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RPG of the Year: Windows

RPGamer's staff and the site's readers were unanimous in their vote for the best RPG on the Windows platform for 2002. Neverwinter Nights took first place among the many games released on the PC this year, and its ranking is well deserved. BioWare meticulously developed the game over several years, bringing it to perfection before it was finally released. As one of the first PC RPGs to incorporate the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rule set, the game delivered all the freedom and customizability that the new rules ushered in.

With an impressive story and battle system, the main campaign captured the hearts of many. But the true heart of Neverwinter Nights lies not in its plot, but in the Aurora Toolset, an application included with the game that allows even the most inexperienced game designers to create their very own world and bring it to life. To date, over 2000 player-created modules are available on the Internet, making Neverwinter Nights one of the most long-lasting games imaginable.

In 2002, Bethesda Softworks finally released The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the long-awaited sequel to Daggerfall. Like its predecessor, Morrowind places players in a gigantic landscape dotted with hundreds of dungeons and cities, allowing for countless hours of exploration. The game also features a dynamic character creation system that provides for great customization. Morrowind is representative of what role-playing is all about: there is no limit to what you can do in the game, whether you decide to take on the persona of a gallant knight, saving damsels in distress, or a murderous rogue who eventually becomes a vampire.

Black Isle Studios put the enduring Infinity Engine to use once again with Icewind Dale II. Similar to the first title, this game was all about epic battles and exploration within deep, icy dungeons. Icewind Dale II is also among the first D&D-based games to utilize the 3rd Edition rule set, and it took this one step further with the incorporation of races, abilities, and classes based on the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

There's no doubt that the Windows platform will continue to be a staple in the future of the role-playing genre, and these games are a testament to that fact. It will be difficult to top 2002 in this department, but developers have only just begun to push the envelope when it comes to next-generation RPGs.

RPG of the Year: Windows
Staff
Neverwinter Nights Reader
Neverwinter Nights
Staff Runner-Ups
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Icewind Dale II Reader Runner-Ups
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Icewind Dale II

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