With every game incorporating RPG elements in some capacity, it’s getting really hard to tell the difference, but these best Role Playing Games on Xbox Game Pass show us that even when we blur the line of what makes an RPG, some games just feel more like an RPG than a game that has RPG elements tacked to it.
The Xbox Game Pass role-playing games on this list are some of the best examples of games that have a leveling system and a story to tell. We’ve come a long way from the days when players rolled dice and checked character sheets to see if they passed some sort of skill check. (Which works perfectly well in today’s video games.)
With that said, here’s our list of the best RPGs on Xbox Game Pass for December 2022 that lets you walk a thousand miles in someone’s shoes.
Let’s start this list with of Best Xbox RPGs on Xbox Game Pass with a long-standing game on the service, Young Souls. This side-scrolling beat-em-up Action RPG has still a lot to prove even after it’s been on Xbox Game Pass for 3/4 of a year. Either in co-op or solo as Tristan or Jenn. The writing is surprisingly deep as the Goblins have a reason for waging this war, leaving the twins to reconsider the lengths they’ll to protect such a place.
The active combat gameplay is also very satisfying. Even in solo play as one twin takes over in case the other is temporarily stunned. Outside of dungeons, you are free to roam around town and take part in everyday tasks like clothes shopping and hitting the gym. Both of which improve your stats, btw.
A Diablo-style action RPG, The Ascent has a combat system that is closer to a twin-stick shooter rather than your typical click-spam affair. the game’s story may be lacking but at least it played second fiddle to something more important an isometric ARPG. And that would be the combat system. The gear grind isn’t bad in this game. It’s probably the only thing that makes the whole experience worthwhile.
As an RPG the game has character customization, upgradable primary and secondary weapons, skill trees, and side quests through the nose. If you can ignore the long corridors with nothing particularly exciting to do, then it’s worth it. If it means kicking some corporate lackey in the ass.
Beacon Pines is a self-described cute and creepy adventure set within a mysterious book. If the art style won’t get you hooked at first glance, maybe its wonder story might. But don’t just take our word on it, the community at large believes that it is worth your time.
Watch as the written story changes before your eyes and new routes open up as you replace words in the story. One final thing to note, the choices you make often aren’t what you expect. This may be the reason why the game is such a hit with fans.
One of the newest entries to find itself on the Xbox Game Pass service at launch. Gungrave GORE is a throwback to the early 2000s beat ’em shooters that are sorely missed in this generation of gaming. Stylish to the core, the game sees you taking on hordes of genetically altered creatures as you walk the path of revenge with an arsenal that almost seems like they are fueled by hate.
Most players will agree that action game enthusiasts should play this game for the thrills and the challenge… and not much else. It’s a good thing then that it’s on Game Pass right now.
Crown Trick has the distinction of being a turn-based roguelike and it does in such a way that’s both satisfying and practical. Elle and the crown’s symbiotic relationship stems from their wanting to escape this Dream World. Their characters get fleshed out throughout the ordeal. In a gameplay sense, they serve as upgrade stations or something to spend all your stones at. But they do talk about themselves. Which is nice too.
What sets runs apart are items, summons, and relics. (The RPG bits of this machine.) Since combat is turn-based, enemies react only after you’ve completed an action. This adds a layer of tactics to the game where you can nudge enemies into place for maximum damage.
To call Bugsnax a strange game would be an understatement. You answer the call to adventure and are swiftly transported onto this mysterious island where are joined by like-minded individuals who are looking for a fresh start. That would have been fine and all if not for their want and need to capture and possibly consume the creatures that call this place home. That’s right, the twist here is that all the creatures on the island are based on some kind of food product. Think Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 but with Muppets.
This is definitely worth experiencing if only for one solid playthrough.
Xbox Game Pass is home to many fine RPGs but not many of them can claim that they have mechanics that closely resemble pen and paper Role-playing games. That’s where Citizen Sleeper comes in.
In this dystopian world set in space, you play as a former employee of a galactic corporation who is now on the run for stealing company property aka you, your body, and everything attached to it.
Your choices aboard the derelict space station will not only have consequences for yourself but for every free soul that calls this place home.
Dishonored 2 feels like an extension of the first game in many ways. Though it tried to do a branching narrative by making players choose between Corvo and Emily. The only difference is that you get slightly different dialog and two different ability sets. It’s something but the story remains largely the same for the most part. It just boils down to who saves who at the end of the story.
Dishonored 2’s chaos system returns and does what it always does; largely determining the game’s endings. This makes no-kill runs an extremely difficult, yet rewarded experience. Whether you decide to be a master assassin, a ghost, or a bloody reaper, your choices matter.
Infernax is like many other 8-bit “inspired” games in the market. While the game does wear its Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest inspirations close to its chest, it does enough to stand out from other games that try to emulate the experience perfectly.
In Infernax, you can choose to completely forsake health and magic upgrades in favor of a hard-hitting melee build with your trusty mace. Or invest everything you’ve got into magic and be somewhat useful for as long as you have mana to cast spells.
You can also partake in side missions that’ll unlock new spells and legendary gear that’ll be essential in taking down the demonic hordes (or human forces) that you choose to destroy.
Stardew Valley is one of gaming’s most successful indie darlings. Part of that was due to the fact that the game has been getting support for many years. Now the game is on Xbox Game Pass, subscribers can take advantage of a plethora of content that’ll keep them engaged for a very long time.
Endlessly charming, Stardew Valley is the kind of game where you can lose yourself for long stretches. The number of options you have to customize your farm and yourself is staggering. If you’re looking for a game that’s incredibly chill with a bit of edge to it, this is it.
Set in an alternate world under the constant threats of mysterious creatures called Others, Scarlet Nexus tells the story of Yuito and Kanase, members of the OSF. The pair see the same conflict from two separate perspectives, resulting in many disagreements between the people around them.
Revelations one character has is not made clear to the other protagonist and even to the player themselves. The whole story can only be pieced together if the player chooses to follow both stories. This intentional bit of game design only works with a strong narrative to keep players engaged. Thankfully, Scarlet Nexus pulls that off really well.
The combat in the game is fast-paced utilizing active skills like telekinesis and fast reflexes. Players can bring along two members of their team and can be ordered to use their unique skills when the player requires it.
FAR Changing Tides is a direct sequel to FAR Lonely Sails. The mechanics are mostly the same as in the previous game but they have been expanded upon in every way possible, and you’ll get to see how it happens as the story unfolds.
You can experience the journey in 4-6 hours, and go through the entire story of both games in a single weekend. This makes it a perfect fit for Xbox Game Pass, at least on PC.
Return to Monkey Island is best described as the true sequel to the original games. Much like how the games released between Crash Team Racing and Crash Bandicoot 4 take place in their own dimension, everything between Return to Monkey Island and the original games can probably be considered spin-offs.
Guybrush Treepwood, never having found the Secret of Monkey Island, is having a mid-life crisis but for pirates. He yearns for the days when it was just him, Elaine, and their undead nemesis LeChuck as they locked wits in search of treasure. He has returned to his old stomping grounds only for them to be taken over by hip, new, young pirates. It’s a whole new set of obstacles in the way, but Guybrush is more than determined to see this through.
Eiyuden Chronicle Rising
A prequel to the upcoming Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes, Eiyuden Chronicle is a 2D side-scrolling RPG about a group of adventurers investigating some ruins at the moment disaster strikes. What follows is the humble beginnings of a story that will play a part in the larger narrative that is Hundred Heroes.
Hundred Heroes doesn’t come out until early next year. So, if you are interested in the Eiyuden world, you may want to get this out of the way ASAP.
Lost in Random is an interesting title that’s all about this girl looking for her sister after she’s been forced to become the wicked queen’s protege. It’s essentially a tale of hope in a world that has lost any semblance of hope.
The gameplay revolves around tossing your friend dicey over your head and using cards powered by the roll you’ve got. It’s definitely interesting if you’re into that sort of thing. But you’ll be seeing this one through for the story.
Tinykin is a 3D adventure platformer set in a world that resembles much of our own but is somehow time locked.
Young scientist Milo has a dream of rediscovering the planet where all humans originated from, Earth. He has no idea that the device he constructed will bring to a place that’s practically our world… if that world happens to be a suburban home from the early 1990s. He has to now work together with the mysterious Tinykin and the bugs that inhabit this world to help him build a machine that’ll get him back home.
Look, the Dead Space remake is coming out in January 2023. If you haven’t played the original, now’s probably the best time to do so on Xbox Game Pass. In fact, you can play the entire trilogy on the service. But goodness knows why you’d want to go and play the third game with its annoying MTX mechanics.
Space horror was redefined, Dead Space was a pioneer in the genre and holds up pretty for a game that came out in the Xbox 360 era. Players take control of Isaac Clarke, an engineer sent in response to a distress call from the USG Ishimura. Clarke and crew are unaware of the horror that roams the deserted halls of the Planet Cracker. They will know enough as soon as they step foot out of their ship.
Octopath Traveler is a throwback to the days when Square Soft and Enix were two different entities. Well, that’s not entirely true as the game’s multipronged approach to storytelling is a first for the company. The approach may be hit or miss for players of the game, but you have to admit if it weren’t for the fact that we follow 8 whole stories at once, there would not be much to talk about in regard to Octopath.
Without the mix-up, Octopath Traveler would have been your typical RPG with leveling and equipment at its core. Which would have been fine, if not unoriginal.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
The Dragon Quest series has been a bastion of JRPGs since the earliest days of the genre. Dragon Quest XI continues the legacy by giving us a game that is familiar to series veterans and yet has visuals that appeal to a new generation of fans. Only known as the Luminary, the silent protagonist’s journey to save the world is a timeless one that incorporates some heavy moments mixed in with light-hearted ones.
Even if you’ve never played a modern video game, Dragon Quest is going to be both familiar and different at the same time. But nevertheless, this is the kind of game I recommend to beginners too. Specifically, everything we know about turn-based RPG mechanics in video games started from the Dragon Quest series.
For many years, Yakuza relied on its beat-’em-up combat and storytelling to foster a loyal fanbase that understands that sometimes you need to mix things ups in order to stand out. This was evident in the side missions for Yakuza 0, and perhaps the Yakuza series in general. Yakuza Like a Dragon takes it one step further still. Gone is the beat-’em-up mechanics and say hello to an all-new turn-based battle system. It’s oddly refreshing to have regular people pull a Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest bit in the middle of the streets of the Yokohama district.
It’s not likely that this new form of combat will actually replace what we have right now in mainline Yakuza games. Not unless Ichiban Kasuga takes over. But hey, if you’re new to the Yakuza series and like RPGs, this might be the best entry to start with before diving into the deep end that is the main line series.
Dragon Age Inquisition is the culmination of Bioware’s efforts throughout the series. It has the RPG depth of Origins on top of the great exploration that comes with an open-world map. Not only that, the long list of activities you can take part in to gather “Power” for your forces’ overall strength is a great way to encourage going off the beaten path. And besides, if you rush through the game’s story, you’ll miss out on the squad banter Bioware is now famous for. The journey of the Inquisitor’s party is not a quiet one.
Aside from the usual RPG character progression, inquisition’s tactical view mode lets you give out orders while giving you some time to assess your current situation. It’s basically an improved version of the system we saw in Dragon Age Origins.
My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia is a third-person life sim with a hint of combat. With your Pa’s handbook, you set out to have the best Workshop in all of Portia. You achieve this by collecting resources, refining them, and getting better gear, which you use to explore the mysterious depths.
And what kind of life sim would it be if didn’t have a social aspect to it? The town of Portia has lots of friendly folks who will extend a helping hand to a neighbor in need. Romance is on the table as well.
We may not when The Outer Worlds 2 is coming out, but there’s no better time than now to take the first game for a spin, especially now that the game has added a couple of pretty good DLC on top of its humorous at times wacky space adventure.
In the not-so-distant future, corporations have taken over practically every aspect of living in a forsaken colony system on the fringes of known space. Players take control of a crew member of a lost arc who managed to lose their way in transit. The powers that be don’t want something challenging their authority and you certainly don’t want to be the only one on your ship to make it out of cryo-sleep.
Middle-Earth Shadow of War
We can’t start talking about Middle-Earth Shadow of War without talking about the elephant in the room – the microtransactions. Thankfully, that foolishness did not last too long as people were getting pretty sick of the loot box implementation. The game is in a much better state these days. You can get followers through gameplay and you have to spend additional money for a chance to get legendary orcs.
Other than that, the game is a vast improvement over the previous entry, Shadow of Mordor. The combat is amazing and the side quests have some weight to them. Above all else, Talion’s story gets the fitting conclusion it deserves, if you are willing to invest the time in conquering all the regions in a post-story epilogue campaign.
A Way Out
The only 2 player co-op exclusive game on our list of best RPGs on Xbox Game Pass, A Way Out tells the story of two prison inmates who are determined to break out of prison, no matter what. Even if means entrusting their life to a complete stranger. Leo and Vincent must now work together to escape the prison and evade their imminent capture.
Staying a step ahead of the law is going to require two heads and a lot of elbow grease. And always watch your back, you don’t know who to trust anymore.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Ok. The reason why I’m recommending the Mass Effect Legendary Edition over just having three entries with Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 is that the Legendary Edition adds so much to the original trilogy. It’s ridiculous.
Mass Effect 1 is completely overhauled, in our opinion. This blurs the line between remake and remaster. Plus it fixed a lot of things that fans wanted to be fixed for the longest time. Mass Effect 2 and 3, peak Bioware. Not counting the original ending for the trilogy because they royally messed that one up. But the journey there was some of the best sci-fi action I’ve experienced in a long time.
Commander Shepard’s war against the Reapers took them across the Milky Way. They went from being a Spectre agent to a Cerberus ally to the spearhead of the whole resistance. The lengths they went through to save all life is remarkable. There won’t be a Space Opera on the level of this for a very long time.
Ah, Skyrim. Where would gaming be today without this epic RPG? We might have saved the gaming world if the game didn’t introduce Horse Armor DLC. But let’s face it, even if Skyrim didn’t introduce microtransactions through horse armor, someone else would have thought of it.
A person can spend literally hundreds of hours doing side content and completely ignore the main storyline. In fact, I don’t even recall what the story is about anymore. I know it had something to do with a rebellion and dragons – Oh, a new quest just happened to pop up! I have to appease a Dydric Prince! Let’s goooooo.
That’s pretty much Skyrim in a nutshell. You start doing one thing and 20 side missions later, you’re living a cozy life with your spouse and adopted children. I heard they introduced fishing in the Anniversary edition.
Fallout 4 is a pretty nice game. As a fallout game, it might have been hit or miss with fans. The inclusion of building mechanics and settlement management wasn’t exactly well-received by everyone. And then there’s this whole thing about the Minutemen and Preston Garvey telling me that a settlement needs help every five minutes. (I am still annoyed by this.)
With the SPECIAL attribute system, there are many ways to play the game. So like any Bethesda game, you’re going to be in this world for a long while.
Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition
Fallout 3 was the beginning of the Renaissance of the Fallout franchise. Before Fallout 3, not many people have even heard of Super Mutants and Power Armor. Now that isn’t to say that the game is a masterpiece that’s withstood time. Far from it, Fallout 3’s was more RPG than it was an FPS and it certainly shows. In retrospect, the combat and adventuring mechanics weren’t exactly that great. But it lives on as one of the best stories ever told in gaming history. And now, it’s on Xbox Game Pass, it’s a good time to check it out.
Now, if Bethesda can just break free of the Creation Engine when the next Fallout game releases, the whole community will thank them.
No one would have expected that a once unassuming 2D RPG could create such discourse about how we handle monsters and situations in RPGs. Once upon a time, we would have killed things because that’s what we always do. But then the so-called monsters talked back and asked us questions we never considered while playing games. And because of that moral question and that bit about souls, we got things like pacifist and genocide runs in the game.
I don’t want to understate Undertale’s impact on gaming. The fans sure do love the game as pieces of fan art were common back in its heyday. Of course, if wanna really test your mettle, you can try and piss off Sans and Flowey.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the sequel to the beloved Ori and the Blind Forest. What started off as a flight of fancy now turns into an adventure to rescue Ku, bring the family back together, and find Ori’s destiny.
The world outside home is a dangerous place full of darkness and towering creatures. Only Ori can put the pieces together and discover a greater truth that no one really expected.
A 2D roguelite of the highest magnitude, Dead Cells stands out for its non-stop action and ease at which to get back to said action. With a system that’s stream-lined to keep you focused on the next run, you’ll be coming back to the fight stronger after every single attempt.
Additionally, Dead Cells is heavily supported with numerous updates since the game came out in 2018. There’s always something new in the game that was previously missed. (The Avengers got nothing on this number of crossovers.)
A Plague Tale Requiem
This is the last game sequence on our list of Best RPGs on Xbox Game Pass, we promise.
A Plague Tale Requiem takes place half a year from where our protagonists left off in A Plague Tale Innocence. Amicia and Hugo are on a quest to find a new home and possibly outrun the plague. Their travels take them far South into land unknown. But their peace is short-lived as Hugo’s powers start acting up again and a flood of rats is set to overtake them.
OPUS Echo of Starsong – Full Bloom Edition
One of the most underrated gems to come out in recent years, OPUS Echo of Starsong is now part of Xbox Game Pass and we just gotta say, you’ll want to play this game for the story, the characters, and the beautifully haunting songs this game has. The OPUS series may have had a niche following but we see that there is more to come from this franchise. And with the release of the Full Bloom Edition this year, this game has only gotten better.
Since the game’s full release a couple of months ago, Grounded has shaped up to be one of the best games to ever grace the Xbox lineup of games. The tiny adventure through the huge world of a scientist’s backyard hasn’t been this fun since Honey I Shrunk the Kids. This game can be completed solo and with a group. We suggest playing with some friends.
The story revolves around a group of young teens who have been abducted and subsequently experimented upon by a greedy corporation. But fate and a small group of sympathizers intervened and it’s now up to them to locate the doctor’s research and find a way to enlarge themselves again. (And hopefully not get eaten by giant insects.)
Disney Dreamlight Valley
For our top game on our list of best RPGs on Xbox Game Pass, we have the nostalgia-driven hit from our childhood memories, Disney Dreamlight Valley.
Darkness is creeping over Dreamlight Valley, it is up to you to break the curse and bring some light back to the Valley. With a helping hand from some of the most iconic characters in recent Disney history, we will all come together to lift the darkness.
Oh, and while we’re at it, we might as well enjoy the company of our Disney favorites while cooking and adding furnishings to our homes.
And that’s our list of the best role-playing games on Xbox Game Pass. We got to see plenty of heroes on a journey to save their worlds, have fun times experimenting with weapon combinations and special powers, and even got to level up and distribute stat points. It was a lot of fun. And hey, don’t forget that this is your story too. So go there and show ’em what you got.
Check some of our listicles too if something catches your eye: