12 Games Like Pillars of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity is one of the greatest CRPGs ever made. This game, along with Divinity: Original Sin, essentially resurrected the CRPG genre, which had been mostly abandoned by developers for more than 5 years.
PoE was released in 2015, several years after the development process began. Obsidian Entertainment nearly went bankrupt just before attempting the project. And this was the game that saved the company. It was pitched on Kickstarter and raised $4 million in less than a week.
If you love Pillars of Eternity, you’ll be pleased to find that there are more than a dozen brilliant RPG and CRPG titles that can give you the same experience but with a different flavor. Here are 12 games like Pillars of Eternity.
1. Divinity Original Sin 2
Divinity Original Sin 2 is Larian Studios’ greatest game to date. It was built on the foundation of Divinity Original Sin and it excels at every aspect that makes CRPGs great: dialogue, story, character creation, character development, quests, atmosphere, and combat.
In Divinity Original Sin 2, the story takes place around 1000 years after the original one. This means that you can enjoy the game without any previous knowledge of the first title. Just like in Morrowind, you start on a boat and you start to learn about who you are, where you are, and what you’re supposed to do.
Like in the previous game, you are a Sourcerer, an individual who can manipulate a special kind of energy called Source. This energy can be utilized to give yourself great combat abilities and cast powerful spells.
In Original Sin 2, you are quickly joined by several characters who are motivated by their own goals. With their help, you start to explore the world, solve quests, and slowly uncover the main storyline.
Larian Studios has followed the good old CRPG formula, but added unique ingredients to it. One of them consists of the interaction of various elements. If you combine water with electricity, it will stun all those who sit in it. If you combine oil barrels with fire, they will be set aflame and explode.
The combat in this game is turn-based and it’s highly sophisticated. There are many challenges that you need to face and the game demands that you choose your skills wisely.
2. Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition
Baldur’s Gate 2 is one of the best computer adaptations of D&D. The game dates back to the year 2000 and its Enhanced Edition was released 14 years later, in 2014. Unlike many modern CRPGs, Baldur’s Gate makes you think hard about your choices. Numbers alone won’t lead you to victory.
One of the great aspects of BG2: Shadows of Amn is the party system. Instead of the usual 4-member party, you get to control 6 characters and all of them have unique customizations that you get to shape.
One party member might be really good at ranged combat while another one might be an expert at picking pockets. The game is built in a very smart and inclusive way, so every single skill is valuable. There’s no such thing as the one optimal build in BG2, and that’s exactly what makes it so replayable.
Characters can specialize and have multiple classes. For instance, you can be a fighter – cleric or a mage-thief. Depending on his or her attributes and skills, each of your party members will excel at some things and will be deficient at others.
Baldur’s Gate 2 encourages diversity and rewards players for steering each party member in a different direction. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play using 2 or even 3 characters that have the same specialization. The choice is ultimately yours to make and only experience can teach you what is required to complete the game.
3. Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition
Neverwinter Nights was created by BioWare and Obsidian Entertainment, and the influence of the latter can be felt throughout the game. This is a great CRPG but it’s a bit flawed when it comes to graphics.
Right after the release of Baldur’s Gate 2, companies started to work on what was intended to become a new generation of RPGs that used the D&D system. However, the tools and computers available at the time were not great. This resulted in some clunky 3D graphics and animations that can be disturbing for modern gamers.
That aside, Neverwinter Nights is a great game and its Enhanced Edition was released in 2019. If you buy this game on Steam during a sale, you can probably get it for under $5. Its rating is somewhere around 90/100 and that’s because the people who love the CRPG genre really appreciate a well-told story and complexity.
Neverwinter Nights provides more than 100 hours of content and will push your RPG expertise to the limit. The number of classes and skills in this game is incredible. People who were playing Diablo 2, Dungeon Siege, and other ARPGs at the time were simply shocked by the variety provided by this CRPG.
You can play as a human, a gnome, a dwarf, an elf, a half-orc, and so on. And for each race, there are classes that are well-suited for it, as well as abilities that you can specialize in. In NWN, you also get to customize your alignment, which can have a huge impact on your game.
Tyranny was released in 2016 and constitutes one of Obsidian Entertainment’s greatest hits. This CRPG was praised for its originality and everything about it is beautifully designed.
What’s truly special about Tyranny is the story. Unlike other RPGs, in which you usually play the protagonist who’s going to save the world from evil, Tyranny puts you in a position of power on the side of evil.
A tyrant who has nearly conquered the entire known world and has been adding provinces to his empire for 400 years, now wants to conquer the last independent region on the map. And you’re going to assist him. In the process, you’ll get to see the brutality of conquerors and will be forced to make tough decisions.
In Tyranny, conversations are absolutely brilliant and you can do a lot just by reasoning well with people. You’re sort of a warrior lawyer who needs to succeed in his task but can also have a real impact on the world around him, for better or worse.
Tyranny is similar to other CRPGs, in the sense that you gather your party and venture forth into a world full of disasters and injustice. Along the way, you learn a thing or two about yourself and get to have arguments with the characters you encounter.
There’s a lot of scheming and plotting all around you, so you will need to be smart if you want to succeed. And, as usual, you can’t have everything you want, so you’ll have to always sacrifice something to get something else.
5. Fallout 2
Fallout 2 was released in 1998 and it’s one of the most appreciated post-apocalyptic CRPGs of all time. This game is both fun to play and inspiring, and will leave you with many beautiful memories.
Because it’s such an old game, many of those who played the original version are now in their 30s. If you’re 10+ years younger, no need to worry. There game’s graphics still look decent even after all these years.
When you play Fallout 2, you don’t do it necessarily for how it looks, although the visual element is important as well and Fallout has a unique look and feel that will mesmerize you. Rather, you play the game for its story, characters, and skill system.
This is one of those RPGs in which everything is so well designed and so carefully balanced that you can enjoy yourself dozens of times if you want, and the story will surprise you each time.
In Fallout 2 you are The Chosen One, sort of like Neo in The Matrix, and you are tasked with saving your peaceful tribe from Arroyo, a small village located on the West Coast of the US. There’s a lot to go through and the game knows how to present its story in an engaging and believable way.
Fallout 2 has a score of 92 on Metacritic. Almost everyone who played this game is very impressed by what Black Isle Studios has accomplished and you’ll probably come to the same conclusion.
Arcanum is another one of those CRPGs that assign you a huge role right from the get-go and then slowly reveal to you what you’re supposed to be doing in the world as its long-awaited savior. The game is set in a world that’s currently going through the industrial revolution.
Magic is at odds with technology and you need to make up your mind about which path you’re going to follow. In Arcanum, technology is favored over magic, which is perceived to be dangerous and old-fashioned. Technological innovations are quickly taking over the world and magic is looked upon with suspicion.
If you want to play an Elf mage for example, you may find yourself discriminated against when you want to travel by train. The conductor will fear that your magic may disrupt the train’s engine and will treat you with a high dose of skepticism. At best, he will let you stay in the last wagon.
Similar things will happen if you try to enter rooms where there are powerful engines. At the same time, trying to use both magic and technology may result in catastrophic failures when casting spells.
The game is incredible and highly nuanced. There are even some subtle jokes in it, such as a character named Gilbert Bates who is at odds with another character whose name sounds a lot like Steve Jobs. But that’s for you to discover.
If you choose the path of technology, you will find that you can combine components to create powerful weapons, which can be extremely fun.
7. Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium belongs to a very special class of CRPGs. This is practically a video game novel in which you get to interact with other amazing characters, solve challenging quests, learn about yourself, and experience a beautiful atmosphere. There’s very little fighting and almost the entire game is story-based.
This game is pure psychology and even your character’s skills reflect that. In Disco Elysium, you are a detective who needs to solve a murder case. But you need to do it in a depraved city full of strange characters. Of course, you’ll need to interact with many of them, and how you do it is entirely up to you.
There are multiple directions in which you can specialize. You can be a tough detective who’s not afraid to brutalize people to get what he wants, or you can be a very thoughtful one, who knows how to persuade and argue.
The skills associated with each detective class are very unique and you probably have never encountered them in any other RPGs. The list of options includes Logic, Encyclopedia, Rhetoric, Drama, Visual Calculus, Empathy, Esprit De Corps, and all kinds of other wild options.
The game makes you feel like a psychologist at work, trying to understand himself and the world around him. The entire experience, from start to finish, is a masterpiece.
Like other CRPGs, such as Pillars of Eternity or Arcanum, Disco Elysium has an amazing soundtrack that you’ll listen to long after you’ve completed the game.
8. Icewind Dale
Icewind Dale is an old-school CRPG that was well received by everyone when it appeared, back in 2000. You can also play the Enhanced Edition, which dates back to 2014 and was created by the same company that created the enhanced version of Baldur’s Gate 2, Neverwinter Nights, and Planescape Torment.
This game feels a lot like BG 2, at least in terms of gameplay. You control a party of 6 characters and every one of them is unique. The goal is to achieve a combination of stats and skills that can help you to succeed in a brutal world full of conspiracy.
In Icewind Dale, you start your adventure by joining Easthaven’s leader, Hrothgar, on a mission to investigate another town called Kuldahar. Unusual events have been reportedly taking place there and your companion wants to know what’s going on.
You may recognize this story device from Diablo 2. Except here, you’re not joining the Wonderer, but a simple man who’s concerned for the wellbeing of others. However, the journey does not go as planned and all of a sudden, you find yourself on a quest of your own.
Icewind Dale is worth playing not as much for gameplay novelty, but rather for its beautiful storytelling and atmosphere. This game was designed by some of the best CRPG experts in the world: Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, and others.
On Metacritic, Icewind Dale received a score of 83. The Enhanced Edition has a slightly lower score, but it’s even better because it has improved graphics.
9. Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition
If you love philosophy or have any kind of interest in the world’s religions, Planescape: Torment will give you an unforgettable experience. This game dates back to 1999 and received all kinds of awards, such as Game of the Year and RPG of the Year. The story is captivating and it’s built around the idea of reincarnation.
In essence, you are a man who wakes up and starts to learn about himself. The same idea was used in Morrowind later, but in a totally different setting. However, you’d be surprised to learn just how much Bethesda borrowed from Planescape: Torment in terms of story elements.
Planescape: Torment puts you in the shoes of someone known as The Nameless One. At first, you know very little about who you are, where you come from, or where you’re going. And you’re a simple fighter with no specialization. But along the way, you start to discover things about your past lives and you are joined by various companions.
A great thing about this game is that it allows you to experience its story without necessarily struggling to win battles using expert tactics. You can set your own level of difficulty based on your experience with CRPGs, so if you’re new to the genre, there’s no need to worry about not being able to complete the main storyline for combat reasons.
Planescape: Torment should be played primarily for its rich story. The game has little to offer in terms of combat mechanics and graphics, but it more than compensates for its deficiencies with smart dialogue and great storytelling.
Skyrim deviates from the CRPG genre but it’s a great game to play if you don’t mind adventuring into a vast world on your own. This RPG dates back to 2011, has sold more than 30 million copies, and is regarded as the greatest game ever created in this genre. Both critics and players gave it high reviews and have been playing it for over a decade.
Skyrim excels at everything and it’s been kept alive by its modding community. This is the definition of what a great RPGs should be like and playing it for just a few hours will get you hooked for another 100 or more.
In Skyrim, you play as the Dragonborn, the only man who can scare and defeat dragons. The world used to be controlled by them, but nobody has seen them for centuries. Naturally, many people even forgot they ever existed.
But now they’re back and they’re not exactly benevolent. Well, some of them are, but only a few. And you’ll get the chance to talk to them. The conversation between Dovahkiin and Paarthurnax is one of the best moments in gaming history.
Apart from having hundreds of beautifully designed quests and a vast world full of secrets, Skyrim has a great combat system and a magical atmosphere. More than a decade after its original release, people still listen to the soundtrack, which was composed by Jeremy Soule.
Whether you like CRPG elements like Alchemy, Enchanting, or Smithing, or ARPG elements like killing powerful monsters, Skyrim is an excellent choice.
11. Elden Ring
Elden Ring is another game that doesn’t disappoint if you’re an RPG fan. Once again, we’re not talking about a CRPG here, but the experience is incredible. The game was developed by FromSoftware, the same company that created the Dark Souls series. And what’s amazing is that they partnered up with George R.R. Martin for the project.
The creator of The Game of Thrones is an excellent storyteller and you can feel his influence throughout the game, not just in the main storyline but also in the dialogue in general. What FromSoftware wanted to do here is easy to grasp. The company had perfected its game mechanics over a decade and was able to reutilize that code.
With that difficult part out of the way and the money obtained from the massive success of the previous games, FromSoftware decided to allocate a lot of resources to crafting an engaging story and an amazing world to explore. And the result is spectacular.
Elden Ring sold more than 10 million copies in its first 2 weeks and will continue to sell many more in the coming years. This is a classic game that will be kept alive by the gaming community in the same way that Skyrim has been kept alive for more than a decade.
If you want to experience an RPG that poses huge challenges and makes you fight impossible bosses, Elden Ring is the ideal choice. Just be prepared to struggle and die many times before you finally achieve success. If you need help, you can always read some excellent Elden Ring guides.
12. Diablo 2 Resurrected
The last game on this list is Diablo 2 Resurrected, simply because it’s one of the best ARPGs ever made. It’s also the perfect example that you can have addictive and brilliant gameplay and accompany it with a great story.
The original Diablo 2 dates back to the year 2000. Blizzard was a very different company back then, and the spirit of the people who worked for the company two decades ago can be felt throughout this game.
The voices, the cinematics, the sound effects, the storyline, and everything else are beautifully crafted. The company that helped create the remake, Vicarious Visions, did a fantastic job and truly kept the spirit of the original intact, while enhancing its graphics by two orders of magnitude.
If you’d like to experience a great story, one of the best soundtracks ever created, and find a lot of rare loot, Diablo 2 Resurrected is the ideal choice for you. Another option would be Path of Exile. And if you like these games, you can discover many more ARPGs that are just like Diablo 2 and PoE.