I've been gaming for two decades and like to think I've figured out what I want out of an RPG. I seem to have depleted the selection that fits my criteria, however. I'm posting here hoping to be proven wrong. Without further ado...
- Medieval. Swords, spells. Not modern, not post-apocalyptic, not sci-fi. Arcanum=too modern.
- Not a total dungeon crawler like Diablo, but I still want to focus mostly on combat rather than choosing among myriad responses in dialogue.
- Single player. And not the "Well, I guess that would be technically possible, but..." kind of single player.
- Controlling a small party of heroes in top-down view.
- Isometric if the alternative is lego graphics 3D. Actually, isometric regardless.
- Complete RTS aspects. I don't mind - I even like - the stronghold of PoE1 for example, but I don't want to manage income, buildings and little minions in real-time.
- Turn-based combat, though it's not a definite no.
- Lack of scaling for spellcasters. I want to throw bigger fireballs, not just more fireballs.
- Ported games. I have bad experience with games that weren't designed for PC firsthand, for example I tend to feel there's a lot of functionality needlessly missing because the game wasn't originally made to be played with a keyboard available.
All the games I feel I should mention here:
Pillars of Eternity: Interesting party combat and it's isometric! <3
Baldur's Gate: Let's just say I have fond memories of it. Today if I fire it up I realize I'd rather play PoE instead because I feel it's the game's spiritual successor. But I could say that despite its age, I do not take issue with its graphics.
Icewind Dale: Like BG but not as good since it's a bit too dungy-crawly.
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne orc campaign: A small squad of heroes with a few abilities each. It's really enjoyable; would crowdfund spiritual successor immediately. And believe me, I've exhausted the selection of custom WC3 maps on the internet.
Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Somewhat like this when I run around with a team of only seven heroes and utilize magic cleverly to win battles.
Now for the games I'd rather not touch...
NWN: the painfully evident square grid, unattractive 3D and perhaps just third edition combat rules don't do it at all for me.
Sword Coast Legends: I dubbed this game Dungeons and Diablo because it came with too many absurdities like "teach your wizard to wear heavy armor so they have more options available to them for stacking crazy cooldown reduction so you can perma-CC monsters".
Tyranny: I binged hard on this for a few months but the story didn't really do it for me (Kyros is childish; doesn't get what they want = EDICT!!!1), minmaxing was a little too annoying to pull off and bugs didn't get fixed fast enough for my liking.
DOS 2: Picked it up very recently but combat feels too slow for me and I have big time issues with the camera, even after modding it.
I want y'all to know I have on many occasions tried to solve this myself. I am certainly not asking out of laziness. ^^
P.S. I've long been curious about the arguments for and against isometric as opposed to 3D from a game developer perspective. Because there are too many 3D RPG's that look like total trash and a pannable camera doesn't redeem them.