1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
There is a moment early in Skyrim, when the player is about to be executed by the Empire and a huge dragon appears out of nowhere to interrupt the proceedings, wreaking havoc all-round, that you realize how superbly realized and special Skyrim’s medieval fantasy world is.
It’s not only that the game’s setting, the Nordic province of Skyrim, features countless dungeons and caverns to explore and loot, but also that the game’s systems, from alchemy to crafting are all interconnected and related in meaningful ways. Picking up herbs and flowers on the countryside let players create new potions at an alchemy table for instance, and defeating dragons not only served to increase the player’s powers by absorbing their souls, but dragon bones could be crafted into new sets of armour too.
Skyrim also offered a boatload of quests to embark on, from riding the locals of a bandit chief to taking part in the sinister machinations of the assassin guild known as the Dark Brotherhood in a superb questline. All in all, there’s no doubt that Skyrim is one of the top RPGs ever made, and the best Elder Scrolls game to date.