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The editors at PCGamesN have put together a list of classic PC games that, in their mind, are still worth playing. And while I disagree that games somehow become worse with the passage of time, the titles they list are all good and there are quite a few RPGs from the late 90s-early 2000s era among them. Here are a few examples:
Baldur’s Gate II
There’s something about that beautiful, seemingly hand-drawn aesthetic of the Infinity Engine that’s completely timeless, and Baldur’s Gate II utilises that to deliver an RPG for the ages.
Gamers brought up on modern role-players may have trouble adapting to the tactical AD&D combat and plethora of dialogue, but it’s precisely these traits that make Baldur’s Gate II endure as one of the best PC RPGs. The dark fantasy setting of Amn is a joy to explore with your party of companions, who are unforgettable for their excellent writing and catchy sound-bites (“Go for the eyes, Boo!”). From its pretty pre-rendered backgrounds to its rich, mysterious world brimming with character, Baldur’s Gate II is truly ageless.
This list won’t turn into an ode to the great CRPGs of the ‘90s, we promise, but… just… one… more...
In contrast to Baldur’s Gate II’s classic, companion heroics, Planescape: Torment is a lonely, personal journey, as you seek to uncover the lost memories of a person who’s lived and died untold lives with no recollection of them. Set in a surreal otherworld of multiple planes and bizarre creatures that defy conventional fantasy tropes, Torment is one of the oddest and greatest videogame stories ever told. Focused more on dialogue and choices than combat, Torment encourages you to uncover its world through exploration, conversations, and clever, choice-filled questing.
Spiritual sequel Torment: Tides of Numenera is playable now if this one doesn't slake your thirst.
Visually, Deus Ex hasn’t aged as gracefully as some of the pixel-era games on this list, but its deep RPG systems, dense hub-worlds, and intriguing conspiracy crackpot plot make it proper ‘PC games bucket list’ fodder.
The number of ways in which you can tackle the game's missions still holds up today – you have countless means of moulding JC Denton to your play style, and your choices about how you interact with the world all feel significant. In terms of empowering the player with choice, Deus Ex continues to be the gold standard for RPGs to strive for. If you go back to it, check out the free Deus Ex Revision mod to snazz up the game for modern rigs.