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The Best RPGs of 2021

These games were the best way to experience someone else's life in 2021.

It can be argued that every video game is a "role-playing game." As true as that is, RPGs are some of the most exciting entries in the video game realm. They offer unique experiences that other games often don't, and though there were surprisingly few of them in 2021,it's absolutely worth it to sink a lot of hours into these. Here are some of the best RPGs we played throughout 2021.

Shin Megami Tensei V

The fifth entry in the core Shin Megami Tensei series is a fantastic outing, even if you've never played a single game before it. There's not only a wealth of things to do from the start of the game until the end, but it's such a stylish, gripping adventure that'll keep you playing. It follows a Tokyo student who suddenly wakes up to find civilization ended and demons ruling the post-apocalyptic cityscape. The only way to survive and make a way forward is to, well, become something of a demon — and that kicks things off. This RPG has it all: smart party creation, snappy writing, an unforgettable scenario, and much more. Even if it's your first brush with the Shin Megami Tensei series, it's well worth jumping into headfirst.

Tales of Arise

Whether you're a big JRPG fan or a casual RPG enthusiast, chances are you've enjoyed a Tales game in the past. The newest Tales outing, Tales of Arise, is another fantastic game that introduces a mature, thematically dark narrative to support its more action-oriented gameplay. There's plenty of humor and anime-centric interactions throughout as you'd expect from a Tales title, but it spends much of its time exploring themes that carry over into the real world, all the while catering to the familiar Tales formula. It's gorgeously animated, features excellent voice acting and music, and it's well worth making your first (or seventh) Tales game.

Bravely Default II

The original Bravely Default game was certainly an acquired taste, and so is its sequel. Luckily, it's a taste many will enjoy. If you enjoy switching jobs out with different characters in games like Final Fantasy, it'll be chock-full of exciting moments you'll want to engage in. Its turn-based combat is richly layered, with plenty of reasons to swap out and try brand new jobs as you work to see what's best against large monsters and unassuming enemies. It's a classical JRPG that'll attract you with its art style and trope-tactic trappings, and then keep you enraptured for the long haul.

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