If you’re looking for the best DnD video games, coming up with a definitive list of the best is no easy feat thanks in no small part to just how many have rocked up over the last four decades or so. That said, since Dungeons & Dragons evolved from its tabletop origins to the humble home computer in the 1980s, there have been more great games than you can shake a hairy kobold at. So without any further ado, here are the best DnD video games you can get right now.
Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition
Arguably the best DnD video game to ever be released, Baldur’s Gate II is a stellar RPG that perhaps more than any other aspect of its excellent design, manages to perfectly encapsulate the main lure of the tabletop experience – namely choice. Developed by BioWare when the Canadian studio was seen to be at the height of its considerable powers, Baldur’s Gate II had players taking control of a party of motley adventurers that must prevent the emergence of Bhaal – a god of much evil and ultimately a really, really bad lad looking to do bad things.
Where the tabletop influences come in are the 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons ruleset that the game adopts but more keenly, in the breathtaking width and breadth of decision making that it allows players to get involved in, not to mention the extremely well written lore that permeates every location and every character you encounter along the way. With such unforgettable characters as Minsc and Boo (the former is a massive ranger who believes that boo is a giant space hamster), hundreds upon hundreds of questing to be done and an epic story with staggering stakes, whenever folk talk about going back to the ‘golden days of Bioware’, *this* is the game they’re waffling on about.
Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom
Representing something of a seismic shift from the distinctly RPG focused DnD video games seen elsewhere in this guide, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom transported the world’s favourite tabletop RPG into a side-scrolling fighting game that could often be seen in the same arcades as fellow coin-sucking brawlers such as Final Fight.
Though calling Tower of Doom ‘Final Fight, but with Dungeons and Dragons’, isn’t entirely inaccurate, it is somewhat reductive thanks to the additional wrinkles that developer Capcom has woven into an otherwise shopworn formula. For a start, each of the four heroes you can choose from not only have their own abilities, but they can also be upgraded by earning precious experience points from kills and scooping up treasure. Elsewhere, multiple pathways through each stage make Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom much more replayable than many of its genre stablemates to boot.
Eye of the Beholder
One of the best old-school examples of cell-based movement first-person RPGs (try saying that really fast ten times in a row), Eye of the Beholder was a stirring and eye-opening epic for its time. Set underneath the city of Waterdeep, players are tasked with taking a customised party of four into the sewers in order to uncover the shadowy power behind a number of incursions on the streets of the city.
Much more than its initial premise might hint at, Eye of the Beholder was a raucous adventure – one that whisked players off to long forgotten Dwarf and Drow civilisations that lurked miles under the ground, all the while entertaining with challenging combat, fiendish traps and a whole heap of shiny loot to collect. A neat bit of trivia for you – the Sega CD version of Eye of the Beholder had a soundtrack that was partially composed by Streets of Rage musical maestro Yuzo Koshiro. Neat, eh?
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition
Leveraging the same game engine that brought Baldur’s Gate II to such vivid life, Icewind Dale follows the exact same structure as the previous BioWare DnD video games – essentially providing folks with a massive, social calendar destroying RPG that is absolutely awash with player choice, interesting characters and tactical battles.
A proper DnD classic, Icewind Dale tasks a party of often dysfunctional adventurers to venture into the frigid north to, you guessed it, prevent a mysterious evil that has designs on potentially laying the smackdown on the rest of the world. Basically, imagine that the quality of writing and the frosty magic bits of Game of Thrones weren’t complete piddle and you’ve pretty much got Icewind Dale. Sort of. Oh and the ending won’t cause you to punch your TV in the face, either. Bonus!
Every property of any decent size seemingly needs to have an MMO offering of some kind and Dungeons & Dragons is certainly no exception. Very much different from Dungeons & Dragons Online which provided a more linear and focused experience when it was released back in 2006, Neverwinter instead basically transplants the tabletop experience and sticks it firmly in the established MMORPG mould of games such as World of Warcraft – and it actually works.
Generously filled with famous cities and characters from DnD lore (Minsc and Boo feature hilariously) and with a frankly monstrous amount of quests to complete, loot to collect and endgame content to tackle, Neverwinter is a surprisingly engaging MMORPG to say the least. Neverwinter is an MMORPG that’s built for the future too, as it boasts a remarkably generous free to play model that provides eager players with a steady stream of new campaign expansions that are actually pulled straight from the pages of its tabletop source material.
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition
Whisking away the non-linear storytelling and heavy RPG adventure beats of the Baldur’s Gate games into the realm of full 3D visuals and design, Neverwinter Nights managed the somewhat Herculean task of bringing just about everything people loved about those games intact and with an all-new setting and visual engine to boot.
Building upon the non-linear storytelling, compelling characters and deep quests that everyone loved about the previous BioWare DnD games, Neverwinter Nights also brings full multiplayer support and more importantly the ability for players to craft their own stories and quests via a highly intuitive module creation suite. Going even further, Neverwinter Nights also boasts a Dungeon Master Client which allows one player to fully control the narrative, monsters, quests and items that other players will encounter in their adventures. Perhaps of all the DnD video games in this list, Neverwinter Nights gets the closest to emulating the entirety of the DnD tabletop experience.