The role-playing genre has had a dominating presence since the dawn of time. The genre has left a specular print on PC Gaming that is quite difficult to ignore. Titles such as Diablo, Deus Ex, and the like are widely praised to this very day.
The list will help you discover several titles that could run at decent framerates and smooth resolution. Instead of mentioning titles that would require running the game at 480p, I will be sticking with games that will run at 720p-1080p 60fps.
NOTE: These titles will run on graphics cards like Intel HD 4400, GT 630, GT 710, AMD Radeon HD 6570, and above. I hope this list piques your interest and you find something that you want to play.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Type: ARPG-Hack & Slash–TPP
It may look similar to Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise, but Dragon Dogma is pretty different. Originally, the game came out on the Xbox 360 and PS3 console until it was ported to PC back in 2016.
The best part about Dragon’s Dogma is its engaging gameplay mechanic that sees you encountering allies and venturing together on adventures. Teamwork is essential for defeating merciless foes that you’ll be encountering throughout your journey. Meanwhile, the plot sees you taking control of a human character who goes by the moniker of Arisen. The hero’s fate is to defeat the legendary Dragon Grigori that is posing a tremendous threat to humanity.
We can only hope that Dragon Dogma’s sequel could happen in the foreseeable future. Oh, and if Capcom is reading this, please remaster Lost Planet too.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: October 28, 2008
It’s noteworthy that the year 2008 was brimming with several greatest hits, especially role-playing titles. Among these greatest hits is Fallout 3. It took the world by storm and welcomed newcomers to the franchise. Similar to what Morrowind has achieved, Fallout 3 brought new mechanics and elements that weren’t present in previous installments.
The good thing is that if you’re looking for a great RPG, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas will definitely work on your low-end PC. Even an Intel HD 4400 is more than enough to immerse a potato gamer into the world of Fallout.
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Windows, JoWooD Productions
Release Date: 28 June 2002
Arkane Studios is pretty much known for the making of several big hits such as Dishonored and Prey’s reboot. Among other big hits is Arx Fatalis, an action role-playing video game released originally back in 2002 for PC and Xbox.
Arx Fatalis is set in an epic fictional world in which its citizens and creatures are doomed to lurk in obscure caverns. Many races ranging from Dwarves, Goblins, Trolls, and Humans have made these caves their only home. The action takes place in that setting where the player awakens inside a prison cell in which he has to get out off. Eventually, after escaping, the player learns that he has to find Akbaa, the God of Destruction whose trying to reach his wicked goals.
Visually, Arx Fatalis may not appeal to everybody. It has aged well with other titles of the genre, but if you’re someone who don’t mind looking at the raw textures, then go ahead.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
Developer: Troika Games
Release Date: November 16, 2004
Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines was the latest game from Troika Games before going bankrupt. The latter has unfortunately developed only 3 titles before leaving the gaming scene for good. Initially, when Bloodlines was first launched, it was greeted with lower sales in comparison to Troika Games’ previous titles. This eventually led to the demise of the developer.
However, years after, the game would generate a dedicated community that would take it upon their shoulder to fix any bugs from the games and improve the overall textures and the visuals of the game. Later on, the game would go on to become a cult classic and to be discovered by newcomers looking for a unique experience. And because of this overwhelming love from the community and fans of the genre, Paradox Interactive bought the rights off Activision, and so the work on a sequel has begun.
Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition
Developer: Overhaul Games
Publisher: Atari, Skybound Games
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Among other RPGs you can play on your roasted potato PC is Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition. Fans familiar with titles such as Diablo, and The Bard’s Tale will find themselves at home. All it takes is a couple of hours to immerse you into the experience.
If you haven’t played the first entry, go ahead and grab it either on Steam or GOG. Since both are old, they’re pretty cheap to get.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: May 1, 2002
Can’t really write a list about RPGs for a low-end PC without mentioning The Elder Scrolls franchise, eh? Well, Skyrim could work on your PC with everything set to low at 60 frames per second. Morrowind on the one hand doesn’t need potent hardware to run smoothly.
Despite being released 9 years before Skyrim, Morrowind is still a recommended entry in the franchise. The game’s visuals may not attract your interest if you’re looking for a better-looking title, but the story, gameplay, and overall experience remain something that will keep drawing players in for the foreseeable future.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind can be obtained from Steam, GOG, or even the official Bethesda website. However, for the best experience, I’d recommend picking it up from the GOG Store.
Tales of Berseria
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: January 27, 2017
To spice things up, I included a handful of JRPGs instead of focusing solely on Western RPGs. Whether you’re an existent fan of the Tales franchise or a newcomer, there’s a cavalcade of bygone titles to experience.
Tales of Berseria is the prequel to Tales of Zesteria released back in 2017. The game sees you taking hold of Velvet on a journey to discover her identity. Her behavior has been altered and in return replaced by wrath, ire, and hatred after experiencing a trauma. The gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a JRPG title. Plenty of grinding awaits you ahead, and hours upon hours of playthrough.
You can obtain both Berseria and Zesteria on Steam for a cheap price. And yes, these games work great on a low-end PC.
Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Release Date: May 21, 2014
Type: RPG, Turn-Based Strategy
Transistor is reminiscent of another great title by Supergiant known as Bastion. Both work flawlessly on a low-end PC and don’t need a powerful rig to run. Transistor sees you roaming the streets of a futuristic city known as Cloudbank controlling a character that goes by the name of Red. Eventually, the city is attacked by the Process., but thankfully, she manages to run away. She stumbles across a great sword-like weapon called the Transistor which the Process is also looking for to achieve their own gains.
The art style in Transistor is incredible. The gameplay will definitely imbue the player with excitement as they destroy robots simultaneously. Despite all these years, Transistor manages to withstand the test of time in terms of aesthetics and the gameplay system.
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: May 27, 2010
Alpha Protocol was supposed to be Obsidian’s answer to every espionage title out there. Specifically, big hits such as Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, and Hitman. Unfortunately, the game failed to hold a candle against the titans in the market, and so the game was marked as a flop.
What makes Alpha Protocol appearing on this list isn’t because it could run on a low-end PC nor that it’s old. Alpha Protocol was an ambitious project that combined stealth, role-playing elements, and shooting altogether. The results may have pleased some, but in the stealth genre community, the game remains a cult classic that every gamer looking for a hidden gem should experience.
Unfortunately, you can longer buy this game anywhere as Sega has delisted the game from Steam due to legal reasons. We can only hope that GOG will bring this game from the dead.
Resonance of Fate
Release Date: October 18, 2018
Type: JRPG, TPP, Turn-Based
tri-Ace has developed some of the best games including the Star Ocean, and Valkyrie Profile franchise. tri-Ace has also made several underappreciated JRPGs such as Radiata Stories, Infinite Discovery, and Beyond the Labyrinth. Among other underappreciated games is Resonance of Fate. A unique take on the JPR genre that reminds me of Square Enix’s Parasite Eve.
Surprisingly, the character models design is on par with today’s standards, as well as, the visuals. Sure, the gameplay system may look confusing to many, but the further the player practices, the further they learn the gist of it.
Resonance of Fate is a great JRPG in case if you’re looking for a unique experience. You can obtain it from Steam for a cheap price.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: February 8, 2005
One does not simply, write a list about RPGs for low-end PCs and not end up summoning a Star Wars title. Of course, there are other SW titles that you could run on your potato PC, but personally, I only played a couple of them. Knight of the Old Republic The Sith Lords is one of these titles which I experienced.
Released back in 2005, you play as a Jedi warrior who’s been exiled during the war. Years after your exile is over, you come out to confront the approaching peril that’s threatening the fate of the Galaxy. You, as a Jedi, have to confront your dreadful past while defending the galaxy from the Sith Lords. An epic journey that will decide the events of the present and the future.
Dragon Age: Origins
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Dragon Age Origins is a spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter franchise as stated by BioWare themselves. The gameplay is pretty similar to Baldur’s Gate II and it involves interacting with various NPCs, exploring the expansive world of the game as well as accomplishing several quests. You play as a character called Grey Warden, and your task is to slay the Archemedon who’s plotting to destroy the world.
If you’re played Dragon Age: Origins, you can also try Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition. They will all work on your low-end PC without any issues. Bear in mind that using an integrated graphics card may not give you the best experience when trying to run Inquisition.
Two Worlds II Epic Edition
Developer: Reality Pump
Publisher: TopWare Interactive
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Two Worlds II was once a very popular RPG when it first launched. But with the rising popularity of titans like Monster Hunter, Dragon Age, and The Witcher, Two Worlds II sadly cannot hold a candle.
Despite this, if you’re looking to experience an underappreciated title such as Two Worlds II, go ahead. It may not be on the same level as CD Projekt’s The Witcher franchise, but it’s surely an enjoyable experience, and a memorable one as well.
You can obtain Two Worlds II Epic Edition as well as the prequel either from the GOG or Steam store.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Type: JRPG, Turn-Based
After almost two decades of its initial release, Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne finally marched into Steam back in 2021. Of course, when it was first released, Persona fans thought that the game will be reminiscent of the latter, but boy how they were wrong and disappointed. Shin Megami Tensei is nothing like Persona. There are no social links, happy music to jam to, good endings, and all that sort of things. In here, there’s just darkness and metal soundtracks to bang your head to. Plot-wise, anyone is bound to die at any moment, especially you.
Nocturne is often labeled as ” The Darksouls of JRPGs”, but personally, that’s an exaggerated statement. Sure, it’s a difficult game, but all it takes is to get the hang of the gameplay mechanics. Plus, after obtaining certain skills in the game, it turns into a breeze. You can literally wipe the floor with any boss that comes your way. What makes Nocturne a recommended is all because of Dante from the Devil May Cry series.
You can obtain Nocturne from Steam right now. However, for its current price, it’s highly recommended to wait for a discount before picking it up.
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Developer: Arkane Studios
Release Date: 24 October 2006
Yet another title from Arkane Studios that was and is still quite popular in the RPG community. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic can be considered a spiritual successor to Arkane Studios’ Arx Fatalis due to the fact that it borrows plenty of elements from the latter.
The gameplay is also reminiscent of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls Morrowind, but I feel this one is much better. The brutality, graphics, storyline, and overall execution are a work of art. I kind of hope that one day the game may get a remaster, or, why not, a sequel featuring elements from the critically acclaimed Dishonored? That would be amazing. One can only hope this happens in the foreseeable future.
Developer: Piranha Bytes
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: October 2, 2009
Brought to you by Piranha Bytes, the developer behind RPGs such as Gothic, and Elex, Risen is a great franchise that nobody should miss during their lifetime. Risen is the prequel to the highly successful Risen 2: Dark Waters and Risen 3: Titan Lords.
Risen is an improvement over the Gothic franchise. The heavy emphasis on combat is much better than Piranha Bytes’s previous title. It feels engaging and much smoother to the point where it feels similar to The Witcher’s 2 gameplay style. The graphics are pretty okay for an old game. Not the best, and not the worst either, but definitely a good game for your low-end PC.
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: October 26, 2009
Similar to Bioshock, Borderlands took the world by surprise. It was a title that nobody saw coming from miles away. This loot-driven first-person role-playing game knows how to absorb you into the action for hours to end. Players who have enjoyed titles such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R will surely enjoy this one.
After the massive appeal the original Borderlands has received, it went on to receive the GOTY award. The sequel, Borderlands 2, has also received several awards and praise from critics and gamers. Many hold it as the best game in the franchise. Thankfully, you can play both the original and the sequel on your low-end PC without facing many issues.
The Borderlands duology is pretty cheap on Steam these days, so better get it when it’s on sale.
Jade Empire: Special Edition
Release Date: February 27, 2007
Jade Empire is one of those BioWare masterpieces that one shouldn’t sleep on. Initially released exclusively on the original Xbox back in 2005 then later released on PC, Jade Empire is set in a world that borrows plenty of inspiration from Chinese mythology.
The game casts you in the role of the remaining Spirit Monk as you journey to rescue Master Li and thwart the emperor Sun Hai’s evil plans. The gameplay is pretty reminiscent of BioWare’s Dragon Age titles, and that’s a good thing.
Jade Empire may be old, but it’s gold. Besides, why would you care about its age? it’s superb and works on a low-end PC. That’s what you should care about.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: April 16, 2018
A cavalcade of Nihon Falcom titles can run on your low-end PC quite easily. Titles such as Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Tokyo Xanadu, and Ys VIII are perfect examples of great JRPGs that will certainly run for you without needing powerful hardware.
Bear in mind that Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana can be demanding at times especially in sequences where there are too many enemies on the screen. Regardless, if 30-60 frames per second are what you seek, you should be okay. However, if you are seeking something higher, don’t bother with this title. Instead, pick Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure which has that Legend of Zelda vibe to it.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: December 8, 2005
The last game on this list, while not being on PC, can be played using the PCSX2 emulator without requiring a powerful rig to run decently. Rogue Galaxy was developed by Level-5, known for titles such as Ni no Kuni, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment back in 2005 exclusively on the PlayStation 2.
Rogue Galaxy’s gameplay is a step forward in comparison with Level-5’s Dark Cloud franchise, and it kind of looks like an early PS3 game on the visual side. Fans of Jrpgs will definitely sink hours to no end into this one no doubt. The CGI cutscenes are jaw-dropping, and so the soundtracks are incredible. However, my only gripe with the game was how rushed it was throughout the end of the game, and many story elements were left unanswered.
Regardless, Rogue Galaxy is a masterpiece that you definitely should play on PCSX2. If you want more good anime-looking video games to play on your low-end PC, check this link.
This marks the end of this article. If you want a second part let me know below, and thank you for reading.
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