RPGs theoretically prioritize freedom, offering almost infinite possibilities of creating a character and guiding them through the game world. In reality, however, we often run into considerable limitations while playing. For example, not that many RPGs allow for fully pacifistic gameplay at all. Completing the storyline cover-to-cover without resorting to violence; resolving conflicts peacefully or without killing enemies.
This way of playing is referred to as "pacifist run/route" and focuses on solving problems without bloodshed. Can this form of gameplay be interesting without the opportunity to cast fireballs or shoot futuristic weapons? It may surprise you to know that it does! I recommend trying to go through your chosen RPG as a pacifist – you'll quickly find out that it's neither easy nor boring as you might think. On the contrary, being a pacifist can be quite a thrill.
Provided, of course, that the production in question allows this form of playthrough at all. We have prepared for you a brief list of RPGs that can be completed without fighting. Of course, the subject isn’t completely exhausted, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to mention them in the comments. May our collection of pacifist RPGs grow!
Due to the subject matter, you may find spoilers in this text. They shouldn't be very impactful, but feel warned!
Best non-combat RPGs
The best non-combat games and non violent RPGs are:
- Fallout series
- Disco Elysium
- Deus Ex series
- Alpha Protocol
- Age of Decadence
- Planescape Torment
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- Postal 2 (yes, we know it’s not RPG!)
Non-violent video games often feature a large world where you can make choices. Some of those choices – while often going to be more difficult – are precisely what allow you to solve the quest bloodlessly. The non-combat game world then resembles a puzzle game. It's up to you to find that one path that will allow you to bypass your opponents or, using charisma, trick them. So below you will find the best non-violent or non-combat RPGs you can play in 2021.
The Fallout series’ latest representatives are much weaker RPGs than the original installments and have infinitely less satisfying dialogue options. Therefore, we will focus on the earliest games of the series. Even though those games are quite old, they can surprise you with their extensive possibilities even today. Is it also in case if you play pacifist or try to complete the game without fighting?
It all depends on which Fallout we're talking about. For example, the first part of the series allows you to complete the game without killing anyone. You can sneak past most of your opponents or lie your way out of trouble. The finale, however, proves to be controversial. Within it, we can sound the alarm and allow the Supermutants and Children of the Cathedral to evacuate, and on top of that, persuade the main villain to destroy himself. Nevertheless, the bomb will be activated anyway, and this, unfortunately, cannot be avoided.
A particular perk in the Fallout series, the Outdoorsman, allows players to influence the frequency of negative random situations. The same skill is also helpful in Fallout 2, allowing us to avoid taking part in potentially unfavorable random events. However, just like in the first part of the game, the part two finale doesn't quite allow the game to end without casualties. Nevertheless, with a little self-discipline, you can complete it without entering a fight.
Fallout: New Vegas is also quite robust in this respect – here, we can avoid clashes by sneaking or choosing appropriate dialogue options. Also, at the end of the game, it is possible to convince the primary opponents not to fight us. For the record, please note that the pacifist approach is only possible if we side with NCR or Yes Man.
How about the third and fourth parts? Opinions are strongly divided – in theory, it is possible to play these games without killing; still, it requires such acrobatics, bending the rules, or even cheating that it’s hard to even call it a real "pacifist run."
- More about the Fallout series
The presence of this unusual and modest production in the list of pacifist RPGs was certain. And of course, while I was describing it, I listened to my beloved Megalovania playing in my headphones – it couldn't be any other way! Undertale is an indistinct title whose graphics may deter you, but if you turn a blind eye on it, you will be dragged into (literally!) this enchanting world of monsters.
Playing as a little girl, we try to survive in unusual circumstances, while solving the problems of the underworld inhabitants, as well as trying to solve the mystery of an ancient conflict between humans and monsters. And this is just scratching the surface of what lies ahead! Undertale is definitely worth giving a chance, at least to get to know Sansa, one of the more important characters.
And how does this relate to the "pacifist run" track, the main theme of this article? Undertale can be completed without exterminating a single creature, but it doesn't mean that there will be no clashes. Instead of killing the enemy, we can simply run away from the battlefield. The most persistent players, who do not earn any EXP/LOVE points during the game and meet several other requirements (the list is quite long), will be rewarded with a special ending called "True Pacifist Route."
It's different from the usual Undertale epilogue and definitely worth attempting, even if it would mean asking internet guides for some assistance. On my end, I encourage you to restart the game after you complete it "pacifist way" to hear what one of the characters tells us.
- More about Undertale
If we're talking about non-combat RPG video games, this hit is not to be missed. Some members of the editorial team are avid fans of Disco Elysium, praising the game whenever it’s mentioned. If you don't mind story-driven gameplay, where it all comes down to reading and acting accordingly, this game will blow your socks off. There's no regular combat here, but that doesn't mean you can't get hurt – in Disco Elysium, words can really break your bones!
Playing as exhausted police officer abusing booze doesn't make it easier, especially when you add amnesia to it. Besides, we have a case of lynching to solve in the poorhouse district of the coastal town of Revachol. It's not easy, and you have to pay attention to every word because the fate of your character and the entire town will depend on your interactions with others.
It may seem that Disco Elysium is one big "pacifist run." That's where you're wrong. As mentioned, words have their weight, and careless speech can lead to the death of many. On top of that, confrontation is unavoidable, so it's hard to talk about completing the whole thing without a fight. It is worth noting that in the game, we never directly participate in battles, there is no such system; there are only decisions resulting from the selected dialogue options.
Disco Elysium is tough to finish as a pacifist. All in all, remember that whatever decision you make, someone will get hurt – whether you want them hurt to or not.
- Read more about Disco Elysium
Deus Ex series
In the Deus Ex series, we don't have to play an assassin at all, although it's hard to avoid killing anyone, provided the number of enemies. The most recent parts of the series, where we play as Adam Jensen, also allow us to be a pacifist, if we feel that this way of playing is more suitable. Considering the whole story, which is about the conflict between people with and without cybernetic implants, it's quite an appealing idea to go through the story campaign as a pacifist. Especially since the main character's body is modified, and it's only up to us whether he decides to get even more implants or not.
In both Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, Adam Jensen may avoid conflict and combat as much as possible. He's got the possibility of going around most of the enemies, and bosses don't necessarily need to be killed. It's enough to talk to some of them and stun others, which is perfectly acceptable as part of a pacifist run. Interestingly, in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, finishing the game without killing bosses is only possible in the Director's Cut version.
What do we get in both of the aforementioned Deus Ex games for a pacifist completion of the game? Primarily special achievements, but also a little relish. Those who opt for this type of gameplay can count on separate variants in each ending in Human Revolution – each of the four finales has a different dialogue version for pacifists.
Interestingly, it is possible to finish Deus Ex as a pacifist even when you kill someone, as long as you don't do it directly. For example, if we hack a watchtower or robot and switch it to friendly fire mode, even if the enemy is killed by these machines, it will not have an impact on the achievement. The same is true if an enemy "accidentally" hits an electrical field or is killed by an explosion of a robot. If we want to have "clean hands", we can also use the police or ordinary NPCs, because their actions do not affect our "pacifist run".
- More about the Deus Ex series
In Alpha Protocol, we control Michael Thorton's actions, acting on behalf of the title agency. He must find the perpetrators of an attack on a civilian airliner that took place in the Middle East. The investigation quickly reveals that the case has a second bottom and the conspiracy threatens the whole world. As if that weren't enough, we lose access to support from our own agency and have to fend for ourselves.
It may seem that as an agent acting on our own, we can hardly be expected to choose to solve problems without fighting, or in a pacifist manner. Nothing could be further from the truth! Michael Thorton has many capabilities that allow him to accomplish missions despite such difficult circumstances! He can sneak around or attack enemies with soporific darts. Plus, he can always stun enemies.
There are two moments where we are theoretically forced to kill someone. Alpha Protocol, however, does not treat this as "misconduct." Moreover, by taking advantage of a game bug, one such situation can be circumvented. We're talking about the helicopter we have to blow up. If we die in this sequence and reload the game, nothing explodes due to our actions. So theoretically we will remain pacifist, right?
Why play Alpha Protocol this way at all? By avoiding conflict and bloodlessly solving problems, we are rewarded with experience points to the appropriate skills. In a nutshell, we receive more exp to perks related to this style of play. And that's basically it.
- More about Alpha Protocol game