Gaming has come a long way since the 2000s, when you couldn’t play most mainstream titles without a Windows PC. Though Windows still has most of the gaming market share, times are a-changing thanks to cross-platform engines like Unity.
And we aren’t just talking about indie games, which was the case just a few years ago. AAA games from top-notch studios can now be played on Mac natively, and many newer games are now being created with Mac playability in mind from the start.
It’s a great time to be alive as a Mac gamer, especially if you’re a fan of the RPG genre. Want to get started? Here are some of the best RPG experiences you can have natively on Mac right now.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The first Deus Ex (released back in 2000) broke new ground with its character building systems, non-linear gameplay, and freedom of choice. No two playthroughs of the game were exactly the same, which gave it tons of replay value and earned it critical acclaim.
Human Revolution recaptures much of the original’s spirit while updating many of the aspects to better fit the modern gaming landscape. It’s slightly more linear than die-hard fans were expecting, but the story is compelling and the gameplay is exceptional, all leading to a satisfying end.
Bastion is, in a word, beautiful. Not only is it visually striking and immediately recognizable as unique, but everything is elevated to a completely different level by the soundtrack. (The music is so good that we recommend listening to it while studying or relaxing!)
There’s nothing revolutionary about the story or the gameplay, but they’re both solid enough to leave you satisfied. Like reading a novel or watching a movie, Bastion is more about the emotional journey than it is about mechanical depth. It’s still fun though, so don’t let that turn you away.
Available on: Steam.
Borderlands 2 is, without a doubt, one of the best games to come out in the past five years. It won several awards, including “Action Game of the Year”, “Best Shooter”, “Best Multiplayer Game”, and “Character of the Year” — if that doesn’t convince you of this game’s worth, I don’t know what will.
In singleplayer, you go around completing missions and collecting loot from the enemies you kill. There’s a main storyline but also dozens of side storylines, and because it’s an open world RPG, you can keep playing even after you “beat” it. Multiplayer is basically co-op singleplayer with your friends.
Pillars of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity is the spiritual successor to games like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment: party-based tactical gameplay with an isometric view. There’s a main quest and many side quests, but the game’s true value is its replayability due to its eleven different classes and deep combat mechanics.
Torchlight II is the perfect game to play when you want something like Diablo III but not as intense. It’s a hack-and-slash adventure that’s surprisingly polished and addictive. The only downside is that its gameplay is comparatively shallow and doesn’t innovate much. In my view, Torchlight II is more about mindless fun — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Divinity: Original Sin
If your love of the RPG genre stems from a desire to explore and discover, then Divinity: Original Sin will be right up your alley. The graphics and combat are great, but the content is the real selling point. With all of the side quests included, it could take you well over 100 hours to complete everything.
Darkest Dungeon is simply incredible. The art style sucks you right in, then the gameplay hooks you and keeps you engaged for hours and hours. It’s the kind of game that you intend to play for only 10 minutes, only to realize that the whole day has gone by and you’re now starving.
As far as squad-based dungeon crawlers go, Darkest Dungeon is one of the best because it’s tough and punishing. The mechanics are brilliant, showing you the effects and consequences of stress on an adventuring party and the risk/reward of pushing your luck as far as it can go before everything collapses.
Mount & Blade: Warband
Mount & Blade isn’t just an open world game. It’s a sandbox game that doesn’t even have a main storyline. You choose what you want to do in the game: explore, fight, quest, and more. The way you interact with others in the game has real impact on the world at large.
The biggest reason to get Warband over the original is the addition of multiplayer. There are seven different game modes that you can play with up to 64 players and bots. Modes include deathmatch, team deathmatch, conquest, capture the flag, siege, fight and destroy, and straight-up battle.
If it wasn’t clear from its name, Rogue Legacy is one of the bigger successes that came out of the “roguelite” phase of indie gaming. If you aren’t sure what that means, check out our overview of the roguelike craze and our exploration of how procedural generation took over gaming.
In short, Rogue Legacy is a platformer RPG with permadeath. When your character dies, you pick a randomly-generated “heir” and continue your quest. Every character has different traits and attributes, which lends to the game’s replayability. All dungeons are randomly generated as well, so it’s fun time and again.
Legend of Grimrock II
Legend of Grimrock was a spiritual successor to the cult classic dungeon crawler Dungeon Master, and many consider it to be the title that revived the classic dungeon crawler genre by faithfully combining old-school gameplay with modern graphics.
Legend of Grimrock II expands on its predecessor with a bigger world, better character development, higher level of challenge, and improved freedom of progression. If you love crawling through dungeons, you can’t skip this one.
Which RPGs Do You Play on Mac?
If none of these appeal to you, or if you really want to play a specific game that’s only available on Windows, then you have two main options: set up a Windows dual-boot through Boot Camp or try to install and run the game using Wine. The former is more work but also more reliable in the end.
One more thing to note: Despite some of the games in this list being available on the Mac App Store, we recommend that you avoid buying games from there whenever possible. The drawbacks aren’t worth it, and either Steam or GOG will likely provide a better overall experience in the long run.
Are there any other quality RPGs we missed that can be played directly on Mac? Which modern RPGs do you consider to be your favorites? Share with us down in the comments below!
Image Credit: AntonKarlik via Shutterstock.com
Originally written by Matt Smith on April 26, 2012.