The 9 Best Turn Based RPGs Of 2023

Highlights

  • The year 2023 was a great year for turn-based RPGs, with high-quality games launching frequently.
  • Fuga: Melodies Of Steel 2, One Piece Odyssey, and World Of Horror are some of the best turn-based RPGs of the year.
  • Baldur’s Gate 3 is considered one of the greatest games ever made, setting a new standard in the genre.

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The year 2023 was an incredible year in gaming. Believe it or not, the humble turn-based RPG had one of its best years ever as a genre. With RPG games launching more frequently and at a higher quality than ever before, it could be hard to keep up with every good turn-based title out there.

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If you’re worried you missed one of the best turn-based RPGs of the year, or you’re looking for your next RPG you can relax. Read below to find some of the best turn-based games to launch in 2023, some of which you may have never even heard of.

9 Fuga: Melodies Of Steel 2

A Strong Sequel

Malt talks to Socks, gaining affinity with him and some Experience

The first Fuga: Melodies Of Steel was an unexpected treat when it launched in 2021, bringing a charming art style to an emotional war story. The sequel, Fuga: Melodies Of Steel 2, builds on everything from the first game.

Combat is tighter, thankfully dropping the option to permanently lose a crew member in exchange for a powerful cannon shot. The characters remain engaging and the story compelling, with a new system tracking your leadership style akin to the Paragon and Renegade system of Mass Effect.

8 One Piece Odyssey

Set Sail For Adventure

one piece odyssey luffy fights bird in the desert ruins

One Piece has experimented with games in a variety of genres, with the best typically being the Pirate Warriors series. That was until One Piece Odyssey launched, a classic turn-based RPG that serves as a greatest hits of the One Piece story.

It’s a fun jaunt down memory lane for fans of the series, with a combat system containing more depth than you might have expected. It also launched a surprisingly challenging DLC campaign, but fans of One Piece are already excited for more turn-based pirate action.

7 World Of Horror

Inspired By The Best

interaction with young heiress in world of horror

Heavily inspired by Japanese horror legend Junji Ito, World Of Horror is a terrifying concoction. Part visual novel, part turn-based RPG, part story-focused roguelike. It presents a series of supernatural investigations to the player, but which ones you get changes with each playthrough.

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It’s a game not enough people are talking about, probably because it spent quite a long time in early access before finally seeing a full release. If you need more horror in your turn-based action, then World Of Horror is the frightful time you’re looking for.

6 Honkai: Star Rail

Trailblazingly Good

Honkai: Star Rail March 7th, Stelle, and Dan Heng

Whether you’re a fan or not, you will have at least heard of Genshin Impact and the influence it’s had on the industry. The next game from developer Hoyoverse is Honkai: Star Rail. A sci-fi planet-hopping adventure with tight turn-based combat.

It does have gacha mechanics, but if that isn’t your favourite thing, don’t be put off. In-game purchases are completely optional, and the story is worth being at least emotionally invested in. It features some of the deepest lore and world-building of any game released in 2023.

5 Darkest Dungeon 2

Success, So Long Pursued

Darkest Dungeon 2 Promo With Characters

A promotional image for Darkest Dungeon 2 featuring four characters in a party.

The original Darkest Dungeon is already something of a legend. A perfect example of early access done right; it brought so much to the table. A unique art style, deep combat, and more atmosphere than you could shake a stressed-out plague doctor at.

The sequel, Darkest Dungeon 2, initially upset some fans by making big changes to the formula from the first game. Now that the dust has settled, people are happy with the result, a game that is a sequel but stands apart as its own experience.

4 Sea Of Stars

A Modern Retro Classic

Zale, Garl, and Valere fighting a monster on a cliff in Sea of Stars.

Even with a game launched in 2023, you can still recapture the feeling of nostalgia from gaming years gone by. Sea Of Stars does exactly that, putting a modern coat of paint on a style of game that has never truly gone out of style.

Launching to outstanding reviews, there’s no question that Sea Of Stars is something special. Featuring lush colours layered over superb combat, it’s a trip down memory lane to the best of the SNES era.

3 Octopath Traveler 2

Square Enix Still Has It

Bridge in Leaflands in Octopath Traveler 2

Square Enix is the titan of the turn-based RPG genre. While their biggest franchise has continued to move away from its turn-based roots with Final Fantasy 16, they’ve more than proven they still know how to make a turn-based RPG like nobody else.

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Octopath Traveler 2 builds on the success of the first game and doubles down on everything that made it great. Stunning retro graphics and one of the best combat systems ever developed make this a must-play game if you love all things turn-based.

2 Cassette Beasts

Monster Catching Charm

A Cassette Battle in Cassette Beasts

The monster-catching genre and turn-based RPGs are almost impossible to separate. Pokemon continues to be one of the best-selling games of the year each time a new entry is launched. Cassette Beasts is another example of the marriage of monster-catching and turn-based combat, one that has flown under the radar.

It’s a monster catcher with a twist; you’re not technically catching the monsters. You record their information onto a cassette tape and then use that to transform into them. It’s a fun take and adds fan-favourite mechanics to the mix, like fusion. Coupled with bright graphics and excellent monster designs, Cassette Beasts is worth your time if you haven’t caught onto it already.

1 Baldur’s Gate 3

It Changed Everything

Whether you’ve played Baldur’s Gate 3 or not, you still probably know that it’s already considered one of the greatest games ever made, bar none. There’s almost no area to fault Baldur’s Gate 3 in. The characters are wonderfully written with engaging backstories, the Dungeons & Dragons inspired gameplay has hidden depths, and the main story is one of the best ever crafted. It strikes a perfect balance of paying homage to the original two games while telling its own story, making it perfect as an entry point to the series without alienating long-time fans.

The praise for Baldur’s Gate 3 is both endless and justified, setting a new standard not just for turn-based RPGs but all games going forward. In the same way that games like The Witcher 3 or Grand Theft Auto 3 marked a shift in the industry, Baldur’s Gate 3 will be a benchmark in gaming for years to come. Larian Studios has a lot to live up to with whatever their next project will be. After all, it’s hard to follow up on a masterpiece.

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