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The best RPGs for Xbox Series X

If there’s one genre the Xbox series of consoles has struggled to really break into in the past, it’s RPGs. Yes, each system had a standout title or two, like the original Xbox having Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the 360 having Lost Odyssey, but this particular family of consoles was always seen as secondary to RPG fans compared to Sony, or even Nintendo, machines. With the release of the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has made a strong effort to fill that gap in their library and has already done a great job of publishing, or at least supporting, some of the best RPGs in recent memory.

What counts as an RPG today covers a wide range of games. They can be turn-based, real-time, action-focused, narrative-focused, first-person, and more. So many games incorporate RPG elements now that it can be a little tough to find one that doesn’t anymore. However, for this list, we’re picking only games that are RPGs at their core or at least have it as the main component rather than a game that just throws in progression bars and nothing else. Still, that leaves a lot of ground to cover. If you’re feeling the itch for a new RPG to play on your Xbox Series X, we’ve picked out the best from a range of titles that should fill the exact experience you’re looking for.

Further reading

Wasteland 3
Wasteland 3
83 %
4/5
M
Platforms Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS), Tactical, Adventure
Developer inXile Entertainment
Publisher inXile Entertainment
Release August 28, 2020
Starting off with one of the most criminally overlooked console and PC RPGs from Xbox first-party studio inXile, although this game was in development prior to their acquisition, Wasteland 3 is an ambitious game that attempts to merge the best parts of the original Fallout games with the newer XCOM titles. It has all the best RPG elements of an older title, such as varied dialogue trees that change and adapt based on your specific skills, previous choices, relationships with different factions, quests completed, and actions. This level of adaptability mostly disappeared as games got more expensive to make, and it added voice acting, but Wasteland 3 manages to feel just as dynamic without sacrificing a fully voiced cast. Despite the 3 in the title, you don’t need to have played the prior Wasteland games to jump into Wasteland 3. Aside from the main faction, the Desert Rangers, and a scant few characters, everything in this game is new or explained as though you are new to the series. You will control a party of characters you meet in the world, recruit, and build from the ground up. You will spec each one out with skill points, attribute points, and perks that are numerous and varied enough to make you want to specialize characters in different areas but also replay the game for all the opportunities you’re bound to miss for not having that skill. Combat is pure XCOM style, though not quite as unforgiving. If you like deep, reactive games that feel like they came from the glory days of old CRPGs, Wasteland 3 fits the bill perfectly.
Read our full Wasteland 3 review
Wasteland 3 - A Frosty Reception
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
92 %
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure, Indie
Developer ZA/UM
Publisher ZA/UM
Release March 30, 2021
Detective-style games are very hard to get right. They tend to either be too obvious or overly obtuse and require multilateral thinking and an almost psychic level of intuition. However, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut bucks that trend by being possibly the greatest detective RPG ever created. It achieves this by integrating multiple RPG systems, ditching combat outright, and making everything come down to a roll of the dice. Failing to do or notice something is almost never a game over, except in the few instances where you can just die. Instead, the game somehow adapts to everything and allows you to continue on in whatever state you find yourself in. More impressive is the sheer amount of choices the game presents on who you are and how you conduct yourself, and then the ways it acknowledges your choices beyond just a throwaway line. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is exactly what we can point to as a story that could only be told in the medium of video games. It is the best detective story ever written, writing itself as you play it a hundred different ways. From moment to moment, you will be mainly interacting with objects and people, but the game changes based on not only how you interact with everything, but also in what ways you can interact based on how your stats are built. There are entire storylines you can, and will, miss based on not having a high enough skill at the right time. Now that this final cut version also added full voice acting, it’s an easy recommendation for at least two playthroughs.
DISCO ELYSIUM - The Final Cut (Announcement Trailer)
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
88 %
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Adventure
Developer Ryū Ga Gotoku Studios
Publisher Sega
Release January 16, 2020
Originally pitched as a joke, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is anything but. Technically the seventh mainline game in the series, the developers wisely opted to drop the number for the reboot that not only starts off with a fresh story and protagonist but also an entire gameplay genre shift. Previous games were light RPGs, but mostly brawlers, while Yakuza: Like a Dragon is full-on, classic turn-based combat with a few twists here and there. What really makes it stand out from any other JRPG is the story, as well as the characters and setting. Nearly all JRPGs are either set in fantasy worlds, have a cast of teenage to young adult heroes, or both. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is set in modern-day Japan and has a cast of 40-something-year-old bums, ex-cons, and laid-off DMV workers, to name a few. If you know the Yakuza series, then you know the level of storytelling to expect with this game. If not, this is essentially a multi-season crime drama full of twists, betrayals, mysteries, and all the ingredients that genre entails. Thanks to strong writing and even stronger characters, Yakuza: Like a Dragon never buckles under its own weight. On the RPG side, this game is not at all ashamed to wear its Dragon Quest inspirations on its sleeve. You have skills, jobs, party members, gear, weapons, equipment, items, and summons, but all framed in a surprisingly fresh, modern take. Summons, for example, are people you meet that you “summon” by calling them on your cell phone. It’s the perfect game for anyone who loves the old-school style of JRPG but just wants a completely fresh take on the genre from your standard “find the four crystals” or “average kid saves the world” plots and settings.
PS4専用ソフト『龍が如く7 光と闇の行方』ティザートレイラー
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
78 %
4/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Adventure
Developer Ubisoft Montreal
Release November 10, 2020
The original run of Assassin’s Creed games was very very light on RPG mechanics. At best, you had some linear upgrades and maybe a few new moves your assassin could learn. Otherwise, they were primarily open-world action games. Starting with Assassin’s Creed Origins, the series refreshed itself into a much more heavily RPG-focused series. The third game evolving on this new formula is the Norse-inspired Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which casts you as either a male or female Viking in yet another massive open-world adventure. The series has nearly given up having a narrative through-line between titles, so all you need to concern yourself with is the plot of the historical period, and even that isn’t the main draw. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is kind of the perfect example of quantity over diversity. There’s just so much to do in this game that it’s almost unreal, especially for those of us who have a compulsion to check every box and investigate every new map marker that pops up. Even if that isn’t you, the main plot will still take dozens of hours once you account for doing at least some extra stuff to reach a high enough level. The actual role-playing narrative speaking is very light and mainly consists of making some dialogue choices. Gameplay-wise, you have a giant skill tree, tons of weapons, and all sorts of customization options. If you just want a game you can fall into a groove with and sink dozens, or even hundreds, of hours into, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is exactly what you’re looking for.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Official Teaser with Boss Logic – Timelapse
Outriders
Outriders
75 %
3.5/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer People Can Fly
Publisher Square Enix
Release April 01, 2021
We already established that RPGs don’t have to just stick to fantasy settings. In fact, some of the best have been set in the sci-fi realm, including our next pick. Outriders is a blend of third-person shooting with RPG classes, skills, and loot. Rather than collecting new swords and battle axes, you’ll find shotguns and rifles with varying stats, buffs, and effects. The story is … there? In all honesty, most people have written off the story of this game as being bland and at best not very memorable. If you want your RPGs to grip you with a tight and engrossing narrative, this one isn’t going to satisfy you. On the other hand, if you want a game that plays very well and has a great loop for you and some friends to team up in, Outriders shines. The different classes all play their own roles in combat, with fun and flashy skills that might as well just be magic spells. You can build your character to nearly break the game in some ways thanks to the fact that it doesn’t have to concern itself with being balanced for PvP. Getting overpowered feels great in Outriders, and upping the difficulty as you replay missions for even stronger loot is a great grind if you’re into that sort of thing. Plus, since it isn’t a game as a service title, it won’t string you along for months or years, either. You can call it quits when you finish the campaign once, or 50 times after buffing your character up to take on the hardest difficulty levels.
Read our full Outriders review
Outriders - Official Reveal Trailer
Scarlet Nexus
Scarlet Nexus
76 %
4.5/5
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher Bandai Namco Studios
Release June 24, 2021
Don’t worry, anime fans, we’ve got plenty of RPGs on the Series X aimed squarely at your demographic. The newest on that list is the incredibly stylish Scarlet Nexus. Visually, this game looks like your generic anime in a lot of ways, but one of the higher-quality ones, at least. Sure, your main cast, especially the male protagonist, have pretty forgettable faces, but their outfit design and moves are where they start to stand out. This is a heavy-action RPG, full of fast combat with big effects and over-the-top moves. This is a world in which creatures have invaded and only your team of psychic soldiers can fight them off. Yeah, not the most inspired plot of all time, but certainly enough to draw you along through the decent-sized story mode. As an RPG, this game isn’t all too different from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in some ways. You will primarily be dealing with spending points in your skill tree, collecting materials (although this isn’t an open-world game), crafting, and getting new weapons. Where Scarlet Nexus takes things further is in two areas. First, you have two main protagonists to pick from, each with its own campaign. They do overlap in points, so they’re not wholly distinct, but they do have very different skills to make it worth a second run if you enjoyed the first. Second is the light relationship and bonding mechanic with your other party members you take part in between missions. It’s no Fire Emblem game, but getting to know your team is satisfying if only for the bonuses they give you in combat.
Read our full Scarlet Nexus review
SCARLET NEXUS – Announcement Trailer | Xbox Series X
NieR: Automata
NieR: Automata
91 %
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Hack and slash/Beat 'em up
Developer PlatinumGames
Publisher Square Enix
Release February 23, 2017
NieR barely qualifies as a series. The first game was a continuation of an alternate ending to Drakenguard 3, and the sequel, NieR: Automata Become as Gods, takes place thousands of years after that game. Needless to say, don’t worry about any backstory going into this game if you don’t have any, although the first game did get a great remake as NieR: Replicant not long ago if you’re curious. On the surface, this may seem like yet another anime bait game, but boy is that the wrong assumption to make. Not only is this game one of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and emotional titles on the system, but the gameplay is a surprising treat that always seems to have one more trick up its sleeve. Without giving away the story, NieR: Automata Become as Gods is one of the most human stories where robots and androids are the main characters. It dives deep into themes of consciousness, humanity, souls, and philosophical concepts that you could spend hours dissecting. As a game, it has the unmistakable smooth and satisfying action combat that only Platinum Games can seem to nail, along with the genre-bending tendencies director Yoko Taro loves to throw in. You have a small open world, side quests, weapons, chips that represent skills, and buffs to organize and allocate space for, plus a full alphabet of endings to get. Most are basically jokes, but endings A through E are essential, and each one re-frames events to give new revelations about the plot and characters you would never expect. Plus, that ending … if you don’t at least get choked up, you may be less human than the characters in the game.
NieR - E3 2015 Trailer (Official)
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
81 %
3.5/5
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Eidos Montréal
Publisher Square Enix
Release October 26, 2021
Don’t let the bad taste Marvel’s Avengers left in your mouth keep you from playing the very different Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This game, despite being a perfect fit for the exact same games as a service, multiplayer looter, and grind fest that crippled Avengers, did what we all wished that game did and is a pure single-player action RPG. The only major nitpick most have is that you only take direct control of one of the Guardians, Peter Quill aka Starlord, rather than swap between all the heroes. That aside, there’s not much you can really complain about in this tight, focused title. It’s not quite on the level of the films, and it does have a few rough edges, but in some aspects, it comes pretty close. Without spoiling the plot, you have a respectable-sized campaign here, if a little short by RPG standards, at around 10 hours. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is more action RPG than pure RPG, so the shorter length actually works to its benefit. The combat doesn’t get to overstay its welcome, and they can bring in some unique mechanics here and there to spice things up without sticking around long enough to show their cracks. Being a game based on one of Marvel’s biggest properties, the writing and characters are what you come to this game for. Based on how you respond and make choices for the team, you can change how their relationship with Starlord develops. With such a tight cast, they are able to really drive home these developments through all the great dialogue.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy | Deep Dive
As Dusk Falls
As Dusk Falls
80 %
3.5/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Adventure
Developer INTERIOR/NIGHT
Publisher Xbox Game Studios
Release July 19, 2022
Narrative driven games, at least when done right, can be the most engrossing type of RPG, and As Dusk Falls really nails that from a story and character perspective. This tale follows two families with various interconnecting ties and relationships, none of them simple or obvious at first, over the course of 30 years. It begins in the late 90s with a robbery that isn’t going to plan but spirals out into a tale that is on par with the best TV dramas out there. Plus, the decisions you make are not only frequent, but have massive consequences on each of their paths, and even their fates. It isn’t the longest game, and some may find the odd, almost rotoscoped art style a little distracting at first, but once the narrative grips you, this is one game you’ll be thinking about for days after you’ve seen the end.
Read our full As Dusk Falls review
As Dusk Falls - Official Announce Trailer
Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise
84 %
5/5
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Bandai Namco Entertainment
Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release September 10, 2021
The Tales series has had a strange relationship with Xbox consoles, and after a longer than usual gap between releases, the series is back and better than ever with Tales of Arise. The first thing you’ll notice when firing up this JRPG is just how amazing it looks. The art style is clearly in that anime aesthetic, but the way the bold colors pop with tons of depth and shading, plus the strong outlines, makes even the non-action moments in this game a visual treat. When you start unleashing the flashy abilities and spells, though, get ready for some real eye candy. Great visuals are one thing, but Tales of Arise just keeps iterating on and improving the action combat that made the series stand out way back when it first launched. Tales of Arise is a full-on open-world JRPG. If you like that, you’ll love this game. If not, the combat may be enough to draw you in. This is a far more action-heavy and tactical game than a lot of JRPGs that ask for little to no skill in execution. Timing your skills, managing your team, and smartly rationing your various resources are almost required for a smooth progression. Of course, the option to grind out levels is always there for you. The story is quite gripping and hits on both a personal level with various inter-party relationships and dynamics as well as on a wider scale concerning race and political issues of the world. Tales of Arise doesn’t do anything especially new or groundbreaking, but sometimes a rock-solid JRPG is exactly what you’re craving.
Read our full Tales of Arise review
Tales of Arise - E3 Announcement Trailer
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
92 %
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer BioWare
Publisher Electronic Arts
Release May 14, 2021
The Mass Effect trilogy was, for lack of a better term, legendary when it came out. No other game had attempted to present from the start a brand new sci-fi universe in which your character, decisions, and relationships would span not just two, but three entire games. While it wasn’t quite perfect in the end, it still stands as one of the best trilogies of sci-fi RPGs ever crafted. The Mass Effect Legendary Edition puts all three games into one package, cleans them up (especially the first), and makes it easier than ever to go on this epic space opera to save the universe. Not only that, but this version includes all the DLC, some of which is considered the best content in the series. While it can feel a little odd going from the clunky first game into the second two, it is still a story you will want to play from start to finish as you become attached to all the well-written characters and see your tough choices play out in surprising ways.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition – Offizieller Teaser
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
70 %
4/5
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Gearbox Software
Publisher 2K Games
Release March 25, 2022
We’ve had one shooter make this list already, but this will be the only FPS to make the cut for now. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands likely doesn’t need any introduction as a spin-0ff of the Borderlands games. The series is almost single-handedly responsible for kicking off the, at the time, unheard-of marriage of first-person shooters, RPGs, and looter games. That original game gave us four unique character classes, each with simple yet distinct skill trees, and thousands of guns. The following games have all upped the ante, especially in the number of guns, until we get to Wonderlands where the series goes full-on absurd. You still have the same gameplay at heart, only now wrapped in a fantasy setting where Tina, playing the Dungeon Master of sorts, warps and changes the world and narrative on the fly. The new setting, and scattering of new mechanics, breathe a lot of life into the series. Plus, the more whimsical, almost parody-style premise of the game makes the humor and outlandish characters feel far more appropriate.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands – Official Announce Trailer
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
85 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Square Enix
Publisher Nintendo, Square Enix
Release September 27, 2019
Speaking of traditional RPGs, there’s almost no series out there that remains as faithful to the original formula as Dragon Quest. This classic JRPG series dates all the way back to the NES and has remained one of the most popular games in the genre, right up there with the likes of Final Fantasy. However, while nearly every Final Fantasy game reinvents, or at the very least retools, itself between installments, Dragon Quest has instead simply polished what worked into a near-perfect version of what it could be. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age, despite being a nonsensical and unwieldy title, is almost comically simple to understand. You could guess the plot, and a good number of the twists, within the first couple of hours, and the turn-based combat is like putting on your favorite sweater — cozy, warm, and familiar, but not going to turn any heads. OK, so there’s one wrinkle to everything we said about Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age. Yes, the plot is your typical silent protagonist getting wrapped up in a quest to save the world, and you can basically set your watch to all the standard beats and twists that follow, but it does have one line that, after it crosses it, the game becomes far more interesting and different. Plus, it is always a joy to get to know a new cast of party members, most of which in this game are fan favorites for the series. You will spec every character out with a skill tree to unlock buffs, skills, and the usual, plus do the whole armor and weapons thing to prepare for your vanilla turn-based combat. Don’t get me wrong, this is the purest, high-quality vanilla you can get, but if you’re sick of that flavor, well, there’s not much here for you then. If you like it, then this might be your new favorite.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition - Nintendo Direct 2.13.2019
Life is Strange: True Colors
Life is Strange: True Colors
80 %
3.5/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Adventure
Developer Deck Nine
Publisher Square Enix
Release September 10, 2021
Aside from maybe Disco Elysium, just about every game we’ve put on this list has had an emphasis on combat in some form or another. The Life is Strange series, on the other hand, has taken up the mantel left by the old point-and-click adventure games where story, character, and puzzle-solving were the main appeal. After two solid main entries, plus one spinoff and one stand-alone episode, Life is Strange: True Colors is the latest entry in this anthology series that aims to tackle some pretty deep topics. Each game has had an element of mysticism in some form, ranging from the first game’s time rewind powers to the second’s telekinesis, but this entry dials things back a bit and has your main character, Alex, has enhanced empathy powers that allow you to read the emotions of the other characters via colored auras. Unlike the previous entries that followed a staggered release with months between episodes, Life is Strange: True Colors came out as a full package, but still kept the episodic structure. That format allows for a much more satisfying pace to the experience, but without the agony of waiting for so long between releases. The plot focuses on Alex reuniting with her brother in the fictional town of Haven Springs, only to quickly get wrapped up in a deadly mystery. This is the biggest, most interactive of these games yet. You can talk to, help out, and generally get to know nearly the entire town’s population over the course of the game. Doing so will also impact how your story immaculately concludes, with multiple endings based on your choices, but also how other people see and feel about your character based on how much or little, you interacted with them.
Life is Strange: True Colors - Official Trailer [ESRB]
Elden Ring
Elden Ring
97 %
4/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Role-playing (RPG)
Developer FromSoftware
Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment, FromSoftware
Release February 25, 2022
If there was one game that didn’t need an introduction, or probably any more recommendations based on its sales, it’s Elden Ring. Despite being from the studio that made the notoriously difficult souls genre, experienced fans and new players alike have been absolutely captivated by what this game has accomplished. Not only does it appeal to those who yearn for a tough-as-nails combat experience, but also allows less experienced players to find other ways to overcome these obstacles. The variety of ways to play is immense, as is the world you’re free to explore. The moment you think you’ve seen it all, the map expands…and then expands again. With so much extra content, enemies, items, dungeons, bosses, and more to do, this is a game that you can spend 30 or 300 hours in depending on how you play.
Read our full Elden Ring review
ELDEN RING - E3 Announcement Trailer

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