The world is abuzz with news about the biggest, most technically impressive games, and the RPG genres are no exception.

2023’s hit Baldur’s Gate 3 could melt many even modern PCs, and The Witcher 3, even without the next-gen update can be a little bit taxing on older machines despite already being eight years old.

This is obviously not optimal, but thankfully there are many excellent RPGs which should be quite happy running on an older or slower machine just fine.

They won’t all necessarily agree with an integrated graphics cards, should it be your only option, but many of them have system requirements low enough for it to be worth a shot anyway.

The list below features six games, each representing a different type of a role-playing game, just to provide a nice range.

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Fallout 3 Game Of The Year Edition 2009-10-13 RPG Bethesda Game Studios
Baldurs Gate II Enhanced Edition 2013-11-15 RPG Overhaul Games
The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind Goty Edition 2002-04-29 RPG Bethesda Game Studios
Transistor 2014-05-20 Indie Supergiant Games
Alpha Protocol 2010-05-27 Action & Shooter Obsidian Entertainment
Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition 2010-09-29 RPG BioWare
Two Worlds Epic Edition 2009-04-30 RPG Reality Pump Studios
Dark Messiah Of Might Magic 2006-10-25 Fighting Arkane Studios
Risen 2009-10-30 RPG Piranha Bytes
Risen 2 Dark Waters Gold Edition 2012-04-26 Adventure Piranha Bytes
Risen 3 Complete Edition 2014-08-13 RPG Piranha Bytes
Jade Empire Special Edition 2007-02-27 Action & Shooter BioWare
Arcanum Of Steamworks And Magick Obscura 2001-08-22 RPG Troika Games
Planescape Torment Enhanced Edition 2017-04-11 Strategy Beamdog
Mass Effect Legendary Edition 2021-05-14 Action RPG BioWare
Mass Effect Collection 2008-05-28 RPG BioWare
Shadowrun Returns 2013-07-25 Adventure Harebrained Schemes
Shadowrun Dragonfall Directors Cut 2014-09-18 Adventure Harebrained Schemes
Legend Of Grimrock 2012-04-11 Adventure Almost Human Ltd.
Torchlight II 2012-10-02 Adventure Runic Games

cRPG: Planescape: Torment

Release date:2017-04-11
Genre:Strategy
Developer:Beamdog

Planescape: Torment is a time-honored classic, which has helped define what a story-driven cRPGs should feel like for decades after release.

It puts you in the role of The Nameless One, a heavily scarred man awakening on a slab in a gran mortuary using zombies to do menial work. Amnesiac and seemingly immortal, the journey ahead of you will span weird cities and other planes of the multiverse.

Torment is mostly text-based, with tons of conversations and narration, so it isn’t necessarily the game for your if you’re seeking thrilling action or tactical challenges. However, if you’re really into character-driven story, nuanced choices, and deliciously weird settings, you absolutely shouldn’t ignore this one. It’s the conceptual grandparent of 2019’s instantly classic Disco Elysium.

Key features
  • Untangle the mystery of your immortality
  • Incredible adaptation of the beloved Planescape setting of Dungeons & Dragons
  • Lots of reading involved
  • Received an excellent Enhanced Edition making it easier to play on modern machines

Open world RPG: Risen

Release date:2009-10-30
Genre:RPG
Developer:Piranha Bytes

2009’s Risen is a spiritual successor to the Gothic series, Gothic 2 especially.

You wake up stranded after a shipwreck, on a beach of an island that’s about to become very important to the world. But before that, you’ll need to establish yourself as a major player, ally yourself to one of the factions, and explore the island’s many nook and crannies for gold, gear, and experience. You’ll need all three.

Almost the entire island is technically available to you from the beginning, but in a true Piranha Bytes fashion there’s no level scaling to keep you alive and it will take time, money for you to get stronger. The game has a bit of expected Piranha Bytes “jank”, but it isn’t difficult to get used to, and when you do, both exploration and combat will reveal themselves to be very satisfying.

Key features
  • A large island which hides many secrets, including one of world-shaking importance
  • You have to earn power: find tutors to spend your skill points with
  • Early stages will probably kick your ass many times
  • Spiritual successor to Gothic 2

Action RPG: Mass Effect trilogy

Release date:2012-11-06
Genre:Adventure
Developer:BioWare

While the original Mass Effect still holds to a more RPG roots, ME2 and 3 embrace the fast-paced third-person action in addition to the cinematic conversations and weighty choices which can bite you in the butt in the following game.

Indeed, some decisions from ME1 can and will impact your ME3 campaign in big and small ways, giving the series a large multiple playthrough potential.

ME games are set nearly 200 years in the future, with humanity still being relatively new to the galactic community of different species. You’re playing as Commander Shepard, a veteran soldier who, through unpleasant series of events, becomes the first human agent of the galactic government. What follows are several crises only Shepard is in position to solve, for better or worse.

Key features
  • Three third-person action-RPGs with a cinematically presented story
  • Weighty choices which carry across three games
  • Several classes with a different mix of combat, technical, and biotic aptitudes
  • Should run fine on most PCs, just don’t push the Legendary edition to its limits

Turn-based RPG: Shadowrun Returns / Dragonfall / Hong Kong

Release date:2013-07-25
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Harebrained Schemes

We’re bundling three games here, because technically two of them started as side campaigns for Shadowrun Returns before being turned into stand-alone productions.

The games are based on the Shadowrun tabletop RPG, and adapt both the setting and its systems quite well. Each game tells a different story, with different crews operating in different places in the world.

They are full-on RPGs, with meaningful choices, crew to build relations with, and plenty of side stories woven around the central plot. They also feature a tactical, detailed, turn-based combat powered by action points. Shadowrun features a classless progression system which lets you distribute points however you want, but there are also pre-made class templates if you want to start playing quickly.

Key features
  • Interesting setting mixing fantasy and cyberpunk in a near-future Earth
  • Classless progression
  • Tactical, turn-based combat
  • If you’re only going to try one of these games, try Dragonfall

Dungeon crawl: Legend of Grimrock

Release date:2012-04-11
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Almost Human Ltd.

The Legend of Grimrock is a modern version of an RPG subgenre which used to be much more popular in the old days.

They used to be called dungeon crawlers, and revolved around exploring complex… well, dungeons, solving puzzles, fighting monsters, and trying to keep your small party alive against traps and other dangers.

It’s not a plot-driven game, unlike most other entries on the list, but if you’re interested in truly old-school kind of RPG. You’ll be going through a massive, and conveniently grid-based, Grimrock Dungeons, dealing with challenges one step at a time. Soon your party of convicts will start gaining levels, getting more powerful, and better suited to become the first people ever to emerge from it alive.

Key features
  • Three classes, four races
  • A large complex dungeon to explore
  • A great sequel, Legend of Grimrock 2
  • Inspired by the old-school games like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder

Hack’n’slash: Torchlight II

Release date:2012-10-02
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Runic Games

Perhaps you’d like to play something more action-packed, but, but dislike the first- or third-person perspective.

In this case, the hack’n’slash genre is your friend. In this case, we’re recommending Torchlight II, a 2012 action RPG which hides excellent gameplay and mechanical depth under a friendly, somewhat cartoonish aesthetic and the unquestionably cute presence of a helpful pet.

Torchlight 2 features four classes, Berserker, Embermage, Engineer, and Outlander, and even features a six-player online co-op, so you could delve dungeons and confront hordes together with friends. It might not have the dark fantasy style of Diablo, but it carries its gameplay ideas with pride. And, we reiterate, it has pets, which you can feed special fish to enhance their abilities.

Key features
  • One of the best games in the hack’n’slash genre, and it won’t tax your PC much
  • Four distinct classes
  • 6-player online co-op with no loot war looming over the horizon
  • You can feed your pets mutagenic fish

It’s “RPG” not “RTX”

RPGs, both digital and tabletop ones, are held up by the stories they enable, and the mechanics they provide, not by visual spectacle and big cinematics. These things are nice, of course, but some of the best RPGs were mostly text and some sprites or simple sprites. As a result, having an older machine doesn’t mean you’re barred from having fun with the genre, far from it!

Hopefully this quickfire list of low-spec-friendly RPGs provided you at least with ideas, if not the next few games to try out. If you’re keen to keep looking, the vast catalog of digital offers on our Marketplace is sure to have just the thing that ignites your interest.