After a few years of relative inactivity, role-playing games have once again emerged as one of the most prolific, most successful game genres. No other genre lets you get so immersed in a fully realized gameworld. Several outstanding new role-playing games were published this year, some of which were highly innovative, while others were very polished. All of these, regardless of their plot or perspective, were very engrossing. These are the five nominees for best role-playing game of the year.
BioWare's Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn has nearly everything a role-playing game fan could want: interesting quests, endearing characters, and the ability to create and develop a single character or an entire party of characters from any of the character classes in TSR's Dungeons & Dragons rules.
Ion Storm's Deus Ex is a unique hybrid of action, adventure, and role-playing in which you play as a secret agent who must investigate a conspiracy in a foreboding, futuristic metropolis. Deus Ex features an open-ended gameplay system that lets you develop your character in nearly any way you choose.
Diablo II is the sequel that legions of Diablo fans everywhere had been waiting for, and while it only makes a few significant changes to the original and features precious few technical advancements, its hack-and-slash gameplay is every bit as addictive as the original game, if not more so.
EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark adds an enormous amount of new content to the existing world of EverQuest, including a new race of playable characters, the Iksar lizardmen, and an enormous new continent - the ancient land of Kunark - to explore.
Considering that other, more high-profile role-playing games were released this year, Black Isle Studios' Icewind Dale ran the risk of being completely overlooked. Fortunately, the game features a great deal of substantial gameplay, an interesting story, excellent voice acting, and an epic soundtrack by composer Jeremy Soule.
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