Many video games feature a plot where the protagonist is trying to overcome a villainous antagonist. It’s a classic trope for a reason, but how many games revolve around a plot where evil has already won? Truthfully, there aren’t many, but Tyranny is one of the better ones.
Tyranny is the story of an arbiter sent into a freshly conquered land to spread its new overlord’s order, but how one goes about that is up to them. Players are supposed to enforce the evil conquerer’s new laws, but should they focus on the wording or the spirit? Tyranny plays out like a compelling crime/courtroom drama but with more infighting, magic, and werewolves. Also, Tyranny boasts a novel and in-depth spell-crafting system that lets players string together sigils to create spells, alter their effects, and everything in between. One of these systems alone would make Tyranny highly replayable, but both in the same game? Even the most avid CRPG fans will be busy for months.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which is the most popular tabletop RPG out there, but not the only one. Pathfinder comes in at a close second, not surprising since it was developed by Paizo Publishing, which published D&D from 2002 to 2007. While D&D video games receive more attention, Pathfinder video games are no slouches.
Like Baldur’s Gate 3, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous brings everything audiences love about its tabletop RPG source material and transcribes it into a video game. In fact, Wrath of the Righteous is, for all intents and purposes, a fantastic game for many of the same reasons as Baldur’s Gate 3. The game has a robust story that players can alter with near-bottomless choices, and Wrath of the Righteous is almost drowning in character creation and customization options. The number of options the offers even occasionally put Baldur’s Gate 3 to shame. Why settle for a wolf or boar companion when you can recruit a triceratops or velociraptor? Add in crusade and city management systems, and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a micromanager’s dream. And even if you aren’t into those two aspects, you can always put them on auto and enjoy the rest of the game for all the same reason you enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister
One of Baldur’s Gate 3’s selling points is how accurately it translates the Dungeons & Dragons 5E ruleset into video game form. To be fair, the game does an excellent job, even if it takes some creative liberties, but it was far from the first CRPG to boast that claim.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister is an indie RPG that takes place in the land of Solasta. The story isn’t important (or very well-written) but unlike most CRPGs, that isn’t the focus of Solasta. If you play this game, it’s for the tactical combat and the fantastic melding of D&D rules and homebrew content. In fact, many mechanics that Baldur’s Gate 3 “added” to the D&D formula, such as attacking from high ground to improve the chances of landing a hit, showed up in Solasta first. What Solasta: Crown of the Magister lacks in story it more than makes up for in its flawless translation and use of Dungeons & Dragons 5E rules. Just one warning: If you want to play as a Tiefling bard or a Half-Orc barbarian, you’re going to need to buy DLC.