If the video game RPG genre was a human being, it'd be that kid who was a bit of an outsider in school; probably bullied and laughed at for playing with his imaginary friends, but never complained, kept doing their thing, and went on to be successful and appreciated by people later in life. Yes, the genre that has its origins in niche tabletop games has become the dominant force of video games. Just look at the top games of 2015, a year in which you can easily argue that the five best games were all RPGs (The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Undertale, Bloodborne and Pillars of Eternity, by my reckoning). The genre has exploded, and sorcery and dragons are actually cool in today's culture. But the dominance of franchises like Elder Scrolls, Fallout and The Witcher means that there are tens of RPGs that missed out on the mainstream spotlight. If you've only recently jumped on the speeding RPG bandwagon, then be sure to check out these under-appreciated stalwarts of the genre.
10. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
The last game in the criminally underrated Vampire series was also the greatest. Made in Valve's robust Source Engine, Bloodlines lets you create a vampire of your choosing - distributing your abilities between Attributes, Abilities and Disciplines - and take them out into a gothic open world that you could engage with in all manner of ghoulish ways. As you play, it's crucial that you keep your identity as secretive as possible, so if you want to become a serial bloodsucker you'll need to be stealthy about it. Many of the quests allow you to take a non-violent approach, getting what you want by means of threats and persuasion, or by hacking computers and picking locks. With all that said, an action-oriented approach is the most exciting way to play Bloodlines, thanks to the imaginative and impressive range of vampirical powers at your disposal. Bloodlines is essentially Deus Ex: Vampire Edition - a statement which in itself should be enough to persuade you to sink your teeth into it. If you're worried about the fact that it's 11 years old, then there are plenty of mods out there that will give Bloodlines some welcome gloss.
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Gamer, Researcher of strange things.
I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.