Best Dark Fantasy Strategy RPGs


Strategy RPGs are packed with tactical battles, in-depth character management, group control, and generally a ton of lore and storytelling. These games can range from simpler independent experiments to more AAA side-by-side experiments. One of the best forms of strategy RPG comes in the form of dark fantasy. Dark fantasy covers the spectrum of high fantasy, mysticism, old world, etc., but with a more macabre or gothic connotation.

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It must be said that strategic or tactical RPGs are not suitable for everyone because of their high difficulty level, their often long battles and their often heavy exposure. For those who enjoy a meaty RPG experience with plenty of depth and content, the following dark fantasy strategy RPGs should definitely be on your radar.

Darkest Dungeon

characters fighting in a dark dungeon

Darkest Dungeon is a brutal roguelike strategy RPG with a strong emphasis on the psychological elements that each character faces during dungeon races. Darkest Dungeon is perhaps one of the most oppressive, gothic dark fantasy strategy RPGs out there.

Your characters fight in turn-based encounters, but as the challenges increase, they can become infected with sanity effects, illnesses, and other ailments that actually increase their performance. It’s a punishing game that adds just enough fantasy flair to keep it from being an outright horror.

The Disgaea series

Promotional art of Disgaea 6

The Disgaea strategy RPG series has been around since the early 2000s. This prolific series perfectly mixes cartoon, anime vibes, colorful and quirky characters, and dark undertones that make it interesting throughout.

Each game in the series offers hundreds of hours of content to explore if you choose. Battles take place from an isometric perspective, all placed atop a grid. Each character can be applied to a specific job or race, allowing you to tailor the gameplay to your liking.

The Banner Saga series

The illustration of the banner saga

The Banner Saga game series is known for its dark Viking-themed worlds, emotional tales and challenging battle scenarios. These games tend to lean more on the more historical side of things than the fantasy, however, there are still some fantastic elements in play.

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One of the most heartbreaking parts of The Banner Saga series is permanent death. Yes, even the characters you’ve grown to love and admire can be eliminated by death at any point on the journey.

Other side

Work of Girls together in Othercide

In Othercide, you play as the Daughters, who are humanity’s last hope. The Daughters venture deep into a complex world filled with intrigue and turmoil. This tactical RPG is based on a combat system known as the Dynamic Timeline System.

Every move will have to be carefully planned in order to successfully stop the pervading darkness. Girls can evolve to gain new abilities and powers to take into future battles. The game also features a unique art style with monochrome elements with pops of color for flair.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons

strategic battle in town in mercenary fire

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons is a full-featured high fantasy tactical and strategic RPG with dark themed elements. The story here is one of betrayal, corruption and warring kingdoms. It perfectly blends the typical fantastic tropes with a historical touch.

The battles of Mercenaries Blaze take place on a fully 3D isometric map. In order to deal the most damage, you will need to face the right direction. Each character can be moved around the grid to line up attacks or set up defensive positions to do better in combat.

Dark legend

battle set in black legend

Black Legend is a dark, intriguing game that weaves 17th-century historical ideas with alchemy, magic, and supernatural events. The story here revolves around a group of mercenaries determined to take down a heartbreaking and evil cult of conquering the kingdom.

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Gameplay is your typical strategy affair that unfolds through different turns. You can play with over a dozen different character classes, with alchemy being a main component of battles. Fortunately, there are also various difficulty options to better tailor the experience to your liking.

Fell Seal: Referee’s Mark

characters discussing in the mark of the fallen seal referees

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is perhaps one of the most unique strategy RPGs, as it mixes dark, fantasy tones with a steampunk aesthetic. You play as a member of the Immortal Council who seeks to maintain order and stability in the kingdom.

The name of the game here is customization with countless character classes and hundreds of unique abilities to use in battle. The tactical battles are fairly straightforward, however, the difficulty of the game increases with each new chapter. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark will keep you hooked with its mature story and alluring character customization.

Solasta: crown of the magisterium

explore the world in solasta crown of the magister

Solasta: Crown of the Magister offers a tabletop RPG experience that has been intertwined with tactical battles. This dark fantasy story revolves around a powerful cataclysm that shook the foundations of the world. You and your chosen heroes must prevent the old cataclysmic effect from recurring.

The unique aspect of Solasta is that the game boards and battle scenarios encourage traversal and movement instead of just moving from tile to tile. You can climb, jump and fly around maps to gain the advantage over your enemies. Don’t miss Solasta: Crown of the Magister if you’re looking for more variety in your strategy RPGs.

NEXT: The Best Strategy RPGs, Ranked

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