2021 is such an interesting year for gaming, with a diverse series of titles that offer unique stories and gameplay that ensure that there is always something new to experience game after game.
One genre that has had a solid lineup of new releases (and one genre we at the Geeky Juans really enjoyed so much) is RPGs. Here are some of the best RPGs of 2021:
Super Robot Wars 30
Super Robot Wars is a long-running tactical RPG mecha series that always provides a lot of bang for your buck thanks to its anime crossover appeal where decades’ worth of mecha shows come together to fight all of their enemies and then some.
Super Robot Wars 30 marks the 30th anniversary of the franchise, and once again, it delivers by offering an all-star mecha series roster that features classics like Gundam, Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Evangelion, along with newcomers like SSSS Gridman. The latest edition of the game features the classic SRW formula, with a story that is fitting for the 30th anniversary hype.
The Judgment Series of games is a unique installment of the Yakuza franchise, putting you in the shoes of private detective Takayuki Yagami in the crime-filled city of Kamurocho. Lost Judgement is a sequel that greatly improves upon the formula of the first game, adding new fighting styles, improving upon the stealth and trailing mechanics, and introducing a new Detective Dog named Ranpo.
Apart from that, you still get a dense and lively city to explore, which means hours worth of minigames to play and lose hours in, rhythm games, racing, and robot wars (Yes, you heard that right). Of course, the game’s soundtrack is a straight-up banger.
Arguably one of the more interesting video games of 2021, Scarlet Nexus is a “brainpunk” Action RPG set in a futuristic dystopian Japan. The story follows two playable protagonists, Kasane and Yuito, with different story routes.
Each story path can take around 12-20 hours and is both filled with satisfying combat, a challenging set of enemies, and a story that has enough twists and turns that will somehow keep you invested until the end.
Earthbound and Mother 3 are two RPGs that are well-loved here at the Geeky Juans, and Eastward feels like a wonderful letter to the series as a whole. A colorful game with a story filled with adventure, family, and loss, Eastward is an RPG with a lot of heart. The game has you explore a colorful post-apocalyptic world with silent protagonist John, and a joyful girl named Sam as they unravel the mysteries surrounding the world around them.
While it may not have the massive production value or elaborate mechanics of this year’s RPG titles, Eastward makes up for it by providing a simple yet fun experience that will leave you smiling by the end.
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story
Riot Games is on a roll in 2021, releasing one of the best-animated series in Arcane, pushing Valorant to new Esports heights, and releasing two new games. One of them is Ruined King, an RPG that provides a hefty backstory to some of League of Legends’ most popular champions like Ahri, Miss Fortune, and Yasuo.
Traditional turn-based combat provides enough unique mechanics to enable you to experiment with different strategies, and the visuals feel right at home, giving long-time fans and newcomers alike a different way to enjoy and explore the world of League of Legends.
NEO: The World Ends With You
A sequel more than a decade in the making, NEO: The World Ends With You is a wonderful follow-up to the much-loved DS original. Being a fully 3D RPG experience, the game was able to create a more elaborate city to explore, with people in need of help and dangerous enemies to fight.
The game’s combat is interesting, giving you over 300 different skills called Pins that you can unlock as you play along, and Thread that give you stat boosts and a lot of style. You need all these skills to progress through the story set in a deadly competition called the Reapers’ Game, which will keep you hooked for hours on end.
Shin Megami Tensei V
Another long-awaited sequel, Shin Megami Tensei V is the latest main installment of the franchise (known for the excellent Persona spin-off games). Set in Tokyo and the Netherworld, you explore a dark storyline that involves fighting a lot of demons to keep the city from spiraling out of control and achieving Godhood.
The game provides classic SMT formula, which provides players with a lot of challenging sections that require a good amount of grinding to progress, and a large roster of demons to use during combat. The engaging combat and dark narrative should keep you invested for quite a while, providing you with one of the purest JRPG experiences of the year. Not bad for a Persona game without a heart.
Tales of Arise
The Tales series has been around for 25 years, and Tales of Arise is a wonderful celebration of that milestone, providing one of the best and most complete RPG experiences of the year. The story feels like something straight of the 90s SNES or PS1 RPG, with a band of characters uniting together to save the day, and a storyline with a lot of emotion and dark moments.
The gameplay is a wonderful blend of classic and modern formulas, with classic JRPG explosion and skill progression mixed with fast and buttery-smooth action RPG combat. If you want a throwback RPG experience that has a fun story and combat mechanics, Tales of Arise is the game for you.
RPGs have been really great this 2021, and these 8 games are a great selection that will give you hours upon hours of content and stories to enjoy. As the year wraps up, we’re inching closer to listing down our best games of the year.
Stay tuned for our upcoming Best Games of 2021 episode in our podcast! To be broadcast live on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.
About the Author
A former teacher and guitarist, Jude (Twitter, Instagram) is currently a writer that covers video games and is one of the co-hosts of The Geeky Juans. Apart from hosting the podcast, you can also catch him streaming at Dude It’s Jude on Facebook.