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New RPGs that will blow you away in 2018

Going all the way back to the early days of Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and The Legend of Zelda, gamers have been loving RPGs for almost four decades. And in 2018, the genre is showing no signs of slowing down. With titles ranging from mythical quests to navigating a vampire-strewn London, we're here to break down the newest games that will melt your face off as you grind, battle, and strategize your way through an epic journey alongside a cast of colorful characters. So let's get you leveled up with a look at some RPGs you'll definitely want to summon in 2018.

Kingdom Hearts III

The last time a new Kingdom Hearts game appeared on home consoles, the year was 2005. Since then, the popular series that wildly mashes together the magical world of Disney and characters from Square Enix's Final Fantasy franchise has had numerous handheld spinoffs, HD remakes, and even a mobile game. But all of that changes in 2018 when Kingdom Hearts III hits the PS4 and Xbox One for an epic quest that's been over a decade in the making.

According to series creator Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts III will feature the game's hero, Sora, at his most powerful as he battles alongside Donald Duck, Goofy, and a rotating cast of characters. Nomura also revealed to GameSpot that every single moment and battle mechanic from the series, including the mobile game, has led to the events in Kingdom Hearts III. On top of that, expect to see Sora's legendary Keyblade unleash insane new powers that Nomura hopes will take the series to new heights.

As for the locations in the game, Square Enix is understandably keeping a tight lid on which Disney worlds will be featured during Sora's quest. However, Polygon reports that players can look forward to interacting with characters from Disney's Big Hero 6, Toy Story, and Tangled, which have all been officially confirmed. As for who else might drop by? We'll just have to wait and see.

Vampyr

Originally scheduled for 2017, Paris-based DontNod delayed its ambitious new action RPG Vampyr to Spring 2018 because the studio wanted to make sure it wasn't compromising quality just to hit a deadline. Judging by the game's scope, we don't blame DontNod for making sure it delivers on its promise of an intense, psychological ride through post-World War I London.

As physician-turned-vampire Jonathan Reid, players will navigate through a semi-open world that forces them to make a series of challenging decisions on how they want Reid to operate as a vampire living in the shadows, according to VG247. Will you recklessly slaughter your victims to boost your blood-fueled combat skills, or attempt to abstain from violence altogether as you use your investigative skills to find alternative sources of food?

On top of that, GamesRadar reports that you'll interact with other classes of vampire for what sounds like one heck of a bloody ride.

Monster Hunter World

Despite debuting on the PlayStation 2 in 2004, the Monster Hunter series is mostly known for its handheld titles. They've been consistently huge hits in Japan, but have struggled to take off in the West. However, Capcom is hoping that when Monster Hunter World makes its debut on the PS4 and Xbox One, its unique, creature-slaying sandbox will captivate players everywhere.

While talking to The Verge, series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto detailed how Monster Hunter World will take the franchise in a bold new direction with a true open-world experience, next-gen graphics, and a smoother, seamless gameplay experience that will ideally entice new players while keeping long-time Monster Hunter fans in the fold.

On top of that, players can go hunting for massive beasts with players from across the globe, which literally puts the whole world in Monster Hunter World.

GreedFall

With GreedFall, players will explore an island teeming with treasure hunters, supernatural locals, and monsters as they navigate the Baroque-inspired environment. Armed with only 17th century weaponry and a little bit of magic, how you choose to play the game will have drastic effects on the "living, ever-evolving world," according to Forbes. Every decision counts.

Will you work with the locals to fight off the growing invaders or align yourself with mercenaries blasting their way to hidden treasures? All we know is we want a crack at that tree monster thing in the trailer. What even was that?!

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

Boasted as a "return to its roots," World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the seventh expansion for the popular MMO series that restores focus on the epic rivalry between The Alliance and The Horde.

According to Polygon, Battle for Azeroth will also introduce two new gameplay mechanics: islands and warfronts that Blizzard is confident will fans of the series will love. With islands, players will experience constantly changing dynamics that offer "infinite exploration." Warfronts will see WoW go way back to its roots by letting players deploy bases using an old school, real-time, overhead mechanic that's reminiscent of the very first Warcraft games.

More importantly, Battle for Azeroth has learned from the mistakes of past expansions and promises to be an adventure that players won't want to stop playing. Count us in.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

When Pillars of Eternity launched in 2015 after a massive success on Kickstarter, game studio Obsidian proved that players are still hungry for isometric RPGs in the classic vein of Baldur's Gate. It also didn't hurt that the game was locking down solid reviews. With Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Obsidian hopes to build on that success and deliver a game-playing experience that fans will love, without sacrificing quality in the process.

"We're still making a huge game, but it's more important for our content to be high quality than it is for us to have a gargantuan 200+ hour game," Obsidian lead designer Josh Sawyer told PC Gamer.

Pillars of Eternity II also promises to be welcoming to new players who missed the first chapter. Thanks to a recap feature, players will be brought up to speed from the start. After that, they can get to work hunting down a wayward god on an epic quest through "living cities" and treacherous, weather-ravaged terrain.

Pokemon (Switch)

For years Pokémon has been a popular staple on Nintendo's handheld devices, but a true version of the beloved monster-catching RPG has never appeared on home consoles. So when word got out that Pokémon developers are working on a game for the Nintendo Switch, fans were pumped at the possibilities.

While details are scarce, according to Mic, Pokémon for the Switch will be an "open-ish world" game that is rumored to be released in 2018. Nothing is definite, however, and Mic notes that the developers are hoping to get more sample data after Christmas 2017 as the Switch's user base presumably grows. So we wouldn't be surprised to see some delays as the game evolves.

Still, the thought of chasing down legendary Pokémon in a huge HD world that takes advantage of the Switch's processing power has us itching to start slinging Pokéballs.

Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Often referred to as "Dungeons & Dragons' younger sibling," Pathfinder is a popular tabletop role-playing game that's finally getting its own isometric adventure with Owlcat's Pathfinder: Kingmaker. According to Polygon, the game will focus on building your own kingdom as you journey through The Stolen Lands region of the Pathfinder world.

According to the game's Kickstarter description, how you conduct yourself throughout the game will dramatically impact your kingdom. So choose your allies carefully, and maybe brush up on your leadership skills. Your subjects' fates depend on it.

We promise to be bold, but merciful rulers when we take Pathfinder: Kingmaker for a spin in 2018.

Lost Sphear

In 2016, Tokyo RPG Factory won over fans with I Am Setsuna, a spiritual successor to classic JRPG games Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. And now the studio's back with Lost Sphear, another homage to '90s-style RPG gameplay. According to IGN, "the battle system shows promise and the graphics and music are quite fetching."

With a January launch, Lost Sphear looks like it might be the perfect game to scratch that old school itch before 2018 gets flooded with RPG goodness.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Set in the 14th century, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is probably the shiniest looking RPG to ride out in 2018. The game drops players in a first-person medieval sandbox that eschews magic in favor of realistic armor and locales. "It's almost exactly like The Witcher but without wizards," writes Rock Paper Shotgun, "a Grand Theft Auto prequel set 600 years prior."

Kingdom Come: Deliverance also boasts a "non-linear story with multiple quest solutions" as you traverse the land as a blacksmith's son who's caught up in a bloody civil war. We'll be sharpening our swords as the release date draws near.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

In his 2011 review for Wired, Jason Schreier described Radiant Historia for the Nintendo DS as the "love child of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy Tactics." The game featured an epic time-traveling adventure coupled with grid-based combat that unfortunately went under-appreciated in the West. However, developer Atlus is gambling on a spiffy new remake for the Nintendo 3DS to reel in new players and possibly even drum up a sequel, according to Nintendo Life.

Will Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology's updated story and visuals be enough to change the history of this fledgling franchise? Only time will tell.

Project Octopath Traveler

If there's one thing Project Octopath Traveler has going for it right off the bat, it's an awesome looking trailer that showcases the game's incredibly unique visuals, which its developers have dubbed "HD-2D," according to Engadget. On top of that, Project Octopath Traveler comes from the team behind the critically-acclaimed Bravely Default, so RPG fans know they're in good hands.

With eight distinct characters with their own specific journey (Get it? Octopath.), we're definitely looking forward to seeing where this spiffy-looking adventure takes us when it hits the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

When Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch hit the Playstation 3 in 2010, players were blown away by the visuals produced by the famed Studio Ghibli. While the original game's combat wasn't exactly the best, Polygon reports that Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom learned all the right lessons from its predecessor and stands to deliver a more engaging battle system.

"In Japan, the trend toward simply inputting commands and letting the characters play out battle tactics is becoming an older trend as well," Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino told Polygon while discussing the studio's decision to jettison turn-based combat. "And I think we're finally catching up in that sense, where people are more used to online games and interaction with other players on the screen in real time."

Despite Studio Ghibli going on hiatus and not participating sequel, Polygon says Ni no Kuni II will still satisfy fans of the first game's signature look. Works for us!

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

After selling two million copies in just two days in Japan, according to GameSpot, it's almost a no-brainer that Square Enix would bring Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age to Western audiences. The eleventh installment in the classic RPG franchise hasn't wavered from its tried-and-true turn-based combat system, and will find its way to both the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 4 in 2018.

A Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Quest XI is also in the works. But if fans are worried that it'll be an underpowered port compared to the PlayStation 4 version, think again. Nintendo Life reports that the Switch version will run on an updated Unreal Engine when it launches at a later date. (The development team reportedly hit a few snags with the Switch.) Either way, when it comes to that classic RPG experience, you can't go wrong with Dragon Quest.

Secret of Mana

Released in 1993 for the Super NES, Secret of Mana is considered one of the best RPGs of all time. As Nerdist notes, the game is so beloved that it earned a spot as one of the 21 games included with the SNES Classic Edition. So naturally RPG fans were stoked when Square Enix announced that a remake was coming to the PlayStation 4 and Vita in 2018. According to Kotaku, the revamped version will have updated graphics, gameplay, and, for the first time ever, full voice acting for Secret of Mana's beloved characters.

So if you weren't lucky enough to grab an SNES Classic, don't fret. You'll still have a chance to play a classic RPG when it arrives in February.

Fire Emblem (Switch)

In case you needed more proof that the Nintendo Switch is going to be one heck of an RPG machine, Nintendo announced that a brand new Fire Emblem game is coming to the system in 2018. That's pretty huge considering the series hasn't had a home console release since 2007. While details are scarce, Fire Emblem had an impressive showing on the Nintendo 3DS, so we can't wait to see what the tactical role-playing series can do with the full power of the Switch.