10 RPGs That Won't Turn You Into A Level 53 Virgin

10 RPGs That Won't Turn You Into A Level 53 Virgin


After all the waiting, tomorrow we'll be able to play the one of the first most anticipated games of the year, Mass Effect 2. While equal-opportunity gamers have been amped about the title since the original came out in late '07, there's a weird rift: casual gamers and the Shooters-Only Horde that snapped up Modern Warfare 2 by the kajillions look at the RPG label and yawn, while hardcore RPG fans sniff that the game's just a shooter with RPG tendencies As far as we're concerned, both sides of the naysayer divide need to take a flyer off the Presidium Ring of the Citadel, because ME2 is a jaw-dropper (we'll have an in-detail review up tomorrow).

The thing is, we can understand that some people have a preconceived notion about the RPG genre. Even the word "RPG" gives you the image of a dude who holds stock in Cheetos and only responds to his online name from the LARP message boards (which, if you must know, is "Eldred The Lothslayer" or "n00br4pist"). But no matter how many World of Warcrafts and EverQuests and Dragon Ages and Kingdom Hearts and Elvish Hymens there are out there scratching the swords-and-sorcery itch, there are still RPG games for people who prefer their potions 80-proof. Games like Mass Effect 2 have given a RPGs a broader (and more acne-free) audience. It's not the first of its kind (and with games like Alpha Protocol coming up, certainly not the last), but the Mass Effect series can certainly take credit in keeping RPGs alive. We rounded up 10 of our favorite games from the genre, all while guaranteeing 100% freedom from wizards and tree gnomes. Now leave us be, we've got avatars to customize!

ffvii

TITLE: Final Fantasy IIV (1997)
CONSOLE(S): PlayStation, PS3 (through the PSN)
COMPLEX SAYS: The Final Fantasy series might have swords and magic in every story, but FFVIIis the hands-down the grittiest installment in the franchise, and the swords in question are huge to the point of ludicrousness. Besides, 10 million people can't be wrong, and YOU CAN'T BE A NERD IF YOU'RE IN THE MAJORITY, PEOPLE. IT'S SCIENCE.

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ss2

TITLE: System Shock 2 (1999)
CONSOLE(S): PC
COMPLEX SAYS: System Shock 2 is, like, totally a cult classic. So if nothing else, you get points for even knowing what it is. The game, which casts you as a space soldier trying stop a zombie-like infection on your ship with psionic abilities and guns at your will, makes up for the fact that you have to play it on a PC. So good that it was ripped off the inspiration for another great game, BioShock.

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deusex

TITLE: Deus Ex (2000)
CONSOLE(S): PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Probably the most thought-provoking game you'll play. With the gunplay of the N64 classic Golden Eye, stealth that requires just as much attention, and Warren Spector leading the crew, Deus Ex set the bar for PC games. A bar that hasn't been touched since 2000. Much like your bathing-suit area.

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hack

TITLE: .hack//Infection (2003)
CONSOLE(S): PS2
COMPLEX SAYS: .hack//Infection is probably one of the most confusing games (story-wise) we've ever played. There's a fake world and a real world, and there are accompanying (real-life) DVD's to help you understand it more. Of course, once you realize you don't need any of that shit to enjoy the game, it's even more fun. Old-school RPG mechanics and semi-comical Japanese translations FTW.

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kotor

TITLE: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
CONSOLE(S): Xbox, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Star Wars KOTOR is probably the best Star Wars game ever (not to mention #11 on our Best Video Games of the 2000s list). The only people you'll take an L from are the ladies, but that's probably more because you're asking them to dress up as Prisoner Leia for a date to Medieval Times.

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papermario

TITLE: Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door (2004)
CONSOLE(S): GameCube
COMPLEX SAYS: Mario has been doing RPGs for a while, but this title is a Complex favorite. With a gloriously childlike (no Pete Townsend) 2-D set up and a look that can stand up to Wii games, Paper Mario TYD is a win. Plus, hell, it's Mario!

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MUA

TITLE: Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006)
CONSOLE(S): 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance
COMPLEX SAYS: For the gamer community, we recognize that the X-Men: Legends series is dope, but we can only stand so much of Cyclops' pussy ass. Marvel Ultimate Alliance contains a line up of 20+ superheroes that range from do-gooders like Cap and Spidey to GOAT antiheroes like Blade. And you don't even have to worry about doing a bid for tax evasion!

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masseffect

TITLE: Mass Effect (2007)
CONSOLE(S): 360, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: At #8 on our Best Video Games of the 2000s list, Mass Effect proves that RPGs aren't just for dicerollers. It's got everything you want: guns, explosions, powers, sex, and absolutely incredible storytelling. If nothing else, the fact that the sequel's launching like a blockbuster movie (2-minute ads during NFL conference championship games?) should tell you something. Classic status.

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fallout3

TITLE: Fallout 3 (2008)
CONSOLE(S): 360, PS3, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Fallout 3 was voted Game of the Year by numerous critics and #38 on our Best Video Games of the 2000's list, so if you haven't played it, you're not "too cool for RPGs," you're just an idiot. Set in a post apocalyptic world, players have to go out of their safe vaults to find their father's. With guns, bombs, crackling dark humor, and exploding heads (pause?) Fallout 3 is nothing but a good look.

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borderlands

TITLE: Borderlands (2009)
CONSOLE(S): 360, PS3, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: What makes up for the lack of story and depth in Borderlands is this simple truth: sometimes, you just want to shoot shit. This game has over 100,000 guns, characters you'll actually enjoy, compelling art direction, and smooth gameplay. Did we mention 100,000 guns? T.I. ain't got shit on y'all!



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Tags: features, mass-effect-2, rpg, video-games
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