games / Columns

The Top 8 First Person RPGs

March 22, 2023 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Fallout New Vegas Image Credit: Obsidian Entertainment

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about roleplaying games, specifically those you play in a first person perspective. Now, some of these games do have an option for a third person vantage point but it’s usually junk. These are games that are primarily played with a gun or tool in your right hand and that’s the only part you see of your character. Also, not every FPS game is a RPG, for most of these it’s not a 1 to 1 combat system, there is a hidden dice roll of how damage is calculated. Let’s begin:

#8: Dying Light

In the realm of zombie/FPS roleplaying games there is really Dying Light and Dead Island. While the first Dead Island game starts off great, it gets progressively worse as it goes on, with some really awful locale changes. Dying Light, on the other hand, generally gets better the more you play it, with the game world opening up more due to mobility upgrades and you getting access to better weapons and skills. Dying Light 2 was a bit of a bummer and I don’t have a ton of faith in Dead Island 2 coming out or being good, so Dying Light 1 is the best choice.

#7: House Flipper

This is my odd choice because it doesn’t have combat or enemies to kill, etc. It is still a roleplaying game though because you are playing the role of a contractor who is tasked with fixing up and decorating houses. Plus you actually go gain experience and skill points which let you do your various jobs easier. The only real problem with House Flipper is that I’ve wrung out all the content I can really do, I’ve bought all the houses, completed all the jobs, got all the skills, etc. I’ve literally done all I can in the game. I hope House Flipper 2 has some kind of procedurally generated house/mission system so I can play more of it.

#6: Borderlands 2

I think Borderlands 2 is just about the sweet spot for when it comes to the Borderlands franchise, at least the main franchise. Borderlands 1 didn’t really have a personality and Borderlands Pre-Sequel and 3 had way, WAY too much personality. It got to the point in Borderlands 3 where I turned all the voice acting off because all the characters were insufferable. The gameplay of Borderlands is almost always great though and I thought Borderland 2’s level were big enough to be interesting but not overbearingly huge like 3 had also. I’d like to see them reign it in if/when they ever make a Borderlands 4 but you just know it’s going to be bigger and dumber than ever and I really dislike that.

#5: Deus Ex

I like the original Deus Ex game because of its open-ended nature. You could be stealthy, a hacker, or just an idiot with the biggest gun and kill everyone. To me, the most impressive thing about this game was just the setting/world. It’s extremely interesting and well-realized, even for a game that came out in 2000. The fact that it was set in a future version of the “real” world still makes it more interesting than something like Cyberpunk, because it lets the player feel more connected to it. Human Revolution was also a pretty good Deus Ex game, despite a wonky energy system, but I was pretty let down by Mankind Divided.

#4: Fallout: New Vegas

New Vegas is a really great Fallout game that is let-down by two pretty big issues. The first is that it has some overly complex/needless systems, like the ammo system. Every gun did NOT need three different ammo types that basically broke down into: normal, more damage against armor, and more damage unarmored. Some of this almost made sense but when it could be applied to stuff like plasma weapons, I lost interest. The bigger problem, however, is that the game engine isn’t well suited to creating large areas with a bunch of people. Think of the Vegas strip, it’s supposed to be a bustling place, full of gamblers and other folks, and it has like 6 NPCs on it, total. These two issues aside though, New Vegas is still an amazing Fallout game. Really interesting world to explore, great characters/writing, a good morality system, etc. It’s a shame that they haven’t made a great Fallout game since this one.

#3: Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines

While you can play this game from a third-person perspective better than a few others on this list, it’s still pretty clunky to do so. Actually “clunky” describes a lot about Bloodlines but I still really enjoy the game. It has some nice character work, good quests, a unique soundtrack and it presents you with some interesting moral choices. I also really enjoyed the setting of a perpetually dark LA for you to roam around in. The game is pretty janky though, even though fan patches have tried to fix it, but it’s a game that I’ll always kind of enjoy.

#2: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Not Skyrim?! THE NERVE! Alright, now that that’s out of the way, Morrowind is generally better than Skyrim. Now, Skyrim does play better for sure, combat feels better, it’s obviously way better graphically, etc. But Morrowind is still better. I just enjoy wandering around the weird world of Vvardenfall more, full of mushrooms, building-size insects to taxi around in, the grand city of Vivec and so on. Plus, the systems going on were wild, you could make some really game-breaking spells if you knew what you were doing, or talk to magical Mudcrabs that had the most money a store owner could have in the game. I played this thing on the original Xbox also, which wasn’t the most ideal platform, but I still had a superb time with it.

#1: Fallout 3

On the whole, Fallout: NV has a more interesting story and better characters but Fallout 3 is still the better game. It was cool getting to explore a bombed-out Washington DC, filled with super mutants and other baddies. Or listening to John Henry Eden’s speeches on the radio, voiced perfectly by Malcolm McDowell. Unlike New Vegas, Fallout 3 is pretty approachable from a gameplay system, they kept it pretty simple and it works well for them. It can be kind of a nightmare trying to get through the various subway rails/stations but that’s about the only negative that this fantastic game actually has.

For comments, list your favorite first person Roleplaying games, and why.

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