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Video games are a great form of escapist entertainment, and within them, it’s hard to beat RPGs when it comes to distancing yourself from reality. Games of fantasy and magic, sci-fi adventures, and grim descents into new territory are where the RPG genre flexes its versatile muscles. A healthy mix of games saw fans revel in modern takes on beloved classics, bold reinventions of established franchises, and spin-offs that explored new ground.
While some of the entries on the list are completely expected, you’ll also find several surprises below. In fact, a vast chunk of the entries below consist of games that were largely overshadowed by the constant release of AAA games. They might be niche games, but to the people who adore this genre, several of them were the best entries yet in long-running franchises. We’ve gathered up all of the games that won critical acclaim on GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic.
For more lists looking back at months of top-class gaming experiences, you can check out GameSpot’s 10 best games of 2023 alongside several other features celebrating the biggest highlights of the year.