To lead and conquer! To plan and grow as the greatest of them all! Here’s what, in a nutshell, are the best strategic role-playing games of all time.
Strategy role-playing games came to life in 1982 with the release of The Dragon and Princess title. It was the first game transporting players to a separate battle screen to resolve the encountered conflict. But overall, the entire sub-genre represents heavy tabletop role-playing inspiration from titles like Dungeons & Dragons. However, it did not initially gain as much recognition as it should, becoming more of a niche recommendation for hardcore players. Everything changed around 2010 when digital distribution platforms like Steam started helping developers connect with their audiences. From then on, they could deliver what the recipients wanted, and that’s how the best strategic role-playing games became a thing.
Features That Define Great Strategic RPG Games
What is a strategic role-playing game? The title of this genre mixes the essential role-playing and tactical features, focusing on character development, discovering new locations, and real-time or turn-based battles. So, combat is vital, and acquiring better skills can make the difference between winning or losing. Such games rarely provide exploration – it does not matter as much as in classic titles of this genre. But you should know they exist in several subcategories like turn-based, real-time, wargames, and tower defense. Sometimes, these traits mix to create unique compositions. Therefore, in some games on Steam, players focus on considering the terrain – but in others, their hero or unit skills are all that matter. Luckily, specific descriptions will help you learn what to expect.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Directors Cut
It is a standalone version of the add-on to Shadowrun Returns, expanding its content with new missions, improved combat, alternative endings, and a better character development system.
And it combines fantasy themes with cyberpunk reality!
Become a shadowrunner to join a team of unique characters looking for opportunities to earn some cash. But something goes wrong, and soon, the team will have to confront threats they didn’t even know existed. Shadowrun Director’s Cut is a highly engaging storyline, with turn-based combat and plenty of character development options. So you better prepare a decent plan to beat all these enemies!
This single-player recommendation combines real-time with role-playing features to deliver a free-roaming sandbox where you can achieve whatever you want.
But it takes place in a post-apocalyptic reality, so building a great career is more problematic than easy.
Lead one to fifty characters to explore 870 square kilometers of hostile world. Learn that this world is really alive, and things happen all the time and everywhere. Each character in this game has a life! Work, construct a base, fight in real-time, and become whatever you want. Injury, hunger, and fatigue can affect your experience, so expect hours of incredibly realistic fun.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
It is a continuation of the iconic game from 2014, where players control the fate of one to even four characters traveling the world of Rivellon.
The action takes place a thousand years after the events of the last installation following the story of the hunt for powerful Sourcerers.
Pick from six available characters or create a unique hero by choosing race and class. Explore this world and discover how accurately it responds to your decisions! It is a classic role-playing title focusing on traveling, developing skills, collecting equipment, and playing the role. Except for turn-based combat requiring the use of the environment for gaining an advantage on the battlefield.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
|Developer:||Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.|
It is a perfect game if you are looking for the most memorable characters in the history of strategic role-playing titles. And it is so much fun!
Play as Laharl, a freshly awakened prince receiving news about his father’s death. To reclaim the throne, he must recruit his most loyal allies! This unique tale overflows with clever humor, hilarious puns, unexpected plot twists, and anime-like audiovisuals. Prepare for turn-based combat, high replayability, characters’ charm, and hours of joy!
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
As a remake of FFT, the game delivers proven role-playing adventures and remarkably complex combat choices. And it introduces two more character classes – Onion Knight and Dark Knight!
Engage in epic battles set in the war-torn world of Ivalice. Hire new soldiers, upgrade your equipment, and complete missions. But be careful – every journey across the map may result in random encounters with enemies, and this title features permadeath! Only turn-based combat can save you, but it definitely requires some strategic sense.
Shining Force 2
When the powerful jewels protecting Door to Darkness disappear without a trace, demonic power falls on the kingdom of Granseal. And you will be the one to save the situation!
Embark on an epic journey as Bowie – a young warrior chosen to fight against a dark enemy. This game focuses on exploration and turn-based combat by splitting into two independent segments. Traveling alone, you can visit cities, exchange teammates, or enjoy your time. But when fighting, your people are with you, and you must use all your strategic skills to survive. Failing means losing all your gold!
Jagged Alliance 3
Go to Grand Chien, lead your units, and save the country’s president in this hostile environment!
JA3 is a turn-based video game where you will lead a squad of soldiers completing subsequent missions. Every success brings more money and a better reputation – that always means help in the darkest hour! Choose from many available mercenaries and enjoy the realistic physics of each attack! Especially since all these great features happen in a non-linear story full of activities and satisfying battles.
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Join the Brotherhood of Steel and change the post-apocalyptic world! But in such a desperate reality, only forgotten technology can help you achieve this ambitious goal.
FT is an excellent recommendation for all Fallout series fans, especially its first two titles. Complete missions and fight multiplying enemies – solo or in multiplayer. You can use a powerful arsenal of weapons and vehicles to dominate turn-based battles and develop your teammates’ skills. But the absolute gem of this production is the atmosphere – heavy, brutal, and fun!
Classic role-playing games are fun, but sometimes, they lack that spark of adrenaline and the fear of losing. That’s why strategic story-driven titles exist – they combine a remarkable plot with a tactical rush, introducing more options to resolve a conflict. This list guarantees a variety of themes: military, post-apocalyptic, fantasy, anime, or even cyberpunk. Feel free to explore and choose the best of the best!