A lot has changed about mobile gaming in the past few years, especially when it comes to the genre of the Role-Playing games. In the past, it proved virtually impossible to fit a satisfying, full-length RPG into the small memory of a cellphone, much less having the hardware that would allow these devices to play anything as graphically-impressive as a standard RPG.
Thankfully, in this day and age, almost all smartphones today have the power and storage capacity to run great RPGs with stunning visuals and deep gameplay mechanics. Today on pinoytechblog, I’ll be listing my TOP 5 picks for the best Western RPG games that originated on the either PC or Console. Japanese Role-Playing Games (or JRPGs) probably deserve their own list as a lot of them have also broken into the Android gaming market.
5) The Bard’s Tale
Released in 2004 for the Playstation 2 and Xbox, The Bard’s Tale is basically a parody of the Western RPG. The humor of this game is top-notch, featuring a hero that cares more about finding women and drinking ale instead of saving the world. Gameplay wise, it resembles an action adventure more than an RPG, but it does use a lot of elements found in classic western RPGs like a magic system, and a quest system. It would receive an Android release years later in 2011, with barely anything taken away from the original content. As of this writing, it sells for PHP 99 for the full game.
4) Baldur’s Gate I and II, Enhanced Edition
Back in their initial releases in 1998 (the first game) and 2000 (the second game), Baldur’s Gate as a series revolutionized the isometric RPG genre. It also influenced countless fantasy RPGs that would come after it, notably Dragon Age and Pillars of Eternity. Ported to Android and iOS in 2012 and 2013 by Beamdog Studios, the Enhanced Edition version of both games added substantial new elements to the game.
Some of the new additions include four recruitable characters not found in the original, with their own backstories, quests, skill sets, and unique dialogue. A standalone scenario was added as well, called The Black Pits, which throws players into the roles of imprisoned fighters who must do combat in arena for the enjoyment of the crowds and the arena master, ‘Baeloth the Entertainer’. Both games retail for around PHP 340 each, and feature in-app purchases that cost anywhere between PHP 82 and PHP 123 each.
3) Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall
We’re also lumping two role-playing games in the same number for this one despite Dragonfall and Returns being separate entries. This is because Shadowrun Returns, on its own, really feels like it’s missing something that would make it truly satisfying. Luckily for Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall supplements it.
Both Shadowrun games take players into unfamiliar territory by throwing them into a setting that’s best described as fantasy and sci-fi thrown together into a blender. For example, you can choose to play one of five fantasy races, namely human, elf, dwarf, ork, and troll, but then immediately have the choice of making your elf character either be a character who controls mechanized drones, or a street-smart hacker that excels in breaching cybersecurity. The combat system is a lot of fun as well, and the devs really thought about how a game like this would work on a touchscreen interface due to how smooth the controls feel. You can get Returns for PHP 88 right now, while those interested in Dragonfall can get a hold of it for PHP 133 while the holidays are still around.
2) Jade Empire
In its heyday, Bioware was king of the western RPG, offering such gems as Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Knights of the Old Republic. One overlooked masterpiece, however, is Jade Empire, released in 2005 for the original Xbox. It contrasts heavily with its peers because its setting is based on Ancient China, and instead of equipping weapons and armor, players concern themselves with which martial arts style to use.
In this game, players embark on a quest to stop the machinations of the Emperor, who was once heralded as a hero. But in reality, he took advantage of the water god in order to end a drought plaguing his nation. The touch controls are intuitive, and the jump from the original controller setup to touchscreen is barely felt. Jade Empire acts as a refereshing, alternative RPG with controls that feel different, and one of the most ambitious storylines of its generation. The priciest title in this list, gamers can get this epic game for PHP 485.
1)Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Speaking of Bioware hits, my Number One pick has to be the first Knights of the Old Republic. Its every Star Wars fan’s fantasy, as you take control of a main character who eventually becomes a Jedi. And what’s cooler than being able to wield a lightsaber and use awesome force powers against the dark side? Released in 2003, critics heralded KOTOR as one of, if not the, greatest Star Wars game of all time This is because of its colorful cast of characters, an epic story that took players across the galaxy, and a complex battle system.
The game made its smooth transition to Android mobile in 2014, thanks to the efforts of Aspyr Media, the same group that ported Jade Empire to the same platform. In fact, I would encourage you, reader, to get the Android version of Knights of the Old Republic if you’re a fan of role-playing games in any way, or a Star Wars fan. You can get the full KOTOR experience for only PHP 149.