This story is part of Gamepur’s Best of 2022 round-up.
2022 was an excellent year for games, and players of any type and style have been spoilt over the last 12 months with some real gems. This is especially true for us RPG fans, and some fantastic games in the genre have stood out as some of the year’s best entertainment. Many of them could be on this list, but these are, in our eyes, the five best RPGs of 2022.
5. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
- Released on January 28, 2022
- Developed by Game Freak
- Published by Nintendo
While the series has been a little hit or miss the last few years, this spin-off/prequel offered up one of the best and most original Pokémon games we have seen in years. In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you play a young protagonist who somehow ends up traveling back in time to the Hisui region, where you are tasked with completing the first Pokédex and solving a mystery affecting the region.
The game really shines in the plethora of new ideas it brings to the franchise. Arceus lets players explore the game’s multiple biomes at their own pace, which are vast and full of different habitats and Pokémon to find. You can catch Pokémon without engaging in combat and find materials you can use with the game’s crafting system to make Pokéballs and other useful items. There are tons of side quests, new Pokémon variations, unique boss battles, and a slew of changes and additions to combat and other systems. Add to that stunning visuals, and you have a great game that brings a breath of fresh air to the long-running franchise with ideas we’d like the see make their way into more of the mainline games.
4. Triangle Strategy
- Released on March 4, 2022
- Developed by Artdink, Square Enix
- Published by Square Enix
Everyone knows Square Enix produces some fantastic RPGs, and this tactical offering for the Nintendo Switch proved to be a standout in 2022. You play Serenoa, a young warrior who, along with his friends and allies, must band together to fight and protect the people of the continent of Norzelia as it descends into war after a long era of peace.
The story and characters take center stage in Triangle Strategy. Serenoa’s and his allies’ journey involves loss, strife, and triumph that’s compelling and made all the better by an ensemble of characters who all feel unique and exciting. Critical decisions you make will bolster Sereno’s convictions and change how your story plays out, with different discoveries and revelations depending on your choices, all of which are stellar. Alongside that, the game offered an engaging combat system full of options. You have plenty of unit variety that can be upgraded and utilized in different ways, with challenging yet rewarding battles and encounters that encourage careful planning and strategic thinking. Add to that the beautiful HD-2D visuals popularised by Octopath Traveler, and you have a fantastic RPG that is one of the Nintendo Switch’s best games of 2022.
3. Elden Ring
- Released on February 25, 2022
- Developed by FromSoftware
- Published by Bandai Namco
With each new FromSoftware title, the studio’s tried and true formula has been refined and tweaked to provide a unique experience of unforgiving challenges and mysterious worlds. With Elden Ring, FromSoftware offers a near-perfect showcase of this formula while injecting new ideas into the mix, making for their biggest and best game yet.
Elden Ring gives players a massive open world to explore that is full of intrigue and discovery. Exploration is encouraged and rewarded with a litany of relentless and brutal bosses and enemies to fight and dungeons to explore, in addition to discovering the story and lore of the Lands Between. The classic trial, error, and triumph gameplay fans have come to know and love is intact, with tight and visceral action combat and superb boss design making for some of the year’s most epic encounters. All this is enhanced by the level of depth and berth to the RPG mechanics, with a slew of weapons, spells, armor, and abilities to choose from that give you free rein to create unique builds and playstyles. It’s a fantastic game that more than met the hype surrounding it, which likely explains the many awards the game has won since its release.
2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
- Released on July 29, 2022
- Developed by Monolith Soft
- Published by Nintendo
There’s no need to sugarcoat this entry, so let’s get to the point. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is Monolith Soft’s best game to date and cements the studio as one of the premier JRPG developers.
The game sees Noah, Mio, and their friends travel across the war-torn world of Aionios in a bid to end the ongoing conflict between their warring nations, Keves and Agnus, and uncover the secrets of their world. What follows is an intense and gripping story that tackles themes of death, destiny, fate, morality, and a host of other hard-hitting topics while being equal parts a coming-of-age story. A stellar cast of characters only adds to the grand narrative, with each one, both major and minor, being full of charm that kept the game interesting with their constant growth, struggles, and depth. Coupled with the story is an action-packed combat and class system equally complex and deep, giving you plenty of customization and options and a vast, visually stunning world that is rich and vibrant at every turn.
It’s a significant investment, clocking at over 100 hours, but it is well worth the effort and easily stands toward the top of the RPG pile of 2022.
1. Persona 5 Royal
- Released on October 21, 2022
- Developed by P-Studio
- Published by Sega
Ok, so technically this game was originally released in 2020. However, this year, we saw this RPG gem make its way to current-gen consoles and PC, which we say is a valid reason for being included on this list. There’s also the fact that it’s a brilliant game.
Players take control of a young protagonist at Shujin Academy, who along with his new friends, reform society thanks to their powers called personas. The game has an incredible cast of characters to interact with, all of which are distinct and bursting with personality, giving the game a ton of heart. The turn-based combat is engaging and layered, as you’ll catch and fuse personas to create an arsenal of powerful minions, learning new abilities and using your teammate’s skills wisely. Coupled with that are abundant RPG elements like the confidant system, which unlocks unique storylines for your friends and gameplay benefits in and out of battle. All this is wrapped in a super stylized finish that is oozing with personality and blends together beautifully.
Now that it’s available on all systems, we can’t recommend this game enough. It’s a once-a-generation game, and it should be in your library — enough said.