Which is the better fantasy RPG?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are two of the best fantasy role-playing games (RPGs) ever released. There has been a lot of discussion about which title is the better RPG for quite some time now, and different people have their own opinion on this.

While both players offer a compelling story set in a fantastic world where they can recreate a hero’s journey, they also differ in gameplay, style and world design.

Bethesda’s Skyrim is an original story set in their own fictional universe of Nirn, while CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 is a continuation of the novels written by Andrezh Sapkowski.

In this feature, the two RPGs are pitted against each other and analyzed based on five different categories. If either side scores or loses a point in each round, a final standings is calculated which determines which title is the better of the two.

Note: This article reflects the opinion of the writer.

A direct comparison of Skyrim vs. The Witcher 3

1) Story

The first and most important aspect of any game is the story, and The Witcher 3 doesn’t hold back in this regard. The story of the game begins with Geralt looking for his adoptive daughter, Ciri, and sees him reuniting with many old friends along the way. With many choices affecting the outcome of different phases of the main campaign, this plot manages to attract players from the get-go.

Skyrim’s story is also quite epic, albeit with a very different take. This RPG will get players hooked with a simple story device: by starting the game in medias res, that is, in a continuous plot. As a simple individual caught crossing the border, the player is to be executed, but is unknowingly saved from this predicament by the arrival of the game’s main opponent, Alduin, the World Eater.

When comparing the two stories, The Witcher 3 takes the point, as it soars high, regarding its well-written, intricate plot that takes a lot of player choices into account. Skyrim’s overall story is exciting and gives the player’s character a much greater degree of importance, but it’s still a pretty straightforward journey of good versus evil.

2) Gameplay

Skyrim’s gameplay is diverse and includes melee weapons, long-range weapons, magical abilities, and spells. This ultimately gives players a choice of options and how to play the game. Players can therefore create different builds in this RPG, which makes it so replayable.

The Witcher 3, on the other hand, has its power in its combat system, with intuitive controls, a parry mechanism and a doge button. All of this contributes to making monster killing – and combat in general – an engaging and rewarding business.

However, of the two games, Skyrim’s gameplay will take the win here. Despite the general combat mechanics being quite simple, the fact that it gives players a huge amount of freedom to fine-tune their own playstyle is commendable. The Witcher 3 may excel in combat, but otherwise it has little to offer in terms of ingenuity.

3) Pictures

Geralt looks over the land of Velen (Image via CD Projekt Red)
Geralt looks over the land of Velen (Image via CD Projekt Red)

For a game that came out in 2011, Skyrim’s visuals were quite stunning, as it featured a diverse landscape with wide plains, hilly areas, and ice-covered glaciers. With the release of a number of mods that further improve the game, Skyrim feels like a modern title even in 2022, with HD resolution and 4k textures.

The Witcher 3 showcased an equally stunning world to experience adventures in. Four years after Skyrim was released, the advanced technology implemented in the game is noticeable in every frame of the game. In addition, the second DLC, known as Blood and Wine, introduced new areas with a vibrant aesthetic that was unseen in the main game.

In this particular round, The Witcher 3 will get the point, not only because of its cutting edge graphics, but also because of the fact that, even after many improved reissues, Skyrim is no closer to capturing the quality of the images seen in the first round. were seen.

4) Open world

The Dragonborn visits the Riverwood settlement (Image via Bethesda)
The Dragonborn visits the Riverwood settlement (Image via Bethesda)

The open world in Witcher 3 is one of the bigger maps you see in RPGs, at least for games around the time it was released.

Aside from the main story, it also includes a huge amount of side activities and additional content for players to immerse themselves in. The title also features scripted micro-events on the map, which can be missed if players are not in the right place at the right time.

The world of Skyrim is also filled with hundreds of additional activities and quests to follow, packed with knowledge. Random events can happen anywhere on the map when players choose to go out alone, and getting from point A to point B is always a more exciting experience than you would normally expect.

As far as the open world goes, Skyrim understands the point. In The Witcher 3, the open world contains enemies at fixed levels, related to certain areas. This means that at the start of the game many areas are undiscovered because the enemies are just too hard to tackle.

By contrast, with a few exceptions, Skyrim’s enemies scale up with the player and some have a limit on how high a level they can reach. This gives players the freedom to explore almost the entire map from the start of the game.

5) Leveling

Skyrim's unique leveling system was a game changer in 2011 (Image via Bethesda)
Skyrim’s unique leveling system was a game changer in 2011 (Image via Bethesda)

One of the core aspects of an RPG is the leveling system and Skyrim’s is one of the best in the business. Instead of relying on gaining experience by completing missions, players get better at a skill the more they complete it. Improving a skill gives a character points to level up, which can be used to increase the player’s overall HP, stamina, or magic.

In The Witcher 3, leveling is done by earning experience points by completing missions, as in most RPGs. This in turn can be used to unlock new abilities and improve various stats, although these perks can be activated selectively. Only a certain number of perks can be active at a time, and as players reach more levels, more and more perks can be activated at once, up to a total of 12.

As mentioned above, Skyrim has one of the best leveling systems in an RPG to date, which is why it will become apparent here as well. The rare mechanism adds to the freedom players are given to design their own character builds. In comparison, The Witcher 3’s leveling is rather complicated and requires a lot of grinding to even feel consistent.


Skyrim’s diverse gameplay, immersive open world, and intuitive leveling system still sets it apart from other RPGs, even to this day. As a result, it takes the crown for the best fantasy RPG in the head-to-head showdown. No wonder fans are constantly looking for an Elder Scrolls 6 on the horizon, though it looks like they’ll have to wait a little longer.

The Witcher 3 still gets props for being the game with a better story and stunning players with its beautiful visuals. With CD Projekt Red seemingly working on a new Witcher title, things are looking good for this series again.

Q. What do you think is the better RPG?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

32 votes so far

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