Best Xbox 360 games: the eight greatest RPGs

All the roles you can shake a Crystal Staff +10 at

"Role-playing game" might be the most-abused phrase in the universe - a phrase that tells us little up-front about the games it supposedly corresponds to. After all, most games invite you to play a role, whether that role be "village mayor" or "dabbling cop-slayer". What sets the experiences formally known as RPGs apart? Why not coin something a tad more specific, like "Rat Punching Game", "Infinitely Big Backpack Customisation Engine" or "Gruelling Acquisition of the Capacity to Save Princesses Simulator"?

The safest way to get a lock on a genre's antics is to study those of its foremost representatives. And with that in mind, here's another instalment of Ye Olde Best Xbox 360 games feature. Entries are ranked in no particular order, because doing otherwise would necessitate such a frenzy of calculation that our brains might catch fire. When you're done, click right on through to our list of the most promising Xbox RPGs of 2013 and beyond.

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1. Dragon's Dogma
Dragon's Dogma might have cutting edge online functionality and combat worthy of Devil May Cry, but we like to think its biggest contribution to Quest-Related Sword Embroidery is reviving the feel of '90s RPGs like Grandia - that wide-eyed, wholesome spirit of adventure that used to characterise role-players before they got all worked up about morality and sellable items and gritting up the visuals. The quests are about as intricate as pancake mix and you'll read better stories on the back of beer mats. But none of that matters, somehow, because it's a beautiful morning, and you're approaching a ruined fort through unspoilt woodlands, and your Main Pawn has just scented Goblin on the breeze...

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