In the modern gaming landscape, role-playing games are the most popular genre. With numerous sub-genres, RPGs are quite possibly the most diverse and distinct categories in gaming.
From fabled fantasy realms to worlds devastated by apocalypse and war, there's a role-playing game to suit every player's preference.
Action role-playing games, among other sub-genres of RPG, are the most sought-out options. These titles are quintessential role-playing experiences focusing more on their combat systems and interactivity.
These games are best suited for users who love to have choices in their role-playing experience in terms of gameplay options.
There are numerous good action role-playing games worth playing and sinking hours into. Fans of the genre are bound to have played some of these excellent action role-playing titles.
With this being the time of the year when not many interesting games are released before the holidays, readers may fancy going back to some classic action role-playing games to re-experience these awe-inspiring worlds.
Here are the five best action role-playing games worth replaying in 2022.
Note: This article reflects the author's opinions.
1) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt Red's The Witcher series of games, based on books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, are some of the best role-playing games out there. Among the titles in the trilogy, The Witcher 3 is unanimously held as the best.
The Witcher 3, just like its two predecessors, boasts robust role-playing mechanics that immerse players for hours in its world. It is also the first open-world game in the series, with proper quests and side-quests littered across its vast explorable map.
The title received overwhelming praise for its storytelling and quest design, especially the side-quests. Some side-quests offer better storytelling than other titles do in their main story quests, which says a lot about the quality of the narrative and writing of The Witcher 3.
Even the gameplay here is varied, with a plethora of activities to partake in.
Because it is a role-playing game, The Witcher 3 gives users full agency over the narrative, with various branching choices that have long-lasting consequences. It also has multiple endings, factoring into its replayability.
If that's not enough reason to revisit the fantasy lands of The Witcher 3, the title also has multiple difficulties, a new game+ mode, and two major expansions.
2) Dark Souls 3
The developers at FromSoftware are the best at creating unique and thought-provoking stories. They are inventive and always try to give gamers something new and innovative to play and experience with every other title they develop.
With their most recent game, Elden Ring, being a massive success among an extensive group of players, it's probably the best time to explore or revisit the developer's previous catalog of titles.
What better way to start this journey than playing the spiritual predecessor to Elden Ring, Dark Souls 3.
It is the amalgamation of ideas from both Dark Souls and Bloodborne, with the mechanics and themes carried over straight from the original Dark Souls but with a fast-paced combat à la Bloodborne.
Users coming fresh from Elden Ring will feel at home with Dark Souls 3 and its action RPG system, as most of these systems are carried over to the former without much alteration.
Dark Souls 3 also has numerous things for returning gamers, i.e., two-story DLCs with new areas to explore, new bosses to conquer, and a bunch of new armor sets and weapons to collect.
Apart from the story expansions, the game also has a huge replayability factor built-in with a new game plus, numerous build and weapon combinations to experiment with and various character quests culminating in the multiple endings players can get.
3) Mass Effect 2
Bioware's action role-playing magnum opus Mass Effect 2 requires no introduction to users. The game is universally known to be one of the most outstanding achievements in the role-playing genre.
It tells the story of Commander Shepard, following right after the events of the last title, with him and his crew aboard the Normandy, going on several fascinating adventures across the galaxy.
The robust third-person combat in Mass Effect 2 is the game's main focus, with various weapons to add to Shepard and his companion's loadouts. The role-playing mechanics with Bioware's unique flair also heavily impact its story.
Dialogue trees with branching decisions, each with their own set of consequences and various degrees of impact on the main narrative, keep the experience fresh with every other playthrough. Add to that multiple endings that give an added incentive for players to revisit the Bioware classic.
4) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a sweet surprise for fans of the action role-playing genre. The game is an entirely fresh take on the mythical franchise, with a somewhat similar story but a wholly new take on gameplay and world exploration.
Breath of the Wild is an action role-playing game set in a sprawling open world of Hyrule. It has vast stretches of land to explore at users' discretion and is filled with gameplay opportunities that were never thought possible in an open-world title, let alone a Legend of Zelda title.
It revels in giving gamers the freedom to do anything right from the get-go. It never forces them to pursue a given objective or partake in certain quests so as to enjoy the game at its fullest.
It's entirely possible to beeline the main story by interacting with many of the optional activities. Players are also equally likely to spend hundreds of hours doing just the optional content without even touching the main story quests.
Added to that are the vast weapons and armor sets that users can collect, numerous cooking recipes to discover, and shrines (the game's dungeons) to visit, which should keep returning gamers busy until the holiday season.
The announcement of the sequel also gives an added incentive for readers to revisit this open-world masterpiece.
5) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls franchise is the posterchild of good western role-playing games. While Morrowind and Oblivion are all-time classics that, despite their age, hold up reasonably well, they still don't hold a candle against the mighty Skyrim.
At this point, Skyrim is a household name among fans of the role-playing genre. The title has been ported across multiple console generations, with each generation getting slightly increased texture resolution and framerates.
The game, due to its age, can often feel janky and quite buggy, but looking past that, Skyrim provides an unprecedented amount of freedom that is rarely seen in video games. It is the living embodiment of the 'be anyone, go anywhere and do anything' style of open-world action role-playing games.
With a robust combat system with variations in both melee, ranged, and magical attacks, players are given complete freedom to explore and enjoy Skyrim on their own terms.
They can become noble warriors and serve the kingdom of Skyrim. Or users can become thieves, looting NPCs of their valuables and employing stealth in combat. Or they can become mages and learn spells and conjurations to summon otherworldly allies to serve them in battle.
The choices are endless in Skyrim.
Note: This list is not in any particular order and solely reflects the writer's opinion.