The 10 Best Sci Fi RPGs To Play on PC Right Now

the best sci fi rpgs
Top 10 Best Sci-Fi RPGs for PC

How Many of These Sci Fi RPGs Have You Played?

When it comes to Sci-Fi PC games, it’s hard to beat an RPG. The combination of world building, grand scale, and character customization means that a player can get more involved in the story and find a greater connection with the game itself which in turns lends itself to a better game experience overall. Here are the 10 best Sci-Fi RPG’s available today.

10) EVE Online

The much talked about "This is EVE" trailer

Oh EVE Online you unique and magnificent beast. It’s hard to even label it as an RPG, or even a game really. At this point EVE is such an entity all to it’s own that it is basically its own genre. It is EVE.

If you have played it you understand and if you haven’t you are probably confused. For the sake of our list we are going to count EVE as an RPG since the player creates a character whose role they take on, and because there is a leveling skill system in place that has a drastic impact on gameplay, even if the system is time based instead of xp based. That being said, if I took the time to list out what EVE’s core gameplay is as well as what makes it fun and unique enough to be on this list it would probably take months of typing and way more pages than I can deal with. So I'm going to go for the extremely light and simple version. All of you rabid EVE players out there please don’t come at me.

EVE is an online MMORPG where players learn skills in order to participate in jobs like mining, industry, exploration and combat. Unlike other RPG’s there isn’t much of a central storyline written by the creators that the character follows. Instead EVE is a dynamic, real world environment where the players are what drives the game. The corporations (player run groups similar to guilds) own sectors of space and decide what goes on in their section. All of the major conflicts, wars, events, etc. are typically revolving around specific corporations and all of the drama and intrigue that this entails. That combined with the scale of EVE is what truly sets it apart, not just from other RPGs, but basically from any game ever created. It’s not so much a game as an actual simulation of a fictional world run by real people. Characters aren’t even leveled up due to what happens in the game, but instead do all of their progression by learning new skills in real time. And not just sped up game time either, I mean actual real time. Hours and weeks and days and months. Speaking of real, the in game economy is backed by real world money, to the point that EVE has become known for large scale battles that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of real world dollars.

The fact is EVE is so unique that it is hard to label it as any one thing, but for our purposes it is a solid RPG and that’s good enough to get it on our list at number 10.

Nothing bad ever happened in a giant field of ominous space debris.

I’m not entirely sure what is happening here, but I can imagine there is a lot of profanity involved.

 

9) Star Wars The Old Republic

Star Wars the Old Republic Expansion Trailer

It seems like Star Wars The Old Republic is one of those games that many players forget is still around when discussing both RPGs and MMOs, which is a real shame as it is still consistently pumping out top notch content for it’s rabid fanbase 7 years after launch. It remains one of the only fully voice acted MMO’s available and is still bringing in millions of dollars in revenue for EA and Bioware each year. SWTOR is an MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe years before the events in the movies, when the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic have recently settled on an uneasy peace.

Players are able to pick from numerous class options on both sides of the conflict and see their character grow along class specific storylines, while taking part in major events throughout the world at large. There is the standard MMO setup where the player quests through a connected central world with other players as well as dungeon and raid instances where they can play with smaller specialized groups.

What truly sets Star Wars apart is the way that it is able to combine a traditional MMORPG’s elements with the voice acting, dynamic storytelling, and companion system of a Bioware game. The sheer volume of spoken lines is already incredible, which is why most MMO’s don’t even entertain the idea of full voice acting in their games, and yet Bioware has not only been able to produce the voice acting, but it’s GOOD voice acting that already sets it up on a pedestal above many other sci-fi RPG’s.

Along with the voice acting is the companion system that has become a staple in Bioware’s games. Not only are the companions useful in combat, they also have well written and enjoyable questlines of their own coupled with an affection system that adds another layer to the decisions that the player must make throughout their playthrough. The idea that every choice has a real consequence to the companions that the player is traveling with has a direct influence on how they decide to act and draws them further into the world. This is what keeps the players coming back this long after launch and is what earns SWTOR the number 9 spot on our list.

See they don’t have the high ground so an aerial attack is definitely the way to go.

Credit to the guy in the middle who is not the least bit concerned that he is about to get force lightning straight to the face.

 

8) Elex

Elex Trailer 2017

Elex finds itself in a somewhat unique position on our list, as it is probably the least played game in the group. Suffering from a slightly lackluster launch mostly due to what some people considered slightly janky controls as well as a frustratingly difficult combat system, it was met with mixed reviews and did not build up a huge player base.

However for those that did play it, and make it through the extremely difficult beginning, it turned out to be a rewarding and surprisingly complex RPG experience. The player character is a former member of the Alba group of tactical supersoldier that uses a substance known as ELEX to transcend normal human emotions in order to be a better fighter. As tends to happen in these games, something goes wrong and the player is betrayed by his group and left for dead, leading him to take up a quest to get revenge for his betrayal while joining one of the three major factions of the game and helping them ascend to power. Overall it is typical sci-fi RPG fare, the way that the player interacts with the world and approaches combat is what is able to set it apart from other games in the genre.

One of the most unique and enjoyable parts of ELEX is the way that the player class system is setup. You can choose melee combat, magic, or tech with each causing combat to play out very differently. However, it does make it enjoyable to basically be a magic DnD character standing by fighting what is the equivalent of a space marine while getting charged by a berserker with a sword. It sounds a little schizophrenic, but what makes this game special is this type of uniqueness is set up in a way that genuinely works. The writing in the game is also very solid, offering one of the most enjoyable and surprising main quest lines since The Witcher 3.

The characters actually develop, and by the end you are surprisingly invested in the final outcome. Now unfortunately there is a pretty good reason that the game is not as universally renowned as it probably could have been had there not been some very strange design choices made during development. ELEX is a game that almost penalizes you for specializing in anything other than melee combat as almost any other build is going to struggle with resource trouble basically throughout the entire game. It also has some ridiculous enemy difficulty spikes that ended up causing quite a few people to cool on the game. It’s a shame too because if some of these things had been polished out before release I have a feeling ELEX would have ranked much higher on this list, but for now it sits here at number 8.

Yeah I don’t know what that thing is but you should definitely kill it. 

They look like two bros that haven’t seen eachother in a long time and just ran into one another in a bar.

 

7) Prey

Prey Gameplay Trailer 

Prey 2 was a game was a game that many fans thought was left for dead after a long stint in development hell after its original announcement back in 2006. It faced cancellation, intellectual property transfer issues, and a myriad of other problems throughout it’s decade long development cycle, but when it finally rose from the ashes as Prey in 2017 all of the waiting was handsomely rewarded. The new game was a reboot instead of a direct sequel, taking place on a space station above earth where things have started to go… awry.

Don’t want to get too far into spoiler territory but suffice to say Morgan Yu, the player character, can’t trust anything in the environment in which he finds himself. Set as a first person horror RPG, Morgan is tasked with unraveling the mystery of what exactly has gone wrong on the station, who is at fault, and how they can keep things from spiraling further out of control and causing irreparable harm back home on earth. Morgan can use weapons and resources found throughout the ship to traverse and fight their way through the station, as well as upgraded along different tech trees, some of which give Morgan access to supernatural powers taken from aliens.

The game emphasizes stealth and creative combat, especially in the beginning of the game when the enemies are drastically stronger than the player. It combines elements of stealth and horror with first person shooter and melee tactics.

What really sets Prey apart from other games in the genre, is the fact that enemies are able to take on the appearance of almost anything in the environment. Seriously, like even a desk chair. The player basically can’t trust anything in the world around them as they make their way through the failing station. The resource management system is also very unique as the player must create almost all of their ammunition, healing items, upgrade items, and weapons from the same resource pool.

This means that there is quite a bit of balancing to do, especially during the first half of the game, as resources at that point are scarce and harder to come by. Prey also is host to some truly unique weapons that bring a level of humor and strategy to combat, such as the foam gun that you can use to slow down enemies as well as build ramps and walls, and even what is essentially a NERF crossbow. Overall the game is a perfect balance of suspense, survival, and RPG systems that cause it to stand out in a marketplace of creepy space station games, which is why we have it here on our list.

Hey look he wants a hug! Better shoot his friend though, that one looks sketchy.

Dance parties look weird in the future. Got the foam gun ready though.

 

6) The Surge

The Surge Cinematic Trailer

When The Surge released in May of 2017, it was almost immediately labeled as sci-fi dark souls. It was a difficult, gritty RPG set in a dystopian future when humans have exhausted the Earth’s natural resources to the point of sever political and social strain. You play as an unnamed protagonist in a wheelchair, who arrives for his first day of work at a Google-esque tech company campus. You sign up to get a new exoskeleton suit, which will allow you to walk again, but unfortunately your arrival coincides with a breakout of some seriously messed up tech. This leads to everyone in the facility going crazy and starting to murder one another.

Your character soon finds himself fighting his way through hordes of similarly exosuited enemies, cutting off their limbs to upgrade your suit as you attempt to make your way through the quarantined facility and out to safety. The game was known noted at launch for its difficulty and interesting combat system that saw the player targeting specific limbs to dismember in order to upgrade that part on the players rig. The atmosphere was suspenseful and had a good blend of horror and sci-fi.

At first glance, sci-fi dark souls seems to sum the game up pretty well as the developers noted that Dark Souls was a direct influence for this game as well as its predecessor Lords of the Fallen. That is not necessarily a knock on the game though, as Dark Souls is acclaimed for specific gameplay elements that have built it up quite the fanbase over the years. It maintains the high difficulty, the brutal dropping of resources upon death, and the large scale bosses that fans can expect from a Soulslike games. Luckily, The Surge understands that it needs to build upon these elements in order to offer a fresh take on the formula and introduced one the dismemberment upgrade system.

Basically, if the player sees a part on an enemy that they want or need in order to upgrade their rig, they can target that specific body part and, after doing enough damage to that part, chop it off with a satisfying finishing move. It basically a new layer to the slow and tactical combat that gave the player something to focus on while blocking and dodging in order to keep themselves alive. This was coupled with some excellent world building as Deck 13 went above and beyond to create a sinister, downright spooky world to try to survive in. The combination of robots and humans make for some truly grotesque enemies and memorable fight sequences. The Surge loses some of its shine in it’s chaotic final act, and there are some difficulty spikes that seem downright unfair, but overall this game is a fresh new take on a well known formula and deserving of a spot on our list.

You know you are having a bad day when the mining equipment wants to kill you. Where is OSHA when you need them?

Oh look, people! Maybe they want to be frie- nope. They want to kill me too. Everyone wants to kill me.

 

5) Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Gameplay Trailer

Destiny is the often polarizing First Person Shooter meets small scale MMORPG released by Bungie in 2017. A direct sequel to the also-controversial Destiny, the game follows the player who takes on the role of a “Guardian”, a defender of earth who uses the power of Light to fight hostile alien forces in order to protect the Earth’s last safe haven. The game is a first person shooter at heart, however it shares elements with MMORPG’s as the world that the player is in is shared amongst numerous other players.

They fight together in dynamic events and raids as well as in the PVP crucible mode. Destiny 2 won PC game of the year at the 2017 games critics awards, and still maintains a fairly large following today, despite the fact that it has been heavily criticized for its lack of innovation from the first game, light end game content, and a perceived failure of Bungie to listen to their fan base and address these issues.

Truth be told, although it doesn’t hold up great as an MMO, as a FPS and RPG, Destiny 2 is still top notch. The combat is tight and fun, and the blend of “magic” powers and sci-fi combat is one of the best available, especially on PC. The game world itself is extremely dynamic, and the lore that they have built no only into the humans but into all of the other races as well means that the world of Destiny is a blast to spend time in. Along with this is the loot system they have created. The guns that the player encounters throughout the game are diverse, interesting, and a joy to use. They are diverse enough to encourage multiple builds (at least until end game raiding) and unique enough that the player constantly feels encouraged to equip new ones, instead of relying on a single weapon for long stretches of time throughout the game.

Let’s be real, this is Bungie after all. When it comes to First Person Shooters set in a grand sci-fi universe, they kind of have it down. Maybe Destiny 2 doesn’t quite live up to the grand legacy of Halo, but if you remove the comparison, and all of the drama around it’s MMO features, it is a top notch shooter and an above average RPG.

It doesn’t matter how far into the future you go, everyone looks better with a cape.

When you need to save the world from invading aliens but you spent all night watching Legolas tear it up in Lord of the Rings.

 

4) Mass Effect Trilogy

Mass Effect Trilogy Trailer

The Mass Effect Trilogy is a collection of the first three Mass Effect games made by Bioware that were released between 2007 and 2012. They follow Commander Shepard, a human who through a set of unfortunate circumstances is tasked with saving the world from a malevolent race of aliens known as the Reapers. Throughout the series, Commander Shepard recruits a group of allies from the various alien races that he encounters and travels with them throughout the galaxy, completing missions in an attempt to prepare for the ultimate Reaper invasion.

Combat takes place in third person, with Shepard able to be upgraded with various abilities with heavy reliance on creating a powerful 4 person squad among your recruited allies. Since the franchise launched, it has received great critical acclaim and quickly became a flagship Bioware product. Granted, the games have received their fair share of criticism as well (especially Mass Effect 3) but the fact remains that they are still to this day one of the most enjoyable and best made RPG franchises available.

A big part of the reason Mass Effect still holds up after all of these years is the incredible cast of characters surrounding Shepard. Although many of the characters changed from game to game, their stories would leave a lasting impression on the player. Garrus VaKarian, Ashley Williams, Tali’Zorah. These are characters that Shepard meets in the first game, and whose interactions and character arcs last throughout the franchise and who impact the series in powerful and sometimes devastating ways. The fact that every decision that Shepard makes has serious implications not just on his specific mission, but on the relationships he is building and the story as a whole, is something that many games have attempted but few have been able replicate.

The world is large, the overall quest to save the galaxy is grand, but what it really all boils down to is a story of Shepard and the people on his ship, and how they interact with the world around them. It’s the closest thing a player can get to experiencing the comradery scene in other franchises such as Star Trek. It’s role playing at it’s best, because it truly puts the player into the role of savior of the galaxy, and makes the player feel invested in the galaxy in a very real way. While the combat and gameplay is flashy and enjoyable, what sets this franchise apart from the others on this list is the fact that by the climax of the series each NPC that is killed is a blow. The player feels it. That’s not easy to do, and the fact that Mass Effect does it so well is what sets it apart as number 4 in our list of sci-fi RPGs.

Someone should tell Shepard that you don’t have to stand RIGHT in front of an enemy when you are using a gun. They are in fact long range weapons.

Much better. Look at all that distance. He does seem to have another set of problems on his hands though fighting a building sized reaper.

 

3) Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a sci-fi action RPG released by Square Enix in 2016. It is a direct sequel to the critically acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, taking place two years after a tragic event that saw cybernetically enhanced humans throughout the world go crazy and turn on innocent civilians. In the following years augmented humans are now rated as second class citizens, facing all of the persecution, discrimination, and isolation that that entails.

You play as Adam Jensen, a augmented human working with Task Force 29, who is assigned to investigate a terrorist attack that takes place shortly after the game kicks off. The game takes place in first person perspective as the player can choose between stealth, combat, or a combination of the two as he attempts to bring down the evil Illuminati and other terrorist groups in an attempt to stabilize the social and political situations that have arisen as a result of people’s augmentations.

Deus Ex encourages exploration as the environment is filled with hackable devices, secret doors and access routes, hidden enclaves, and dynamic environments. When presented with a mission there are usually multiple ways to resolve it, whether you want to go in guns blazing, attempt to manipulate others into doing your work for you, or stealthing to your objective like a ghost and leaving undetected. You can level your character up depending on your playstyle with dozens of potential skill combinations to choose from. It’s a game that strongly encourages creativity, and thinking outside the box while integrating seamlessly with an interesting world and a surprisingly real look on social injustice. There are many missions where both sides of a conflict have viable options and there are often many layers of grey as opposed to black and white.

Outside of the NPC’s and game world itself, the gameplay is sleek and most importantly, fun. Do you want to be able to jump off a 10 story building and land in a group of enemies, flinging them in different directions Superman style? Go for it. Want to slow down time and give yourself superstrength? Go for it. Invincibility. Invisibility. There are so many augments, all of which open up new gameplay elements for Jensen. Not only that but they all make sense in the context of the dystopian world that Square built. You never feel like “the chosen one” or some demigod amongst regular humans, since there are quite a few people out there with specialized augments of their own. Instead you feel like you are playing a logical part of the narrative, and are immersed even further into the world because of it. It’s these design choices that put Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at number three on our list.

Imagine never having to get up and deal with another “Are you still watching?” Netflix question again. Just one wave of your cyber-hand and you are right back to episode 98 of your The Office binge watching marathon.

All this tech and sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is still just to blow it up.

 

2) Rebel Galaxy

Rebel Galaxy Launch Trailer

Rebel Galaxy is a western style space combat RPG developed by Double Damage games and released in 2015. You play as a space pilot who inherits a less-than-stellar ship named “Rasputin” from a family member and your adventure proceeds from there. Aliens, artifacts, glitchy AI, all of your typical space epic fare is here. Truth be told the story is not what got Rebel Galaxy this spot on our list as it mostly serves to give you direction as your travel from system to system, running delivery missions and increasing the tech on your ship so that you can take on the next big baddy. Instead, what earns Rebel Galaxy the #2 on our list is the smart and addicting gameplay.

Combat takes place on a 2D plane, and mostly involved you positioning your ship to get the biggest number of your guns pointed towards your enemy’s vulnerable spots. You must balance your weapons, speed, and shields in an attempt to give yourself as many advantages as possible. Do you emphasize your shields at the cost of your offense? Do you boost your warp and dart off to avoid an early demise? Do you want to emphasize accuracy by reducing your firing speed?

You can also hire mercenaries to be your combat sidekick, flying around you and assisting with combat whenever they can. They aren’t really game changers, but are helpful enough and make you feel a little less alone on your epic space journeys. Speaking of journeying, there is a lot of it. Whether you are hunting space pirates, representing a space guild, running a fetch quest, or investigating a mysterious beacon, you spend tons of time making your way to different parts of the galaxy, meeting new races, and engaging with NPC’s. Thankfully, they are varied and interesting enough that I never got bored.

Granted they aren’t as fleshed out as the alien races in Mass Effect, but for a game based around space combat and flight, they are pretty engaging. The space cowboy theme is very present so if you are feeling that everlasting Firefly nostalgia Rebel Galaxy could scratch that itch. Really though, most of this is ancillary to the fact that this is just a great space shooter. The movement is fluid, the combat is dynamic, and upgrading your tech satisfying. What more can you ask for? You can find it on Steam for a good price as it is currently listed at just $19.99.

Ah, the classic lose them in an asteroid field trick. Doesn’t look like it’s going to work this time though.

You know what would make this beautiful and serene space scene look better? Explosions.

 

1) Nier: Automata

Nier Automata Trailer 2017

Nier: Automata takes the top spot in our countdown due to a perfect combination of gameplay, story, replayability, and music score. It launched in 2017 and within it’s first year had sold over a million copies across the globe. Set as a loose sequel to the original Nier, and set in the collective universe of the Drakengard series, it takes place in the far future in the aftermath of a war between humanity and machines. You play as 2B, an android created by humans in order to continue fighting against the machines who have taken over earth, forcing people to live on the moon.

You have a partner named 9S who is assigned to help you with your mission: to eradicate a group of  machine that have been harassing a group resistance forces on earth. In true RPG fashion, all is not as it seems and soon you are traveling across the planet, fighting armies of machines and bosses the size of skyscrapers in an attempt to resolve the conflict. There’s also a set of evil twins, because why not? Everything is better with evil twins.

The game is a wonderful mix of action RPG elements, combining hack and slash, mech combat, bullet hell, and many other playstyles. It sounds like it would make for a frantic, chaotic game, but the way that it is blended together and the seamless transition between playstyles means that instead of seeming frantic it all just makes you feel like you are playing a highlight reel of your favorite sci fi games. The story is incredible, and the characters even more so. There are so many memorable moments ranging from devastatingly sad, genuinely unsettling, and pump-your-fist-in-the-air awesome.

There is so much content that it is impossible to see it all in a single playthrough, as a matter of fact in order to get the entire story you will have to play through the game at least 4 times to get every character’s perspective and resolution. Many times this would be considered a burden or chore but in Nier:Automata there is so much new content that each time you hit the ending of a storyline you are already eager to jump into the next one. All of this is coupled with an outstanding score composed by Keiichi Okabe who had previously worked on the original Nier and the Drakengard series.

It was nominated throughout 2017 for multiple awards including “Best Storytelling”, “Playstation Game of the Year”, “Best Narrative”, “Best Role Playing Game” and “Best Narrative”. It also won the award for “Best Score/Music” at the Game Awards 2017. Nier: Automata’s critical acclaim, combined with it’s one of a kind gameplay and memorable story are what put it at the top of our list of sci fi RPG’s. It also recently released for PC so if you missed out on it the first time due to not having a PS4, now is a great time to jump in and check it out for yourself.

What more can you ask for in an RPG? Strong lead characters, awesome weapons, hot outfits, evil robots, and ninja skills. I am also imagining a ridiculous guitar solo going off in the background.

The Terminator franchise would have ended in one very flashy and very short movie if 2B had been around.

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Geek, Gamer, Writer. Puncher of zombies and petter of dogs. I also have a hedgehog (she is really slow).
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy XIV, Northgard,
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine
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