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The best RPGs for the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a smash-hit with a wide library of titles across all genres, so it should come as no surprise that it has amassed a wealth of great role-playing games. Many of them are ports of titles previously released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but others are exclusive to Nintendo’s hybrid system — such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Whether you’re looking for a turn-based classic or something new with a massive open world, the portable console has it all. Here are the best role-playing games on Nintendo Switch.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3
4/5
T
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Monolith Soft
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
July 29, 2022
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the latest installment in the beloved JRPG series. It takes fans to the land of Aionios to follow Noah and Mio — members of rival factions that get swept up in a storyline that overshadows their differences. The two will team up with a variety of other characters as they try to unravel a mystery that has serious consequences for all of Aionios. Real-time action and a complex narrative are the stars of the show, although stunning graphics and enough side quests to keep you occupied for 100+ hours make this one of the best RPGs on Switch. You can also check out Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for more JRPG action.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
4/5
T
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Simulator, Strategy, Tactical, Hack and slash/Beat 'em up
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
June 24, 2022
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has a little bit of everything. It offers the same Musou-style combat found in the original Fire Emblem Warriors, it brings back familiar faces from Three Houses, and there’s just enough depth to appease both RPG and action fans. Its fast-paced action and Fire Emblem coat of paint might be the main attractions, but the ability to use a tactical mini-map to help plan out each battle gives it more substance than your usual Musou game. You’ll also want to play through the game multiple times, as each of the three Houses offers its own unique story.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Fire Emblem Engage

Fire Emblem Engage
4/5
T
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS), Tactical, Adventure
Developer
Intelligent Systems
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
January 20, 2023
If you’re not as interested in the social aspect of Fire Emblem, and instead come for the tactical battles, then Fire Emblem Engage may be more up your alley. This entry dials back the relationship systems from Three Houses, though still uses them to some extent, but prioritizes getting you into the fight faster. Battles are as tense as ever, especially on the harder difficulties, and successfully outthinking your opponent is always satisfying. Add in a bunch of fan-favorite characters like Marth and Roy appearing as allies you can summon, and this is a great celebration of the series for all fans.
Fire Emblem Engage - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Direct 9.13.2022

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Pokémon Legends: Arceus
61%
3.5/5
E
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Game Freak
Publisher
Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Release
January 28, 2022
Pokémon Legends Arceus takes the franchise in a bold new direction. The action takes place long ago in the Sinnoh region — and you’re tasked with piecing together the world’s first PokéDex. Instead of the usual gameplay loop seen in mainline games, however, Arceus has you roaming a large overworld with the option to capture wild Pokémon without ever hitting a battle screen. Crafting, capturing, and exploring are all big parts of Pokémon Legends Arceus, and it’s one of the most successful Pokémon spin-offs in recent memory. Here’s hoping we see this sort of gameplay evolve further in the coming years, as it’s truly a breath of fresh air for longtime fans.

Pokémon Scarlet

Pokémon Scarlet
53%
3.5/5
E
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Game Freak
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
November 18, 2022
Picking up where Arceus left off, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet expand on the open-world format in a Pokémon game. This time your trainer will have three main quests to take on in whatever order you please, as well as the entire Paldea region to explore. This entry not only brings in new Pokémon to catch, as you would expect, but other mechanics like Tera Raids, picnics, crafting, and more. It might not be as technically sound as you would hope, but is still a great game at its core.
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Reveal Trailer Nintendo Switch 2022 HD

Bravely Default II

Bravely Default II
70%
3/5
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Clay Tech Works, Team Asano
Publisher
Nintendo, Square Enix
Release
February 25, 2021
It’s hard to find a turn-based game that does it better than Bravely Default II. With a variety of unique Jobs, a memorable story filled with a memorable cast, and stunning HD graphics, the sequel to 2012’s hit doesn’t disappoint. The game uses a unique battle system that revolves around the Brave and Default commands — which allow for a large degree of freedom during combat. Best of all, you can find a free demo for the game on the eShop, giving you a chance to try out the action before you make a purchase.

Shin Megami Tensei V

Shin Megami Tensei V
86%
M
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Turn-based strategy (TBS), Adventure
Developer
Atlus
Publisher
Atlus, Sega
Release
November 12, 2021

Even though it was a spinoff, most people are more familiar with the Persona series than Shin Megami Tensei, which is where it all began. Shin Megami Tensei V is similar, yet also quite different from its sister series. For one, this is a hardcore JRPG. Expect every single fight to push you to your limits. Gameplay will feel very familiar to Persona fans, as will the demonic cast of monsters you will summon in battle, however, the social aspects are not as prominent. The story is still good, and the characters are likable and interesting, but don’t come in expecting the life-sim elements of a Persona. Regardless, SMT V is well worth sinking dozens of hours into.

『真・女神転生』最新作 ティザー映像

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
88%
4.5/5
M
Platforms
Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher
Bethesda Softworks
Release
November 10, 2011
It’s available on just about every other console in existence, so why not the Switch? The graphics took a bit of a hit during the porting process, but the rest of the game remains intact. Players will step into the role of the Dragonborn as they trek across the snowy landscape of Skyrim and attempt to save the world. Along the way, they can join various guilds, craft a home, get married, and do pretty much whatever their heart desires. Arguably one of the best role-playing games of all time — let alone on the Switch — Skyrim is loaded with more than 100 hours of content. Having the ability to play it on the go is a blast and is a great way to experience the latest installment in the Elder Scrolls saga.

Diablo III

Diablo III
79%
M
Platforms
Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Adventure
Developer
Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher
Blizzard Entertainment, Square Enix
Release
May 15, 2012
Previously released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, Diablo III finally made the jump to a Nintendo console. The demanding game runs surprisingly well on the underpowered Switch, even when things get heated with four players on the screen. Multiplayer remains a staple in Diablo III, and you’ll be able to play in both local and online co-op matches. It’s possible to use a single Jon-Con when playing in co-op, but we’d highly recommend a Pro controller if you have it available — trying to pull off precise attacks with a tiny controller isn’t the ideal way to experience the greatness of Diablo III.

Divinity: Original Sin II

Divinity: Original Sin II
87%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS), Adventure
Developer
Larian Studios
Publisher
Larian Studios
Release
September 14, 2017
There’s a noticeable drop in graphical quality with this port, but beyond that, you’ll still have access to hundreds of hours of classic RPG goodness. Players build their character from one of five races and 12 classes before heading out on their adventure. Divinity II: Original Sin gives you total freedom when it comes to exploration. You’ll be able to venture wherever you want and attack any NPCs that get on your nerves. The turn-based combat is reminiscent of classic RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate, and it’s one of the few options Switch owners have for gameplay of this style.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
95%
4/5
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
CD Projekt RED
Publisher
WB Games, Bandai Namco Entertainment, cdp.pl, Spike ChunSoft
Release
May 19, 2015
Another great port, The Witcher III is among the best role-playing games ever made. Its new home on the Switch isn’t without a few framerate hiccups, but Nintendo owners have already jumped at the chance to join in on Geralt’s latest adventure. Embark on a journey fraught with political strife and visceral combat, as Geralt is tasked with locating the Child of Prophecy, someone who holds the ability to change the fate of the world. It may not be the prettiest way to experience the epic journey, but it still manages to be one of the best role-playing games on the Nintendo Switch.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
85%
T
Platforms
PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC (Microsoft Windows), Google Stadia
Genre
Role-playing (RPG)
Developer
Armor Project, Bird Studio, Square Enix
Publisher
Square Enix
Release
July 29, 2017
So long as you can get past the lackluster soundtrack, JRPGs don’t get much better than this. The story follows an unnamed protagonist who discovers they are something known as the Luminary — the reincarnation of an ancient hero who saved the world in ages past. Now, it’s up to you to do the same. While the main storyline will take just over 60 hours to complete, Dragon Quest XI gives players a massive world to explore that is full of grand adventures all its own. The Switch version also includes a bunch of expanded content not seen in the original and is a great entry point for those new to the series.

Pokémon Sword

Pokémon Sword
73%
3.5/5
E
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Game Freak
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
November 15, 2019
We don’t often realize it, but Pokémon games are also part of the JRPG genre. They’re a bit more mainstream than others in the category and are incredibly accessible to gamers of all ages, making them a JRPG outlier. Sword & Shield continues this legacy, while also adding loads of new content such as the open-world Wild Area. With one expansion under its belt and another slated to launch by the end of the year, Sword & Shield prove that Pokémon games can thrive on a home console. The story might be a tad on the short side, but excellent multiplayer and end-game content will keep you coming back for more.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
98%
4.5/5
E10
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Adventure
Developer
Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 3
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
May 12, 2023
It’s much more action-oriented than some games on this list, but Tears of the Kingdom‘s RPG influences can’t be ignored. Unlockable abilities, upgradable skills, and a variety of weapons and armor await Link on his latest adventure to stop Ganon once again in this sequel to Breath of the Wild. Explore Hyrule like never before, as you set out into a massive open world on the land, in the air, and even deep below ground. The main story is nonlinear, meaning you can choose to tackle each boss in whichever order you see fit. Every corner of the world is just begging to be explored, too, with hilarious characters, enjoyable sidequests, and hidden secrets scattered across the landscape.
Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - First Look Trailer - Nintendo E3 2019

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses
88%
T
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS), Tactical, Adventure
Developer
Intelligent Systems
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
July 25, 2019
Part RPG, part strategy game, the latest entry in the Fire Emblem series was a bonafide hit upon its release. Players will spend their time teaching students at Garreg Mach Monastery before leading them in turn-based battles out in the field. Be careful, though — characters who die in battle are lost for the remainder of the game. This feature can be turned off on the lower difficulties, but it certainly adds a bit of tension to each encounter. Three Houses looks beautiful in handheld mode, but where it really shines is on the big screen. This game features some of the largest battles ever seen in the series, and watching them play out on a massive HD TV is a feast for the eyes. RPG fans who have yet to dip their toes in the Fire Emblem waters won’t want to miss out on Three Houses, as it’s the perfect introduction to the popular franchise.

Dark Souls: Remastered

Dark Souls: Remastered
87%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Adventure
Developer
QLOC, Virtuos, FromSoftware
Publisher
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release
May 23, 2018
Prepare to throw your controller in frustration, as Dark Souls retains its soul-crushing difficulty on the family-friendly console. Players will get the chance to experience both the main game and the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, bringing with it new locations, enemies, and a unique Arena Mode for PvP. With hundreds of weapons, armor, and crafting combinations, you’ll have plenty of ways to customize your character before charging off to an untimely death. As with most Switch ports, graphical fidelity was sacrificed in the name of portability. Rest assured that this is the true Dark Souls experience, and new players will find a lot to love in this brutal title.

Octopath Traveler II

Octopath Traveler II
90%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Turn-based strategy (TBS)
Developer
Square Enix, ACQUIRE Corp.
Publisher
Square Enix
Release
February 24, 2023
One of the most innovative RPGs in years, Octopath Traveler II follows eight different adventurers — each with their own storyline, skills, and gameplay style. Its winding narrative and incredible visuals might be the main selling points, but its tense, turn-based combat system is what will keep you coming back for more. There’s no need to play the first if you haven’t already, though we highly recommend that one as well, but this sequel only loosely connects to the first. This RPG offers an amazing amount of choice and adventures to take on, and is perfect if you’re looking for a game to lose yourself in. If you’re looking for a new game to sink hundreds of hours into, look no further than this masterpiece from Square Enix.
OCTOPATH TRAVELER II - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Triangle Strategy

Triangle Strategy
85%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Simulator, Strategy, Tactical, Adventure
Developer
Artdink, Square Enix
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
March 04, 2022
Also utilizing the visually stunning HD-2D style, Triangle Strategy is the best pick for anyone craving more of that Final Fantasy Tactics flavor, but mixed with a massive and complex story. Not only will your choices in battle matter, but you also play a big part in deciding the fate of both minor problems and major events. Except it isn’t just up to you — you need to make sure your party votes in line with what you want. Depending on how you treat them and act, they may not agree with your arguments and vote against you, leading to a very unique and unpredictable game. Between the solid tactics combat system and high replay quotient, you’ll feel right at home with this title.
Project TRIANGLE STRATEGY – Announcement Trailer – Nintendo Switch

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley
87%
E10
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Simulator, Indie
Developer
ConcernedApe
Publisher
ConcernedApe, Chucklefish Games
Release
February 26, 2016
As the best farming sim of all-time (sorry, Harvest Moon), it should come as no surprise that Stardew Valley is among the best RPGs on Switch. As you build your crumbling farm back into a bustling agricultural mecca, you’ll upgrade a variety of skills, unlock powerful new gear, befriend the locals, and even have the chance to enjoy a bit of cooperative farming with a friend. Stardew Valley has amassed a wealth of content over the years and playing the game today is radically different than it was at launch. And despite all the new additions and quality-of-life adjustments, the game somehow managed to retain the small-town charm that’s made it one of the most popular games of our time.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond
45%
3.5/5
E
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Turn-based strategy (TBS), Adventure
Developer
ILCA, Inc.
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
November 18, 2021
While they aren’t perfect reimaginings of the old classics, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are still two of the best Pokémon games available on Switch. Fans of the originals will be happy to see a variety of enhancements — aside from a graphics overhaul, you’ll also benefit from auto-saving, EXP share, and more — that make it easy to dive into the action. Turn-based battles, gorgeous new graphics, and the usual Pokémon charm add up to an old-school RPG with a modern flair that’s perfect for series newcomers or longtime trainers. If Sword & Shield wasn’t quite your cup of tea, be sure to check out this revitalized classic for a burst of nostalgia.

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
80%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Publisher
Capcom
Release
April 23, 2013
Even though it boasts a massive open-world to explore, Dragons Dogma runs surprisingly well on Nintendo Switch. You won’t be alone on your journey, either, as the game uses a unique Pawn system — giving you the ability to build up a powerful party before heading out to fight some truly monstrous enemies. Whether you’re climbing on the back of a griffin or cutting down hordes of smaller foes, Dragon’s Dogma is a fast-paced RPG with tense, real-time action. You’ll be able to collect dozens of weapons, gear, and Pawns throughout your journey, and there’s no doubt it’s one of the largest RPGs on Switch.

Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise
96%
4.5/5
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Adventure
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Release
March 25, 2021
Nominated for the Best Role Playing category at The Game Awards 2021, Monster Hunter Rise is the best the series has to offer on Switch. And with a slick new wirebug mechanic — making it easy to traverse its open-world environment — Rise has enough new tricks to intrigue long-time hunters while also making its daunting gameplay loop more accessible to newcomers. Hunting, gathering, and crafting are still at the heart of Rise, but there are also bizarre new Rampage missions that play out a bit like a Tower Defense mini-game. They’re a fun diversion from the action, but the majority of your time will be spent roaming around in search of massive prey — hopefully with a few friends by your side.
Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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