The 8 Best PlayStation 4 Role-Playing Games of 2020

Play RPGs with the best graphics, expansions, characters and more

Best Overall: CD Projekt Red The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The best role-playing games both guide the gamer through their well-crafted story and make them feel like they’re writing it themselves at the same time. The Witcher 3 has that balance of authorship and world creation that role-playing gamers seek. It's the story of Geralt of Rivia, a legendary monster hunter traveling a war-torn land being destroyed by the Empire of Nilfgaard when a dark force known as the Wild Hunt emerges. Over 100 hours of storytelling (and that doesn’t even include the expansion packs), Geralt travels across one of the biggest gaming worlds ever created. It’s the kind of game that really immerses the player in its universe, forcing them to keep playing just to explore every corner of it.

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Best Graphics: Guerrilla Games Horizon Zero Dawn

Vast landscapes filled with vibrant, green terrain, lush trees, snow-covered mountains and the mechanical robot dinosaurs that populate them await you in the most beautiful graphical role-playing game on the PlayStation 4: Horizon Zero Dawn.

In Horizon Zero Dawn, players explore, survive and battle in a nature thriving post-apocalyptic world while investigating an ecosystem run by monstrous robotic animals. Gazing at the level design in Horizon Zero Dawn is eye candy — the environmental lands look so lifelike and are juxtaposed by the highly detailed technological beings that roam them. Gameplay relies on players’ quick wit of speed and cunningness at all times, as creatures ambush you in an onslaught of action and adventure that’ll get your heart pumping.

Best Challenge: Bandai Namco Dark Souls III

The latest nightmare creation of FromSoftware is also the most challenging game of the PS4 generation. Role-playing gamsers appreciate a challenge more than most gamers who love genres that are easier to “pick and play.” They are the kind of players who will spend an hour just crafting the right character, explore every corner of an environment for secrets and study their enemies in search of a weakness. Dark Souls III rewards that gamer by killing them…over and over again. And yet that’s also inherent in the brilliance of this series and why it’s been so acclaimed. Because when you’ve spent hours just trying to find the right balance of moves, weapons, armor, spells, and items to defeat a creature so large that it takes up your entire widescreen TV, there’s no feeling as rewarding in gaming as when you finally take it down.

Best Characters: Electronic Arts Dragon Age Inquisition

BioWare (Mass Effect) has always focused heavily on characters and how you interact with them, and this is the element that separates a game like Inquisition from most of the RPG competition. Across the many fantasy-driven lands of other games, players meet NPCs (non-playable characters) who often have little impact on their arc. It certainly didn’t matter until relatively recently how you chose to interact with them. But Dragon Age is a series in which the way you deal with those you encounter has game-changing impacts. Not only are interactions informative and narrative-building, but you can convince people to join your party, creating a merry band of travelers across this fascinating land. In Dragon Age, you start as a relatively inexperienced, weak character, but it is the dynamic relationships that you form with other characters that define the experience more than the enemies you slay, and it is those interactions that make you stronger.

Best for Kids/Newcomers: PQube Cat Quest

 It’s cute, it’s simple and it's rated E for everyone — Cat Quest delivers a very easy approach to the RPG genre where adventure awaits in the land of Felingard. Its real-time combat gameplay allows players to engage in battle at any time and is the simplest to learn out of all the RPGs listed, making it perfect for kids or newcomers to the genre.

Cat Quest takes the simplicity of old-style RPGs with a top-down perspective, similar to the classic Legend of Zelda series. Players quest in a large open world environment of caves, deep forests, cat-run cities, and ancient dungeons in order to rescue their kidnapped sister. Along the way, players will converse with a diverse set of characters as they level up their skills in magic and collect new items and weapons.  

Best World-Building: Bethesda Fallout 4

The widely adored franchise from Bethesda is adored mostly for its transformative power to bring gamers to another world, one that looks much like our own, twisted through a vision of a post-apocalyptic future. At the beginning of Fallout 4, you and your family take shelter during a nuclear fallout that destroys the world. When you awaken, your family is stolen in front of your very eyes, encouraging you to scour every inch of this virtual Earth to find them. Fallout fans are devoted to world exploration, looking in every corner (someone once found a way to explore every inch of the ocean floor in this virtual world) for a new secret, lootable item, etc. And Bethesda encourages that kind of gamer interaction by putting secrets around every corner.  

Best Re-Release: Square Enix Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX

Combing the worlds of Final Fantasy and Disney together, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX is the best re-release on PlayStation 4. The gaming package includes six games on one disc with more than 150 hours of gameplay.

You’ll see some familiar faces in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX; the re-released and updated critically acclaimed games give players a chance to re-live (or just begin) the adventures from the Kingdom Hearts Dark Seeker Saga. Players will get the chance to team up with famous Disney characters such as Donald Duck and Goofy in order to overcome a wicked force set to destroy the world. The game’s remastered HD cinematic sequences give players the feeling of both watching and being part of a Disney animated movie. 

Most Underrated: Atlus Persona 5

Persona 5 doesn’t get enough spotlight as other games, but the award-winning franchise by Atlus has been breaking ground in storytelling and themes with RPGs since the late 80s. The JRPG comes to the foray of the PS4 with its exciting action sequences, fast-paced gameplay, cerebral story, and fresh acid jazz soundtrack composition.

Persona 5 takes place in a high school and focuses on the internal and external conflicts of students who live dual lives. Players partake in the social dynamics of high school, but at night, dwell into multidimensional otherworldly planes of people’s inner selves (personas) that personify into a mix of psychological archetypes and biblical deities that they must come to terms with or battle. Gameplay mechanics dwell into traditional JRPG battle systems and utilize a simple-to-learn, but hard-to-master, set of controls that both intrigue and excite new and old players alike.

What to Look for in a Playstation 4 Role-Playing Game

Exclusives - The PlayStation 4 has a ton of great exclusive titles, including role-playing games, that you can’t play anywhere else. Check out exclusive action-RPGs, like Bloodborne and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and more traditional ones like Persona 5 that you can’t get anywhere but Sony consoles.

Multiplayer - Role-playing games are experiences that take dozens, or even hundreds, of hours to complete. Check out some of the great PlayStation 4 multiplayer RPGs, like Diablo III and Borderlands, if you want to spend that time with a friend.

Kid-friendly - A lot of role-playing games on the PlayStation 4 trend more toward the dark end of the spectrum. If you want an RPG for your child (or one you can play without asking them to leave the room), check out great kid-friendly PlayStation 4 RPGs like Cat Quest and Ni No Kuni II.