Despite being a genre that's certainly had its ups and downs, role-playing games remain a cornerstone of gaming. While traditional RPGs are few and far between outside of independent attempts, traits and mechanics that the genre introduced have steadily bled into vastly different types of releases. From shooters to sports titles, things like statistics, levelling up, and skill trees have made their way into some of the most popular franchises to ever grace our consoles.
As such, the definition of an RPG has expanded and evolved over time, creating a rather broad term that covers everything from Final Fantasy to Mass Effect. Whether you're partial to more typical Japanese RPGs, loot-heavy dungeon crawlers, or open world adventures, there's usually something for everyone when it comes to this incredible genre. And thankfully, 2014 is absolutely chocked full of role-playing goodness. To mark such an exciting span of time for RPG enthusiasts, we've put together a list of eight promising titles that are hitting PlayStation machines this year.
Bound by Flame
Scorching onto store shelves in just under two weeks, Bound by Flame makes the list because it could well be the PlayStation 4's first true fantasy RPG. While it's also releasing on the PS3, Spiders Studio's action packed adventure promises to step things up on Sony's newest console, where it'll feature butter smooth combat and some picturesque visuals. Although it's admittedly difficult not to be a little bit cautious when approaching a title that's coming from a relatively unknown studio, what we've seen of the game so far thankfully looks the part. Boasting incredibly deep player customisation and crafting options, moral choices that have you weigh up decisions with the flame demon that possesses your character, and even a romance system, there should be plenty of ways to leave your mark on this fiery tale.
It's not difficult to assume that mega-studio Bungie's Destiny is, er, destined to be 'the next big thing' in gaming. A first person sci-fi shooter that's laden with RPG elements such as player classes, skills, levelling up, and huge quantities of loot, the game will no doubt be making a big splash at this year's E3. Featuring a storyline that sees you travel all around the galaxy, we're still anxiously awaiting more details regarding the title's finer points, but with the creators of Halo at the helm, we simply can't see this going wrong. Whether you're exploring alone, with friends, or with total strangers, Destiny promises to be a colossal experience as you develop your customised guardian protagonist. September simply can't come soon enough.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
After the divisive Dragon Age II, some would suggest that Dragon Age: Inquisition is developer BioWare's last chance with the franchise – but what a last chance it may turn out to be. Featuring a huge world to explore, both tactical and action-based combat, the return of player character races, a branching storyline where choices have consequence, and a cast of no doubt well written personalities, it's safe to say that the Canadian studio is really stepping things up for this impending sequel. As far as Western fantasy RPGs go, the release is certainly this year's one to watch, especially now that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been booted into 2015. And did we mention how glorious it looks running on EA's Frostbite 3 engine?
Recently confirmed for a Western release, Japan Studio's Freedom Wars sees you tackle giant futuristic monsters in order to save your allies and cut down your ridiculous one million year sentence of service in a rather dreary apocalyptic setting. Once again, it's the Monster Hunter formula at work as you slay creatures with a squad of buddies, but it's the game's art style and flashy combat that looks to set it apart. When you're not slicing and dicing enemies with a range of cool looking weaponry such as a chainsaw sword or a huge katana, you'll be pelting them with bullets and missiles courtesy of a plethora of long range armaments. Finer details are scarce right now, but with a competent developer at the helm, this RPG should be on any Vita enthusiast's radar.
Lords of the Fallen
A title that's garnered a lot of attention recently when its latest trailer served to draw comparisons to Dark Souls, this action RPG promises to be full of grisly creatures, varied fighting styles, and good old fashioned loot. Playing as a ruffian known as Harkyn, you'll take the fight to a menagerie of demonic monsters with the help of a combat system that strives to be tough but fair. Challenge plays a vital role in the adventure as you learn from your mistakes and alter your approach in order to overcome each abomination that stands in your way, while the story will supposedly be a subtle affair that'll boast plenty of depth for those willing to look. It may not have a specific release date just yet, but if Lords of the Fallen does manage to scratch that particularly hardcore itch, it should prove to be a great next-gen alternative to From Software's beloved but brutal creation.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
Also known as Over My Dead Body 2 in its native Japan, this handheld JRPG boats some absolutely lovely looking visuals and a tactical turn-based battle system. Taking on the role of an heir to a cursed bloodline, it's up to you to navigate labyrinth-like dungeons and receive aid from divine entities. It's not just the game's rather stunning art style that sets it apart, though, as each party member can only live for two years before their doomed DNA takes effect, meaning that you'll be jumping through different generations using a family tree system. You'll also need to expand your clan's influence by gradually taking control of a nation, and for a family full of cursed individuals, that should prove to be quite a feat. As such, cultivating your ideal group with the help of deities that are eager to experience the joys of marriage promises to give the release a lengthy playtime.
Tales of Hearts R
The first Tales Of title on this list, Tales of Hearts R looks like everything you'd expect from the long running series. Colourful characters, a frantic battle system, and a meaty storyline are all part of the formula, although we're curious to see how well the blueprint makes the jump to Sony's portable device. Still, with the franchise's growing popularity in the West, we're hoping that this is just the beginning of the Tales Of series' commitment to the struggling handheld. With an emphasis on aerial combat and stylish looking combos, the release isn't looking to revolutionise the franchise, but we're fairly confident that it'll prove to be a hit with JRPG fans nevertheless.
Tales of Xillia 2
Widely regarded as one of the best games in the Tales Of series, Tales of Xillia was an absolutely solid Japanese RPG that sported an endearing cast of characters and a great battle system. Its eagerly awaited sequel, Tales of Xillia 2, promises to expand upon the original's universe by telling a separate story that takes place after the first game's events, while also throwing a number of returning characters into the mix. Suffice to say, it's probably best to play the previous title before jumping into this one, although with a new protagonist, slightly altered combat mechanics, and a branching storyline that features player choice, there should still be plenty of fresh ideas here to keep things interesting.
Did we miss any 2014 releases that you're particularly excited for? Which title on our list are you most looking forward to getting your mitts on? Vote for your most anticipated RPG in our poll, and share out your experience points in the comments section below.
Which of the following RPGs are you most looking forward to? (67 votes)
- Bound by Flame7%
- Dragon Age: Inquisition12%
- Freedom Wars22%
- Lords of the Fallen7%
- Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines1%
- Tales of Hearts R15%
- Tales of Xillia 216%
Please login to vote in this poll.
Dragon age got my vote, never played it before but I think they might be making something special. Freedom wars and destiny interest me plenty but I'm not going to be blown away. Unsure about bound by flame but the silky fight sequences look promising. Elder scrolls online? My personal choice.
Freedom Wars is the only one, but i'm waiting for some news on Persona 5 regardless its launch be in 2015.
freedom wars and destiny
Rainbow Skies and Wonder flick. I'ld rather Level 5 were making a Rogue Galaxy sequel but I'll take from them whatever JRPG I can get.
Destiny - "A first person sci-fi shooter". I have a hard time w/ a FPS RPG. I know western RPGs are far removed from JRPGs but this seems more like team based Borderlands, and I'ld never consider that an RPG. It was fun to play, but I'd never bring it up in an RPG conversation.
The other games on the list do look interesting. I could go for another Grandia game or Skies of Arcadia sequel.
as I can only vote for one (Tales of R) I'm also going to put here Tales of Xillia 2 and Dragon Age
@FullbringIchigo Indecisiveness is banned.
(Actually, I don't think our poll system allows multi-vote polls...)
Shame there's no option for 'Other' as most of these in the list are just generic releases for their subsequent subsets of the RPG genre Oreshika & Destiny seem interesting enough tho, but only one vote means ill probably go with Oreshika
Out of the one's mentioned, i am excited for Lords of the Fallen, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines, Tales of Hearts R and Dragon Age.
There's also an RPG coming in September that Kotaku pointed out will be many people's most wanted game this year - The sequel to Trails In The Sky, Trails In The Sky 2: SC.
One of the PSP's best RPGs. A beautiful game with all the classic JRPG qualities - epic story, character development, customisation, huge world, detailed lore, turned-based battle system, craft syatem, mini-games and much more. I consider it a PSN game, though as it is not getting a box release. I played the original on my Vita for example and will, along with the majority of others, play the second chapter on Vita too.
So, yeah, TITS:SC is an RPG many are waiting for this year.
@MadchesterMan What else are you looking forward to, man?
@get2sammyb Mugen Souls Z looks like it could be a lot of fun, Fairy Fencer F seems interesting, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth remaster of the original for Vita is gonna be delicious, Disgaea 4 is heading our way too to scratch that Strategy-RPG itch & Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment looks an interesting proposition later in the year...just to name a few localisations at least Theres a tonne of RPG goodness this year, even outside the norm
@3rdEyeMind I thought I was the only one waiting for the new Legend of Heroes game. The series continues on PSP and the Vita but it seems unluckily that we will play the sequels. I wanted to see the Trail story till the end...
@MadchesterManc The Vita gets a lot of jrpg love and I like it!
Lords of the Fallen got me. Release date soon hopefully before October
Tales of Xillia 2 for this guy. I can't wait to get back into that world with those characters again.
Why is there no 'all of the above' option?
Bound by flame.. right around the cornor ! 9 may!:>
Ofc Da3 Lord of the fallen. but right now.. i feel like i Bound !!
Freedom wars for me but I'd buy all on them in i had the time and money! Isn't monster hunter G meant to be unleashed onto vita sometime this year? And doesn't borderlands 2 also have rpg elements with the massive amounts on loooooot coming out in May? !
Inquisition for me. I've been dying to see my Warden and Hawke wandering Thedas again...oh, and my lovechild with Morrigan? Where is s/he?
Lords of the Fallen and Tales of Heart Rare are on my radar
Also Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (Vita), *Lost Dimension (Vita) and *The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Blue Evolution (Vita)
*I'm crossing my fingers that both titles get a western localization
@bbq_boy are you talking about monster hunter g (ps2) or monster hunter frontier g?
Freedom Wars got my vote, just when I think it can't get any better, a new trailer hits the net. Oreshika and Destiny are also on my radar, but FW takes priority.
I'm surprised that Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment didn't make the list, it looks like it's going to be big here in the west, especially after how well received the anime was.
Well, we already know Tales of Hearts R is a really great game, since it's a port of a DS game that's been out quite a while. So that one gets my vote.
Also, Dragon Age Inquision and Freedom Wars looks decent. Destiny I'm not sure about. It looks good, but I'm still iffy on the whole "online required" thing. We'll see though. Maybe I can just spend my 1 month PS Plus pass that came with my PS4 to play it through or something.
I tell you what though. Late 2014 - early 2015 is gonna be rockin' HARD for RPGs...
Final Fantasy 15
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Definitely Lords of the Fallen & Destiny both New IP'S, and Dragon Age Inquision. And hoping there will be Demon's Souls 2 at E3,
Nice list, haven't heard of a few of these. Where's Drakengard 3...does that count?
I'm definitely getting Dragon Age Inquisition...used. After BF4 and ME3, I don't want a cent of my money going to EA or Bioware. Raahhhr!!! >:0
Well my first choice would have been Diablo III but that wasn't included on the list. So I will go with Destiny.
Nobody else seems to be excited about elder scrolls online
Huge fan of Tales of series, and it will be the first Vita release, so I went with Tales of Heart R, but to be honest, that was a tough list and it was hard to choose only one, cause most of those games look awesome!
@SimonAdebisi: I can't afford to be excited about another MMO, lol. My MMO spot is taken up by World of Warcraft and as it is I barely have enough time for that one.
I'm excited for rpg's in general. Im not excited for elder scrolls online cause of the monthly "bill" but Of course we will be buying it, just sometimes we wont be able to afford it.
I'm looking forward to playing Bound by Flame (PS4), Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4), Freedom Wars (PSVita), Lords of the Fallen (PS4), Tales of Heart R (PSVita), and Tales of Xillia 2 (PS3).
I need to own a PS4 and PSVita first before I can play most of them though, heh lol.
@Tasuki fair enough, is one excited for eternal crusade in a couple of years? I know I am.
@SometimeAboutAI Sorry I meant monster hunter frontier g - the mmo version. Vita desparately needs a good MH beater. Luckily the PSP version mh freedom unite is still pretty good on vita. (And sorree I've taken so long to reply!)
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