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Finding the RPG in May's Biggest Games

Christopher Coke Posted:
Columns The RPG Files 0

RPGs may be our first love, but that doesn’t mean we don’t play other games! This week, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest non-RPGs of the month and pulling out the pieces RPG players might enjoy. Are you an RPG fan that isn’t sure whether these games are for you? Then this rundown is just what you’re looking for!

Homefront: The Revolution

Homefront: The Revolution is an action game set in a post-North Korean takeover United States. You play as the new inductee of an underground rebellion. Throughout the game, you’ll kill enemies and collect supplies to craft items and upgrades, eventually boosting your arsenal impressively. All of this is fairly light in the RPG department, however. Where RPG fans will really want to look is the co-op Resistance mode. There, you’ll customize your own character, select skills, and even get loot rewards as you play through missions. It’s curious that all of this isn’t featured as prominently in the main campaign, but since future co-op maps are promised to be free to all players, it’s an excellent draw for RPG hopefuls.


Overwatch is part of a new genre we’re calling “hero shooters”. Rather than play a generic hero with a weapon loadout, you’ll instead play a specific character with a locked set of weapons and abilities. You level up your hero with XP from matches and earn loot boxes which feature cosmetic skins and sprays to graffiti the walls. For the RPG fan, Overwatch’s roleplaying elements are extremely light. What it does offer is a sense of group strategy that should be familiar anyone who has run a WoW dungeon. Heroes break up into into Tank, Damage, and Support, with each hero having a counter to keep things balanced. Not much for RPG fans, but the holy trinity dynamic certainly scratches a particular MMO itch!


Battleborn is our second hero shooter of the month. Developed by Gearbox, it’s safe to say that Battleborn has much deeper RPG elements than Overwatch and is a much more complex game as a result of it. Featuring a both a co-op campaign and competitive multiplayer, players earn loot rewards they bring into matches and trigger for effects and stat boosts. Characters also level up in matches and unlock new skills, buffs, and procs. Battleborn also features a huge roster of characters (25 at launch with 5 more coming) that follow the same counter-based balance system in Overwatch. Battleborn’s matches are also much more complex, which leads to longer, deeper games with one mode, Incursion, approaching MOBA levels of complexity.


Doom is a shooter, through and through, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot for RPG fans to love! Unlike prior games in the series, Doom allows you to upgrade your arsenal in unique ways. Weapons have branching paths to customize just how you play play your “doomguy.” As you explore and gloriously blast through Hell’s vast hordes, you’ll find upgrade tokens allowing you to essentially choose skills for your weapons. Tokens are also hidden to upgrade your armor, giving you an unprecedented amount of control over your outfit for the series. Exploration is also important as iD’s game is absolutely rich with collectibles and easter eggs.

Total War: Warhammer

Total War: Warhammer is the latest game in Creative Assembly’s Total War franchise. The game features both single-player and multiplayer, allowing you to take control of many of the famous IP’s most popular armies, including Greenskins, Dwarfs, and Vampire Counts. The fantasy theme should certainly feel right at home to your average RPG fan, but even better are the Legendary Lords for each army. While different battle unit types have their own skills and abilities, these imposing figures can act as powerful hero units with their own unique skills making them stand out on the field of war.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is as “Indiana Jones come to life” as any video game has ever been. It’s also extremely light on any of its RPG elements, despite having more than past games in the series. There are a few dialogue choices, and competitive multiplayer allows you to level up weapons, but that’s about it. Still, this is an action-adventure RPG fans may want to look at. The Uncharted series has a reputation for its engrossing, heart-pounding stories. Because it of expert animations, voice acting, and seamless transitions from cutscenes to gameplay, it often feels like you’re playing through a movie. And since it’s the last game in the series, this is a game you don’t want to miss.

Quick Hits

I Am Setsuna is ramping up toward its July release and they’ve released a new trailer to whet your appetite even more. Calling it a “powerfully nostalgic experience,” Square certainly hopes to pull us back into the JRPG fold. Also, bonus points for the rhyme: “In a land of sorrow and bitter cold, a tale of sacrifice will be told.”

CD Projekt Red is continuing the drip feed of Blood and Wine approaching its May 31st release with a heavy-metal laden launch trailer. It’s safe to say that you should avoid it if you’re squeamish about blood. Or think Twilight got vampires just right.

Square Enix held a live stream for its action RPG, Star Ocean, this week revealing a new trailer and two new main characters. If you missed it, be sure to check out the archive over at Twitch.TV.

Focus Home Interactive continues to appeal with it’s upcoming action RPG, Vampyr. The game, developed by Dontnod Entertainment, is best known for last year’s Life is Strange. With Vampyr, Dontnod is taking new ground, thrusting players into the finely polished leathers of a bitey bloodfiend and also kindly doctor. The dilemma, they say, “isn’t ‘should I kill people,’ it’s ‘who will I kill?’” which has ramifications through the rest of the game.

Finally, the title of Destiny’s next expansion has leaked. Dubbed “Rise of Iron,” the expansion is said to be larger than the House of Wolves and The Dark Below, and will contain a new raid. Little else is known at this time but details are sure to come at E3.

That’s all from us! Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight