Top 10 Best RPGs of 2011

With so many titles slated for release, quite a few of which are sequels, 2011 is going to be a busy year for developers, publishers and gamers. It may looks as though 2011 is a lighter year for the RPG genre, but we’ve rounded up some of the best RPGs | Role Playing Games coming in 2011 which will hopefully prove otherwise.

Although 2011 looks to be heavy on the action games and first person shooters, let it not be said that there are no interesting RPGs coming out this year. Though the genre is often thought to be overrun by the tired cliches revolving around elves, wars, and (if you're into MMORPGs) trolls, 2011 looks to be a year of breaking from RPG tradition in many ways. Here's a list of some of the most anticipated RPGs for 2011!

The Witcher 2 

Witcher 2

When The Witcher was released back in 2007, incorporating aspects of the action and RPG genres, it took everyone by surprise.  Though it sounded in concept very much akin to titles such as Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age, The Witcher was decidedly darker and more adult. And not just because of the barmaids and booze. The line between friends and foes got pretty murky, and there was a lot of interesting commentary on religious zealots. And you know, monsters. 

      Protagonist Geralt of Rivia returns as a supernaturally gifted monster hunter, but developers say that, in addition to hunting monsters, Geralt is now faced with an intensely difficult political climate. Believed by many to be influential in this situation, his skills are sought after by many, and his various tasks unfold through a nonlinear storyline. There will be 16 different endings, depending on choices made within the game, and while the game is not straight-up sandbox, any area within a current chapter is reachable. However, beware of non-scaling enemies who will eat you alive if you're not prepared. The combat system has been revamped and is said to be more complicated, which is promising for those who felt constrained by the timed button pressing of the original. 

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

Elder Scrolls V Skyrim

This title will continue the legacy of the Elder Scrolls games, and is reportedly a direct sequel to Oblivion. If the trailer is any indication, there will be metric tons of  dragons, and potentially even a dude who is part man and part dragon. Unfortunately, there's not much else to go on. Bethesda is being purposely tight-lipped about it, saying only that they didn't even want to announce its existence until it was much further along, so that the time between announce and release would be shorter than usual. I sure wish Blizzard would take a hint from these guys in that respect. And speaking of Blizzard… 

Diablo III 

Diablo 3

While Blizzard has not officially confirmed a release date, a recent leaked document has suggested that the target is late 2011, and really, it's about time. The saga of D3's release has gone back and forth so many times, including one short-lived rumor that it would even be released before Starcraft II, which has obviously been proven false at this point. Many die hard fans clung to D2 (including myself, not going to lie), but at slightly older than a decade, we've gotten just about all the mileage we can out of it, and it's time for the next chapter. 

      Blizzard has incorporated a proprietary physics engine, so no more Havok, but the upside is that the environment will reportedly reflect battle damage and destructible elements. There are five character classes, barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, and demon hunter, and each class is playable for either gender, which is a step up from the previous system. Deckard Cain makes a return as an NPC (though he was seriously over the hill in D2, so it's kind of amazing that he's still alive and kicking), as well as a few specific, but as-yet-unnamed NPCs who will accompany players instead of the previous random mercenaries for hire. 

      Picking up two decades after the events in D2 (which would indicate that Diablo years work similarly to dog years, but with an approximate 2:1 ratio), the veterans of the war against the Burning Hells appear to be going insane from some sort of evil-induced PTSD. No word on whether these former soldiers will be the actual enemies, but I personally find that scenario to be acceptable, considering how insane the actual players have gone awaiting this release. 

Torchlight 2 

Torchlight 2

Initially, I only picked up Torchlight to satisfy my Diablo craving, but after a time I came to prefer it over Diablo 2. This may be due to the fact that over the course of an entire decade, one has the opportunity to play D2 like, fifty million times, but whatever. In any case, Torchlight was a prettier, albeit slightly less intense dungeon crawler, and I enjoyed it immensely, despite the fact that the character customizations were pretty limited. I'll forego a lot of player options for enough gratuitous hacking and slashing, and being able to send my pet back to the village to sell off my loot was a very cool and somewhat unique element. 

      Thankfully, it appears that all the stuff I loved about the original will be making a comeback in the sequel, with even a few improvements. Players will still get to have pets with additional inventory space, and be able to go fishing for pet-related magical abilities. However, there will be four separate character classes, two of which have been announced: the railman, who is primarily a melee combatant, and the outlander, a ranged fighter who incorporates "low magic", which I assume means that it doesn't use up too much mana. I only hope that the magical upgrade gambling system is still in place, because that served me quite well in the badass weapons department. 

Pokemon Black and White 

Pokemon Black and White

Nintendo has always released the two versions of the hit RPG on the same day, and it will be no different this time around. Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version feature new Pokémon that players can catch, train and battle as they progress through the game, and some Pokémon can only be caught in one version of the game. For example, Black version will feature Reshiram (The White Coloured Legendary) and the White version will feature Zekrom (The Black Coloured Legendary).

Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version will allow players to start with one of three new Starter Pokémon – the Grass-type Snivy, the Fire-type Tepig or the Water-type Oshawott. Until the main story of the game is complete, every Pokémon that players encounter will have never been seen before in previous Pokémon games. The games also feature original boy and girl trainers who set out on an adventure in the new Unova region.

Release Date: March 6, 2011

Mass Effect 3 

Mass Effect 3

This highly anticipated chapter of Commander Shepard's story sees Earth invaded by giant machines, which appear to be both sentient and aggressive. The people of Earth and the civilizations of the galaxy must be called to arms to drive them out, or mankind may perish forever.  

      With the PS3 port of ME2 out in early 2011, this installment of the series is sure to do particularly well on this console. Decisions from the previous two games can be imported, and will affect gameplay. This will provide added dimensions of deployability, in that players can not only change the course of the game during pivotal moments, but ostensibly start out with a completely different game, based on import data. 

Guild Wars 2 

Guild Wars 2

For fans of the Guild Wars MMORPG series, this sequel will feature enhanced use of the Havok engine, which "does justice to the concept art for the game", as well as more options for character customization . There will be five races and eight professions, four of which have been announced: Elementist, ranger, warrior, and necromancer. 

      The game is set, once again, in Tyria, but a full 250 years after events in the Eye of the North expansion. Tyria is being ravaged by five dragons who have been sleeping underground, and humankind is threatened, and the dwarf population has been decimated. Newer races have come to power, causing political turmoil, and various cities, and even continents have have become isolated as a result of the dragons' corrupting influence. Players must try to unite various factions to be able to fight against one particular dragon, Zhaitan, leaving the way open for further expansion. 

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

Star Wars the old republic

This MMORPG, in development by BioWare, is slated for release in mid-2011. On the surface, it could easily turn into "WoW with Jedi", but it actually looks to be every bit as nuanced as one would expect from BioWare (not that WoW isn't nuanced. Kindly call off your guild's assassination attempt, I mean no offense).  

      Though characters belong to a faction (Galactic Republic vs. Sith Empire), they can have extreme variations in morality within these confines, and storylines will unfold along in game choices, permanently altering the course of the game, as one might expect.  

      Taking place about 3,500 years before the events of the original films, but three centuries after those of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, SW:TOR sees the Jedi blamed for the rise of the Sith after a 28 year war, after which point they moved their base of operations to Tython, their homeworld, in order to pontificate on the Force for insight. Meanwhile, the Sith begin to establish a training school, and it's pretty much all downhill from there. This will be BioWare's first foray into MMORPGs, which could be tenuous, but BioWare, as I've mentioned, has yet to release anything really terrible, even if it's not your particular cup of tea, so this title is bound to be no exception. 


Dragon Age II 

dragon age 2

Set in the same world as Dragon Age: Origins, this sequel features protagonist and Blight survivor Hawke's rise to power. As is typical of BioWare games, decision data from Origins can be imported at the start, and though Hawke's race cannot be changed, modifications can one again be made to both class and gender.  

      New to the series with this installment is a dialogue wheel similar to that found in the Mass Effect series, as well as several newly redesigned NPC races. Additionally, Hawke's dialogue will be fully voiced, and I am curious to see how the customization options will manifest themselves in light of this new development. The narrative apparently encompasses an entire decade, so I am also interested to see how changes and aging will be represented in this chapter of the series. 


Deus Ex: Human Revolution 

deus ex human revolution

Though Warren Spector is not attached to this particular installment, fans of the original seem to be no less excited for its release. This could be because the of the current buzz surrounding key themes in the game, such as nanotech, biomech, and transhumanism. While a mere decade ago, these things were seen only in charming-yet-poorly-voiced RPGs, such things are slowly beginning to become a reality IRL as we begin to blur the line between medical treatment and enhancement. It does not seem as far fetched that a prequel set only 16 years from now explore these ideas and speculate as to possible conflict and corruption as a result of these technologies. 

      Visually, Human Revolution looks to be stunning with a sort of Baroquepunk environs and just enough future stuff to be intriguingly anachronous. Players will take on the role of Adam Jensen, a security officer for a company who specializes in biomechanical research and production. Jensen survives a horrifying attack which necessitates him undergoing some of the procedures in which his company specializes, and then must travel to various locations searching for answers. Luckily, he has a safehouse in each major city for storing intel and his belongings, which is something I always appreciate in an RPG. All in all, this game has been a long time coming, and though the original release date was pushed back indefinitely, there are many gamers who cannot wait to get their hands on this chapter of the Deus Ex saga.