RPG mechanics are becoming more and more homogenized in games these days. It’s often difficult to find an AAA game that doesn’t feature, in some small way, RPG mechanics, and systems, even if that’s as simple as an XP bar or a skill tree. Finding a game that truly blends quality action with deep and rich role-playing systems can be difficult, but there are plenty out there.
From epic fantasy worlds to sprawling sci-fi universes, we’ll run down 16 of the best and most exciting action-RPGs you can play in 2018.
16 Best Action-RPGs Games of All Time (2018)
Check out our 2018 collections of Best Action RPGs Games of all time for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and more.
The game that brought CD Projekt Red into the mainstream. The Witcher 3 is a vast, deep, beautifully-crafted and wonderfully-realized RPG that set a new bar for open world games and role-playing experiences.
An amazing game by all accounts, everyone should play The Witcher 3, and if you’re looking for an action-RPG to get stuck into, there are few better choices than The Witcher 3.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The second entry in the massively popular series that redefined what action-RPGs could be. Combining the engaging character progression and weapon/gear customization, and the oh-so-sweet loot that all RPG lovers expect with tight and refined first-person shooting, Borderlands 2 is as much of an exciting action game as it is a rich and detailed RPG.
If you’re looking for an RPG with more of a focus on action, Borderlands might be what you’re after!
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac, PlayStation Vita
3. Dark Souls
Everyone knows the reputation that the Dark Souls games have developed since 2011’s Dark Souls became a cult phenomenon and took over the gaming world. Hard, unforgiving, unintuitive, and thoroughly obtuse.
All these things are true (and I say that as a huge Dark Souls fan) but if you give Dark Souls the time and patience it needs, you’ll find a thoroughly deep and complex RPG with tense and exciting combat. If you’re willing to get past the difficult learning curve, there is no better action-RPG series to get invested in.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Switch
4. Mount And Blade
It is a well-known and successfully established series for sure which offers you the single-player experience. There you find the medieval era going through those lands that are settled for wars and continue your adventure. Strategy making is also a point here while conquering the enemy. Also, it is a Sandbox genre where exploration is the main thing, and so there is no bar on the storyline.
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Fable, also known as the wonderfully British series of RPGs from ideas-man Peter Molyneux, is about farting and choosing between good and evil.
Well, sort of. It’s also about magic and fantasy stuff, swords and sorcery, that kind of stuff. It’s difficult to succinctly sum up what Fable is all about, it’s such an odd and unique series of games that is firmly rooted in its quirky and light-hearted charm.
A great action-RPG series for those looking a game more concerned with fun and comedy than anything else.
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
6. Mass Effect
The Mass Effect series of games presented the gaming world with a rich, dense, and incredibly well-realized science fiction universe that rivals Star Wars and Star Trek in its size and scope.
Although the action side of this RPG series is never really the focus, it starts out pretty solid (in Mass Effect) and gets tighter and more refined (in Mass Effect 2, 3, and Andromeda). A superb RPG series that is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys good science fiction world-building, games that focus on characters and story and spends endless hours chatting and fraternizing with aliens of all shapes and sizes.
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One
7. Fallout 4
The latest entry in the beloved nuke-ravaged post-apocalyptic role-playing series, Fallout. A tighter and more refined action game than its predecessors, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, and a considerably prettier game, too.
Fallout 4 is a rich and accessible game that serves as a great starting point to the Fallout series. If you’ve played and enjoyed Skyrim, you may want to check out Bethesda’s other major open-world franchise.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
You can’t talk about action-oriented RPGs without talking about The Elder Scrolls series. An incredibly iconic series of role-playing games that are open as they are dynamic and endlessly replayable. You’ve probably played Skyrim already, but if you, somehow, have yet to play, you owe it to yourself to experience it. It still holds its addictive and highly engaging appeal seven years later.
Skyrim may be the most popular game in the series, and easily the most well-known, but the other games are also excellent, particularly Oblivion and Morrowind.
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Switch
9. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
2011’s reboot of the cult-classic PC game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a brilliant modern interpretation of the mechanics and ideas that spawned an entire genre of games in 2000. The game’s slick art design and unique look help to build a rich and fascinating cyberpunk world dominated by huge corporations and sick cyber-augmentations.
An excellent RPG with some solid action, there’s much to enjoy here. If you enjoy Human Revolution or have already played it, you may want to check out Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to Human Revolution and the most recent entry in the series.
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
10. Bound by Flame
Although Bound by Flame may not have the vampire connections or any horror themes to speak it, it’s still a pretty similar game to Vampyr. It’s a fairly unique game that puts you in the role of an unwilling hero who gets possessed by a very unhappy demon.
The third-person action, RPG systems, and dialogue options make it an RPG worth checking out if you enjoyed what Vampyr had to offer mechanically.
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360
A dark, fast-paced and intense game inspired more directly by Dark Souls than anything else, Nioh is a fast and stylish action game with some RPG depth.
It’s a tough and challenging game that offers an experience different enough from Dark Sous to be worth checking out, even for the biggest Dark Souls fans, and even if you hate Dark Souls.
Platforms: PS4, PC
12. Elder Scrolls Online
Another great entry in the Elder Scrolls franchise that continues the trend of rich RPG systems and engaging action. Although it’s a fully-fledged MMO like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2, it can be played as a co-op, or even solo Elder Scrolls.
If you’re looking for an action-RPG with more of an online focus, The Elder Scrolls Online may be just the thing.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac
13. The Technomancer
Technomancer is another action-RPG should scratch a similar itch. It’s rich RPG systems and third-person combat, as well as a narrative-driven experience, make it well worth checking out.
The game puts you in the role of reluctant Technomancer Zachariah as he faces off against government forces, the army, and more on the planet Mars in the distant future.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
14. The Division
The Division is Ubisoft’s 2016 open world co-op RPG-shooter. It takes place in an America ravaged by infection and struggling for survival. The game’s third-person shooting mechanics are tight and responsive, whilst the array of loot, gear, and character progression adds a nice layer of depth to the game.
The game can be played solo but is much more fun playing co-op with some friends. A tight action game with some engaging RPG systems.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
15. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are dark, eerie, profoundly sad games with a wonderfully unique sense of atmosphere. A blend of RPG-shooter with tense and atmospheric horror game and post-apocalyptic Russia sim.
It’s deep, rich, vast and harrowing. A great RPG with solid shooting and a great sense of atmosphere.
And, of course, as with any cult PC game, it has a huge and dedicated modding community so you can tweak, alter and improve the game to your heart’s content.
16. Diablo 3
The true godfather of action-RPGs. The series that first ingeniously blended real-time action with RPG progression and loot. It’s since become a staple of the genre, and loot-driven games have become the norm in the AAA space (just look at Destiny or The Division).
Diablo 3, the latest entry, is a great entry-point to this fantastic role-playing series. Fast-paced, varied, and full of precious loot, Diablo 3 is a game that still holds its appeal even six years after its initial release. Although, admittedly, it’s a very different game than the one the released to much controversy in 2012.
Platforms: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
These 16 of the best action-RPGs you can find and play in 2018. Sink your teeth into some exciting and engaging action shrouded in rich and detailed role-playing mechanics.
Let us know if you think there’s anything we missed.