Ogre Battle (40). This was the first game I in this genre that I played. I got my butt handed to me quite easily. This was more of a spreadsheet kind of game before they existed.
Guild Wars (37). I guess you could call it the first F2P PvP MMO with wide appeal. A lot of the good in the F2P market came out from this game and paved the way for many other games. In terms of RPG, there was a whole lot of customization without worrying about numbers.
Pokemon Black/White (35). Not sure if they’ll go with the earlier versions or not but the entire series is based on a complex rock/paper/scissors combat. As typical with JRPGs, there’s a whole lot of grinding and random chance until you get the perfect set. Then it’s a cake walk. Still, we’re nearly 20 years gone and still playing it.
Fallout (34). This is the proto-typical western RPG. A solid amount of tactical combat, varied social options, multiple endings and just plain wide open space. It’s quite surprising how well this game holds up 15 years later. I mean, what other game can you talk the final boss to death?
Ultima Online (33). My first MMORPG. I made a few thousand dollars on ebay selling various characters and houses. The game is nowhere close to what it was in terms of mechanics but it’s probably still the only game with so many options from the start. Want to find treasure chests? Sail the seas? Kill demons? It has it all. And people are still playing and paying.
Jade Empire (30). This does not belong anywhere close below the 50 mark. Combat was weak, the story pretty horrible (BioWare can’t write very well) and the game doesn’t hold a candle today. Of note, it’s the only BioWare game from an original IP.
Fallout 2 (28). Other than a punishing tutorial, this is essentially an expansion pack to the original game with a bunch of bug fixes. There is about double the content and well worth exploring. Think Mass Effect in an isometric view – in terms of mechanics.
Dragon Quest VIII (27). I played it, found it boring and oddly grindy. I think it’s popular because of the name, in spite of how the game actually plays.
Ultima 4 (26). Well, this is where the series really took off. You embodied the actual virtues to complete the game, so each action had a consequence. The birth of the western RPG.
Baldur’s Gate (24). A really solid game, where level progression really wasn’t all that important (max level of 7 if I recall). It was the story and the setting that made this game stand out. I will assume that the sequel is higher on the list, as it’s clearly the better game.
ES: Oblivion (22). Oh the hours put into this game! A true sandbox experience with dozens of hours of content, Oblivion really changed the way that genre played. There have been quite a few imitators (Amalaur for one) but few can match what this did when it launched with the 360.
Super Mario RPG (21). Bar none, the best RPG on the SNES. A combination of smart combat mechanics, great writing, minigames a plenty and amazing setting, SMRPG simply shot everything out of the water. Too bad it came out after the N64 launched. It’s also the birth of the Paper Mario and Baby Mario/Luigi games. Play it.
Quite a few more games here that I played. I disagree with a few placements – especially Jade Empire. I am curious as to IGN’s definition of RPG though. Is Zelda an RPG? If GW and UO are there, shouldn’t SWG – the best Role game I’ve ever seen – be on the list? Hot dogs to hamburgers, I’m guessing I will have played 18 of the 20 games on the top of the list.