The best BioWare games are virtual tourism at its finest. The studio is responsible for some of the best RPG games in the history of the video game industry, with BioWare expertly taking us to worlds that feel as if they could be real. Whether it’s into the fantasy realms of Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age or out into the stars with Star Wars and Mass Effect, there’s something for everybody in the best games from BioWare.
We know that both Dragon Age 4 and Mass Effect 5 are in development, which means there’s never been a better time to get caught up with each of these series. It’s worth noting that GamesRadar+ doesn’t typically include compilations in these sorts of rankings, which is why you won’t find Mass Effect Legendary Edition – although if you’re coming into the franchise fresh, this is def the place to start. And with that out of the way, let’s get into it: here are the best BioWare games of all-time.
Best BioWare games
10. Baldur’s Gate
The high bar for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, it was met with almost universal acclaim in 1998 but, if you can believe it, it’s success was wholly unexpected by even the developers themselves. Publisher Interplay initially predicted low sales, even going so far as to allegedly forecast none at all within Britain. In the late 90’s role playing games on PC were in their waning years but Baldur’s Gate is largely credited with the genre’s reinvigoration. Adventure replete with that unforgettable, cheeky tone was waiting around every corner and the series became known for offering a world that was consistently rewarding to get lost in. The Infinity Engine’s debut in this title and popularity among developers of early noughties RPG’s afterwards contributed to its lasting impact and enduring influence.
9. Star Wars: The Old Republic
The fastest growing MMO in the world when it launched in 2011, acquiring one million subscribers in its first three days online, it’s still alive and kicking today though now as a free-to-play title. Regular content updates are largely to thank for its longevity but also, instead of attempting to reinvent the MMORPG wheel upon release, it served up a refined experience and today boasts six huge expansions. The Old Republic may never have reached the same heights as Star Wars Galaxies in the eyes of many fans, but it’s still proven to be a wonderful and tightly constructed MMO experience. Worried about how BioWare may handle Anthem and the Games as a Service model? Look no further than The Old Republic for a boost in confidence.
8. Mass Effect 3
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Looking back at it now, you have to wonder whether Mass Effect 3 ever stood a chance. It was charged with wrapping up a trilogy defined by choice and consequence, so of course some players were disappointed by the lack of choice and degree of consequence presented in those fateful endings. Still, unwarranted backlash aside, Mass Effect 3 was an otherwise excellent entry to the series; The game delivered the kind of story beats, delightful character interactions, and large-scale scenes of action that can only come from a world that had been lovingly crafted and evolved across an entire console generation. Mass Effect 3 may not have reached the heights of its predecessors, but it still stands as one of the most underrated releases from BioWare.
7. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn
The world may have moved on a bit over the last two decades, but that hasn’t stopped Baldur’s Gate 2 from being one of the most influential RPGs of all time – it’s still the highest rated RPG on Metacritic (opens in new tab), for whatever that’s worth. Perhaps that’s because BioWare set out to improve upon the original in every way that it could possibly imagine, delivering a deep and complex adventure as a result that was celebrated for its story, combat, world and character design. Shadows of Amn is a captivating RPG and we are still feeling its influence and impact today.
6. Dragon Age Inquisition
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
And then along came Inquisition. Bigger, better and beautiful too, this time Thedas finds itself in the grips of civil unrest and beneath the glowering eye of a tear in the sky. Handy, then, that you have a magical mark around your palm that could solve at least one of those problems. This latest entry boasted depth in its characters and story while the combat system appeared to almost take a step back for fear of upstaging them. For many, it was the right move. Now, just give us a moment with Iron Bull before we get back to the list…
5. Dragon Age: Origins
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
A mish-mash of fantasy influences and inclinations that took great care with the finer details… though perhaps not the intimate ones. Those infamously overdressed romance scenes aside, this first venture into the world of Thedas was a strong offering. Outright ditching the much loved BioWare morality system allowed for a great deal more nuance in its choices and storytelling as a result. You’d be considering your decisions carefully before and for a long time afterward as well. A similar level of patience was necessary for the strategically minded combat system too, rounding out an already well-considered experience.
4. Mass Effect
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Our first introduction to Shepard, the ancient Protheans, the terrifying Reapers and, perhaps most importantly for some of our readers, the Asari, left a lasting impression. Drenched in lore, we needed those suspiciously long lift rides just to compose ourselves after every dramatic revelation aboard the Citadel. With so much to absorb, it’s helpful that its conversation system aimed to be efficient; it presented players with a wheel and a number of options for steering any given conversation keeping the story moving at a fast clip while still handing you the authority to take Shepard’s morality into your own hands. Mass Effect may have been a little rough around the edges, but it was an incredible experience that demonstrated what world building could look like on the new generation of consoles, establishing a new standard for RPGs that precious few would ever be able to match.
3. Jade Empire
Platform(s): PC, Xbox, iOS
Given that Jade Empire spent a good few years exclusive to the Xbox platform, it remains one of BioWare’s most criminally overlooked RPGs – that’s a real shame, because it’s also one of its best. After years spent exploring worlds of high-fantasy, BioWare threw out the rulebook and took a stab at a game rooted in Chinese history and mythology. Jade Empire was a tighter experience than the likes of Baldur’s Gate and Knights Of The Old Republic, giving BioWare the opportunity to hone its now signature storytelling style and experiment with more reactive combat systems that have become the standard for the studio. Interestingly, it also put its own spin on morality alignments, with neither of its two paths presented as inherently evil or good but equally viable. Difficult choices could also be found within its romance options… Who are we kidding? It’s Silk Fox for us every time.
2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Platform(s): PC, Xbox, iOS
There’s a reason KOTOR is often cited as one of the most influential installments to the Star Wars Expanded Universe and one of the most important RPGs of the modern era – because it is an absolutely incredible achievement. In transporting players back thousands of years before any of the movies – into a time where the Jedi were all but wiped out by the Sith – BioWare had the space to carve out its own piece of the universe to play in and we received the best Star Wars game as a result. KOTOR is often praised for its strong dialogue and memorable travelling companions, but its crowning achievement was in the way it allowed our character’s development and alignment with the Force to directly intertwine with the world, story and combat design. All of this set the stage for an iconic narrative twist that many still talk about to this day. KOTOR established a model that BioWare would return to time and time again as it looked to broaden its horizons with Jade Empire, Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
1. Mass Effect 2
Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360
The second part of our Shepard’s story certainly had a tough act to follow but it somehow managed to become a standout sequel that built on the original in almost every way imaginable. When this space opera continuation first released almost a decade ago, it moved the role-playing genre forward thanks in part to the ability to import your Shepard from the first game, carrying over all of your previous decisions and relationships with you – your choices throughout the game were informed by history and it felt like they had real weight to them as a result. This, combined with the fantastically written and well acted cast of companion characters, helped Mass Effect 2 establish itself as the definitive RPG of the last decade. It should come as no surprise then that Mass Effect 2 is also the definitive BioWare experience. It’s a smartly constructed action-RPG that culminated in an iconic set-piece – a thrilling suicide run where your relationships, actions and decisions were all funnelled into a hellish gauntlet that would ultimately help to decide the fate of those around you. Mass Effect 2 was a spectacular sci-fi game, but it also had a heart – that’s just one of the reasons why it left quite the impression of a generation of players.
Want to read more? Check out our Mass Effect retrospective to find out how BioWare’s focus on choice, consequence, and compelling characters helped kickstart an RPG revolution.