The best BioWare games show off the great stories and worlds that the studio is known for. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of memorable RPGs that have left a lasting impression on players. This can be seen in how well the Mass Effect Legendary Edition was received when it came out recently. Now that we know Dragon Age 4 and Mass Effect 5 are coming back, two of BioWare’s biggest franchises, we thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of their best games.
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When you look at the best BioWare games, you can see how the RPG genre has changed over time. It’s interesting to see how the studio changes and grows with each new release. Our list doesn’t have a “one game per series” rule because, honestly, what kind of monster would make you choose between your children? We’ve put together a list of the top 10 games from this studio, which doesn’t include every single one.
So, without further ado, make yourself comfortable and let’s talk about the best BioWare games.
Baldur’s Gate (1998)
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons set a high bar, and when it came out in 1998, almost everyone liked it. If you can believe it, though, even the people who made it were surprised by how well it did. Publisher Interplay said at first that sales would be low, and even that none would be made in Britain. In the late 1990s, PC role-playing games were on their way out, but Baldur’s Gate is largely seen as the game that brought them back. Around every corner was a new adventure with that memorable, cheeky tone, and the series became known for having a world that was always fun to get lost in. This game was the first to use the Infinity Engine, and it went on to be used in a lot of RPGs in the early 2000s because of how popular it was.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011)
When it came out in 2011, it was the fastest-growing MMO in the world, with a million subscribers in its first three days. It’s still going strong today, but it’s now a free-to-play game. Regular content updates are a big reason why it has lasted so long, but it also didn’t try to reinvent the MMORPG wheel when it came out. Instead, it offered a refined experience and now has six huge expansions. In the eyes of many Star Wars fans, The Old Republic never reached the same heights as Star Wars Galaxies, but it’s still a great MMO that’s well put together. Worried about how BioWare might handle Anthem and the Games as a Service model? The Old Republic is a great way to feel better about yourself.
Mass Effect 3 (2012)
When you think about Mass Effect 3 now, you have to wonder if it ever had a chance. It was supposed to wrap up a trilogy that was all about choices and consequences, so of course some players were disappointed that they didn’t have as many choices or as big of consequences in the endings. Still, Mass Effect 3 was a great addition to the series, even if some of the criticism was unfair. The game had great story beats, fun interactions between characters, and big action scenes that could only come from a world that had been carefully made and changed over an entire console generation. Mass Effect 3 may not have been as good as the games that came before it, but it is still one of BioWare’s most underrated games.
Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (2000)
Even though the world has changed a bit in the last 20 years, Baldur’s Gate 2 is still one of the most important RPGs of all time. It’s still the highest rated RPG on Metacritic, for what that’s worth. Maybe that’s because BioWare tried to make the sequel better in every way it could think of. As a result, they made a deep and complicated adventure that was praised for its story, combat, world, and character design. Shadows of Amn is a fascinating role-playing game (RPG), and its effects are still being felt today.
Dragon Age Inquisition (2014)
Then Inquisition came along. This time, Thedas is bigger, better, and more beautiful. It is also in the middle of a civil war and under the dark eye of a tear in the sky. So, it’s a good thing you have a magical mark on your hand that could help you with at least one of these problems. The characters and story in this latest game had a lot of depth, while the combat system almost seemed to take a step back so as not to steal the show. Many thought it was the right thing to do. Now, just give us a moment with Iron Bull before we go back to the list…
Dragon Age: Origins (2009)
A mix of fantasy ideas and tendencies that paid close attention to the small details, but maybe not the intimate ones. Aside from those famously overdressed love scenes, this was a good introduction to the world of Thedas. By getting rid of BioWare’s much-loved morality system, the game was able to add a lot more depth to its choices and stories. You would carefully think about your choices before and for a long time afterward as well. The strategic combat system also required a lot of patience, which added to what was already a well-thought-out experience.
Mass Effect (2007)
The first time we met Shepard, the ancient Protheans, the terrifying Reapers, and, for some of our readers, perhaps most importantly, the Asari, they made a big impression on us. We were so full of stories that we had to take those suspiciously long lift rides to calm down after every shocking discovery on the Citadel. With so much to learn, it’s helpful that the conversation system was designed to be quick. Players were given a wheel and a number of options for how to steer any given conversation. This kept the story moving quickly and gave you the power to decide Shepard’s morality. Mass Effect wasn’t perfect, but it was an amazing experience that showed what world building could look like on the new generation of consoles. It set a new standard for RPGs that very few games would ever be able to beat.
Neverwinter Nights – 7.9
This part-RPG and part-MMORPG fantasy game from 2002 starts with a quest to stop a plague that is spreading through the great city of Neverwinter. In single-player mode, the main character has to collect samples from the dead monsters before he or she can make a cure. For the duration, they pursue a cult responsible for unleashing the weapon of mass destruction and the ancient wisdom they possess known as the Words of Power.
Neverwinter Nights is mostly played from a third-person perspective and was one of the first games to combine single-player and multiplayer modes. BioWare put in the classic dice-rolling combat system and kept its dialogue menu options, which give the player direct control over NPCs and change the way the story goes.