There’s something about the cyberpunk universe that makes it irresistible to most people. Over the years, the genre has had a tremendous impact in video games and there have been numerous titles set in a cyberpunk world, so in case you were wondering about some of the best, here’s a list that might help. Resourceful hackers? Check. Dystopian societies ruled by technology? Check. Flashy haircuts and unconventional clothing? Check. Here are some of the best cyberpunk games ever made.
10. Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs was supposed to be the game that was going to convince people of the power of the new generation of consoles. Instead, this open-world action-adventure game ended up being a bland and disappointing title that had technical issues and generic gameplay. Set in a fictionalized Chicago, you play as a hacker who seeks revenge after the death of a loved one. It may not win any awards in originality and it certainly has some problems, but the hacking elements were good and the missions varied, so if you want to play a modern cyberpunk game, Watch Dogs is your title.
9. Beneath a Steel Sky
This Revolution Software point-and-click adventure is considered a classic by fans of the genre and the more you read about the game, the more you realize why. In fact, some of the people involved in the development of Beneath Steel Sky were so talented and forward-thinking that they went on to work on Broken Sword and Watchmen. The game’s available for free and you can also purchase the remastered version for iOS which has improved voice acting, music and animated sequences.
In terms of presentation Transistor must be one of the most intoxicatingly attractive games you can find. The soundtrack is haunting, the visuals draw you in, the voice acting is terrific and the characters look outstanding. For those of you who have never heard of it, this sci-fi-themed action RPG puts you in the shoes of a red-headed woman appropriately named Red and you need to wield a sentient sword that serves both as your main weapon and the story’s narrator. It may not have set the world on fire like Bastion did (Supergiant Games’ previous indie gem,) but Transistor is a game worth playing nonetheless.
Going back to the original Shadowrun series is rough for younger audiences, but Shadowrun Returns does a terrific job of introducing the franchise to new players and makes it fun and challenging for those who were around in the SNES and Genesis/MegaDrive era. For those unfamiliar, this is a slow-paced computer RPG where you spend most of your time interacting with NPCs, completing quests and choosing combat options. If that’s up your alley, Shadowrun Returns won’t disappoint.
For those unfamiliar, Syndicate is a difficult real-time strategy game set in a dystopia where corporations rule the world and cyborg cops (pardon me, they prefer the term cybernetically-enhanced agents) fight enemy corporations. The story might sound convoluted, but the more you play this game, the more you realize that you can draw some comparisons to our current society.
5. Mirror’s Edge
Probably not the most obvious choice when it comes to cyberpunk games, Mirror’s Edge is a cult classic where you play as a female courier who transports important information in an utopian paradise. Unfortunately, your sister’s been framed and everyone’s hunting you, so you need to leap from building to building and unravel this conspiracy before the police catches you. It may have some problems, but there’s a reason why Mirror’s Edge is considered a cult classic.
4. System Shock
System Shock drips cyberpunk and as soon as you start playing, this becomes pretty apparent. The world is bleak, you are in a space station that’s controlled by a homicidal artificial intelligence, hacking is an important part of the game and you can use everything from shotguns to light swords to defeat your enemies. Playing System Shock in this day and age might be rough, but if you’re into cyberpunk games, you owe it to yourself to at least check it out.
A spiritual successor to Snatcher, Policenauts takes place in the year 2040 in a space colony and as you’d expect from a game of this kind, you need to unravel a conspiracy.Considered by many a hidden adventure gem, Policenauts is nor officially available in English and the only way to play the game in a language other than Japanese is via an unofficial translation.
In this Hideo Kojima adventure game, there are body-snatching robotic terrorists and as a member of a police task, you need to find them as soon as you can. This game draws heavily from Blade Runner, Terminator, Akira and Alien, so if you, like me, are a movie buff, this text-based adventure title will be a time well spent. There are also references to other Konami games like Contra and Metal Gear. Good luck finding a copy though, since not only is this game rare, it can be crazy expensive.
1. Deus Ex
When it comes to video games, the original Deus Ex is the grandfather of the genre, so it’s pretty much impossible to make a list about cyberpunk games and not to mention it. In a sense, Deus Ex had a similar impact for the medium as Blade Runner had for movies. In this cyberpunk-themed, first-person shooter, action RPG, you play as JC Denton, an operative who lives in a world ruled by global corporations and conspiracy theories. The game allows for different playstyles, you can improve your character via augmentations and skill points and use a variety of weapons.
Other Cyberpunk games that didn’t make it to the final cut include Dreamfall Chapters, Remember Me, Binary Domain, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, Hard Reset, the Persona series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Magrunner: Dark Pulse, Final Fantasy VII, Ghost in the Shell, The Longest Journey, Project: Snowblind . Also, not a video game, but go ahead and watch King Fury.