If someone asked you to name your favorite RPG, there’s a good chance that a BioWare title would be among the very first few games that you’d think of. And sure enough, they have created some of the best RPGs ever made in the late 1990s and in the 2000s.

Regardless of how you might feel about the “new” BioWare, the “old” BioWare was easily one of the most famous and most influential game development studios, at least when RPGs are concerned. And in today’s article, we’ll be going over all the games ever developed by this studio.

Shattered Steel

Shattered Steel

Release date: October 1996

Platforms: MS-DOS, Mac OS

The first game ever released by BioWare probably isn’t what you think. BioWare’s first game isn’t an RPG but a more action-oriented game – a mech simulator, to be precise.

Set in a bleak and desolate future, Shattered Steel puts the player in control of a massive bipedal mech called a “Planet Runner, meant for combatting and fending off an alien threat. There are a number of different Planet Runners to choose from and each one of them can be customized, so though the game might not be an RPG per se, it still has some RPG elements.

The game features several types of missions, deformable terrain (which was quite an impressive feature at the time), and it features a multiplayer mode that can support up to 16 players.

But ultimately, Shattered Steel received mixed reviews, and today, it’s primarily notable for being BioWare’s very first game. It was originally released for MS-DOS and was ported to the Classic Mac OS later on.

Baldur’s Gate

Baldur’s Gate

Release date: December 21, 1998

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS

Now, we get to a title that you’ve probably heard of – Baldur’s Gate, a game that is definitely one of BioWare’s classics.

Baldur’s Gate is a DnD-based RPG that takes place in the Forgotten Realms campaign. It is played from a top-down isometric perspective, like most RPGs were at the time, and being a DnD game, it should be obvious that the combat system is dice-based.  The game features a 7-chapter campaign and a total of 25 characters that can accompany the player character on the epic journey that can span dozens if not hundreds of hours.

Ultimately, Baldur’s Gate received extremely favorable reviews, for many good reasons. It had great writing, interesting characters, and a combat system that encouraged the player to be creative. As if the core game wasn’t enough, it also received a single expansion titled Tales of the Sword Coast, which added hours of new content to the game.

All in all, many see Baldur’s Gate as a timeless classic that does a masterful job of bringing the pen and paper RPG experience to a single-player video game. If you’re interested in trying it out, you’ll be pleased to know that a remake titled Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition has been released in 2012, and it includes the aforementioned expansion and adds a number of new features to the game. But of course, if you want to experience the original Baldur’s Gate, you can do that, too.

MDK2

Mdk2

Release date: March 31, 2000

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii

Before moving on to release more classic RPG titles, BioWare made MDK2, a third-person shooter/adventure game that was originally released for the Sega Dreamcast.

MDK2 is a sequel to the original MDK which was developed by Shiny Software, and it continues the plot of the first game, placing the player in the middle of an alien invasion. From a gameplay standpoint, MDK2 is a fast-paced TPS that features three protagonists that have different abilities and playstyles, and of course, it also features puzzle and platforming elements.

The game received positive reviews and in addition to the Dreamcast, PlayStation, and PC versions, it was also ported to the Wii over ten years after its original release.

 Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Baldur’s Gate Ii Shadows Of Amn

Release date: September 21, 2000

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS

A few months after MDK2, BioWare would release a sequel to the critically acclaimed Baldur’s Gate titled Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. The sequel improved upon the original in virtually every way possible.

The gameplay remains the same on a fundamental level, but it adds three new classes to the mix, and it further improves and streamlines the experience in a number of miscellaneous ways. The graphics were enhanced, too, making the sequel look noticeably better than the original game.

And much like the first game, Baldur’s Gate II also received an expansion pack – Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, which featured new locations, new enemies, new weapons, and it refined the experience even further from a technical standpoint.

Ultimately, Baldur’s Gate II was received just as well as the original by critics and fans alike, and if you want to play it, you can always pick up the remaster, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, which is available on a wide array of platforms, including the 8th generation consoles and mobile devices.

Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights

Release date: June 18, 2002

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux

The third RPG developed by BioWare, Neverwinter Nights is yet another classic that you’ve undoubtedly heard of.

The game takes place in the same world as Baldur’s Gate, though it is based on a newer edition of the DnD ruleset. That said, the gameplay is similar to what was previously seen in Baldur’s Gate, but the fully 3D-rendered graphics were a big leap at the time.

The game has received a total of three expansion packs:

  1. Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide
  2. Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark
  3. Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker

As expansions usually do, all three improved and refined the gameplay in their own ways, each adding tons of new content to experience. In addition to those, a number of “premium modules” (three of which comprised the third expansion) that featured new single-player and multiplayer content were released over the following few years.

Neverwinter Nights also received a sequel, Neverwinter Nights 2, though the second game was developed by Obsidian, not BioWare. The game was also re-released multiple times over the years, but if you wanted to play it now, you’d probably be best off getting Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic

Release date: July 15, 2003

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Xbox, iOS, Android

Here, we have yet another critically acclaimed RPG from BioWare, which moves away from Dungeons & Dragons and takes the player to the “galaxy far, far away”.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, obviously, takes place in the Star Wars universe, but the events of the game actually unfold 4000 years before the events of the original movie trilogy. This gave BioWare ample breathing room on the storytelling front, though the story is still very “Star Wars”.

Now, though it might not be set in a DnD setting, the game’s combat system is still based on the d20 system. The player can select from three separate classes at the beginning of the game, and they get to pick a Jedi subclass later on. The player can also have two out of a total of nine companions accompany them, choosing those whose class abilities best complement those of the player character’s.

Knights Of The Old Republic

All in all, Knights of the Old Republic was also met with just as much enthusiasm from critics and fans as the previous BioWare RPGs were, though sadly, the game never received any expansions nor is there a remastered version available (at least not yet). However, a sequel titled Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – Sith Lords was released and, much like the sequel to Neverwinter Nights, it was also developed by Obsidian Entertainment.

The game was originally developed for the original Xbox and Windows, it was ported to the macOS soon after, but it was also brought to iOS and Android in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Jade Empire

Jade Empire

Release date: April 12, 2005

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Xbox, iOS, Android

Next, we have something a bit different, a game where BioWare finally moved away from dice-based combat and developed an actual action RPG. The game in question is the, sadly, often-overlooked Jade Empire.

Jade Empire takes place in a fantasy world based on Chinese mythology, a type of setting not often explored in RPGs (or games in general), but Jade Empire executes it beautifully. The game lets the player pick from several pre-made male and female characters, but the playstyle can be customized and is not confined to a class system.

The game was first released only for the original Xbox in 2005, but an updated and enhanced Jade Empire: Special Edition was released for PC in 2007. This version of the game was ported to macOS the following year, all the while the iOS and Android versions of the game were released in 2016.

If you’re thinking about giving Jade Empire a try, we’d wholeheartedly recommend it, especially since the Special Edition of the game is available on Steam. However, there are known compatibility issues with newer hardware, so actually getting the game to work could be a bit of an issue.

Mass Effect

Mass Effect

Release date: November 20, 2007

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

BioWare was by no means done experimenting by 2007, and this was obvious from the next entry in their critically-acclaimed-RPG streak – Mass Effect.

This sci-fi action RPG is an interesting blend of third-person shooter, squad tactics, and RPG elements. The game features six classes that take different approaches to combat, tech, and biotic (space magic) abilities, each with a set of abilities and weapon skills that are complemented by those of the AI-controlled companions.

Mass Effect received no full-fledged expansions, but it did get two DLCs: Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station, both of which added new gameplay content but did not offer much when it came to the plot.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

Sonic Chronicles The Dark Brotherhood

Release date: September 25, 2008

Platforms: Nintendo DS

Yes, you’re reading that right, BioWare really did develop a Sonic game for the Nintendo DS back in 2008. Being an RPG, it features dialogues, exploration, and turn-based combat, and it was actually executed quite well, receiving favorable reviews from critics upon release.

However, being a minor title confined to the Nintendo DS, it remains little more than a footnote in BioWare’s history.

Mass Effect Galaxy

Mass Effect Galaxy

Release date: June 23, 2009

Platforms: iOS

Next up, BioWare released an iOS game titled Mass Effect Galaxy which takes place before the events of the Mass Effect 2, exploring the backstories of two characters who would appear as companions in the sequel.

However, the game was met with lukewarm reception, and it was removed from the App Store in 2012.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age Origins

Release date: November 3, 2009

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Before Mass Effect 2, BioWare released Dragon Age: Origins, a game that had been dubbed as the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. It features a fantasy setting that was fairly dark and didn’t shy away from gore, all the while heralding a return to a dice-based combat system that required the player to think strategically, utilizing the abilities of up to four different characters to overcome enemy encounters.

Dragon Age: Origins only features three races and three classes, all of them being common fantasy tropes: humans, elves, dwarves, warriors, mages, and rogues. However, the game stood because of its origin story feature. Namely, the player character had a different origin story based on which race and class they were, each featuring a different prologue and affecting how some parts of the story play out.

The game has received a total of eight pieces of DLC, some focused on gameplay content while others focused on story content. The largest of these is Awakening, which is as close as Origins got to having a full-blooded expansion pack.

At the end of the day, Dragon Age: Origins was yet another massive hit from BioWare that is a must-play for all RPG fans.

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2

Release date: January 26, 2010

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Finally, we get to Mass Effect 2, and it is arguably the last truly outstanding BioWare game before things started going south.

The game picks up two years after the events of Mass Effect, and it marks a big shift on the gameplay front. Namely, the RPG elements were very watered down in Mass Effect 2, and the game took a more action-heavy approach, making it feel more like a typical TPS than an action RPG. But of course, it was still an RPG game, and the story content reflected this, particularly the masterfully written companions – all 13 of them, if we count the two DLC companions.

Speaking of DLC, Mass Effect 2 received much more DLC content than the original game did. There are multiple DLCs that introduced new levels and new story content, but there was also a number of minor ones that only added new gear and customization options.

All in all, Mass Effect 2 is definitely a worthy sequel, as it offers some of the best-written characters that you’ll find in a video game. Plus, there is a ton of content to go through, even if DLCs aren’t taken into account.

Dragon Age II

Dragon Age Ii

Release date: March 8, 2011

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Nothing lasts forever, and so there was no way for BioWare to continue making outstanding games without taking a tumble at some point.

Dragon Age II took place after the events of Origins, and it pushed the combat system towards a more action-oriented model. It was still a dice-based system, but it was faster-paced and less tactical than the combat system of Origins. The result was a neither-here-nor-there combat system that pleased neither the fans of action RPGs nor the fans of slower, more strategic DnD-based combat.

Still, the game features a lot of content to go through and still has some good moments. Moreover, it has received a total of four DLCs, three of them being story-driven.

Ultimately, the game still received very positive reviews from critics, but a significant portion of the fanbase felt that Dragon Age II was a letdown, both because of the simplified combat system and because the narrative failed to live up to the epic scale of Origins.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic

Release date: December 20, 2011

Platforms: Microsoft Windows

In 2011, BioWare finally released a sequel to Knights of the Old Republic, though it wasn’t what many fans hoped it would be.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMORPG with a fully voice-acted story that takes place some 300 years after the events of KotOR, featuring an entirely new cast of characters. It includes a dialogue wheel similar to what we’ve seen in Mass Effect and Dragon Age II, and the story is surprisingly well-developed for an MMO.

Meanwhile, the combat reflects that of most other MMORPGs, featuring DPS, healing, and tanking classes that must work together in order to overcome the game’s greatest challenges. The Old Republic has received a total of seven expansions and is currently free to play, having converted from a subscription-based model all the way back in 2012 after the player base started dwindling. 

All in all, The Old Republic stands out in a sea of generic MMOs because of how much stock it puts into the story, something that MMOs don’t commonly do. Still, despite receiving positive reviews from critics, many fans felt that a proper single-player experience would have been preferable to an MMO one.

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3

Release date: March 6, 2012

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U

Next up, 2012 saw the release of the final chapter of the Mass Effect trilogy – the controversial Mass Effect 3.

From a gameplay standpoint, Mass Effect 3 did a great job of integrating the best gameplay elements of the first two games and made for a satisfying action RPG experience which felt more fluid and more refined than Mass Effect 2.

However, the game did disappoint on the story front. It rushed to tie up the trilogy’s many loose ends, so the conclusions of some plotlines felt rushed and mishandled. And of course, we can’t forget the mess that was the ending which seemed to ignore all the choices that were made throughout the three-part epic in favor of a single A-B-C choice at the very end that did little more than alter the graphics slightly during the closing cutscene.

Fortunately, many of these issues were fixed (at least to a degree) in the Extended Cut and Citadel DLCs, which refined the ending and allowed the player to have some proper closure with their favorite characters. Apart from those two, Mass Effect 3 received several other pieces of single-player and multiplayer DLCs, and though it might not be as good as the first two games, it is still worth playing.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition

Release date: November 18, 2014

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

After Dragon Age II, BioWare wanted to take extra care to do the next Dragon Age game right. The result was Dragon Age: Inquisition, which did manage to fix some of the shortcomings of the previous game, though it still failed to live up to Origins.

From a gameplay standpoint, Inquisition blended the elements of Origins and Dragon Age II, though it was still a pretty mixed bag, and many felt that the game’s ample supply of generic side quests made it feel more like an MMO than a proper single-player RPG.

The story was presented on a grander scale than that of its predecessor, featuring a variety of diverse environments to be explored, but Inquisition still ultimately remained overshadowed by Dragon Age: Origins.

All in all, while Inquisition might not be as good as the first game, it is a much more competent title that remains a clear notch above Dragon Age II, so it’s still worth playing.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda

Release date: March 21, 2017

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

And now, we get to what is either the most controversial or the second most controversial BioWare game ever made – Mass Effect: Andromeda.

As the title suggests, the fourth Mass Effect game left the Milky Way galaxy behind in favor of a new setting that would allow more narrative freedom. Sadly, Andromeda does little to take advantage of all that freedom, as it characterized by boring quests, uninspired characters, and a main story that is just bland and underwhelming on virtually every front.

But if we were to look past the development issues and all the ridiculous bugs that plagued the game at launch, Andromeda does feature beautiful environments and the combat system (now basically a full-on TPS with some RPG elements) would actually be quite good, if only it had more variety to prevent it from going stale.

Because of all of the aforementioned issues and despite BioWare’s attempts at fixing the game, mixed critic reviews and fan backlash led to the planned DLC being cancelled and the series being put on an indefinite hiatus.

Anthem

Anthem

Release date: February 22, 2019

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

We mentioned above that Andromeda might be the either the most controversial or the second most controversial BioWare game, a title that is contested by none other than their latest release – Anthem.

Overall, Anthem is what you would get if you took all the best and worst elements of Mass Effect: Andromeda and made the former even better while making the latter even worse. Namely, Anthem offers little in terms of story and characters, definitely nothing close to what BioWare used to be known for, and while there are numerous gameplay improvements that set a foundation for what could have been a fun and engaging action RPG experience, they end up hardly being relevant in the end.

The game features multiple types of Javelin exoskeletons (i.e. classes), the combat is envisioned well, and the world looks absolutely beautiful, simply begging to be explored. Sadly, though, there is not much to find in the stunning but hollow world of Anthem, and at the end of the day, it is little more than a generic multiplayer action RPG “looter-shooter” in the same vein as Destiny.

Add to that the troubled development roadmap and the dwindling player base, and it’s not difficult to see why many feared that Anthem would be the final nail in BioWare’s coffin. However, it seems EA did not march the studio to the guillotine like they did with many other devs whose games underperformed, at least not yet.

Conclusion

Bioware Games

And those would be all the BioWare games released so far! BioWare has another title in the works titled Dragon Age: The Dread Wolf Rises, which was announced in 2018 and which will most likely be a sequel to Dragon Age: Inquisition, though we don’t know exactly when it will launch.

In the meantime, if you feel that we have missed anything or skipped anything important, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to fix the article ASAP.

You Might Also Be Interested In These