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7 Most Popular RPG Subgenres

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As far as I know, there are a lot of video games genres. For example First Person Shooting (FPS), simulation, adventure, action, role-playing games (RPG), and many more. Gamers may choose what genres will suits them best. As for me, I choose RPG as my favorite. I have known RPG since my childhood, and I think this genre is the one who will suits me best in playing video games.

RPG itself can be divided into several subgenres. Even an RPG addict like me will not love all kind of RPG. There are only few specific subgenres that can fulfill my needs of a “good” RPG. Random terms about RPG subgenres are storming everywhere, since different people has different opinion. To make things clearer, here are general summary about the most popular RPG subgenres.

1. Action RPG

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The first subgenre of RPG is action RPG. The games in this genre is using a real-time combat rather than using a turn-based type of battles. In this subgenre, you will control your characters freely without the limitation of turn; you can do a lot of hack and slash moves without being delayed with turns. This kind of combat system is also used in modern MMORPG.

The popular games in this subgenre are: Kingdom Hearts series, Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy Crisis Core, Monster Hunter series, Odin Sphere, Bastion, etc

2. Turn-based RPG

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Turn-based RPG is a kind of RPG where players can control their characters based on turns. Every battle will consist of turns where you can take action only when it is your character’s turn. This kind of RPG is very popular since the classic console’s era. JRPG (Japanese RPG) often adapt this turn-based system, making people often mistaken that every JRPG is always turn-based, while it isn’t always.

The popular games in this subgenre are: Final Fantasy series (except Final Fantasy XV of course), I am Setsuna, Shin Megami Tensei series, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Valkyrie Profile series, etc.

3. Tactical RPG

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Tactical RPG is also known as strategy RPG, where this kind of RPG has towns, dungeons, and world maps like most RPG, but with the battles played on a field with squares; players will move the characters and command them. This kind of RPG sometimes also used turn-based system, where the turns are based on each character’s speed.

Popular games in this subgenre are: Arc the Lad series, Brigandine, Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem series, Front Mission series, Growlanser series, Disgaea series, Suikoden Tactics, Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, etc.


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MMORPG is an acronym for Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. It is a kind of RPG where players playing, competing, and cooperating in the game with other players connected via online network. In most MMORPG, players required to do in-game purchase in order to get better weapons, armors, items, pets, or many others. Some modern MMORPG adapt the combat system of action RPG.

Popular games in this subgenre are: Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, Ragnarok Online, Dragon Nest, Maple Story, SEAL Online, RF Online, etc.

5. First Person RPG

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First Person RPG is a kind of RPG where players lead a party of adventurers through dungeons in a first-person perspective. Usually the dungeons are shaped as a labyrinth in a grid-base environment. Since this kind of RPG mostly spends a lot of time in dungeons, people also call it dungeon-crawling RPG.

Popular games in this subgenre are: Etrian Odyssey series, Doom RPG, etc.

6. Sandbox RPG

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Sandbox RPG is also known as open-world RPG, where players given a great amount of freedom. In this kind of RPG, players can free-roam the world; unrestricted with the storyline and explore as much as they like. Sandbox RPG also has large number interactable NPCs that will help us throughout the game. Since players have unlimited freedom, this kind of RPG usually has the longest play-time.

Popular games in this subgenre are: Xenoblade Chronicles series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dragon Quest Builders, etc.

7. Tabletop RPG

Tabletop RPG takes a form of game where the players describe their character’s action through speech. They will determine their character’s actions based on the characterization. The actions will be decided succeed or fail according a formal system of rules and guidelines. Players can also improvise within the rules, as their choices will determine the outcome of the game.

Popular game in this subgenre: Dungeons & Dragons.

Read also: Action RPG Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Gets E3 2017 Trailer Showing Some Gameplay!

Among all those kinds of RPG subgenres above, my favorite will be turn-based RPG, since I’m also a fan of JRPG. I used to play JRPG in my childhood, and apparently most of it implements turn-based system, especially in classic console era. While there are a lot of RPG subgenres, the only subgenres which can satisfy me are turn-based RPG, and action RPG as the second choice.

What about you? What kind of RPG subgenres are your favorite? Please share your thoughts below.

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Written by
A fellow RPG addict who played a lot of classic masterpieces from Square, Square-Enix, and Tri-Ace. "The epoch may change, but the classics will remain eternal"

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