5 Best Isometric RPGs of All Time, Ranked
One of the oldest running genres of video games is isometric RPGs. It’s a genre that isn’t often discussed in today’s gaming world due to its combat and often creative graphic style. However, that doesn’t mean that isometric RPGs can’t compete with the most popular genre of games today. More often than not, you’re getting a much more cared for game from an isometric RPG than a lot of other big-name games, from other genres. It’s why isometric RPGs will exist as long as video games, and it’s only fitting that we rank the top five of all time.
Some of these games are notable for their distinct graphical styles, while others are notable for their sophistication combat, with one title standing out for its lack of combat. Can you guess what game I’m talking about? Ultimately all these isometric RPGs come with an engaging and immersive story, that hasn’t been matched by their competition. These games are trendsetters looking to break waves in the genre, these are the top five isometric RPGs of all time.
5. Fallout 2
Before Fallout grew into the AAA first-person RPG game it is today, it started out as an Isometric RPG. At least the first two games were. That was before Bethesda took over and redesigned the game into the new industry standard in 2008 with Fallout 3. Regardless, true Fallout fans adored the first two titles for their Isometric, open-world, style. But in Fallout 2, decision-based gaming never felt more impactful, and with that immersive.
For its time, the character customization was vast and full of possibilities for creative builds. Which in turn, opened up way more once you dwelled into the storyline. You’re actions actually had consequences on the world around you and the story’s progression. This pushed the RPG immersion through the roof and made for one of the most notable and memorable RPGs of many childhoods.
4. Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium was an isometric RPG that really was a revolutionary idea for the genre. It was the first title for the UK-based studio ZA/UM, and it quickly made waves of impression across the gaming community. This was most likely because the game had no physical combat at all and instead worked off of challenges and conflict through dialogue. Disco Elysium was a hit or miss for some gamers who are in dire need of action, but for those who could see past that, saw one of the most picturesque and well-written games of all time.
Playing as a disgraced veteran detective, you’re working to find clues about a murder, and it leads you into a downward spiral of plot choices. However, you can’t help but feel compelled to dig further and deeper until you reach the point when you’ll break down and become a wreck. But this all depends on how you handle the expansive storyline and the choices it reflects on you. Which to quietly mention the handful of BAFTA awards Disco Elysium received for its well-written narrative. There are so many reasons to play this game if you haven’t already, and is surely one of the best Isometric RPGs of all time.
Hades is a title that recently put isometric RPGs back into the limelight. Released in 2018, by Supergiant Games, the title won an endless amount of awards and was even nominated for game of the year, but lost to God of War, a worthy victor I’d say. Perhaps 2018 was the year of Greek mythology in video games, considering Hades is based on Greek mythology and has the ultimate objective of reaching Mount Olympus.
Reaching Mount Olympus is a much more difficult task than you could anticipate. It will test if you’re able to master its hack-and-slash combat, which is typical in isometric RPGs. However, Hades combat really set’s the game apart from others in its class. With that, so doe’s its art style, which constantly stands out across the entire game.
Hades demonstrated that an isometric RPG can still compete with today’s most graphically advanced and well-developed AAA titles. And proves why its impressive delivery on a much smaller scale, makes it one of the best isometric RPGs of all time.
2. Divinity: Original Sin 2
Many will argue that Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the best isometric RPG of all time. It is undoubtedly amongst the top five, but in our list, it’s sliding into second pole position. Although we do feel it has a strong argument for number one.
Out of all the games on this list, Divinity: Original Sin 2 definitely takes the reigns for attention to detail. Specifically for how well-developed the game’s environment is which will have you wanting to explore every apparent crack and corner in the game. With that, the storyline really brings the world to life, in an intense and sometimes funny way. You can’t help but feel invested in the game because of all of these elements, but the game’s RPG is where it really shines.
Co-op never felt more crucial in an isometric RPG and finding the right classes to combat its tactical gameplay is crucial. Every player and their abilities play a huge role in battle which really affected how you went about your character’s build. Learning the game’s tactical combat really rounded the title off for an addictive masterpiece, on all fronts. As a result, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of, if not the best isometric RPGs of all time.
1. Diablo (Series)
In its entirety, the Diablo series show’s the true potential of isometric RPGs. If we want to get specific, then of course we have Diablo II taking the reigns for the number one spot, with Diablo III not far behind. But when the original Diablo was released back in 1996, it blew up the genre and led many other developers to follow in its footsteps. Many isometric RPGs have been inspired by the game, and the whole series deserves the number one spot for the impact it has had on shaping isometric RPGs.
It defined isometric RPGs as hack-and-slash dungeon crawling games. This is why you see that theme carried across games today like Path of Exile which also deserves an honorary mention on this list. Diablo may not do everything to the highest level of degree as others games on this list, but it’s not far off. The moral of the story is that the Diablo series redefined and solidified what isometric games would be in the future, and any game that has that much of a lasting impression deserves the number one spot.
So do you agree with our list? What other games do you feel should fall in the top five isometric RPGs of all time? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!