Since 1995, developer BioWare has been synonymous with the RPG genre. Over the course of more than two decades, the studio has allowed video game fans everywhere the chance to create its own intricate, personalized narratives through branching quests and difficult moral choices. Though BioWare has managed to craft a variety of quality titles since its inception, some are worth more attention than others. The following are the best games the developer has produced so far.
BioWare’s best games | Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Video game fans may already be aware of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic‘s impact on RPGs. The title is so influential that many regard it as the best Star Wars game ever made. It’s not hard to see why, as Knights of the Old Republic allows die-hard fans the opportunity to experience this universe from varying perspectives. Jedi and Sith are two of many options that also include smugglers and bounty hunters. That’s not to mention the fact that the game is set 4,000 years before the events of the first Star Wars film, which helps establish more fascinating lore.
From a mechanical standpoint, Knights of the Old Republic is outfitted with robust dialogue options and an intricate morality system that judges users on their affinity to the Force’s light or dark side. Gameplay is innovative in that players are allowed to make equipment changes and assign actions right before key battles. This emphasis on strategy was certainly welcome at the time of the title’s launch and continues to be celebrated in RPG communities today.
BioWare’s best games | Mass Effect 2
Nowadays, it’s hard to talk about BioWare without mentioning the original Mass Effect trilogy. Arguably, the franchise reached its pinnacle with Mass Effect 2, as this game perfectly blends RPG elements with intense action sequences. It’s more accessible than its predecessor because of this, but also retains the decision-based DNA that set it apart from most third-person shooters on the market.
Mass Effect 2‘s narrative and quest structure are also noteworthy, as protagonist Shepard is tasked with recruiting mercenaries in order to accomplish the climactic suicide mission. The loyalty expeditions are the game’s highlight and let players can embark on fleshed out side missions that are integral with building relationships with your crew. Strong bonds not only ensure that mostly everyone will survive to the credits but also give you the best story bits the series has to offer.
BioWare’s best games | Jade Empire
Video game fans were shocked when BioWare announced that it would make a completely original IP rather than a direct sequel to the critically and commercially successful Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This new project, titled Jade Empire, proved to be just as worthy of attention, as it immerses players in a science fiction world unlike anything the industry has seen. Clearly inspired by Chinese mythology, it’s not uncommon to see flying cars speed by dim-lit lanterns while navigating across the RPG’s floating platforms.
Jade Empire marked a departure for BioWare in that it heavily incorporates action elements, namely in the form of the martial arts skills that players can learn. There’s a fictional language to discover as well, one that borrows heavily from modern Chinese. This aides in the immersion, which is something that’s hard to pull off when building a fantasy world entirely from scratch.
BioWare’s best games | Dragon Age: Origins
After Mass Effect had launched and BioWare was purchased by EA, many fans feared that the developer would abandon its dungeon-crawling roots in favor of action-heavy experiences. Dragon Age: Origins proved that there was nothing to worry about, as the title borrows heavily from the classic RPG gameplay of Knights of the Old Republic and pays homage to the studio’s intricate quest designs of yesteryear.
From the outset, Origins bombards fans with choices that affect how the narrative moves forward. Choosing races and classes determines how one’s character will be treated by NPCs and what companions will join in on the adventure. The game takes a page from Mass Effect in how it places emphasis on developing relationships with party members, though there are no spacecraft explosions to be found here.
BioWare’s best games | Baldur’s Gate
As BioWare’s popularity began to grow in the late ’90s, the developer defied expectations by doubling down on the RPG genre instead of focusing on mass market appeal. This was made clear through Baldur’s Gate, a tabletop-like title that borrows heavily from Dungeons and Dragons. Adopting the isometric design that Bethesda made famous via its Fallout franchise, the game successfully manages to mimic the features of D&D through its focus on character customization and world-building. It’s easy to see how Baldur’s Gate laid the foundation for BioWare’s decision-based systems going forward.
BioWare’s best games | Dragon Age: Inquisition
Like Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition represents the best of what the Dragon Age franchise has to offer by perfectly balancing its action and RPG mechanics. As the Inquisitor, players are tasked with bringing stability to a world beset by constant war. Combat is challenging, as health doesn’t regenerate and healing options are limited. This forces fans to rely on strategy to take down enemies. A lot of the time, the difference between success and failure lies in how well one assigns tasks to their allies.
Of course, plenty of choice is offered in the form of four races, three classes, genders, and voices. Inquisition‘s world is quite massive, too, and filled with plenty of optional enemy strongholds to overtake and dragons to slay outside of the game’s 80-hour campaign.
Time will tell whether or not Anthem will join the ranks of the titles above. On one hand, the game could evolve the current multiplayer landscape with its unique focus on mech suits and open world environments. On the other, its digital currency system could resemble that of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA, or NBA Live franchises. Fans will learn more when the shooter debuts on February 22, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Here’s hoping it’s a success for BioWare and that the studio continues to make great software in the future. RPG fans are eagerly anticipating a new Dragon Age game, after all.