thehas built up an incredibly robust library of games since its launch. Almost every major genre is well represented on the console, but that holds particularly true for RPGs.
From long-running franchises like Dragon Quest to classic-style originals like Triangle Strategy, Nintendo’s hybrid system offers a wealth of epic adventures that will scratch any gamer’s role-playing itch. Here are our picks for the best RPGs on Nintendo Switch. And for more recommendations, be sure to check out theand the 42 best games on Switch.
Don’t let the odd nickname fool you; Bravely Default II is, at heart, a traditional Final Fantasy adventure by any other name. In the classic mold, the game follows four motley warriors on a quest to restore balance to the elemental crystals that rule the world. Even most of the spells and items you acquire along the way are pulled straight from past Final Fantasies. But Bravely Default also introduces its own unique ideas into the mix, such as its namesake commands Brave and Default, which allow characters to skip turns to rack up points that can then be spent to trigger multiple actions at once. It’s deep and inventive, and when paired with the flexible work system, it offers almost dizzying freedom to tinker with your party build.
Nearly 30 years after its original release, Secret of Mana remains one of the most beloved RPGs ever produced, and Switch owners can experience the classic again – or for the first time – thanks to the aptly named Collection of Mana. . This three-game compilation bundles Secret of Mana with its Game Boy predecessor (known as Final Fantasy Adventure or Mystic Quest, depending on where you live) and its previously Japanese-only sequel Trials of Mana, providing the perfect introduction to one of Square Enix’s most revered franchises.
The game that made developer Elden Ring FromSoftware a household name, Dark Souls remains one of the studio’s defining achievements – every bit as challenging and darkly seductive as when it launched in 2011. This remastered edition brings together the original adventure with its Artorias of the Abyss Extension DLC. While the Nintendo Switch version of this modern classic may lack the technical fidelity of other platforms, it makes up for it with some system-exclusive features, namely Amiibo support and the ability to play anywhere.
The archetypal Japanese RPG, Dragon Quest remains one of gaming’s most beloved franchises, and its latest entry shows why. Boasting the series’ signature blend of traditional gameplay and heartfelt storytelling, Dragon Quest XI follows the adventures of the Luminary, a legendary hero destined to save the world of Erdrea from the encroaching forces of darkness. Though the conceit may seem outdated, Dragon Quest XI’s story is charming and poignant, bolstered by a colorful cast of characters like the brash thief Erik and the flamboyant Sylvando. This edition of the game also gives you the option to play through the adventure in 3D or retro-style 2D, a feature originally exclusive to the unlocalized 3DS version.
The latest installment in Nintendo’s revered RPG series is also one of the best. Building on the tactical foundations of the franchise, Three Houses puts you in the role of a new professor at Garreg Mach Monastery, where you must take one of three titular student houses under your wing. You play the role of both military commander and teacher, fostering the growth of your students on and off the battlefield. It’s an inspired take on classic Fire Emblem gameplay, further strengthening the connection you feel with each of your units. And with three divergent paths to choose from, each affecting the direction of the story, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is convincingly replayable.
Capcom has spent years gradually sanding down the edges of its popular but notoriously dense Monster Hunter series, and the latest installment, Monster Hunter Rise, is the most accessible entry point yet. As in previous games, your mission is to band up with other hunters and take down fearsome monsters, using the materials you’ve gathered to forge increasingly powerful weapons and armor. The gameplay loop is irresistibly compelling, and Rise accentuates it with a host of improvements and new traversal features, such as the Wirebug, an elastic insect that lets you launch yourself through the environment. Thanks to these tweaks, monster hunting is more mobile and satisfying than ever, making Rise a great title for longtime fans and newcomers alike.
Many modern Japanese RPGs have strived to recapture the essence of the genre’s heyday in the mid-90s, but few have replicated the look and feel of that period as effectively as Octopath Traveler. As its peculiar title suggests, the game follows eight protagonists, each navigating individual stories and missions that eventually weave together into a single, interconnected quest. It’s a well-executed return to SNES RPGs, with enough ideas to give the game its own identity. But its defining innovation is its pioneering “HD-2D” visual style, a beautifully modern twist on the 16-bit aesthetic that other RPGs, like the upcoming remakes of Dragon Quest 3 and Live a Live, would eventually co-opt.
Although Paper Mario has long since abandoned its RPG roots, The Origami King rediscovers the magic of the series’ first episodes. Told with the wit and sharp writing of the franchise, The Origami King is a light-hearted role-playing adventure that runs the gamut from hilarious to heartbreaking. The story is driven by a unique sliding-panel combat system, which effectively turns every enemy encounter into a rapid-fire micro-puzzle. Despite its unconventional approach to the genre, The Origami King is the best Paper Mario game since The Thousand-Year Door.
After years of incremental improvements, Pokemon Legends: Arceus marks the series’ most radical reimagining to date. Shattering over two decades of convention, Arceus immerses players in a vast world where patience and quick reflexes are just as vital to catching Pokemon as type advantages. Each wild Pokémon can be seen roaming the field, and you have an array of options for capturing them – whether that’s distracting them with bait, hiding in tall grass, or sending your own monsters to battle them. This freedom makes Arceus the most exciting Pokémon game in ages, and it’s a must-play game for any Switch owner looking to embark on a grand adventure.
There are plenty of Pokemon games on Switch, but Pokemon Sword and Shield are still the best choice for those looking for a traditional Pokemon experience. Following the series’ proven formula, Sword and Shield puts you in the role of a rookie trainer on a quest to become Pokemon champion, traveling the world, raising a team of hand-picked monsters and challenging fearsome rulers of gym along the way. This gameplay loop remains as enticing as ever, and with an array of activities to do after conquering the main story (including two meaty DLC expansions), Pokemon Sword and Shield ranks among the best entries in the series.
Although Persona is now the most well-known of Atlus’ RPG series, Shin Megami Tensei remains the studio’s most hardcore offering, and the latest entry is one of the best in the franchise. Set in a barren, post-apocalyptic version of Tokyo, Shin Megami Tensei V casts you in the role of “Nahobino”, a supernatural being formed after your average high school avatar merges with a mysterious man known as Aogami. . The ensuing adventure takes you through the ravaged deserts of Tokyo, using your newfound supernatural powers to recruit other demons and battle gods. Dark and challenging, Shin Megami Tensei V is one of the best system exclusives.
An overlooked gem ripped from the Wii U library, Tokyo Mirage Sessions is an unapologetically colorful collaboration between Nintendo and RPG stalwart Atlus. Although billed as a mashup between the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem franchises, the game is more Persona-like, following a group of aspiring teen idols who must fend off the dark forces that have invaded Tokyo. During battle, characters will transform and can summon legendary Fire Emblem heroes like Chrom and Tiki, using their powers to conquer enemies in turn-based encounters. The combat system is deep and draws elements from Fire Emblem and SMT, while the story is charming and told with anime seriousness.
While Octopath Traveler was a heartfelt throwback to vintage 16-bit Japanese RPGs, Triangle Strategy lovingly channels one particular classic: Final Fantasy Tactics. In the vein of that beloved title, Triangle Strategy is a turn-based tactical RPG where you command a small army of soldiers around a chessboard-like battlefield. The gameplay offers layers of depth when you consider positioning, elemental alignments, and other variables when maneuvering your units, and it’s boosted by a compelling, choice-driven story centered on political machinations and heavy consequences of your decisions. Despite the game’s slow opening, Triangle Strategy is an engrossing RPG and one of the best Nintendo Switch games of 2022.
Although originally released on the underpowered Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles remains one of the most ambitious and gripping adventures Nintendo has ever produced. The story is quite compelling, full of twists and bustling drama, and the MMO-like combat system offers plenty of strategic depth. But what really makes Xenoblade special is its setting. The entire adventure takes place on the backs and limbs of two titanic gods, and each location you visit is more fantastical and breathtaking than the last. It’s an epic in every way. The base game can take over 100 hours to complete, and it’s topped off with an all-new epilogue story that sets the stage for the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
After Xenoblade Chronicles X, a sci-fi flavored Wii U episode, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 brings the series back to more familiar territory, both visually and thematically. Like the first game, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a sprawling adventure set on (and within) continent-sized beings known as titans. You’ll explore a series of awe-inspiring environments as you journey through these colossi, from lush plains to dusty wastelands. Each location is expansive and beautifully realized, rivaling the best settings in the genre, while the revamped combat system offers a greater degree of strategic nuance than before. Although the story leans even more heavily on anime tropes than its predecessors, the sense of scale and wonder inspired by Xenoblade Chronicles 2 remains unmatched on Switch.
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