If you want the best bang for your buck, the go-to video game genre has traditionally been the RPG. Last year we saw a ton of great role-playing games released across all sorts of platforms, and so far it looks like 2018 will be bringing us a lot more. Below we’ve gathered a list of the RPGs set to release this year that we’re looking forward to the most.
Unfortunately, you can see that most of the titles below don’t have a firm release date. This means some of these might slip into 2019 or even later. Also, there’s likely to be many RPGs announced and released later this year that we’re not aware of yet. That being said, we think these games will have a significant impact and give players some fantastic experiences.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age – TBD 2018 (3DS, PS4, Switch)
Square Enix’s Dragon Quest series is one of the longest-running jRPG franchises. The latest game, Dragon Quest XI, released in Japan in Summer of last year, but the West is still waiting for an English translation. This entry is of particular interest because there are significant differences between the 3DS and PlayStation 4 versions that might make choosing which one to purchase quite tricky.
The PS4 and upcoming Switch versions of the game follow the standard look of the series but add a new dimension to gameplay which gives players the ability to explore higher areas in the game. This makes Dragon Quest XI feel a lot more open world and is an improvement over the relatively two-dimensional maps of the past.
The 3DS version has a unique feature which allows players to choose between modern 3D graphics or a 2D version that looks similar to the SNES entries in the series. At some points in the game, you’ll be able to see the 3D version on the top screen and the 2D view on the bottom. Other times the bottom screen will be taken up by menus, maps, and the like, but you’ll have the choice to switch between playing the 2D or 3D version throughout the game.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance – February 13, 2018 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
If you love the gameplay of the Elder Scrolls games, but would like a world more grounded in real historical events, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the game for you. Kingdom Come takes you to 15th century Bohemia and features a realistic depiction of real-world castles and villages. The realistic focus extends to combat as well. Armor, clothing, and weapons will be period-accurate and timing, positioning, and the direction of your strike will factor heavily in whether you’ll stay alive or not.
Kingdom Come has a classless leveling system in which the more you do an action, the stronger you’ll get with it. If you want to be a thief or a rogue, keep using a dagger and bow as well as sneaking and pickpocketing, and you’ll eventually get better at doing those actions. Additionally, the equipment system seems exceptionally robust, with 16 active item slots that let you layer clothing in the same style that fighters did in the middle ages. This game is on track to be a unique and enthralling experience.
Kingdom Hearts 3 – TBD 2018 (PS4, Xbox One)
It’s been 11 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released, and rumors about Kingdom Hearts 3 began to circulate. For a while, it seemed like KH3 would just become vaporware, but in the last few years, we’ve begun to learn bits and pieces about the game.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is set to be the conclusion to the KH trilogy, and we finally got a release date (well a release year) of 2018 at the D23 Expo last July. There haven’t been a ton of details about KH3 released, but that’s typical for Square Enix. One thing we do know is that with Square and Disney behind it, it’ll be one of the biggest titles of 2018.
Monster Hunter World – January 26, 2018 (PS4, Xbox), TBD (PC)
Monster Hunter World is the first game in the main series to be released outside of a Nintendo platform since Monster Hunter 2 in 2006. It will take the action RPG gameplay of the series from the small screen of the 3DS to the high-res of the PS4 and Xbox One (and later PC).
This game has the same excellent gameplay of previous entries, but with some added features like a full dynamic weather and a day-night system. Additionally, players will have to contend with no loading between zones for the first time, so escaping from monsters is much harder than before.
Monster Hunter fans only have a few weeks to wait too. This game will be one of the first major releases of 2018, and you can check out coverage and guides for Monster Hunter World soon!
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord – TBD 2018 (PC)
I absolutely love Mount & Blade, and its standalone expansion Warband, but anyone who’s played them will tell you they haven’t aged well. The visuals and gameplay that can be described as “janky,” but under that is an in-depth simulation of medieval life and satisfying gameplay that makes you work for each land you take for your master or yourself.
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord was announced in 2012, and looks to rectify a lot of the issues from previous games. This time the game takes place in a time that is more reminiscent of the fall of the Roman Empire, the player will have to navigate the politics and combat of the time to find their place in a fragmented world. With better graphics, inventory interface, and AI, this title looks poised to improve on its predecessors.
Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom – March 23, 2018 (PC, PS4)
Level-5’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch brought Studio Ghibli’s unique style and translated it into a beautiful RPG setting. This light-hearted quest following a young boy as he grows into young adulthood is wholly unlike a lot of RPGs, and although it was slow at times, it was a magical journey.
Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom retains the same type of theme as the original, but is set hundreds of years after the first game. We’ll see familiar places like Ding Dong Dell, but this time we’ll take the role of a native inhabitant of the world. As Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, a young king of the cat tribe, you’ll have to fight to take back your throne from the dreaded mouse tribe. The game has been delayed twice, but it looks poised to release in March.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire – TBD 2018 (PC, MacOS, Linux)
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is a direct sequel to 2015’s Pillars of Eternity, and will play much the same as the first game. However, that’s not a bad thing at all as Obsidian’s masterful storytelling made Pillars of Eternity one of the best cRPGs of all time. This will address some of the issues players had with filler combat and companion interactions, and add a customizable boat stronghold.
The class system will make a return, but this time there’ll be three sub-classes for each class that allow for further specialization. You can expect another fantastic story from Obsidian, and a host of smaller improvements as well. I love that the cRPG is making a comeback with Divinity and Pillars of Eternity and I can’t wait to get my hands on this game.
Shenmue 3 – Q3/Q4 2018 (PC, PS4)
We see series come and go, but few franchises have been mourned like Shenmue. It seemed like for years the cult classics Shenmue, and Shenmue 2 would never get a sequel. However, in 2015 series creator Yu Suzuki was given permission by Sega to develop Shenmue 3, and after a very successful Kickstarter, the future of the series seemed bright.
Unfortunately, lack of development updates has cast a shadow of doubt on Shenmue 3, but the developer insists that the team will make their projected 2018 release date. The first two games were cursed by releasing primarily on Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast system and being before their time with their quirky style. However, in years since Shenmue has come into its own, and this year seems perfect for this game.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth – TBD 2018 (PC)
Battle for Azeroth takes World of Warcraft back to its Alliance vs. Horde roots and adds two new continents. For the first time in WoW, you’ll be able to travel to Kul Tiras, which holds a lost human nation, and Zandalar, the homeland of the Trolls. This expansion will come with the typical level increase, this time to 120, and gear adjustments.
One of the most exciting aspects of the upcoming WoW expansion is Warfronts, which brings gameplay reminiscent of the Warcraft RTS games to the MMO. It also adds an artifact called the Heart of Azeroth which can empower your armor with a new item called Azerite. A whopping six new races will join the game as well. The Alliance will get Lightforged Draenei, Void Elves, and Dark Iron Dwarves, while the Horde will get the Nightborne, Highmountain Tauren, and Zandalari Trolls.
World of Warcraft is over 13 years old, and it’s a testament to Blizzard that they can still craft expansions that make players excited to keep playing the game.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life – March 20, 2018 (PS4)
Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami were surprise hits for Sega when they released in the West last year. While most of the series has made it here in one form or another, it wasn’t until Yakuza 0 was localized that the games got the attention they deserved. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has been out in Japan for over a year now, and if what we’ve seen is any indicator it will give new fans to the series in the West even more of what they love with better controls and graphics.
Yakuza 6 brings back series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu as the playable character, and this will be his last game. It’s a colorful, fantastic trip, and this time around the game has a much more open world because it isn’t limited by needing to be developed for the PlayStation 3. There’s no more loading time between fights, and many shops and locations can be entered without loading as well. This is one of my most anticipated games of 2018, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it in March.