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If I mentioned tabletop RPGs to you, what is the first one that pops into your head? If I had to guess, I would assume you are thinking of Dungeons and Dragons. Sure, some people might think of Warhammer or Shadowrun, but for most outside of the tabletop space, Dungeons and Dragons is the first game they think of. In fact, for many people, it might even be the only game in the genre they know at all.
As with most popular things, there are plenty of video games out there based on the Dungeons and Dragon universe. Some are not so good, and some are downright fantastic, even if you are not a fan of the tabletop version of the game. The subject matter of D&D works quite well in video game form, as many RPGs use the same types of characters anyway.
Whether you like D&D or not, the games that follow are worth playing, because when it comes down to it, they are just quality games that happen to have the Dungeons and Dragons brand attached.
Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara
We’re starting this off with some old school D&D goodness. This arcade game was released by Capcom in 1996, and it’s actually a side-scrolling beat ’em up with some RPG elements sprinkled in. It featured four-player cooperative gameplay, and it was one of those games you could get excited about anytime you stepped up to the machine to dump in your quarters.
For fans of Mystara in the D&D universe, this game is extra awesome. However, even if you’ve never sat down and played Dungeons and Dragons in your life, the mixture of RPG and side-scroller make this a classic. If you know of an arcade that has this machine, go there and play it now, and you will be glad you did.
Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
You’ve heard of Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, right? Both games come from BioWare, one of the single best RPG makers in the business today. Well, before those games, this is what the prolific developer was making. Both the first and second iteration of Baldur’s Gate are fantastic, but I am giving the nod to the second, just because it features a little more refinement than its predecessor.
This game has everything that a fan of D&D or RPGs could ask for. It has a deep battle system, awesome characters, and tons of customization. All of these things are critical in a video game and tabletop RPG, and Baldur’s Gate II is packed to the gills with them. It’s also faithful to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition rule-set, which will satisfy fans of the tabletop game.
This game from Black Isle Studios focuses a little less on combat, and more on its interesting story and setting. For some gamers, this might seem a little boring, but for those who want a little bit more of a relaxing experience, this game should suit them nicely. Of course, that’s not to say there is no combat, it’s just not necessarily the primary focus of the game.
This game is not only good, but it’s also important in the video game world, because it is actually one of the earlier games to use a morality system that swings as the player performs actions. This has become a staple in many games today, for better or worse. If you want an RPG from back in the day, this is definitely one worth dumping some hours into.
I didn’t want to mention two games from BioWare, but sadly, it cannot be avoided, as the company happens to be responsible for two of the best D&D games. While the original 1991 game called Neverwinter Nights was also very good, it’s the BioWare game from 2001 that truly did the name the justice it deserved.
As old as this game is, it still has a dedicated player base today. This is partially because of its dedicated modding community, and partially because the game is good enough to be worth going back to. It’s also a massive game, so there is plenty to play for gamers. It’s one of those games that you might not even know is based on D&D, but it is, and it’s really, really good.
Think you can’t take a tabletop RPG and turn it into something special in video game form? Think again, as these awesome D&D games prove, with the right team building the game, it most certainly can be done.
What Dungeons and Dragons video games do you love? Have you played any of these games? Hit the comments section below and let us know.