Role-playing games (RPGs) cover such a wide array of mechanics that, when presented with just one of them, it can feel a little overwhelming. Knowing how they work can take years of practice—especially the larger, more refined titles that employ ridiculous amounts of complex systems and controls. That said, at the center of most role-playing hearts, it's all about the story, and more importantly, the one that you decide to make for yourself.
Although it is pretty easy to get lost in the labyrinth of overcomplicated RPGs in this day and age, there are still plenty of subtle alternatives that require little to no experience in order to make the most of their fruits. And so, if you're relatively new to the genre and don't fancy taking on Elden Ring just yet, then rest assured that these following five will more than happily escort you as you take your first steps.
5. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a prime choice for those looking to experiment with the easier role-playing titles, as well as experience something genuinely inviting and enjoyable along the way. And of course, if you're a Studio Ghibli fan, then it's double points. But of course, at its heart, Revenant Kingdom puts storytelling above all else, which bodes incredibly well for those who would much rather skip the complex battle mechanics and get straight to the cinematics.
After losing your kingdom and being thrown out to the wilderness, you must search for new allies to help fortify your vision as you look to carve a rebellion from the remnants of your old land. By erecting a new haven, you bring a new sense of hope to your people. Evolve enough, and you'll finally look to take back what was rightfully yours. The only caveat is that there will be about forty hours of kingdom building to do beforehand.
4. Secret of Mana
There's nothing worse than getting overwhelmed by a ludicrous amount of confusing battle mechanics in a video game, hence the reason for our little vacation to the easier, less threatening role-playing titles. And on that note, Secret of Mana does a perfect job at delivering an elementary system, one that requires next to no experience to master.
Secret of Mana follows the story of Randi, Popoi, and Primm, three unlikely heroes who cast out to re-energize an ancient sword, one that accidentally unleashes a world of havoc on the local town of Potos Village. By visiting the eight Mana temples, the three hopeful protagonists look to banish the endearing evil that holds a grip over the population. And with that, you can expect a lengthy tale chock-full of camaraderie between friends, engaging battles, and a whole lot of exploration across honey-soaked vistas.
3. Costume Quest
Costume Quest is not only visually appealing to the vast majority of Animal Crossing fans, but also to role-playing newbies looking to dip their toes in alien waters for the first time. It won't pose as the biggest challenge in the world, but it will leave you wanting to scratch that itch just a little more come final curtain.
In Costume Quest, you assume the role of a trick or treater. Set on the night of Halloween, you and your sibling set out to make friends with the local kids on a candy-hunting quest. However, when a monster appears and takes your sibling captive, it is up to you to assemble a team to drive back the evil and make it home before curfew. Good thing you can transform into a giant version of your costume, eh?
2. Pokémon Sword & Shield
Pokémon Sword & Shield has been coined as the ultimate starter RPG, and for good reason. Thanks to its entry-level interface and easy-to-follow combat system, practically anyone can jump right in and experience all there is to see right from the get-go. And, being a Pokémon game, you can almost expect where the story goes and how you'll be progressing, which of course eliminates the sense of feeling lost and without purpose.
Pokémon Sword & Shield gives you the chance to embark on an epic adventure as you shovel through the eight prominent Gym leaders of the Galar region. From the moment you step foot out of your front door, you'll have to train, explore, and build lifelong connections as you work to defeat the reigning champion.
1. Kingdom Hearts
While Kingdom Hearts isn't exactly light on the story side of things, its first chapter is perhaps the most accessible. Before you go plunging down the rabbit hole on a whirlwind adventure through Disney and Pixar pandemonium, you'll have the opportunity to work your way up, using baby steps to get a feel for the epic story that beckons from afar.
As with any series, the best place to take your first steps is with the first chapter. And in this case, Kingdom Hearts, or Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMix, is a perfect place to begin. And if you enjoy heroes with anime hairstyles, Disney characters with memorable catchphrases, and a boatload of hack and slash combat—then this one is a perfect fit. But just keep in mind that it does get a little crazy after the first chapter.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.