The most popular entry in the Elder Scrolls saga yet, Skyrim casts you as the Dovahkiin or dragonborn, seeking your destiny in the frozen and savage north of Tamriel. Skyrim is a land rent by conflict with a bitter civil war between the Empire and Stormcloaks waging while dragons plague the land. Travel between its many settlements is fraught with danger and undead haunt the ruins that litter the mountains and valleys.
Games like Skyrim let you chart your own course through the game. They typically offer the main storyline but whether or not the player chooses to pursue that is entirely up to them. A multitude of side quests and missions typically are on offer, as well as differing factions to join and support.
Skyrim is atmospheric with a large explorable world that is incredibly varied. The frozen wastes of the north are contrasted with the barren central plains and lush woodlands of the south and east. Expansion packs unlock islands to the north such as Castle Volkihar and the mysterious isle of Solstheim.
The sheer amount of quests and stories present in the game make it near impossible for anyone to finish it entirely. Even if you do, a whole host of mods exist to ensure you’re still playing the game in the decade to come. For those wishing to adventure outside Tamriel, we have a selection of others for you to peruse.
16 Best Games Similar To The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
As the Arisen, hunt the dragon that stole your heart. Choose from a variety of classes and explore a richly detailed fantasy world reminiscent of Oblivion or Dragon Age. The world has a fully realized weather system and a day/night cycle. The game has an innovative combat system that lets players grab onto opponents to focus attacks. Larger enemies can even be climbed to hit their vital points. It is a moment of brilliance amongst the hack and slash gameplay.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
An action RPG set in the same world as Lord of the Rings, Shadow of Mordor borrows more from Tolkien’s bestsellers than the films to create its story. You control Talion, a ranger on a quest for vengeance. He is aided in this by the wraith of the elf Celebrimbor, the forger of the One Ring.
Shadow of Mordor is an open world game with the player free to explore and complete missions at their leisure. The game offers a variety of sidequests in addition to the main storyline, letting Talion focus his abilities, free human slaves, or to hunt for artifacts. The game supports play based on melee, ranged attacks, or stealth. Players are free to complete the game in their own favored playstyle.
Dragon Age Series
The Dragon Age series is an example of high fantasy done right. Set in the land of Ferelden and Orlais, it covers vast sprawling tracts of lands populated by a multitude of fantasy races. The game storyline is suitably epic with wars against the demonic Darkspawn, the defense of Kirkwall, and the Fade rifts. The games are action packed with detailed character development a key part of gameplay, a trait of Bioware. Small wonder then that this appears on this list alongside Neverwinter Nights and Mass Effect.
The Risen series is another entry from German developer Piranha Bytes, creators of the aforementioned Gothic games. It shares much of the same atmosphere, a dark low fantasy world with grey morality and richly detailed factions and background lore.
Risen has a recurring theme of a dark world threatened by the Titans, a race of ancient powerful beings that were once sealed away by the gods. The trilogy of games all feature the looming threat of the Titans amidst the factional struggles and conflicts.
The storyline is supported by familiar RPG gameplay, allowing the player to level up in a variety of skills.
Dark Souls Series
Renowned for being some of the most unforgiving games made, the Dark Souls series is nonetheless hugely successful. Players looking for games like Skyrim on PS4 could do worse than pick up a copy of the latest game in the series, Dark Souls III. Even standard enemies have the potential to kill the player within a few hits
Online games like Skyrim don’t generally exist but Dark Souls allows for both cooperative and antagonistic gameplay with players able to be summoned to aid others or instead choose to invade another player’s world. Games like Skyrim generally don’t put you as a cursed undead monster but Dark Souls is different!
The Witcher Series
A surprising hit, the Witcher began as a series of fantasy short stories from the pen of Polish writer Andrzej Sapowski. This one breaks the conventions of the genre just like some other RPG games like Skyrim on this list.
Geralt is a Witcher, a genetically enhanced human trained to hunt monsters. Hated by most citizens, you must use your unique combination of magic and fighting skills. Use your steel sword for flesh and blood enemies and your silver blade for the supernatural.
As the Witcher, players can choose to side with different factions or finish quests as they choose. The monster attacking the village might merely be someone under a curse. The Witcher makes you ponder each decision in a world where your choices will change it for better or worse.
Mass Effect Series
The Mass Effect series are some of the best games like Skyrim. Following the soldier Commander Shepard, it weaves an epic tale of galactic destruction and conquest from the mechanical Reapers. The games are famed for their narrative, voice acting, a richly detailed universe, character development, and how the player’s choice affects the experience.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has you play as the Fateless One, a nameless mortal who is resurrected into the brutal and war-torn world of Amalur. Free now from the binds of fate, you can choose your own destiny and use it as a weapon with the unique Fateshifting ability. Progress along three paths in Might, Finesse, and Sorcery.
Taking the action back to the east coast, Fallout 4 opens with an unforgettable sequence, the first game to begin before the Great War. All of the hallmarks of the series are here such as the retro 50s inspired visuals and over the top violence. Old favorites such as the Brotherhood of Steel, Supermutants, and raiders, all return in this interpretation of the apocalypse. Coming as it does from Bethesda, this is much more than just Skyrim with guns.
Red Dead Redemption
The best western game there is, Rockstar’s foray into the west remains one of the most critically acclaimed games in history. Set in 1911, you step into the shoes of former outlaw John Marston, tasked with hunting down the remaining members of his old gang.
The game covers two US counties and a Mexican state, the map gradually opening up as the player progresses through the game. Red Dead Redemption is a poignant farewell to the Wild West, one that owes much to the Dollars trilogy of Sergio Leone.
From the creative talents of Peter Molyneaux comes the Fable Series. Taking place in the fictional land of Albion, it is unique among fantasy settings in that the time progresses realistically. From a traditional fantasy setting resembling medieval Europe, it progresses to an Age of Enlightenment and Industrial revolution. The land goes from a series of independent city-states to one unified as one nation under a monarch. See your character’s appearance change in response to their actions.
Ryse: Son of Rome
A hack and slash adventure set in Imperial Rome, Ryse owes more to Gladiator than it does the history books. Entertaining and bloody, the game has you play as Marius Titus, a Roman general on a quest to get revenge for his murdered family. The game is an epic saga that has the player fight in Rome and Celtic Britain.
The game’s main focus is on melee combat. The combat is combo based and players receive rewards for long combos and using special abilities. Weakened enemies can be killed in spectacular execution sequences, these then grant special abilities as well as bonus experience points to the player.
The game also features large scale battles and includes a cooperative multiplayer mode.
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
An action RPG set in the successful Might and Magic universe, Dark Messiah follows the adventures of Sareth, a wizard’s student trained in the arts of magic and combat. A difficult game, Dark Messiah requires skill and patience.
Stealth and ranged combat can be used to execute and snipe enemies. Tactical thinking is encouraged as the game’s environment can be used to lethal effect. Enemies can be shoved off heights or kicked into spikes. Dark Messiah challenges the player to think creatively. Its graphics still hold up well despite its age and the game remains a fan favourite amongst those who enjoy RPGs.
Gothic is a refreshing entry in the RPG genre as it breaks with the usual convention of black and white morality. The three games explore a side of fantasy that was seldom done before the advent of the Witcher series or that of Risen (also present in this list). The game draws you in with its rich lore and factions. Each faction has its sympathetic side.
No game prior to Gothic had allowed you to side with the bad guys. Gothic gave you the chance to help the humans liberate their kingdom or to side instead with the invading orcs. The game is a grounded and realistic one that uses its NPCs to create a genuine society as opposed to merely using them for quest giving.
Divinity II is a game that crosses traditional RPG mechanics with action and combat. The game has an open progression tree with skills grouped together in trees. Development is freeform with all skills available to characters, allowing for unique builds and playstyles.
Set in the world of Rivellon, the player is a Dragon Slayer, a hero imbued with draconic powers in order to accomplish their goals. The most spectacular of these is transformation into a dragon, allowing for aerial combat. The game also provides a unique base of operations, the Battle Tower. It has excellent graphics, sharing the same engine that was used for Oblivion and Fallout 3.
Neverwinter Nights is the closest a player will get to a video game version of Dungeons and Dragons. Set in the popular Forgotten Realms campaign setting, it takes place in and around the city-state of Neverwinter in the world of Faerun. Players recruit a party and adventure through quests. The series has numerous expansions for each game and has even had fan-created content added to expand its already large world.