivering well-written stories with deep and meaningful lore (which is one of the reasons why its storyline is considered among the best in RPG history). Bethesda proved with Fallout 3 that the series could work as a first-person shooter. But Fallout: New Vegas allowed you to revel in that success. For this reason, and many others, you will struggle to find fans that don’t consider it the best of the FPS games.
14. EVE Online
If you triple the size of the largest science fiction sandbox you can imagine, you might come close to the size of EVE Online. You are free to role-play as anything you choose in the fullest meaning of the word. If you like, you can combine your roles as a pirate, smuggler, and captain of industry.
The game does put a lot of emphasis on many career routes, including those in business, industry, the military, or exploration. While you may become engrossed in the quests and accumulating fortune, successful gameplay often hinges on your relationships with other players. And if you hang around long enough, you can find yourself taking part in some of the biggest online competitions (or wars) in the history of video games.
13. Final Fantasy 6
The final mainline 2D entry into the Final Fantasy series was a certified banger SNES RPG. Originally released in the West as Final Fantasy 3, the series definitely saved the best 2D entry for last with a sweet steampunk setting and one of the most iconic villains in all of RPGs.
Kefka is one nasty bad guy you’re incredibly eager to take down, especially with his iconic evil laugh. It isn’t the best SNES RPG nor the best Final Fantasy game, but still in the top echelon of RPGs in the 16-bit era.
12. Fallout 2
Fallout: New Vegas is the series’ best first-person shooter, but Fallout 2 is its best isometric RPG. One may argue that it represents the series’ greatest even though its graphics haven’t held up as well as those of subsequent games.
The isometric RPG experience that Fallout 2 devotes itself to is a master class in the genre. As if that weren’t enough, many fans believe that nothing Bethesda has developed can compare to the game’s narrative or branching routes. No gamer should miss out on experiencing the Interplay era of the Fallout universe, but you might want to do it with mods that enhance the experience.
11. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deux Ex: Human Revolution is a brilliant blend of genres. The voice acting and script can have their rough edges, but its deep commitment to building a near-future science fiction world holds it together. Blade Runner fans, cyberpunk fiction junkies, and even art history majors can find something to love.
If Deus Ex: Human Revolution does one thing well, it’s offering the player an abundance of choices. If you dive into this experience, you will rejoice at the amount of freedom you have throughout. The game may look like a straightforward shooter on its surface, but it’s a deep sci-fi RPG experience to its core.
Warframe is a third-person action RPG where you play as the Tenno, a mysterious warrior race that harnesses the power of Warframes to fight. Set far in the future, you will journey through the Solar System, battling against alien races and robots.
Warframe is free-to-play, with thousands of hours of content that involves running, jumping, gunning, and slashing your way through levels at break-neck speeds. Through its fluid combat system, the game remains engaging as you grind out parts to upgrade and create new Warframes, weapons, and abilities.
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9. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Action role-playing game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is set in the early days of the Galactic Empire, before the events of the first three films. The protagonist of the game is Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis, who escaped the Purge and is being sought for by Imperial Inquisitors who want to exterminate all trace of the Jedi Order.
You’ll encounter fresh people and droids along the road, engage in combat with familiar Star Wars foes like Stormtroopers and AT-STs, and develop your Jedi skills. The sci-fi genre has always regarded Star Wars as a mainstay, and Fallen Order wonderfully captures the best elements of the saga as a whole.
8. System Shock 2
System Shock 2 is the RPG survival horror game that proved Ken Levine was one of the most innovative designers in the world. Without the success of this game, we may not have had the pleasure of experiencing the original Bioshock. You can say what you want about its sequel or Bioshock Infinite, but you can’t claim that System Shock 2 isn’t a linchpin in the history of video games.
For starters, the story and atmosphere feel like an epic three-way marriage between The Thing, Alien, and Blade Runner. It’s an absolute shame that it was almost impossible to play for so many years. You should do yourself a favor and dive into this deep sci-fi horror RPG that continues to stand alone over 20 years after its original release.
7. Chrono Trigger
A masterwork RPG that does far more than stand the test of time is Chrono Trigger. Since its 1995 release, this game can compete with the finest of any decade. This game definitely belongs on the list of the greatest RPGs ever made, and it won’t go out of style anytime soon.
The best characters, battle systems, and soundtrack ever made make Chrono Trigger stand out. Once you’re immersed in its world, you won’t want to put it down thanks to its many endings and appealing visual. You could do far worse by purchasing any other sci-fi RPG (or even the best time travel games) now, nearly 30 years after its release.
One of the most distinctive and cherished role-playing games in history is EarthBound, also known as Mother 2 in Japan. Even if it was painfully 90s in presentation, its advertising had its own peculiarities. It has a “It smells!” scratch and sniff portion in its Nintendo Power advertisement before to its June 1, 1995, North American release.
EarthBound is frequently included on lists of the greatest video games ever made, so it’s far from being horrible. You owe it to yourself to try it if you appreciate the classic turn-based RPG genre of the SNES. Just don’t hold out hope for a Mother 3 release in North America anytime soon if you already own it and adore it.
5. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Regardless of the bickering over the latest Star Wars media, one game still has the power to unify fans. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic found its way to store shelves on July 15, 2003, and it still deserves respect as one of the best sci-fi RPGs ever made.
To this day, its gameplay remains solid, and it’s an excellent mechanic to draw you even farther into its stellar storytelling. Without a doubt, the story rivals the very best of what Star Wars has ever offered its fanbase and has some truly special characters that fans will never forget.
4. Deus Ex
One of the most legendary games of all time has to be the original Deus Ex. While not a pretty game by today’s standards, once you look beyond the graphics, you’ll find yourself playing one of the most immersive and engaging sci-fi RPGs of all time.
Not only does Deus Ex still hold up, but it was incredibly influential to the immersive sim genre, and its impact can be seen in titles like Prey (2017) and Deathloop. With the amount of player choice here, you can play this game countless times and still try something new. It’s frankly a masterpiece that forever changed the gaming landscape going forward.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade Chronicles is a turn-based/action-fusion RPG that takes its characters on an adventure through the bodies of two massive beings, the Bionis and Mechonis. These two titans were locked in battle until they defeated each other, leaving only their massive corpses behind. Eventually, organic life flourished on the Bionis titan, while robotic creatures called Mechons appeared on the opposing Titan.
Caught in the crossfire of these beings’ eternal war, Shulk and his friends must discover the secrets of their planet. With an interconnected world that spans three major games, the Xenoblade Chronicles series has tons of lore to dive into, with a deep and complicated combat system that is rewarding once you get the hang of it.
2. Mass Effect 2
Any Mass Effect title could fill a spot on any “best of” list for sci-fi or RPGs. However, the second one is arguably the zenith of the series because it refined every element in unprecedented and unmatched ways.
Where it most excels is in its pacing, as the game has virtually no filler. The whole adventure is about recruiting and getting to know the best warriors and specialists in the galaxy. Each of these characters has a well-defined personality and interesting backstory. Getting to know them over the course of the game is one of the most enjoyable experiences in gaming.
1. Final Fantasy 7
Since its debut in 1997, the iconic JRPG Final Fantasy 7 has remained a mainstay of the genre. The universe of Final Fantasy 7 is one in which a huge industrial conglomerate named Shinra is converting the planet’s life force into energy, known as Mako.
Along with his comrades, Cloud embarks on a mission to restore the planet’s life force flow and halt its impending annihilation. Final Fantasy 7 is still one of the best sci-fi RPGs and one of the greatest games ever made because to its timeless themes and fantastic sci-fi environment.