When most think of RPGs, many think of Fallout 3 or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Both the Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles are made by Bethesda Game Studios, directed by Todd Howard. During his time at Bethesda, Todd Howard has helped create plenty of great games.
Even though Bethesda is best known for its open-world RPG games, they have made some great games in other genres as well. Whether made for DOS or modern systems, Bethesda has always been at the cutting edge of innovation. It is time to take a look at some great Todd Howard games that aren't Skyrim.
10 Fallout 76
Fallout 76 has issues. A lot of issues. Most news around this game is negative, yet there is a reasonably large community that plays this game. Why? It is the only Bethesda created Fallout title that allows for cooperative and competitive gameplay.
If you can look past the abundance of bugs, Fallout 76 offers a unique take on co-op survival that is engaging with friends. An update that adds human NPCs into the game should release sometime next year, allowing players to quest with friends for a more traditional Fallout experience.
9 The Terminator: Future Shock
Previous Terminator games made by Bethesda have been rather poor, lacking satisfying gameplay, and having terrible controls. Fortunately, The Terminator: Future Shock is a fantastic DOS era shooter that avid FPS fans should try.
The game allows players to traverse on foot, in a jeep with a mounted gun, or in the air. Gunplay is as good as DOS shooters get, levels are expansive, and the art style does the Terminator IP justice.
Redguard is a strange Elder Scrolls game: it has no levels or skills, the setting is based around one city, and the main character is created for the player. Despite that, it carries the distinct essence of the series very well.
Linear missions are filled with platforming sections and varied enemies that take inspiration from Prince of Persia. The city, Stross M'kai, is surprisingly open for exploration when the player is not doing a more linear level. Redguard has an interesting story to tell as well, making this rather odd Elder Scrolls game worth a look.
7 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Oblivion attempted to innovate on many systems that were lacking in Morrowind: combat is now skill-based instead of pseudo-random, the main story is gripping straight from the tutorial, and that obnoxious yet iconic fog is gone. The largest change, however, was Radiant AI, or the attempt of turning NPCs into realistic people with schedules and tasks they follow.
Unfortunately, much of that system has turned into a gold mine for memes and bugs, but the few parts Radiant AI got right, it got near perfect. Because of the increase in realism, assassin or stealth-based missions were significantly more engaging in Oblivion compared to its predecessors. On top of that, Oblivion innovated with downloadable content, with Shivering Isles being one of the best expansions ever made for any RPG.
6 Fallout Shelter
If open worlds RPGs are not your thing, Fallout Shelter is a surprisingly good mobile game. Rather than explore a post-apocalyptic wasteland, players assume the role of overseer for a custom made vault. Overseers have to plan construction, food, energy, and water for the vault while trying to prevent outsiders from breaking in.
The game is surprisingly captivating for as simple as it is. Updates and additions over the years have helped tremendously for replay value. It is also available on PC and consoles now, so you can play this game on most systems.
Continuing with different genres, Skynet is a first-person shooter developed for DOS systems in 1996. Originally meant as an expansion for Future Shock, Skynet became its own game filled with improvements over the original, including support of SVGA graphics and additional weapons to use.
Despite its age, Skynet plays incredibly well, hearkening back to the days when Doom and Duke Nuken were juggernauts in the gaming scene. Multiplayer support exists as well, allowing for competitive matches against strangers and friends alike.
4 Fallout 4
Similar to how Oblivion improved massively on Morrowind's combat, Fallout 4 was a massive step forward for engaging combat compared to Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. The main character is also voiced in this game, something Bethesda has not done since Redguard.
Customization is a large part of Fallout 4, from tinkering with items to creating settlements. Fallout 4 is best as a highly customizable open-world sandbox. Those wanting a more hardcore RPG should look elsewhere.
3 Fallout 3
Luckily, you do not have to look far. Fallout 3 was Bethesda's first outing with the Fallout license and it does the IP justice. A plethora of skills and attributes give players plenty of ways to roleplay a certain type of character.
While the combat may not have aged well, the quests and downloadable content are some of the best Bethesda has created. There are not many games that let players nuke a starting town, help a group of parentless children, encounter a town of cannibals, and get abducted by an alien ship all in the same playthrough.
2 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Considered by many to be Bethesda's Magnum Opus, Morrowind thrusts players into a completely alien landscape with an unorthodox culture. The game begins very slow but quickly escalates into an epic adventure. Unlike future Elder Scrolls titles, Morrowind makes the player earn their legendary status.
The combat is dated, the visuals are ancient, and the game has very few voiced NPCs, yet remains one of the most captivating RPGs ever made. Luckily, a vast array of excellent mods can fix almost every problem the game has. Regardless of mods, Morrowind's truly alien world and lore-rich story are a triumph and should be experienced by every Elder Scrolls fan.
The Elder Scrolls has always strived to allow players to live another life in this universe. While each game has tried unique approaches to achieve that, Daggerfall is the closest the series has ever achieved that vision. Daggerfall lacks intense cinematics, epic boss battles, and riveting companions.
What it does have, however, is the most comprehensive mechanics and systems the series has ever seen. Players can climb on any surface, create any spell they please, take loans from a bank to purchase property, and even settle disputes in court using persuasion skills! The procedural landscape provides a game world that takes over 60 hours to walk across, giving a sense of exploration and discovery few games can match. If you can get past the dated visuals, Daggerfall offers an unmatched immersive experience.