I love a good RPG more than any other genre and being fairly new to PC gaming there are plenty of choices. I'd prefer to play a game with decent graphics but game-play is obviously more important. The trouble I am having is that any game I play released in the last 10 years is way to easy!
I suppose this applies to any genre not just RPG. I do tend to min max when I play any game and I tend to be really good at games for some reason (Nintendo games used to be hard or was it the time I spent playing WoW?). Can you all name any RPG's that are difficult but also have pretty graphics? For instance the last RPG I played that I found to be satisfying was dark souls (awaiting release of 2!). I recently tried the dragon age games and on the highest difficulty it was a joke. Thief was a joke as well. What is the point of playing a game if all I do is loot corpses for gear that will one shot everything? I believe the word for this is a Monty Haul campaign.
Are the good ole days of games dead? Are mind numbing online-multiplier FPS the only challenging games left? What about the new Baulders Gate was that difficult? I want an RPG where I will die and requires trial and error or else I lose interest quickly.
I'm waiting for Dark Souls 2 as well. It's going to be legit!
Hmm, have you tried Deus Ex: Human Revolution? It has decent difficulty, but I suppose you could make it harder going with a no-kill run. Graphics are quite pleasing and I found the gameplay to be pretty fun.
Or maybe the Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. I'll be honest, I've only played a little bit because I got distracted with other games (steam sales =P). From what I've played though, it was pretty satisfying. Gameplay is fun and graphics are top notch.
Metroid Prime 3 Corruption: one of the hardest games I've ever played, and one of the only ones I have never beaten. It's not a PC game per se, but you could get a Wii emulator for it.
Speaking of emulators, there are plenty of gameboy advance games (Megaman Series specifically) out there that don't have the graphics, but definitely bring the long, in-depth stories.
If you like "thriller" games, Amnesia is fun, but by all means feel free to disregard their recommended play style of headphones in complete darkness.
If you want something that will really challenge your problem-solving skills, check out any of the Myst games. There's a plot, so best to start with the first one, but they all take a really long time to complete.
None of these above really involve tons of battles (Myst: none, Amnesia is mostly running from things, Megaman has TONS of battles, but of a different kind than what I'm sure you're used to; Metroid does have a lot of enemies to shoot down, but that's not what the game is about, which I like), so if you want something more combat-intensive, I recommend Darksiders 2. Haven't played the first one so I can't speak for it, but I had a lot of fun with 2. Interesting plot (especially if you know anything about the book of Revelation), and I really appreciated the combat system--every battle I fought looked different because of the huge variety of combos available. Graphics are good on this one. All the other ones (excluding Amnesia which has good graphics) are older, sorry I couldn't come up with more newer stuff.