In the ever-evolving landscape of video game genres, role-playing games (RPGs) have enjoyed a longstanding presence.
Traditionally, RPGs have often leaned towards fantasy themes, influenced by the likes of Dungeons & Dragons. However, in recent years, the RPG genre has expanded to cater to the tastes of science fiction enthusiasts.
The rise of Sci-Fi RPGs
In the gaming industry’s early days, fantasy settings dominated the RPG scene. Games like “The Elder Scrolls” and “Final Fantasy” set the standard for epic adventures in mystical realms.
However, the turn of the millennium witnessed a significant shift in RPG development. While fantasy RPGs continued to thrive, the emergence of science fiction RPGs began to capture the imaginations of gamers worldwide.
Fallout: Pioneering the Genre
One of the pioneers of the science fiction RPG subgenre is the iconic “Fallout” series. Developed by Interplay and later continued by Bethesda Game Studios, “Fallout” introduced players to a post-apocalyptic world teeming with radiation, mutated creatures, and moral dilemmas.
The series is renowned for its turn-based combat system, which rewards players for strategic thinking and decision-making.
Sandbox Sci-Fi RPGs
Independent developers have ventured into the world of science fiction RPGs. A notable trend in this subgenre is the creation of sandbox RPGs that offer players an open world to explore. These games often feature turn-based combat systems that allow for deep customization and tactical engagement.
One such example is “Stellar Tactics” by Maverick Games. This indie gem combines space exploration, ship customization, and turn-based combat in a vast and immersive universe. Players can assemble a crew, upgrade their spacecraft, and engage in strategic battles against various alien threats.
Grid-based tactical RPGs
For gamers who crave a more structured approach to combat, grid-based tactical RPGs offer a different flavor of turn-based gameplay. These titles emphasize positional awareness, cover mechanics, and precise decision-making in battle scenarios.
“XCOM: Enemy Unknown” by Firaxis Games is a prime example of a grid-based tactical RPG set in a futuristic world under alien invasion. Players assume the role of a commander and must lead a team of skilled operatives in intense turn-based battles. The game’s challenging difficulty and permanent consequences for failure add to its allure.
Another noteworthy entry in this subgenre is “The Banner Saga” series by Stoic Studio. Set in a Norse-inspired fantasy world with a touch of science fiction, these games blend gripping storytelling with turn-based combat on a grid. Players must make critical choices that impact the narrative and the survival of their party in a harsh, unforgiving landscape.
Sci-Fi RPGs for diverse tastes
The world of science fiction RPGs isn’t limited to a single style of gameplay or storytelling. Instead, it offers a wide array of experiences to cater to diverse player preferences. From the immersive world-building of “Mass Effect” to the retro-futuristic charm of “Wasteland 3,” there’s something for everyone in this ever-expanding genre.
“Mass Effect” by BioWare stands out as a prime example of a narrative-driven sci-fi RPG. Players assume the role of Commander Shepard, a spacefaring hero tasked with saving the galaxy from an ancient alien threat.
With its rich character interactions, branching storylines, and real-time pause combat, “Mass Effect” offers an unforgettable journey through a meticulously crafted universe.
“Wasteland 3,” developed by inXile Entertainment, embraces a darker, satirical take on the post-apocalyptic genre. Set in the frozen wastelands of Colorado, the game combines traditional RPG elements with turn-based combat. Players lead a squad of Desert Rangers, making moral decisions that impact the game’s outcome and survival.