Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Traditional RPG

GOTY 2023 Best Traditional RPG Baldur's Gate III

Winner: Baldur’s Gate III

On one hand, Baldur’s Gate III is as “traditional” as an RPG gets. After all, it’s the most faithful and fleshed-out adaptation of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign (the OG RPG) that’s been done to date. Yet, at the same time, it feels like such a modern triple-A experience that the word “traditional” fails to fully capture what makes this game so special. Even the design decision to visibly display a die roll for skill checks — something that immediately made me think of revolutionary indie darling Disco Elysium — seems to derive from Larian‘s intense and impassioned study of the genre that informs every aspect of this game. Sure, the combat is turn-based, but it’s also inspired by the tactics genre and filled with emergent possibilities based on the player’s creative interpretation of the game’s systems. Baldur’s Gate III is a perfect marriage of RPG tradition and modernity, packaged into one of the deepest narrative and mechanical experiences that you can treat yourself to right now.

by Aleks Franiczek

Runner-Up: Octopath Traveler II

Octopath Traveler II has it all: intense turn-based combat full of nuances and special abilities, gorgeous HD-2D visuals that evoke nostalgia for the 16-bit era, a stunning Yasunori Nishiki soundtrack that rates among the year’s best, and eight compelling narratives that run the gamut from a samurai restoring honor to his warmongering home country to a priest investigating a murder in a cathedral to a businessman that wants to eliminate world poverty. These eight unrelated tales culminate in a final conflict that puts the first Octopath‘s endgame to shame. Everything from the job system to the map full of hidden secrets makes Octopath Traveler II more rewarding the more you play it, until the secret final boss. **** that guy.

by Michael Sollosi

Readers’ Choice: Best Traditional RPG of 2023

Winner: Baldur’s Gate III (35.8% of votes)

Runner-Up: Octopath Traveler II (25.8% of votes)

Aleks Franiczek

Aleks Franiczek

Aleks is a Features writer and apparently likes videogames enough to be pursuing a PhD focused on narrative design and the philosophy of player experience. When not overthinking games he also enjoys playing them, and his favorite genre is “it’s got some issues, but it’s interesting!”