Unbeknownst to many gamers these days, some of the best games they have played can be categorized as isekai or a genre where the protagonist is transported to another world. Turns out it wasn’t just limited to Eastern video games, but some of the Western classics as well. Of course, many JRPGs incorporate elements of the isekai genre into anime.
These unexpected isekai games might not have the obligatory “truck-kun” isekai hero delivery service, or they might come without the warm and fuzzy love interests, but they will surely offer players a new world or strange dimension to explore. And with isekai video games like Speak which is releasing this year, it’s time to get familiar with the genre as it is gaining more and more recognition in the industry.
8 Genshin Impact
- Release year: 2020
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Android, PlayStation 5, iOS, Microsoft Windows
Of course it would be here. It’s just one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it proudly waves its isekai banner. Genshin Impact puts players in the shoes of Aether or Lumine. The twins were separated and transported to another world (tentative theory for now) thanks to a seemingly rogue god.
Thus, the main quest of Genshin Impact revolves around players finding their in-game twin in this strange new world. Although released as a full version, this open world RPG uses a live service model where it adds content through updates. His story or his game universe are not yet finished. The game, however, is free.
7 Bioshock Infinite
- Release year: 2013
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, classic Mac OS
Bioshock Infinite, like one of its predecessors, occupies a special place in the video game industry. It’s one of the first games that called dibs on parallel universes as a setting (or at least popularized it). Therefore, the isekai factor in this game involves players jumping into different dimensions, usually to a similar universe, but with different historical triggers.
All thanks to the help of Elizabeth who was born with the power to rip open portals that allow her and others to travel to parallel universes. Initially, she looks more like a damsel in distress, but the game’s intricate plot will unfold into something unexpected and revealing.
6 brutal legend
- Release year: 2009
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360
brutal legend follows the story of a heavy metal rocker who is pretty much Jack Black who inserts himself into a video game (but without the guts). Eddie Riggs is the name of his character and, like a true isekai, he is taken to an unknown world or dimension.
Luckily for him, this universe serves as the perfect backdrop for a metal music video for all metal subgenres. This metal isekai open world comes with skulls, fire, blood, leather jackets, black dye and of course lots of metal compounds. Also, there are hot goth ladies and Ozzy Ozbourne, a true isekai masterpiece.
5 ARK: Survival Evolved
- Release year: 2015
- Platforms: Linux, Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Stadia
For a different flavor of isekai video games, gamers can sink their teeth into ARK: Survival Evolved. It’s isekai but players are trapped in a manufactured world that’s full of (usually) dinosaurs. It’s complicated but ARK The story happens because the Earth was destroyed by essentially human greed. Thus, its former inhabitants created ARKs.
They are vast orbital structures that recreate what life was like on Earth. Some, however, are more primordial or brutal than others deliberately in order to conduct an experiment on their human inhabitants. Players can also visit other ARKs to see how other Invented Worlds are doing.
4 Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
- Release year: 2011
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows
Ni No Kuni has captured the hearts and minds of several fans from different fandoms with its style and themes. It’s a JRPG rendered in Studio Ghibli visuals with an isekai storyline. Heck, the Studio Ghibli pitch alone was enough to sell it; it’s also better known as “that” Studio Ghibli game.
Story-wise, Oliver is the unfortunate and humble protagonist here. One day he experiences a tragedy that triggers the appearance of Drippy who then asks him to save an unknown world oppressed by an evil wizard even while Oliver was still grieving. Pretty standard for an isekai storyline, fans will feel right at home.
- Release year: 2021
- Platforms: Playstation 5
It is unfortunately only available on the PS5 but Return is one of the few exclusives worth buying the rarest console in the world. Return is a roguelike shooter that follows the struggles of Selene Vassos as she crash-lands on an eerie planet called Atropos. Therefore, she is basically trapped in another world.
But instead of medieval fanfare or sci-fi mechs, Selene was greeted by grotesque aliens and a nauseating time loop where each death sends her back to start over at the site of her crash. It’s like Re: zero meets Extraterrestrial except more ominously as Selene’s corpses remain where she died like a mountain of trophies rubbing her failure in her face.
2 Vestige: ashes
- Release year: 2019
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Vestige: ashes starts out as a typical post-apocalyptic shooter/RPG made with dark souls for reference. But later levels of the game will see players leaving Earth and finding themselves trapped in a disturbing number of different worlds from other dimensions.
This kind of game loop is only part of Stay‘s overarching story where players will have to battle the sentient extradimensional hive mind called the Root in order to free Earth. It just so happens that the Root’s reach and dominance extends to other worlds as well.
- Release year: 1993 (first game)
- Platforms: Anything that can play a game, including calculators and pregnancy tests
Some might consider this pushing the technicalities, but Loss is as much an isekai as InuYasha or Digimon. In many Loss games, Doom Guy or Doom Slayer get trapped or volunteer to go to hell (literal hell) to wage eternal war against demons.
There isn’t really a plot here, but that’s also the case with other isekai. In the latest incarnation of the franchise Fate: Eternal, Doom Guy even invades Heaven after discovering that the guys upstairs are colluding with Hell. He didn’t need truck-kun, his fists are the truck-kun that sends demons into a world of pain.
More: Most Underrated Isekai Anime
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