11. Throne of Darkness
Throne of Darkness takes place in medieval Japan as the powerful demon Zanshin is destroying the land of Yamato. Players will lead teams of samurai, each with unique skills, as they travel the country, tackle quests, vanquish demons, and take down the mighty Zanshin. The game received generally favorable reviews even amidst a lack of commercial success. Throne of Darkness is much more fast-paced (and bloodier) than most games like Baldur’s Gate but retains a similar isometric perspective and attention to environmental detail with excellent sound effects.
12. Sacred Gold
Evil has reached the kingdom of Ancaria and heroes must rise to combat demonic beasts. Players can pick from eight heroic races, customize attacks, forge weapons and armor, progress through a massive campaign, and complete hundreds of quests as they fight to restore peace. Many fans of games like Baldur’s Gate have complimented Sacred Gold for its fun gameplay, albeit featuring a more rapid style of combat.
13. Dungeon Siege
Dungeon Siege tells the tale of a once humble farmer destined to become a powerful hero. As the mysterious Seck awaken from their imprisonment and attack their captors, players must work towards developing their character, gathering allies, and taking down the evilest force the world has ever seen. Although showcasing a more hack-and-slash battle system, RPGamer sees Dungeon Siege as one of a handful of games like Baldur’s Gate for giving players a genuinely good depth of character control and development.
14. Kult: Heretic Kingdoms
God is dead and religion is outlawed. Players take control of Alita, a female inquisitor, whose job is to eliminate any religious remnants from the world. She uncovers a group of magi conspiring to resurrect the dead god and the player gets the freedom to choose where Alita’s loyalties lie. Kult has been somewhat criticized for its uneven emphasis on magic over traditional weapons, but has also received much esteem from critics for its inclusion of ‘Dreamworld’ – a unique attunement system that lets players escape from perilous real-world situations.
The Avadon series (with Part 3 already underway) gives players the chance to play as a Blademaster, a Shaman, a Shadowwalker, a Sorcerer, or a Tinkermage (added in Part 2), each equipped with a unique set of skills and abilities. As with some of the games like Baldur’s Gate mentioned here, fighting is both isometric and turn-based, offering players plenty of customisable depth. The Avadon series has received generally favorable reviews with RPGFan claiming that “anybody who pines for the days of the older, massive classics … need to … buy this game”.
Set in the Dark Eye universe, Drakensang lets players choose from a whooping twenty different character classes, each with a distinct set of moves and abilities. Similar to other games like Baldur’s Gate on this list, a variety of party members are recruited throughout a largely intriguing unfolding story. The battle system is real-time, but allows players to pause and execute party orders easily. Drakensang has been somewhat criticized for its fairly predictable story. However, many have also complimented the game for its combat mechanics, strong voice acting, and overall good production values.
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Although the Avernum series isn’t known for its graphics (which are minimal, at best), critics and fans alike have nonetheless been mostly consistent in complimenting the games’ storytelling, well-written dialogues, and exploratory setting. The interweaving plot primarily centers on intricate conflicts between the subterranean world of Avernum and the ‘surface kingdom’ known as the Empire. The series differs from Baldur’s Gate in terms of nuanced combat rules but share similar isometric perspectives and turn-based gameplay.
18. Beyond Divinity
Beyond Divinity, the sequel to Divine Divinity, takes place twenty years after the original where players find themselves soul-bound to an evil Death Knight. Players are tasked to undo the curse as they freely develop their characters with over two hundred unique skills to learn. The game showcases a unique dual fighting system where players are able to simultaneously coordinate two characters in combat. Like Divine Divinity, many role-playing fans consider this game to be a good ‘entry-point’ among games like Baldur’s Gate.
19. Neverwinter Nights
The Neverwinter Nights series has become a staple among RPG classics with tons of fan communities still creating new mods and maps thanks to the Aurora toolset. Like Baldur’s Gate, these games offer up amazing campaigns filled with plenty of plot and character developments and customization. Neverwinter Nights also broke new ground by offering robust multiplayer modes with tons of additional content. Note: NWN actually features rotational camera angles, with many fans opting for a fixed isometric perspective akin to other games like Baldur’s Gate.
20. Ultima VIII: Pagan
This is a controversial entry, seeing as Ultimate VIII: Pagan was not entirely well-received upon initial release. However, fond nostalgic views of the game remain intact with Kotaku recently naming it one of the ‘Best Isometric Video Games’ ever made. Ultima VIII is regarded by fans as having a much darker, somber tone than its predecessors with a slightly varied battle system. Most of the initial game bugs have been fixed, making it a much more enjoyable gameplay experience. Many fans of Baldur’s Gate have tried their hands on Ultima VIII with some hating the game even as others show a fondness for the arguable classic. Regardless, this game is still worth a shot for anyone keen on trying their hands on a traditional isometric RPG, despite being seen as inferior to its top-down perspective predecessor.
Also keep a lookout for… Black Geyser!
We at GLZ are absolutely stoked to discover Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness. This is an upcoming Baldur’s Gate inspired indie game that holds a lot of promise. Like most games like Baldur’s Gate, Black Geyser will feature multi-character parties, real-time battles with pausing options, romance options (yes!), and tons more similar gameplay mechanics.
However, this game also bravely introduces brand new never-before-seen elements to the isometric RPG genre. For starters, you won’t be fighting the stereotypical demonic invasions or monsters. Instead, the main insidious enemy at hand is human greed! In addition, Black Geyser will be the first-ever game of its kind to offer the innovative Thief skill of ‘planting items’. It’s the total opposite of ‘pickpocketing’. For example, you can sneakily place sleeping or poisonous powder on guards in order to get past them. You’ll also be able to swipe items from one NPC, plant it on another, and accuse the latter for the crime!
This is revolutionary stuff for games like Baldur’s Gate. Plus, what we’ve described only scratches the surface of planned features. As of now, Black Geyser is still in its early stages of development. Keen to lend a helping hand? Head on over to their website for more info.
Did I miss out on any classic isometric role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate? Share your thoughts and suggestions below!
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