Most role-playing games let you resolve encounters through combat, but one that lets you work things out through diplomacy is more rare. While you can still resort to combat in all of these games, the ability to talk your way through some (or most) challenges is a most welcome addition indeed. Our awesome community picked these eight games as the best examples of this type of gameplay, so go check them out!
Don’t see your favorite? Tell us what it is in the comments!
Baldur’s Gate 2
First mentioned by ExDeath730
The sequel to Bioware’s first massively successful RPG included a number of examples of dialog trumping combat. At times you could talk enemies into letting you pass, and if you did have to resort to combat, it was much improved over the first game. Furthermore, the voice acting was some of the best in games at the time, bringing more life to conversations throughout the game. Finally, the game included quests that actually penalized you with less XP if you decided to abandon diplomacy for violence. It was a stellar example of this niche area of the RPG genre.
Vampire the Masquerade – Bloodlines
First mentioned by DoPo
Troika’s take on the Vampire the Masquerade tabletop game was a mixed bag of sorts. Although its writing an voice acting were stellar, it displayed a number of technical; glitcehs and a lack of polish. Still, its dialog options were top-notch, especially early in the game. Some characters were skilled at seduction and persuasion, and by upgrading their skills, you could open up even more dialog options. Late in the game, the well-rounded dialog gives way to a more combat-heavy experience, but it’s still a great example of how well conversation scan be used in a game.
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
First mentioned by Tragedy’s Rebellion
Another Troika title that’s worthy of this list is their first one: Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. Not only does it offer you the chance to use dialog in place of combat, you can also resort to thievery or bribery if you so desire. It is possible to complete the entire game without killing anyone, making it a excellent example of the power of persuasion.
Pillars of Eternity
First mentioned by KingsGambit
Easily the newest game on this list, Pillars of Eternity is based on the old Infinity Engine classics, like Planescape: Torment. While there are not a huge number of avoidable combats in the game, a non-combat character who successfully uses stealth and dialog can complete the game. As an added bonus, the conversation options can greatly affect how your character is perceived by the game’s NPCs. It’s a newer game built in an old-school style.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
First mentioned by Asita
On the surface, Deus Ex: Human Revolution may look like a shooter with a few RPG elements, but that’s a bit deceiving. There is a fair bit of important dialog, and your choices there can definitely affect the game’s outcome. You can play the entire game non-lethal now, thanks to the Director’s Cut patch. If you’re careful enough, hacking, stealth, and diplomacy can help you win the day.
First mentioned by The Madman
Obsidian’s spy-thriller RPG had its problems, to be sure. The combat left much to be desired, but the dialog and story was pretty spot on throughout. All of your dialog decisions affected how the game unfolded, and there were plenty of opportunities to use your diplomacy skills in place of your abilities with a pistol. Unfortunately, as you got closer to the end of the game, combat became more mandatory. Still, Alpha Protocol gets a whole lot right in terms of flapping your jaw in place of firing your gun.
Also, there are dialog options like “Headslam.” That’s a win too.
First mentioned by Someone Depressing
While there were certainly dialog options to avoid combat in the newer Bethesda-developed Fallout games, the Interplay originals were well-known for it. The original Fallout was bristling with fights that you could talk your way out of, and sometimes even when you had to fight, you could use your diplomacy skills to convince someone else to do your fighting for you. There were still spots where you’d find yourself confronted with an enemy that you just had to kill, but for the most part, options were easy to find in the Wasteland.
First mentioned by beyondbrainmatter
The epitome of games allowing you to use dialog in place of combat is Planescape: Torment. Designed to be more about story than anything else, the vast majority of encounters can be resolved or avoided using dialog or stealth. It’s an almost entirely story-driven game, and that makes every decision have immense weight. Even the small choices you made could have far-reaching consequences. Moreso than any game before or since, Planescape: Torment embodied the idea that dialog is powerful, and that it can be used to reshape the world around you and the people in it.