Games like Final Fantasy look like a lot of fun, but they also look complex in terms of their goals and battle mechanics. Thankfully, there are plenty of RPGs that are less grueling experiences, making perfect titles for players who may not have a great deal of experience with the genre and are curious enough to dip their toes in.
Updated March 24, 2022 by Ritwik Mitra: There are a lot of people who consider RPGs to be some of the most obtuse and complicated games to get into. While there are certain games in the genre that can be a pain to understand, this doesn't apply to most RPGs due to how popular the genre is. As a result, there are several accessible RPGs that beginners can check out to test their own mileage. The best candidates to teach players the ropes or just keep them hooked without too many complicated systems are mentioned below.
The entire Mass Effect series is full to the brim with some great titles that everyone should check out. The original trilogy is a masterpiece, and Andromeda can still entice certain players due to its fast-flowing combat, even though the game itself lacks a fair bit of polish.
These games combine third-person shooting gameplay and RPG mechanics to great effect. The Legendary Edition has made these games even more accessible, with the first title receiving a massive makeover to modernize it effectively.
Speaking of a classic BioWare franchise, it would be hard to not mention the Dragon Age series. Origins might be the hardest RPG to get into, but even that game does a brilliant job of hand-holding players through the basics of the game's mechanics.
With Dragon Age 4 coming sooner than later, there's no better time to get into this series. If players go through all three games, then their palate for the genre will certainly improve quite a bit.
For such a massive game, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim does a brilliant job of being the most beginner-friendly and accessible title in the entire series. The game being available on every platform imaginable probably does a great job of reinforcing its legendary status.
Players who want to get lost in a brilliant world for hundreds of hours should definitely check this title out. Each level lets the player handle the various threats in the game and feel like a proper hero of legend.
Undertale is a game that took the world by storm with its unrelenting wit and charm. This game is a perfect example of what indie titles are capable of, and the fact that this game was majorly worked on by a sole developer shows just how amazing the gaming industry really is.
Undertale shook the gaming landscape to its core upon release, with the title being praised across the board for multiple reasons. It's a truly amazing game that deserves all the love in the world, being pretty influential in its own right as well.
Out of all the games on this list, Disco Elysium can be the hardest sell for beginners. After all, the title features complex writing and a bunch of mechanics that are almost impossible to grasp, at first glance.
However, the fact that this game lacks a fail state or any sort of combat definitely makes it a great experience to ease into. Failing is a part of what makes Disco Elysium special, with failed dice rolls also leading to joyous moments of its own.
Immortals Fenyx Rising was created by the same Ubisoft studio that brought fans Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, and it's unsurprising given how similar the two are. While Odyssey is not an ideal game for those new to RPG, Fenyx Rising offers a more watered-down, simplified version with many of the same features and plenty of comedy.
Fenyx Rising still offers a wide-open world to explore, though it is considerably smaller than that Odyssey, with plenty of sidequests should the player want to delve a bit deeper. This game offers multiple difficulty modes, including "Story" for those who want to appreciate the storyline with the difficult battles. This game is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age might come from a prestigious long line of RPG games, but it actually offers a brilliant introductory option to the RPG genre. Many fans believe this entry to be the best in the series and offers both old and new RPG players a classic feel with turn-based battles and a party setup.
The game has pristine manga-style graphics, a great plotline, and some fantastic music. There's even a hard mode for anyone who wants to challenge themselves. The original version of Dragon Quest XI is available on PlayStation 4 and 3DS, while the upgraded Dragon Quest XI S version is available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
The Ni No Kuni series has two titles to its name, both of which are great RPGs for those unfamiliar with the genre. Both games offer smooth cell-shaded graphics, fantastic emotional storylines, interesting combat, and a large world to explore. While both games have many similarities, they also have notable differences, such as the combat system.
Ni No Kuni uses familiar creatures in battle, with players not really using the main characters to fight at all, whereas Ni No Kuni 2 has the characters themselves fighting, though they can summon creatures called Higgledies to help them. Ni No Kuni is available on PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Switch, while the remaster is available on PC and PlayStation 4. Ni No Kuni 2 is available for PlayStation 4 and PC.
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl Gold was the long-awaited western release of Snack World: Trejarers, with the franchise being incredibly popular in Japan with it encompassing more than just games, but manga, toy lines, and anime too.
This game blends RPG elements with dungeon-crawler style areas for the player to explore. This is a great option for someone looking for a more casual RPG and also offers online multiplayer of up to four players. Snack World is available for Nintendo Switch.
My Time at Portia is another great introductory RPG that blends classic RPG elements with simulation game features. This brilliant mixture of genres offers players a game where players can fix up their house, craft, gather and farm, while also delving into dungeons to fight monsters and romance the NPCs in town.
While this might sound like a lot of content, the game presents it in a really easy to understand way, making it perfect for anyone new to RPGs. My Time at Portia is available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
The Paper Mario series is one of the best RPG franchises to get into for those that are new to the genre. They take a barebones framework of RPG mechanics and combine it with the colorful and vibrant world of Mario.
None of the Paper Mario games are that difficult, but the easiest entry in the series is the Wii’s Super Paper Mario. While they're light, the RPG mechanics are very much present and they make an effective primer for tackling more challenging RPGs. The Paper Mario series is exclusive to Nintendo consoles, with the most recent release of Paper Mario: The Origami King being available for Nintendo Switch.
Quest 64 is the definition of a beginner RPG, right down to the fact that it features a cute art aesthetic where even the vicious monsters don't come across as intimidating. This Nintendo 64 game is definitely noteworthy for being one of the few true RPGs to be released on the console.
None of the encounters and fights are very challenging, nor is the game particularly difficult in general. It can be finished in just a few breezy sittings. The game doesn't even feature a currency system and every item is gained for free instead, which simplifies things even further.
Pokémon has grown into a global phenomenon that’s expanded far beyond video games, so much so that it’s sometimes easy to forget that they're RPGs from a technical standpoint. The core concept of Pokémon games pull from turn-based battle RPGs, but they create so much of their own world and add so much to the formula that Pokémon titles almost feel like their own genre. No game in the series is particularly punishing and they all work well for beginners.
However, Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, which remake the original titles, are a solid choice that won’t overwhelm the player. Additionally, the most recent release of Pokémon Sword and Shield for Nintendo Switch are also ideal entries, as they guide players through the story and content.
Costume Quest is a delight on every level, and it's brought to us by the talented folks at Double Fine Productions with a script that’s co-written by the legendary Tim Schafer of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Psychonauts fame.
Costume Quest stars a bunch of children who are out trick-or-treating on Halloween when danger suddenly sweeps them all up into adventure. The game has an adorable aesthetic to it, but then the battles switch over to exaggerated feats of strength as these precocious kids embody their Halloween costumes to fight monsters. It's a treat that's heavy on story and light on battle mechanics. Costume Quest is available on PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and mobile devices.
Wild Arms is an RPG for the original PlayStation that’s easy to overlook considering the abundance of popular classic RPGs on the console. Wild Arms is a fantastic title for players that want something that still has a deep and engrossing story, but is considerably simpler than the standard RPG.
Wild Arms was released at the same time as Final Fantasy VII and it’s easy to see that Wild Arms aims for much lower heights, but still puts together a successful RPG that creatively mixes 2D gameplay with 3D battles.
The Knights of the Old Republic series was certainly a benchmark for Star Wars games. The first Knights of the Old Republic is often lauded for its surprisingly deep RPG mechanics. However, they're far from insurmountable, and what it a truly great beginner RPG is the fact that it differs from the standard fantasy setting.
By channeling the wholesome sci-fi goodness that the greater franchise is known for, it potentially appeals to players who aren't necessarily looking for a high fantasy experience. Knights of the Old Republic released for the original Xbox and PC but was also later ported to mobile devices. It is also playable on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One via backward compatibility.
The Mana series does a remarkable job at taking the most charming aspects of the Final Fantasy franchise, but rounding off the edges and embracing more of a fairytale-like atmosphere for its quests. Secret of Mana has entertaining characters and a powerful story that never becomes too complex or overbearing in terms of the narrative.
The gameplay is also very easy to pick up and can easily be grasped within only a few battles. The original Secret of Mana still holds up, but its recent remake is also a suitable substitution that offers a more modern take on the classic game. The most recent release in the series is Trials of Mana, which is a 3D remake of the third title in the series. Trials of Mana is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Skies of Arcadia is one of the best RPGs of all time and it’s a rare gem that’s satisfying for both complete newcomers to the genre as well as seasoned veterans. This is achieved through the game’s unique story and characters in addition to a battle system that’s innovative and enjoyable, but never disorienting.
The learning curve is also remarkably comfortable. Originally seeing release on the Dreamcast and then receiving an updated port on the Gamecube, Skies of Arcadia is an RPG title that's easy to miss, but it's recently received a greater level of appreciation and support.
Chrono Trigger is one of Square’s timeless JRPG masterpieces. Even though it is an RPG that can pose a challenge and expect a lot of its players, it never feels like too much and the payoffs are incredibly gratifying.
Chrono Trigger is an RPG where gamers will get as much out of it as they put in, which allows it to be an incredibly long experience or a journey that’s more succinct, depending on the player’s preference. There’s a lot to master and experience in the game, but it remains accessible and thoroughly enjoyable even today.
The Persona series may seem daunting for newcomers to RPGs. However, the Persona games have an effective failsafe built-in for beginners with its difficulty settings. Persona 5 is considered to be the easiest game in the series, but its “Safety Difficulty” removes any semblance of challenge.
The biggest changes are that a loss in battle doesn't result in a game over and players can continually retry. Other perks include the player dealing much more damage and taking less damage from enemies. Players can experience the story and RPG genre with literally none of the stress, allowing them to truly take it at their own pace. Persona 5 is available for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, while its upgraded version Persona 5 Royal is available for PlayStation 4.