The Great Campaign: The Archive

Introduction to the Great Campaign

1/24/21 Update

Replaced Ultima III with Ultima IV.

1/8/2021 Update

Re-organized the playthrough order to be primarily chronological, as I’m willing to do it. My progress through the list will be slower than I hoped, but I’d rather appreciate each game than rush through it. I *will* finish the outstanding write-ups soon, nad my next game will be Ultima III after that!

Previous updates.

Playthrough Order

Note: Previously I had put together a complicated play-through order to make my experience more convenient. However the idea of doing the list chronologically has always seemed more obvious to me and I’m now willing to do it. Some games (esp. the early entries) may still be out of chronological order depending on circumstances.

A completely chronological list can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Divinity: Original Sin II (PC – Sep 14, 2017) [Finished Jan 20]
    • The original game that inspired me to play through this list of RPGs, DOS2 is renowned as a modern CRPG classic – it’s considered one of the best ever made.
    • Version: Definitive Edition on PC + NS
    • Write-up
  2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (XBOX – Jul 15, 2003) [Finished Jan 20]
    • Another RPG masterpiece by Bioware, and one of the greatest pieces of Star Wars media ever created. KOTOR told a tale of the ancient battle between Jedi and Sith with interesting characters and a fleshed-out world. Not to mention the big twist!
    • Version: PC
    • Write-up
  3. Zork I: The Great Underground Empire (PCs – Forerunner – 1980) [Finished Feb 20]
    • Although not a strict RPG per say, Zork and other text adventure games set the stage for Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) games and the storytelling and adventures found in later RPGs. Zork is a classic adventure that had a significant influence on the RPG genre that would emerge in the years following its release.
    • Version: DOSBox
    • Write-up
  4. Rogue (PCs – Forerunner – 1980) [Played Feb 20]
    • A dungeon crawler featuring permadeath and procedural generation, Rogue had a huge influence on dungeon crawlers and RPGs in general – creating its own genre in the process, “roguelike”.
    • Version: DOSBox
    • Write-up
  5. Wizardry (PCs – Forerunner – Sep 1981) [Played Mar 20]
    • A true ‘forerunner’ of RPGs in every sense of the word, Wizardry helped set the baseline for computer RPGs at the beginning of the ’80s. It was the first RPG to feature adventuring with a full party, along with color graphics. It had a strong DND flair and was very popular, becoming a strong influence on many RPGs in the future – both in the West and in Japan.
    • Version: DOSBox
    • Write-up: Write-up
  6. Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (PCs – Forerunner – Nov 1985) [Playing May 21]

    • NA
  7. The Bard’s Tale (PCs – Forerunner – 1985)
    • NA
  8. Nethack (PCs – Forerunner – Jul 1987)
    • NA
  9. Final Fantasy I (NES – Forerunner – Dec 18, 1987)
    • NA
  10. Wasteland (PCs – Forerunner – Jan 2, 1988)
    • NA
  11. Dragon Quest III (NES – Forerunner – Feb 10, 1988)
    • NA
  12. Pool of Radiance (PCs – Forerunner – Jun 1988)
    • NA
  13. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (DOS – Mar 1992)
    • Widely considered the first truly 3D first-person RPG, Ultima Underworld set the stage for all future 3D RPGs from Morrowind to World of Warcraft. It was also perhaps the first RPG featuring many emergent elements found in the genre later known as immersive sims.
  14. Ultima VII: The Black Gate (DOS – Apr 16, 1992)
    • Generally considered the best Ultima game ever made, the crown jewel in the renowned RPG franchise. Featured an open world in 1992 with a ridiculous amount of things to do.
  15. Secret of Mana (SNES – Aug 6, 1993)
    • Another game by Square, featuring ahead-of-its-time action-combat with co-operative play.
  16. Final Fantasy VI (SNES – Apr 2, 1994)
    • Considered one of if not the greatest Final Fantasy games ever made, and one of the top 5 RPGs of all time.
  17. Earthbound (SNES – Aug 27, 1994)
    • A parody of JRPGs and American suburbia, Earthbound has become a cult classic with a goofy but lovable world and cast of characters.
  18. Chrono Trigger (SNES – Mar 11, 1995)
    • Considered along with FFVI as one of the best RPGs ever made, and on many lists, the best all-around game ever created. The beautiful crossover project between Square, Enix, and Dragon Ball Z had strong combat, a time-traveling story, many endings, and brilliant characters.
    1. Version: NDS
  19. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES – Mar 9, 1996)
    • A surprising title, SMRPG took an unlikely candidate, Mario, made a strong JRPG. Introducing real-time mechanics to battles, SMRPG had a unique flair on top of being a great RPG.
  20. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (DOS – Aug 31, 1996)
    • Perhaps the most detailed fantasy life simulator yet made, and one of the biggest worlds ever created in a video game.
  21. Final Fantasy VII (PSX – Jan 31, 1997)
    • Considered by many to be the best entry in the series, FFVII took Final Fantasy into the 3D realm with incredibly memorable characters (Cloud, Sephiroth, Aerith) and a compelling story.
    • Version: PSX
  22. Final Fantasy Tactics (PSX – Jun 20, 1997)
    • A full-blown tactical RPG, FF Tactics took the Final Fantasy world and themes and added deep, tactical gameplay. Considered perhaps the finest tactical RPG ever made.
  23. Fallout (PC – Sep 30, 1997)
    • A standard-bearer for CRPGs and the breakthrough title for acclaimed developer Black Isle Studios (several of whom’s staff members when on to form Obsidian). Featured a unique CRPG take being located in a post-apocalyptic America. Unique voice-acted characters were a huge highlight.
  24. Fallout 2 (PC – Oct 29, 1998)
    • NA
  25. Suikoden II (PSX – Dec 17, 1998)
    • Suikoden II is a unique JRPG on the list, featuring more strategic gameplay and a huge roster of characters to recruit (over 100). It’s considered a cult classic and one of the greatest non-Square-developed JRPGs.
  26. Baldur’s Gate (PC – Dec 21, 1998)
    • Took Dungeons & Dragons and converted it into one of the most highly acclaimed and beloved CRPGs ever made.
    • Version: Enhanced Edition on NS
  27. Planescape: Torment (PC – Dec 12, 1999)
    • Planescape is considered to have some of the finest writing in all of gaming – it’s a CRPG focused on story, characters, and dialogue. Acclaimed for its dark and emotional narrative, Planescape is an absolute legend among CRPGs.
  28. Vagrant Story (PSX – Feb 10, 2000)
    • An action-RPG created by Square, Vagrant Story was unique in that it focused on weapon creation and modification instead of many tropes of the JRPG genre. A fan-favorite and highly acclaimed title.
  29. Deus Ex (PC – Jun 22, 2000)
    • An Immersive Sim RPG, Deus Ex explored the Cyberpunk genre with impactful choices and a variety of ways to customize your character and solve problems.
  30. Diablo II (PC – Jun 29, 2000)
    • Diablo was the first great Action-RPG, but Diablo II was even better, and is an absolute classic. Refining the action-packed gameplay, Diablo II stands tall on the list of all-time great ARPGs.
  31. Baldur’s Gate II (PC – Sep 24, 2000)
    • Take Baldur’s Gate, and make it even better. Still considered today as one of the greatest CRPGs ever made, and completely beloved by its fans.
    • Version: Enhanced Edition on NS
  32. Golden Sun (GBA – Aug 21, 2001)
    • Golden Sun was Camelot’s take (under Nintendo’s publishing) of a handheld JRPG, and it was a good one. Featuring monster-catching features in the form of Djinn, the strong characters and world of Golden Sun make it one of the best handheld RPGs ever.
  33. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (PC – Aug 22, 2001)
    • A cult classic that was also considered one of the greatest RPGs of 2001, Arcanum features a unique setting combining magic and industry.
  34. Kingdom Hearts (PS2 – Mar 28, 2002)
    • Take Final Fantasy, mix it with Disney characters and worlds, and create a dynamic action-combat system with RPG roots. Kingdom Hearts has been a very influential series, and it all started here.
    • Version: Kingdom Hearts All-in-One Pack (PS4) on PS5
  35. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC – May 1, 2002)
    • The break-through title for Bethesda, Morrowind was a first-person action-CRPG featuring a huge, atmospheric, detailed world. One of my personal favorite games of all time, Morrowind won many GOTY awards and is considered by many to be the closest the Elder Scrolls has gotten to fulfilling its mission of “be anyone, go anywhere, do anything”.
    • Version: PC
  36. Tales of Symphonia (GC – Aug 29, 2003)
    • Part of the best-selling and legendary Tales series, especially popular in Japan, ToS is the most memorable entry in the series for most. Exemplifying the Tales’ series unique real-time fighting-game-like combat, ToS also featured a long, interesting story with meaningful characters.
    • Version: GCN (Wish there was a remaster…)
  37. Gothic II (PC – Oct 28, 2003)
    • A classic Western RPG that often flies under the radar, Gothic II refined Gothic’s formula and was a spiritual predecessor to the excellent Witcher series.
    • Version: Gold Edition on PC
  38. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GC – Jul 22, 2004)
    • A sequel to the similarily-great Paper Mario 64, TTYD expanded up on its predecessor’s aesthetic, scope, and charm. It continued and improved upon the series’ unique turn-based battle system which featured real-time action commands that gave additional benefits. One of the more unique RPGs, especially with its visual look.
    • Version: GCN (No remaster…)
  39. Vampire the Masquerade – Bloodlines (PC – Nov 16, 2004)
    • A cult classic, Bloodlines took an original, dark approach to CRPGs with its world, storytelling, and characters. A fairly unique RPG.
  40. World of Warcraft (PC – Nov 23, 2004)
    • WoW needs no introduction – it’s the most popular MMO of all time. It took what previous MMOs started, especially Ultima Online and Everquest, and made more accessible – and it exploded. It’s the only MMO on the list as IMO it fairly represents MMO’s contributions to RPGs as a whole.
    • Version: PC
  41. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (PC – Dec 6, 2004)
    • KOTOR II was perhaps Obsidian’s breakout title, a worthy successor to one of the best RPGs ever made. The game went somewhere no Star Wars story had really gone before in its depiction of Jedi and Sith and it featured very strong role-playing elements – like proper skill checks.
    • Version: PC
  42. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC – Mar 20, 2006)
    • NA
    • Version: PC
  43. Neverwinter Nights II: Mask of the Betrayer (PC – Oct 9, 2007)
    • If Bioware’s Neverwinter Nights was a CRPG sandbox/platform, Obsidian’s sequel created a higher quality adventure out of version 2 of that sandbox. Mask of the Betrayer, an expansion, was a even better adventure with a fantastic, unique story.
    • Version: PC
  44. Fable II (X360 – Oct 21, 2008)
    • The first Fable game made its name as a quirky British action-RPG featuring a impactful morality and quest system, and carried a lot of influence as the premier exclusive Xbox RPG. It’s sequel fleshed out these components and is generally considered superior in quality.
    • Version: (X360) on XB1
  45. Pokemon SoulSilver (NDS – Sep 21, 2009)
    • HeartGold/SoulSilver are considered some of the best games in the Pokemon series, and are highly-acclaimed remakes of my favorite generation, gen 2. This generation also features the largest explorable area of any game, as it featured both Johto and RBY’s Kanto.
    • Version: NDS
  46. Dragon Age Origins (PC – Nov 3, 2009)
    • Bioware’s spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series, Dragon Age
    • Version: PC
  47. Mass Effect 2 (PC – Jan 26, 2010)  [Finished Mar 20]
    • Acclaimed as one of the best games ever made. Took the original Mass Effect’s strong worldbuilding, characters, and RPG mechanics and added strong action-oriented combat and a very strong story.
    • Version: PC
    • Write-up: Coming after I play ME3 (for context)
  48. Xenoblade Chronicles (WII – Jun 10, 2010)
    • NA
    • Version: Definitive Edition on NS
  49. Fallout: New Vegas (PC – Oct 19, 2010)
    • NA
    • Version: PC
  50. Radiant Historia (NDS – Nov 3, 2010)
    • NA
    • Version: Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology on 3DS
  51. Dark Souls (PC – Sep 22, 2011)
    • NA
  52. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC – Nov 11, 2011)
    • NA
  53. Fire Emblem: Awakening (NDS – Apr 19, 2012)
    • NA
  54. Shadowrun: Dragonfall (PC – Feb 27, 2014)
    • NA
    • Version: PC
  55. Pillars of Eternity (PC – Mar 15, 2015)
    • NA
  56. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC – May 9, 2015)
    • NA
    • Version: Game of the Year Edition on PS5
  57. Undertale (PC – Sep 15, 2015)
    • NA
  58. Persona 5 (PS4 – Sep 15, 2016)
    • NA
    • Version: Persona 5 Royal on PS5
  59. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PS4 – Jul 29, 2017)
    • NA
    • Version: Definitive Edition on NS or PS5
  60. Disco Elysium (PC – Oct 15, 2019) [Started – On Hold]
    • A unique detective take on the genre with a tabletop-rpg flair. Considered the best RPG of 2019, and one of the best of the decade.
    • Version: OG + The Final Cut on PC
  61. Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4 – Dec 20, 2020)
    • NA
    • Version: PS5

Chronological Reference

  1. The Forerunners (1980-1989)
    1. Zork (1980)
    2. Rogue (1980)
    3. Wizardry (Sep 1981)
    4. Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (Nov 1985)
    5. The Bard’s Tale (1985)
    6. Nethack (Jul 1987)
    7. Final Fantasy I (Dec 18, 1987)
    8. Wasteland (Jan 2, 1988)
    9. Dragon Quest III (Feb 10, 1988)
    10. Pool of Radiance (Jun 1988)
  2. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (Mar 1992)
  3. Ultima VII: The Black Gate (Apr 16, 1992)
  4. Secret of Mana (Aug 6, 1993)
  5. Final Fantasy VI (Apr 2, 1994)
  6. Earthbound (Aug 27, 1994)
  7. Chrono Trigger (Mar 11, 1995)
  8. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Mar 9, 1996)
  9. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (Aug 31, 1996)
  10. Final Fantasy VII (Jan 31, 1997)
  11. Final Fantasy Tactics (Jun 20, 1997)
  12. Fallout (Sep 30, 1997)
  13. Fallout 2 (Oct 29, 1998)
  14. Suikoden II (Dec 17, 1998)
  15. Baldur’s Gate (Dec 21, 1998)
  16. Planescape: Torment (Dec 12, 1999)
  17. Vagrant Story (Feb 10, 2000)
  18. Deus Ex (Jun 22, 2000)
  19. Diablo II (Jun 29, 2000)
  20. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (Sep 24, 2000)
  21. Golden Sun (Aug 21, 2001)
  22. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (Aug 22, 2001)
  23. Kingdom Hearts (Mar 28, 2002)
  24. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (May 1, 2002)
  25. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Jul 15, 2003)
  26. Tales of Symphonia (Aug 29, 2003)
  27. Gothic II (Oct 28, 2003)
  28. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Jul 22, 2004)
  29. World of Warcraft (Nov 23, 2004)
  30. Vampire the Masquerade – Bloodlines (Nov 16, 2004)
  31. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Dec 6, 2004)
  32. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Mar 20, 2006)
  33. Neverwinter Nights II: Mask of the Betrayer (Oct 9, 2007)
  34. Fable II (Oct 21, 2008)
  35. Pokemon SoulSilver (Sep 12, 2009)
  36. Dragon Age Origins (Nov 3, 2009)
  37. Mass Effect 2 (Jan 26, 2010)
  38. Xenoblade Chronicles (Jun 10, 2010)
  39. Fallout: New Vegas (Oct 19, 2010)
  40. Radiant Historia (Nov 3, 2010)
  41. Dark Souls (Sep 22, 2011)
  42. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Nov 11, 2011)
  43. Fire Emblem: Awakening (Apr 19, 2012)
  44. Shadowrun: Dragonfall (Feb 27, 2014)
  45. Pillars of Eternity (Mar 15, 2015)
  46. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (May 9, 2015)
  47. Undertale (Sep 15, 2015)
  48. Persona 5 (Sep 15, 2016)
  49. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elysium Age (July 29, 2017)
  50. Divinity Original Sin II (Sep 14, 2017)
  51. Disco Elysium (Oct 15, 2019)
  52. The Endgame (2020+)
    1. CyberPunk 2077 (Dec 10, 2020)

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