With PC smash hit Baldur’s Gate 3 set for a PS5 release in the next few days, and Xbox Series X|S not far behind, we’re feeling like a bit of role-playing, losing ourselves in far-flung fantasy lands and bumping into outlandish characters.
Enter our favourite ever RPGs, which span the edges to deliver some of the most diverse gaming experiences ever imagined. And, best of all, you’re always at the heart of the action.
If you had to choose an RPG to fight for, what would it be? Let us know in our Discord.
Dragon Age: Inquisition | James Parry
While Mass Effect trilogy takes the top spot amongst my favourite games of all time, there’s always something a bit special about the more fantasy setting of the Dragon Age series when it comes to a pure RPG experience.
The classes might be archetypes, but they are far from worn out, and the flexibility of the game shows off some impressive opportunities for customisation, depending on what takes your fancy.
Just like in its sci-fi cousin’s universe, it’s the characters which grab you and pull you into the immersion. The inclusion of Dragon Age II’s champion Hawke (spoilers for an almost 10-year-old game) in a minor role was a great touch, but there’s a huge amount of joy in getting to know characters old and new here, and even taking control of them in combat for that extra chance to experiment.
The beauty of the combat system as a whole is that you could play it however you wanted. As a straight action romp, diving into the fray with some handy quick buttons or spells and abilities, or, alternatively, dig into the detail and play almost turn by turn using a series of well thought-out options to micromanage you and your entire team to maximise damage and effectiveness.
Better still, the turn after one of the early acts of the game upends the table and puts you in a totally new status quo, ready to build up your strength and build your world as you see fit.
Move over Skyrim, BioWare is still here, jostling with you for the high fantasy crown – let’s hope Dragon Age: Dreadwolf does eventually come out and we actually get to play it…
Kingdom Come Deliverance | Liam Andrews
The thing I enjoy most about Kingdom Come Deliverance is that you play as a regular person, Henry, rather than some super soldier or famous hero. Henry’s relatively low standing in medieval Bohemia is reflected in KCD’s gameplay and missions.
While you do end up working for/with the land’s nobility, you spend most of the time carrying out lesser tasks or doing smaller missions for them rather than making the big decisions. It’s quite a nice break from the high pressure, all-or-nothing stakes found in other RPGs.
For example, towards the end of the campaign, while higher ranked characters planned a siege, I spent the days leading up to the battle gathering herbs and brewing potions to ensure the garrison fought hangover free. Did it really help the siege? Who’s to say, but it was a nice stress-free mission.
I also enjoy KCD’s big battles, particularly when you’ve got friendly NPCs fighting with you, as it’s easy to bash distracted enemies over the head while they’re busy fighting your mates, or fire arrows at them from behind the cover of your allies. It’s not exactly heroic stuff, but your vulnerability/rubbishness at fighting (particularly in the early game) is in keeping with your character’s average status, and part of the game’s appeal.
There's a delicate art to the perfect kart racing game. When Mario Kart blazed onto the track back in 1992, little did it know the legacy it would create.
Over the years we've had efforts from all over the place, from respectable spins on the concept that add fresh ideas like Diddy Kong Racing and Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled, mid-level efforts like Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing, and utterly baffling outings like Mole Kart and even Garfield Kart.
Now we have a new contender, Smurfs Kart, but what would you bring to the table? Is there a franchise that you think could make the perfect kart racer? Let us know on our Discord.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles | James Parry
The first thing you need for a kart racer is recognisable, beloved characters, and with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film currently going down well at the box office, it's surprise this isn't already a thing.
The turtles have gone for a spin before, in 2018's Nickelodeon Kart Racers, but if you take a hand-drawn animation approach to the visuals to tie into a new film I think there's already the ingredients for a really interesting game.
Pizza would have to feature, of course, and the prospect of what other characters besides our fab four to bring in initially is a cause for concern, but the more you think about it the more characters there are to bring to life.
Imagine Kang shouting manically as he speeds round the track in a custom roadster, or Splinter taking a very low-fi approach with a real bare-bones, speedy kart, using his patience and masters of the art of deception to snipe first from you on the finish line every time.
Then there's the environments. Far from just having 'a sewer level', you could really go to town with it and really bring the city to life in fun ways. Plus there's plenty to explore overground as well, particularly with a cartoony approach you could come up with something unique to the turtles.
So, if you're on board, who wants to go for a spin? Bagsy Michaelangelo!
Metroid Prime | Liam Andrews
I’ve recently started playing Metroid Prime Remastered on Switch, which is mostly why I’ve picked it for this week’s topic, but even so I think the game would work quite well as a kart racer.
First off, there’s plenty of locations for tracks to be based on. You’ve got the temple-like Chozo Ruins, the lava filled Magmoor Caverns, the snow covered Phendrana Drifts and a more industrial setting in Phazon Mines. The unique visual styles and environmental dangers found in each of these locations would make for some decent themed tracks.
I would just have Samus as the only playable character, that way all players would have access to the same roster of weapons (Charge Beam, Wave Beam, rockets, etc.) but could also utilise Samus’s Morph Ball ability, which could be used for reaching secret short cuts or combined with the Joy-Cons’ gyroscope function for some bonus Super Monkey Ball inspired levels/mini games.
The various power suits could also work well as temporary power ups for reaching restricted shortcuts in tracks, for example using the Phazon Suit to cut through a radioactive area or the Varia Suit for surviving high temperature areas.
With the sun scorching much of the world and being fairly absent in the UK, it must be the season known as summer, where Brits tend to go on holiday to find sunnier skies elsewhere.
In gaming, we’ve seen so many stunning locations brought to life in recent years, we decided to pick somewhere we’d really like to visit, if Dodo Airlines could really fly you to any destination across the gamerverse.
Will you opt for a sunny escape or a daring mountain adventure? A city break or a peaceful time on the beach? Let us know where your gaming summer holiday would be in our Discord.
Lental Region – New Pokémon Snap | Liam Andrews
If the summer had continued to be blazing hot, I would have joined Chris in choosing a chillier location for my holidays, but there’s been enough rain and grey skies recently that I feel the urge to visit somewhere more tropical.
The first place that popped into my head was Ancient Greece from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but all the warring armies, legendary monsters, and the numerous map icons would probably ruin an otherwise lovely location. I’ll stick to modern-day Greece, which I’ve been to, and thought was excellent, and where the only dangers were low flying turkey’s that almost knock you off your rented scooter.
Instead, I’m going with the Lental region from New Pokémon Snap. The game’s tropical islands would obviously make an excellent holiday destination, but the real draw is the NEO-ONE, the game’s hovercraft which slowly carries players around the beautiful scenery.
As someone who enjoys doing as little as possible on holiday, I like the idea of being transported around lovely tropical vistas, casually lobbing fruit at various Pokémon as I pass by. It’s the perfect device for exploring any holiday destination, capable of going safely underwater, withstanding volcanic heat and, presumably, flying turkeys.
Isle Delfino – Super Mario Sunshine | James Parry
While my instinct would certainly be to hide in a cosy shelter within an iceworld like the Great Glacier from Final Fantasy VII or The Frozen Wilds from Horizon: Zero Dawn, I’ve decided to embrace the spirit of the season and head to the beautiful Isle Delfino, setting of Super Mario Sunshine.
While Mario came across the island in a sorry state, after being safe for over 20 years it’s high time we give this holiday destination a visit. What could go wrong?
The constant music could be enough to drive me insane eventually, but I feel like for a couple of weeks I could put up with it if absolutely necessary, and the island offers so much to explore besides the main plaza area too.
You can pop over to the windmill formerly occupied by Petey Piranha, take a spin on the big wheel at Pinna Park or put your feet up on Gelato Beach – and there’s not a splurge of paint or a Shadow Mario in sight.
Need souvenirs to take home to the family? Grab a piece of fruit or two from the charming locals, there’s plenty to choose from. If getting your five-a-day isn’t a priority for them then they might enjoy a trinket from the bustling Ricco Harbor, or maybe catch a Squidling if you’re lucky.
In all, with its bright colours, blazing sunshine and lovely locations, Isle Delfino has it all. Now, where did I put my beach umbrella?
While Nintendo hardware rumours are nothing new, the latest run of the rumour mill has brought the prospect of a new, more powerful Nintendo Switch or a new console altogether closer than ever before, with word that developers are being given dev kits – the technology used to develop games for the new system.
With our extensive knowledge of the industry (read: many wasted hours gaming over the years and decades), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to come up with the most important features and improvements Nintendo should bring to the table to ensure being a smash hit with audiences.
What would you like to see in a new Nintendo? More motion control? Less motion control? Something totally off the wall? Let us know in our Discord.
Communication | Liam Andrews
The thing I’d like to see most in any Switch successor (I’m backing Chris’ suggestion that it be called the Switcheroo) is better communication/audio capabilities.
The current setup, which includes using an app on your phone, is rubbish, and needs improving in the next console. This could be done by simply integrating the chat app into the new console so it’s easier to chat with friends and hear the game at the same time. I only tried the NSO app a couple of times, but it was unwieldy enough to put me off online multiplayer sessions on the Switch.
Another issue that needs remedying is the lack of a headphone jack on the Switch’s pro controller/Joy-Con cradle. Not only would one of these make it easier to chat with friends, but it would also give players the option of using headphones to listen to game audio when the console is docked (I’m just assuming the new machine will be a hybrid one), especially useful if you’re playing in a noisy environment or just wanted to better appreciate a top-tier soundtrack.
While I do also want improved performance capabilities and fancier visuals, these simple quality of life features are just as important.
Online | James PArry
Nintendo might still not be ready to face it, but the future, and, in fact, the present, is digital. While I don’t want to see physical media die out – the fact that the current Switch carts taste bad so kids don’t eat them is genius – Nintendo needs to put more effort in to bring their digital and online services up to even the basic standards everyone else smashed past years ago.
The eShop is a mess, which is difficult to navigate and clunky to use when you do find what you want. On top of that, it’s poorly curated, leading to tons of shovelware hiding some of the best gems on there.
At this point, Nintendo needs to recognise that both adults and youngsters use their consoles. You should be able to do everyday activities, like add and communicate with friends, easily as an adult and the proper safeguards in place to protect children trying to do the same. In short – we don’t need friend codes Nintendo, we’re all grown up now.
In terms of form factor, the current unit isn’t pocked-sized anyway, so either make it smaller and folded in half (but that feels like a step back to the 3DS days), or punch it up to small bag size, like a 16:9 iPad. Anything more than that is a waste.
The main thing I really want from Nintendo though, is for them to keep throwing in one or two random ideas which don’t make any sense just to see what works – that’s the beauty of a Nintendo console.
We’ll have to wait until at least 2024 to find out how many of our wishes came true.