The Xbox One’s legacy certainly focuses largely on shooters like Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty, but Microsoft’s console also has a plethora of role-playing games for those looking to sink their teeth into something a little meatier and immerse themselves in another world. These range from open-ended games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher 3 to more linear experiences like South Park: The Fractured But Whole, but all of them allow for customization and tailoring the game to suit your own style of play. Some of the games use turn-based battles, while others are more action-oriented, bridging the gap with action-adventure games and acting as a gateway to more complex RPGs. We included a variety of sub-genres when picking the best Xbox One RPGs, including games from North America, Japan, and Europe.
For more games on Xbox One, be sure to check out our list of the best Xbox One games, and if you’re looking for an upgrade, we also have a list of the best Xbox Series X|S games.
The Assassin’s Creed series started flirting with RPG mechanics in Assassin’s Creed Origins, which released in 2017, but it was the game’s sequel that took it into full-on RPG territory. Set in Greece during the lifetime of famous intellectuals like Hippokrates (who is the namesake of the Hippocratic oath) and Socrates, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey lets you choose between two siblings, with the other serving as an antagonist. Rather than just include a few RPG-style abilities or upgrades, the game features a huge skill tree that lets you customize to your exact playstyle, and there are so many side quests to complete across its enormous map that it can take hundreds of hours to complete them all. The game even goes into supernatural territory more than its predecessors with battles against famous Greek mythical monsters, and its bright, colorful locales are more entertaining than the bleaker ones featured in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla a few years later.
From Software’s Dark Souls series is so acclaimed and high-quality that any of the games could have gotten a spot on this list, but if you haven’t played them before, there is no better place to start than Dark Souls Remastered. An overhaul of the original 2011 game, complete with fixes for troublesome areas like Blighttown, better lighting, and all DLC included for no extra charge, Dark Souls Remastered is an even better version of what was already a masterpiece. Its influence extends far beyond the high difficulty that has made it the stuff of memes, with the game’s bonfire system and interconnected world combining to make for an extremely satisfying adventure, even if all you did was kill a few skeletons and unlock a new door. And when you make it to Anor Londo? Forget about it.
Arguably better on consoles than it was at PC–especially at launch, Diablo 3 has maintained a player-base for nearly a decade for a simple reason: It’s really, really fun to play, and it’s ideal for replaying over and over again. Blizzard’s action-RPG is a refined and fast-moving take on the dungeon-crawling looter, with several distinct classes to choose from and full support for cooperative play. Though the main story isn’t all that long, the Reaper of Souls expansion and extra modes can make Diablo 3 a hobby of its own if you let it, and twin-stick shooter fans can even have a good time with it because of the excellent Demon Hunter class. As you wait for the eventual Diablo IV launch date, it’s definitely worth making the time for Diablo 3.
Larian Studios has established itself as such a talented and well-equipped RPG developer that it was given the chance to create Baldur’s Gate 3, but the company has nothing left to really prove–Divinity: Original Sin 2 is already its masterpiece, with an incredibly deep customization and role-playing system, support for four-player cooperative parties, and a massive open world to explore. The game has been available on Xbox One for several years, but it has only gotten bigger in the years since, with expansions and additional content to further flesh out what is already about 100 hours of classic role-playing goodness, filled with true player-choice. Seriously, you can kill basically anyone you come across without hitting a failure state, so the truly chaotic evil among us can have fun, too.
Though BioWare has been in a bit of a slump lately, the studio still knows how to make terrific role-playing games, and Dragon Age: Inquisition is proof. Learning from the mistakes of Dragon Age 2 with a larger scale, more ambitious storyline, and a better mix of action and strategy in its role-playing combat, Dragon Age: Inquisition is pretty close to perfect. Being able to control companions in key situations to get the edge on enemies adds an extra tactical layer to the game without being too daunting, and the dialogue retains the classic BioWare wit and humor we’ve come to expect. It even features a novel time-travel plotline that separates it from other sword-and-sorcery fantasy games, along with plenty of political intrigue and even a little espionage. It simply can’t be missed.
Japanese role-playing games certainly have more of a following on other platforms like PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, but Xbox One still gets its fair share, and Dragon Quest XI is undoubtedly one of the best. The long-running franchise has evolved considerably since its primitive days of fighting slimes with swords, and though it still retains the Toriyama aesthetic and classic turn-based battle system, it also features a “free-form” fighting option if you want to reposition your party. Most exciting is that in the Definitive Edition, which is available on Xbox One, you can choose to play the game with a 16-bit aesthetic that resembles the classic games, and this isn’t a mere Easter egg–you can play the whole game this way, giving you a reason to go through it all again.
Yes, it may have one of the least comprehensible stories of all time, but longtime fans would expect nothing less from Kingdom Hearts 3. The long-awaited third main installment from the Square Enix and Disney crossover series, Kingdom Hearts 3 is a shiny and polished adventure for Sora and company, bringing together your favorite Final Fantasy and classic Disney characters together for another adventure. Like the previous games, it uses an action-RPG style with a command system for spells, making it an excellent choice for an Xbox One gamepad, and the action-packed set-pieces are even more impressive this time around. Plus, the latest Pixar heroes get a chance to shine, and there are even appearances from some of the Pirates of the Caribbean characters rendered in frightening detail.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition doesn’t give you just one of the best role-playing games of all time. It doesn’t even just give you two. No, you get threeof BioWare’s best games, with visual upgrades and gameplay enhancements to make them feel more like one experience. Chronicling the battle between humanity and its allies against a mysterious invading force called the Reapers, the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition succeeds because of its characters, who are both wonderfully acted and fully fleshed out–and we mean that literally, if you opt to romance any of them. The choices you make let you create your own unique story, complete with deaths that can affect who appears in the next game, and if you want to play it as a take-no-prisoners Renegade who relies on bullets and explosions, that is totally cool. But also, you might need to talk to someone.
After years as primarily a handheld series, Monster Hunter got an invitation to join the big kids with Monster Hunter World, and it turned it from one of Capcom’s mid-tier franchises into an absolute sensation. Venturing out into environments either alone or with friends, you track down and battle enormous monsters with your weapon of choice alongside abilities and traps. It builds on what made the other games great, but with an added layer of sheen afforded by the Xbox One’s hardware, and the Iceborne expansion adds a huge amount of new content for anyone who has already finished the base game. Varied environments and tons of different combat styles using the game’s many weapons many you’ll very rarely do the same thing twice.
An action-RPG that surprised just about everyone with how damn good it was from top to bottom, Nier: Automata combines eccentric writer-director Yoko Taro’s excellent narrative chops with the talented team from PlatinumGames. Where past Taro-directed games’ dark and uniquely structured stories were often let down by stiff and mundane combat, this isn’t the case in Automata–fluid and kinetic melee attacks make every battle between androids and alien-created machines feel great, and a retro-shooting hacking mechanic and even text adventure segments help it from ever feeling stale. Though not as focused on countless choices and customization like some other Xbox One role-playing games, Nier: Automata is nevertheless an essential experience.
A free-to-play alternative to Diablo 3, Path of Exile has been an excellent hobby-grade role-playing game built from the beginning with online play in mind. Despite the free initial cost, the developers have ensured that those who pay money won’t get an unfair advantage, and you can make use of a novel “skill” system through gems socketed into your weapons. Special events happen on a regular basis, so it’s worthwhile to keep playing over long periods of time, and you don’t have to worry about your progress getting wiped in the future. In a similar manner to Overwatch 2, Path of Exile 2 will actually be a full campaign and set of upgrades and improvements released within the existing game client, meaning you can share all that content with your original character.
One of the goofiest role-playing games on this list, Scarlet Nexus is a new IP from Bandai Namco that manages to combine an extensive upgrade and customization system with high-flying combat. It bears some resemblance to Astral Chain in its mix of frenetic melee and super-human abilities, but in this case they primarily involve telekinetic throws. What begins as a run-of-the-mill alien invasion soon turns into a conspiracy-filled story involving political oppression, time travel, and monstrous transformations. Scarlet Nexus also smartly keeps the story moving forward if you don’t care to do side quests, and with two different main characters to use–one for each half of the story mode–you can “replay” it without actually just running through the same content again.
One of the most successful and acclaimed role-playing games of all time, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been released on just about every console, including the Xbox One’s predecessor, the Xbox 360. That longevity–and Bethesda’s decade-plus gap between new Elder Scrolls releases, is largely because Skyrim is such an outstanding refinement of the series’ formula. With dragons front and center, the world is both harsh and beautiful, with equal opportunities for treasure and death around every corner. You can become an assassin, turn into a werewolf, learn powerful magic, or any combination of the three. Or you can just cause massive chaos and become the most feared person on the continent. There is no “right” way to play Skyrim, despite what the many stealthy archers may tell you, and that’s the beauty of it.
Trading in the wizard cloaks and shortswords of The Stick of Truth for superhero tights and capes, South Park: The Fractured But Whole–yes, giggle if you must–isn’t just a reskinned version of the previous role-playing game. A new grid system makes your location a key factor in how the turn-based battles play out, making it feel like more than a simple role-playing game, and there are plenty of jokes at the expense of… well, everyone, as you’d expect from South Park. What hasn’t changed is the intentionally rudimentary art style, retaining the look of the show perfectly, along with the limited voice cast made up almost entirely of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. If you didn’t play Stick of Truth, you’ll miss out on a little jumping straight into The Fractured But Whole, but it’s still worth playing as your first South Park game.
Yes, it’s also a farming simulator inspired–heavily inspired–by early Harvest Moon games–but Stardew Valley is also a role-playing game, and it’s very hard to argue against that. You farm, yes, but you also become a full resident of the town, starting off from scratch with a small little farm and building it into the land of your dreams. You can date and even marry many of the residents, and you can fully customize both your character and your home. Sure, it isn’t a game about swords and sorcery or slaying some mythical demon, but that is not what is really at the heart of the role-playing game, and if you want to play as someone you can more reasonably project yourself onto, look no further than Stardew Valley.
The Surge was a relatively successful take on the Dark Souls formula, trading in dark fantasy for post-apocalyptic industrial, but it also felt limited–the environments all looked the same and the progression system didn’t encourage experimentation. That all changed with The Surge 2, with Deck13 learning all the right lessons to craft one of the best action-RPGs not made by From Software. Numerous weapons, bosses big and small, and a city filled with interconnected passageways and hidden areas all make for a tremendous sequel that still retains the best aspects of the original. The dismemberment system remains intact and makes upgrading gear feel rewarding, and the requirements for getting your proficiency up in different weapon types are much less strict, letting you try them all out as you power through the many enemies littering the streets.
How does a doctor possibly carry about his Hippocratic oath if he’s also a vampire? That dilemma is at the heart–and neck–of Vampyr, an action-RPG made by Life is Strange studio Dontnod. Set in the early 20th century at the conclusion of World War 1, Vampyr puts considerable pressure on you in your role of newly vampire…d doctor Jonathan Reid, who must deal with the continued spread of disease throughout London’s neighborhoods. But Reid must feed, and the same people he wants to save are the very ones who can give him more power, amplifying his supernatural abilities. Finishing the game gets more difficult if you’ve sacrificed key citizens, but individual battles and encounters are much easier because of the boosts you receive. It’s an incredibly ambitious game with a few rough edges, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most unique role-playing games available on Xbox One.
InXile Entertainment certainly proved its value to Microsoft, as the Wasteland 3 developer was made an internal Xbox studio prior to the game’s release. Like its predecessor, also developed by inXile, Wasteland 3 captures the best of classic CRPG games while remaining playable with a gamepad, and the turn-based combat system means you don’t need to rush to make decisions and risk endangering your whole squad. It also features the level of player choice and agency that you’d expect from the genre, and its gorgeous take on the harsh post-apocalyptic winter serves as a constant threat to your safety. You can even play the game cooperatively, working together to shape the story and save Colorado.
One of the best-written role-playing games of all time, The Witcher 3 succeeds because CD Projekt Red recognized that in an RPG, the distinction between “main quest” and “side quest” doesn’t really matter–they’re all part of your own unique journey, so the studio kept its writing standards high for everything. You’re locked in as Geralt, but he’s an interesting enough character that it doesn’t feel limiting, and the expansive world is filled with secrets and activities to keep you thoroughly distracted from doing whatever you actually set out to do. Great performances from the cast, best-in-class visuals, and the inclusion of the surprise-hit card game Gwent all help to make The Witcher 3 one of the easiest-to-recommend RPGs on Xbox One.
No other Yakuza game could be on a list of best Xbox One role-playing games, because none of the other Yakuza games are role-playing games. After establishing itself for well over a decade as a brawling-centric open-world series, Sega took things in a very different direction with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, implementing a turn-based combat system meant to emphasize new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga’s love of role-playing games. In traditional Yakuza fashion, things get reallyweird, with Ichiban menacingly pressing a button on his phone to call down special attacks for massive damage. It makes even less sense than the other Yakuza games, and that’s part of the reason the series has developed such a cult following–they’re gonna get real weird with it.