Greatest ARPGs For Those New To Genre

Highlights

  • Yakuza: Like A Dragon is a beginner-friendly action RPG with a wacky story and turn-based combat system, perfect for newcomers to the genre.
  • Fable offers a simple yet satisfying combat system and easy character progression, making it a great choice for beginners to action RPGs.
  • Hades provides a rogue-lite experience with exciting gameplay and an easy-to-understand combat system.

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It can be difficult to discern what a video game’s main genre is, due mostly to the fact that modern titles blend them all. For instance, it can be hard to figure out the difference between a traditional RPG and an action RPG (aRPG). Both tend to include skills trees, leveling up, rich worlds, combat of some kind, and plenty of gear to pick up.

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Action RPGs simply put more focus on fighting than the standard RPG. This makes it a bit more accessible to those who aren’t role-playing game experts. Yet, certain aRPGs can still be a struggle for newcomers. That is why it’s good to opt for a beginner-friendly one if you haven’t played these types of games before. The following ones are perfect choices.

Updated October 17 2023 By Ben Jessey: Action RPGs are some of the most enjoyable games to play. They have the depth of role-playing games with the excitement of action games. But they aren’t always beginner-friendly, particularly because of the RPG elements. Yet, there are some aRPGs that are easier for newcomers than others. We put most of them on this list, and now we’ve added several more.

28 The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds Screenshot Of Parvati fighting an alien creature

The Outer Worlds

Released
October 25, 2019

Developer(s)
Obsidian Entertainment

Platform(s)
Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC

The Outer Worlds is set in a universe where humanity has attempted to colonize a star system called Halcyon. One set of colonizers made it, while the others didn’t and ended up being frozen in space. However, one of them (aka you) is unfrozen, and your ultimate goal is to save the rest. Naturally, there are plenty of things you have to do first.

It’s a good game for aRPG beginners because the core gameplay is rather simple. You can sneak, shoot, or talk your way out of most situations. There are several mechanics that make things a bit more complicated, but the game isn’t too hard, so you can still get through quests even if you don’t completely understand everything straight away.

27 Dead Island 2

dead island 2 character holding a shotgun on the beach aiming at zombies

Dead Island 2

Released
April 28, 2023

Developer(s)
Dambuster Studios

Platform(s)
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC

In Dead Island 2, you roam around Los Angeles. This sounds fine, but the place is actually filled with zombies. Yes, this isn’t just an action RPG. It’s also a zombie game. But it isn’t scary, as it’s very light-hearted and comical.

The title isn’t incredibly complex, either. You pick your character and get access to their specific abilities. From there, you alter your character using in-game cards, as there is a deck-building mechanic. As for the combat, you have ranged and melee weapons to use against the hordes of undead.

26 Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Ichiban Kasuga from Yakuza Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Released
January 16, 2020

Developer(s)
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Platform(s)
Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS4, PS5, PC

Yakuza isn’t known as an action RPG series, as most entries are action-adventure titles. As such, Like A Dragon stands out because it’s the series’ first fully-fledged aRPG. It contains a new protagonist, a new city, and a new turn-based combat system.

Yet, the general tone and style of the game is similar to its predecessors. This means it’s an overall wacky game with a surprisingly deep story. That tale revolves around the protagonist, Ichiban, who attempts to begin a new life shortly after getting out of prison. It isn’t too complicated for those new to the genre or series.

25 Fable

Fable Anniversary combat screenshot.

Fable is an action RPG set in an interesting world known as Albion. Along with being interesting, it’s also pretty dangerous, which is shown early in the story when you lose your family due to a bandit raid. In the aftermath, you train to become a hero.

For beginners to the genre, the combat is welcoming as it’s rather simple yet still satisfying. Plus, managing your powers and leveling your character is pretty easy to get a hang of, too. Outside of battle, you get to freely roam the fascinating world and meet all sorts of compelling people.

24 Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms Of Amalur Reckoning Screenshot Of Character Swinging At Creature

One element of RPGs, even aRPGs, that isn’t always perfect is the combat. Sometimes it’s overly complicated or just not fun. Those criticisms can’t be aimed at Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. This hidden gem of an RPG has a fast and fluid combat system that involves swinging melee weapons and unleashing special powers.

The game is set in the fictional world of Amalur. And you play as the Fateless One, who has to stop some evil forces from destroying mortals. So, it provides a classic RPG tale.

23 Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Screenshot Of Cloud

Some of the Final Fantasy games provide the steepest learning curves possible for RPG newbies. This is not the case for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, though. For starters, the title is one of the few aRPGs in the series. And the combat is fairly easy to understand. The abilities might take a bit of time to get your head around, but the core fighting is a bit like a hack-and-slash game.

The story is certainly worth experiencing. It tells the tale of a talented mercenary named Cloud, who teams up with an eco-terrorist group to bring down the corporation known as Shinra. This company is as evil as it gets, as it’s basically sucking the planet dry. That is the starting premise of the story, but you’ll find out that the tale goes deeper as you play.

22 Dying Light 2

dying light 2 characters in frame

Dying Light 2

Released
February 4, 2022

Developer(s)
Techland

Platform(s)
PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Dying Light 2 blurs the line between an aRPG and an action-adventure game. It very much feels like the latter in terms of combat and traversal. The said combat mainly involves you using various pipes, clubs, and machetes to kill any enemy you face. You can also make use of a bow for ranged targets.

The protagonist is also a parkour master, as he’s able to climb pretty much anything and outmaneuver his opponents in battle. Unlocking new moves and acquiring better gear is where the RPG elements come into play. There is also a survival horror element, too, as you’re trapped in an open world filled with infected creatures.

21 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Screenshot Of Future Trunks With Sword

If you’re a fan of the Dragon Ball Z manga or anime, you certainly want to check out Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. It provides a deep and thrilling retelling of the overall DBZ story, from Raditz’s arrival to the final battle against Kid Buu. The visuals are unbelievable, and it feels like you’re playing the anime.

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More importantly for aRPG newbies, the game is relatively simple in concept. You level up and spend Z orbs – that you find everywhere in the in-game world – to unlock new powers. Plus, the combat is satisfying and straightforward.

20 Hades

Hades - Zagreus Mid-Combat Throwing A Spear At An Enemy

Hades

Released
September 17, 2020

Developer(s)
Supergiant Games

Platform(s)
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Switch, PC

This rogue-lite RPG from Supergiant Games captured practically everyone’s hearts and minds. The stellar soundtrack, exciting gameplay, and beautiful imagery only amplified how suave the characters are. It’s hard to deny practically everyone’s appeal from Zagreus and Megaera to the ornery underworld God himself.

But the rogue-lite aspect is what makes it perfect for beginners. Each time Zagreus dies, he gains access to more boons, weapons, and story. Though it can feel a bit like a hack and slash, it’s that kind of semi-mindless combat that aRPGs trade in at times. You’ll find yourself incorporating combos seamlessly as you try to escape Hades (but also flirt with everyone you can).

19 Diablo 3

diablo 3

Diablo 3

Released
September 3, 2013

Developer(s)
Blizzard

Platform(s)
PC, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, Switch

Diablo 3 is an action RPG that defined the genre. It takes place in a dark fantasy setting where you play as a hero, wrestling with forces of hell that are spilling out into your world. It’s best to play with friends, but it’s a great solo experience too!

Don’t be intimidated by the number in the title; the story is comprehensible without having played the previous entries. While the earlier Diablo games are definitely worth a try, some players might be put-off by their outdated graphics and mechanics. Start with Diablo 3 and go back to the earlier ones if you like it!

18 Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age Origins - Darkspawn and Archdemon

Dragon Age Origins

Released
November 3, 2009

Developer(s)
BioWare

Platform(s)
PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Dragon Age: Origins is a role-playing game first and an action game second, which makes it excellent for beginners. The wonderful dark fantasy narrative developed in this game, and the cooky companions you’ll obtain along the way, will keep you fully invested as you learn the mechanics.

Like most RPGs, Dragon Age: Origins includes a skill-tree system that allows you to customize your character’s skills to your preferred play style. Plus, if you like the game, there are sequels that continue the series’ story!

17 Trials Of Mana

Trials Of Mana fighting rabite enemies

Trials of Mana

Released
April 24, 2020

Developer(s)
Square Enix

Platform(s)
Switch, PS4, PC

This title from Square Enix might be more of a Japanese RPG (JRPG), but it’s a great option for beginners who love that aesthetic. This game, specifically, revives the 3rd game from the series in a beautiful 3D world. It has full controller support and allows player choices to shape their character’s morality.

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Though it’s a single-player experience, Trials of Mana is one of those that a group can sit and watch or take turns playing. But do be aware that the game is less open-world and more “on rails.” ARPG beginners may love this or feel trapped by it.

16 Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity Original Sin 2 character talking to Buddy the dog with Pet Pal

Some might argue that, because it features turn-based combat, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is not an aRPG. However, the same story and loot elements that feature heavily in games like Diablo also feature here. Beyond that is how choices affect gameplay and the fact that players can choose from four difficulty modes.

This allows a wider audience to enjoy the game without infringing on any other player’s experience. Larian Studios crafted a unique world that feels alive and new yet familiar and inviting. This game’s success led to the studio diligently working on Baldur’s Gate 3 — a title that would work for more advanced aRPG players.

15 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

shrine in breath of the wild during the night

It’s definitely an action game, but whether Breath of the Wild counts as an RPG is a divisive topic. Regardless of where you fall in the argument, pretty much everyone agrees that it’s the most RPG-like game in the Legend of Zelda franchise.

The game is good for beginners because it gets you thinking outside the box and coming up with creative solutions to problems that only you might have made. This may serve as an important lesson to learn that will help you in other aRPGs. Second, Breath of the Wild is designed in such a way that it can be anything to anyone, as there are so many different things you can do.

14 Borderlands Series

Borderlands 3 Pandora Bandit with

Picking up any title in this franchise offers a seamless introduction to the looter shooter aRPG genre. But the first game might be the best place to start for those who want story continuity. If you just want the best experience overall, many fans would suggest Borderlands 2.

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The shooting is fast-paced, abilities are unique and interesting, and players can create their own builds based on a skill tree. Though player choice doesn’t really factor in, loot rains down from the sky, and the story captivates even the most cynical of players. It’s best when played with friends, and a group of four beginners makes a perfect party.

13 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Alexios knocking over an enemy in a battlefield while wielding the spear of Leonidas in Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Released
October 15, 2018

Developer(s)
Ubisoft Quebec

Platform(s)
PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Stadia

This title in the long-running franchise finds the player in Ancient Greece. You can play as Alexios or Kassandra, but many fans regard Kassandra as the “true protagonist”. It’s one of the few AC games where player choice and even romance feel truly incorporated into the gameplay.

After all, the series is usually known for its stealth mechanics, free running, and…assassinations. Instead, Odyssey puts the focus on exploring the in-game world, meeting people, and getting to know all about Alexios and/or Kassandra.

12 Victor Vran ARPG

Victor Vran aRPG

Don’t confuse this with another game about vampire hunters (The Incredible Adventures of Vanhelsing); it is its own thing. In fact, players can jump and platform to some degree in what is otherwise a traditional aRPG title. You run around an overworld battling enemies, gaining loot, and progressing through a story.

But Victor Vran offers very streamlined progression with intuitive controller mechanics. If you’re more used to controller vs. keyboard and mouse, this is a great way to transition from console to PC and still use a controller.

11 Pokemon Legends: Arceus

The male character in Pokemon Legends: ARceus looks at a Bidoof.

The Pokemon franchise is beloved around the world, and one recent game decided to change the formula. In Pokemon Legends: Arceus, you explore an open world instead of a preset path, and catch Pokemon by throwing Pokeballs at them outside of combat!

It’s the kind of thing you have to see to believe, and understand. If you’re a Pokemon lover who wants to transition into the action RPG genre, Legends: Arceus is a great middleman.

10 Ghost Of A Tale

Ghost of a Tale Tilo Stands Outside In The Grass With A Shop Behind Him

Stealth mechanics might not seem very action-oriented, but when you’re a mouse in a rat’s world, hiding will get your heart pumping. This adorable title sets the player as Tilo — a mouse minstrel trapped in a keep. Explore the grounds and beyond while avoiding enemies at all costs.

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You’ll even meet fellow mice and other characters along the way. But, perhaps the most impressive thing about this game, is that it was created by mostly one person: Lionel “Seith” Gallat. For aRPG beginners, Ghost of a Tale offers a fully contained and wonderfully realized story.

9 Warframe

warframe ps5

Warframe

Released
March 25, 2013

Developer(s)
digital extremes

Platform(s)
PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Switch

Though it can be a bit grindy at times, Warframe is totally free-to-play and offers tons of content. Players create their own space ninja robots and engage in third-person shooter combat with melee options. Though the somewhat generic setting of “future with mega-corporations” seems stale, the game discusses transhumanism in a surprisingly deep way.

It’s had many expansions, with no signs of slowing anytime soon. For people who want to dip into the aRPG pool without heavy investment, Warframe is the way to do it.

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