The Nintendo Switch is home to almost every game genre under the sun, including action RPGs. If you’re a fan of going off on epic adventures, hacking and slashing evil monsters along the way, there are a lot of great titles on the big N’s console. From vast open worlds to highly challenging experiences, there are a lot of solid titles to pick up!
Here are the top 12 action RPGs you can play right now on the Switch!
1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It’s not a Nintendo RPG list without a Zelda game in it! The latest entry in the beloved series takes an open-world approach where you explore the vast map of Hyrule. What makes this game special is that it allows you to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Heck, if you want to take on Ganon right off the bat, you can do that, too! Do so at your own detriment, though, for BotW’s map hides a lot of secrets and intriguing stories to uncover!
2) Trials of Mana
The sequel to Secret of Mana was released in 1995 in Japan only, and now, decades later, has received the remake treatment. Trials of Mana may not have all the modern features we’ve come to expect from today’s action RPGs, however, it’s a title with solid combat mechanics, a superb story, and a brilliant class system that allows for tons of tinkering!
3) Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
If you’ve never heard of the Ys series, then you’re in for a treat! It’s always been a beacon of solid action JRPG design with great stories and characters to follow. Don’t be intimidated by Ys VIII being the eighth entry in the series. It’s a standalone game that is widely regarded as an excellent introduction to the world of Ys. This is an excellent pick on the Switch for anyone looking for a whole new RPG series to dive into!
4) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy XII was a divisive title when it first launched on the PS2, earning itself the title of the Black Sheep of the FF series. Its fast-paced real-time combat and highly nuanced narrative, though, are regarded by its fans as some of the best the franchise has to offer. The HD remastered visuals and enhancements make it even better, too!
5) Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Ultimate Alliance 3 is one of the best Marvel-based games of the last few years! It’s an isometric action RPG similar to Diablo 3 with a massive roster of heroes to choose from and tons of ways to customize their playstyle. It’s also one of the best games on the Switch for playing with friends in couch co-op. Whether you’re a fan of Marvel heroes or you just want something that breaks the Diablo mold, Ultimate Alliance 3 is a solid action RPG.
6) Persona 5 Strikers
Though more action than RPG, Persona 5 Strikers serves as a sequel to the critically acclaimed fifth entry of the JRPG series. It combines the frenetic combat of Musou games with the persona mechanics of the Persona series. On top of that, it serves as a solid continuation to the Phantom Thieves’ story. Whether you’re looking for more P5 to enjoy, or you want a game that mashes two fun concepts together successfully, Strikers is a solid pick on the Switch!
7) Xenoblade Chronicles 2
What makes the Xenoblade games so unique is their combination of sci-fi and fantasy elements. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 carries on this tradition with a captivating world to explore and engaging combat mechanics to sink your teeth into. Fighting enemies feels flashy and powerful thanks to the game’s unique combo system that allows you to chain abilities together for massive damage. Its English voice acting is top-notch as well!
8) The Witcher 3
It’s hard not to mention one of the miracle ports of the Nintendo Switch. Nobody believed a game as massive as The Witcher 3 could run well on the hybrid console, but here we are! If you’ve never played CD Projekt RED’s open-world magnum opus, there’s no better time than now! With tons of quests to undertake and a whole host of stories to unravel, Geralt of Rivia’s travels will keep you occupied for hours!
9) Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
One of Capcom’s lesser-known experiments, Dragon’s Dogma is actually a solid action RPG that’s both incredibly unique and fun. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its team system that allows you to control and command a party rather than a single character in true action-based combat. You won’t find quite as intricate a story here as you would in other games, but the world of Dragon’s Dogma has a lot of corners to explore to more than make up for it!
10) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
They say you can play Skyrim on a toaster these days! If you happen to have never touched this critically acclaimed open-world masterpiece, though, you’ll be pleased to know that the Switch may be one of the best places to experience it yet! It’s got a vast world to explore with few restrictions that keep you from going where your heart desires. There’s also a ridiculous amount of character building you can do, as well as more than one way to engage with the game’s world.
11) Dark Souls Remastered
Apart from earning a badge for being a challenging game, Dark Souls is also an incredible action RPG by all accounts. It’s got some of the best world-building and storytelling you’ll ever find in the genre. The game’s combat is deep with a heavy focus on methodical play that relies on using your skills rather than your stats to overcome challenges. Just don’t be tempted to chuck your Switch when you die multiple times to the same boss — it’s all part of the experience! (plus, your Switch has done you no wrong!)
12) Monster Hunter Rise
The ultimate dream a game can sell you on is a power fantasy of defeating huge enemies against all odds, and Monster Hunter is the perfect series to deliver on it! Rise is the latest entry in the legendary series and it’s the best yet! Apart from bringing back all of the awesome and ridiculously huge weapons the franchise is known for, it also tells some of the most substantial MH stories yet. Whether you’re hunting on your own or with friends, this game’s excellent combat never gets boring!
13) Hollow Knight
Often considered a masterpiece or even a piece of art made videogame; Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania-action video game which has been praised for its visuals, music, atmosphere, challenging enemies without being considered unfair, and simplistic but straightforward combat system. Released in 2018, Hollow Knight is one of the best action Switch games, made for those gamers who like challenges; so, if you are one of these gamers; play this and take your time because you will enjoy every second of it! It is easily a game that will be considered a classic in the future, and right now is a “must play” video game that you should have in your collection.
14) Metroid Dread
Released to critical acclaim in 2021 and direct sequel to Metroid Fusion; Metroid Dread is the latest entry of the Metroid saga. The game has been both critically and commercially successful since its release being the fastest-selling Metroid game in Japan. The game has been praised for its boss fights, which bosses can range from big traditional monsters with weak points and “easy patterns” to challenging “Smash bros”-esque fights. Do you want to know something curious? The game was planned to be released in the mid-2000s for the Nintendo DS, but the development ended due to technical limitations. A video game that every Metroid fan must have!
15) Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
The enhanced edition of the last entry of the critically acclaimed Dragon Quest saga released in 2019. Apart from being one of the first games announced for the Switch, it is also one of the best action RPG games for the Switch too! Universally acclaimed for its characters, visuals, plot and its turn-based combat; the game is arguably considered one of the best JPRG around. And by some fans of this saga; this is the best Dragon Quest game so far! Astonishing! If you are new with JRPG or even with the DQ saga, I think you should give it a try. Everybody likes a good RPG!
Even if you are not a rogue-like dungeon crawler fan, this game can still blow your mind! Developed and published by Supergiant Games in 2020, Hades is a fast-paced video game with a very aggressive gameplay which drew widespread critical acclaim thanks to its music, art direction, characters, and obviously, its gameplay. Since its release, it has been named 2020’s game of the year from several media publications and is one of the best action Switch video games around. Wanna know something great? The game was in early access from two years since 2018 and in those two years it sold 700,000 copies. Within three days of its official release, it sold another 300,000 copies, totaling one million copies sold!
17) Super Mario Odyssey
You can’t make a Nintendo list without a Mario game — it is illegal! Released in 2017, Super Mario Odyssey is the most original Mario game since ever; it is the first Mario entry to have employed a sandbox style of gameplay, which draw a lot of acclaim. The game is targeted at the series’ core fans, the real fans of Mario. Since its release, the game has sold nearly 22 million copies, being the fastest-selling title. We can say that is a game that everybody can enjoy, even if you are a fan of gory, violent games; you can enjoy Super Mario Odyssey because despite being a platform game, it is also a good action game. There are rumors of a sequel in development, let’s hope it’s real!
Which Action RPG on the Switch should I Play?
Your choice of title will greatly depend on what you value most. If you’ve played a lot of the classics or better-known games, you might want to try something different such as Dragon’s Dogma and Ys VIII. On the flip side, if you’re only just now getting into RPGs, Final Fantasy XII, the Witcher 3 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 work great as entry games. Finally, if it’s a challenge that you seek then both Dark Souls and Monster Hunter Rise will let you cut your teeth on some tough enemies!