September 2016 Update: We’ve added a number of new titles to the list to detail the upcoming action role-playing games slated for release on the PC in 2016. Take a look at what’s on the slate for release this year.
Putting together a list of top role-playing games that fuse real-time action with RPG elements on the pc was quite a tall order, since there have been some great games that have hit the platform. Choices were made based on a number of different criteria, including writing quality, storytelling, player choices, and game mechanics. Every action RPG fan should play these games.
2016 Addition: Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 is a game that needs no real introduction. Designed as a tough-as-nails frustration simulator, you’re gonna have to “git gud” or die trying. Offering a host of challenges, ranging from armored knights to bizarre, Lovecraftian monsters, Dark Souls 3 is something you don’t want to miss.
2016 Addition: Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem
Playing a bit like Diablo, but with a rotateable camera and much better graphics, Wolcen promises to deliver a brand new action RPG experience using innovative game mechanics and an open class system. It’s gorgeous. Just look at it!
#15 The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut
Players will embark an adventure in a gothic-noir world, where mad science threatens the peace between monsters and mortals. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut is a collection of all three Van Helsing games, packaged and remastered into a single, cohesive action RPG.
#14 Dark Souls 2
Dark Souls 2 is an action role-playing game set in an open world environment. It’s regarded, and rightfully so, as one of the hardest games of all time. Sequel to the equally challenging Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2 engages players to find a cure for their curse by traveling through the dark land of Drangleic.
#13 Grim Dawn
From the makers of Titan Quest comes Grim Dawn, a game set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk universe where the world has been ravaged by magic and technology run amuck. Although primarily loot-driven like its predecessor, players get to make choices along the way, which makes it interesting for an action RPG. Strangers on the road, families, and even entire villages may live or perish based on the player’s actions.
If you took Diablo and placed it next to Oblivion expecting them to have cute demonic offspring, Sacred would probably be the offspring – a sprawling map that seemingly never ends and a colourful presentation from an isometric perspective are set before you. Keep focused or you’ll be lost in all of the sidequests.
Runic’s first effort was one that was received exceedingly well, what with the nostalgic feeling of playing Diablo 2 and the cute graphics. The lack of multiplayer of the game in this day and age makes it feel absolutely obsolete, however, but it’s nice to see how much of an evolution Torchlight 2 was from the first one
#10 Victor Vran
Victor Vran is an action RPG where your skill is just as essential as your character build and gear. This highly kinetic title emphasizes player reflexes as much as loot. Experience intense combat action: dodge, jump and unleash powerful skills to finish off your enemies.
#9 Dark Souls
While it’s not as much a lootfest as the other entries on this list, Dark Souls is an extremely atmospheric game that throws you into an unforgiving world that makes you fight for every step you take. Very difficult, but fair throughout.
#8 Titan Quest
The definition of a game with an avid following, Titan Quest and its expansion Immortal Throne were the go-to game for people who wanted to feel the rush of the action RPG again before Diablo 3 was announced. A beautiful game even by today’s standards, it sends you on a romp through the mythological ancient times of us. Oh the humanity. Also flying satyrs.
The Anniversary Edition is now available on Steam, with tons of improvements and multiplayer support.
#7 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Despite being part of the MMORPG project that drove its development studio to bankruptcy, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an ambitious game with a hell of a lot of content and an intricate tale througout. You are the master of your fate–literally.
#6 Borderlands 2
The Sequel to the popular loot-fest FPS/RPG hybrid from Gearbox Software, Borderlands 2 brings you back to the planet of Pandora to seek even more elusive Vaults and shoot even more procedurally generated guns. There ain’t no rest for the wicked.
#5 Torchlight 2
Torchlight 2 is everything gamers ever asked for in a sequel to the first Torchlight, itself designed by some of the makers of the first action RPG, Diablo. Featuring colorful graphics, four interesting character classes, and extensive modding support, Torchlight 2 is a co-op action RPG well worth playing.
The action RPG that started it all, the original Diablo stands the test of time. Diablo features the haunting Tristram music by Matt Uelmen that still sends chills down your spine, as well as the creepy gothic atmosphere. Play it for a trip down the nostalgia lane.
#3 Path of Exile
Path of Exile is a fantastic free-to-play action RPG set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. Developed by Grinding Gear Games, Path of Exile is a title that supports what the devs call “ethical microtransactions,” meaning players aren’t charged an arm and a leg for items that give them an unfair advantage. Like Diablo and Titan Quest, players control a single character from an overhead perspective and explore a vast, expansive environment where they battle monsters and complete quests.
#2 Diablo II
Sequel to the game that invented the Action RPG genre, Diablo II takes everything its predecessor accomplished and does it better. Featuring five (or seven, if you include the expansion pack) unique character classes with distinct skills, weapons and abilities, Diablo II allows you to play cooperatively with friends (or simply make new ones!) on its free online service, Battle.net.
Combining a minimal, but well-written story with memorable characters and awesome gameplay, Diablo II is the standard to which most action RPGs aspire to.
#1 Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
The long awaited sequel to the cult classic Diablo II, Diablo III went through multiple iterations and a full expansion, and even more patches afterwards before it became the highly polished and highly refined game it is today. It’s a game worthy of being the successor to the franchise that started the genre.