We’re not nearly there yet, but many of us today surely have had a glimpse of the near future (the techno-dystopia one, most likely). This is all thanks to the cyberpunk genre and its many forms in media, particularly with cyberpunk games, movies, and TV shows. It’s a relative newcomer in fiction too; cyberpunk has been around for three decades give or take, meaning cyberpunk games or other media types are still quite few.
Scarce as they may be, each and every one of them is teeming with quality. Occasionally, when big cyberpunk games come out, they set a trend that will surely reverberate through the annals of pop culture. CD Projekt RED’s upcoming game, Cyberpunk 2077 is a prime example of this. While the game is still not out yet, people are already treating it like the second coming of Jesus in the gaming community.
Part of the hype is due to the developer’s reputation (the Witcher trilogy games) and the other part is the cyberpunk genre. Sadly, we’re still in the dark regarding the game’s actual release date. However, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for E3 this 2019 on June 12 for announcements. Regardless of the waiting time, you’ll want to condition yourself or fill in that cyberpunk void. So here are 10 excellent cyberpunk games you can try out before Cyberpunk 2077 arrives
in the year 2077.
Don’t be fooled by the outdated graphics; System Shock is a classic first-person survival horror and one of the best ever in the history of gaming. It’s also set in a space station from a cyberpunk envisioning of the year 2072. The game involves a hacker (you) who was tasked to tamper into an A.I. system named Shodan in exchange for some neural implants.
Unfortunately, you also removed the ethical constraints of the A.I. Once you wake up from the neural implant operation six months later, you find out that Shodan has unleashed all sorts of hell on the space station; it has been playing god while you’re asleep. Apparently, a crowdfunded remake or remaster is also along the way so you can wait on that one if you can’t stand the outdated graphics.
Originally, Shadowrun was a tabletop game similar to Warhammer Fantasy and 40K. It was only until 2014 that someone decided to make a compelling cyberpunk strategy game out of it. The result was Shadowrun Returns, an award-winning tactical turn-based roleplaying game (RPG).
The world of Shadowrun also isn’t your run-of-the-mill cyberpunk universe. It also blends in some fantasy elements such as magic, elves, dwarfs, orks, and trolls. Surprisingly, they work well together and gives a pleasant narrative twist to the cyberpunk genre.
Crime and law enforcement are often the favorite playgrounds of most cyberpunk worlds. It’s supposed to be dystopian, after all. Hence, the Observer lets you step into the shoes of the neural police where you are given a peek (or hacking capabilities) into the minds of the criminally insane.
The game is set in the year 2084; anything any individual thinks, feels, or remembers, can be used in a court of law, especially against suspects. That’s where you come in as a neural police. It’s pretty much Bladerunner except your checking the innocence of humans instead of androids.
E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy
If action is more your speed when it comes to cyberpunk games, then E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy might be worth a look. It’s a first-person shooter (FPS)/RPG hybrid. The game also allows you to team up with three friends to stage a coup against the Federation.
It’s not that simple, however. You soon find out that the faction you’re working for has some shady plans in mind; there might also be aliens and demons threatening what’s become of humankind. Lucky for you, you play as a cybernetic warrior who can deflect bullets with a sword, hack enemies, and create your own clones.
One would think that a cyberpunk setting is ruined by a straight-up FPS action premise, but that’s not the case with Hard Reset. True, it’s a pretty straightforward and more linear action FPS, but its cyberpunk world proves to be a necessary backdrop for all the boom booms happening on-screen.
You play as an army combat veteran named Major Fletcher to save the last remaining human city of Bezoar. That’s easier said than done since mankind has two great enemies here who have been trying to make them extinct for a long time.
Corporations are the biggest powers and factions in a cyberpunk world and Syndicate understands this. It uses that notion to create a hauntingly familiar atmosphere in a world of corrupt and power-hungry companies. These companies also happen to wage war against one another as if they were just board meetings.
That’s where you come in as Agent Miles Kilo of the EuroCorp. Governments are gone and mega-corporations now rule the world. Of course, you working for a control-freak mega-corporation will surely have a twist and it’s up to you to survive that.
A cyberpunk world or city would be incomplete without a portrayal of its rabid underbelly. We’re talking about the futuristic bandits of the criminal underground who have also kept up with the latest in tech. Ruiner portrays that cyberpunk underbelly astonishingly with its dark tones and overt violence. It’s a top-down shooter that’s probably the most action-packed title in this list.
As a wired psychopath, you’ll be working your way up the criminal chain. As usual, the biggest criminals are the ones sitting on leather chairs in the tallest high-rise buildings. Thankfully, carving your way in blood and corpses starting from the street dregs up to the corporate titans is made more fun with augments, railguns, and good old-fashioned bullets, lots of ’em.
The first Deus Ex
Many consider Deus Ex as one of the spiritual successors of System Shock. A quick try of the game and it’s easy to see why. It’s not set in space, but rather, in Earth in the year 2052. You get to play as JC Denton in a society that’s eating itself from the inside out thanks to sinister meta-groups and secret factions vying for control to maintain the status quo.
Deus Ex is primarily an FPS but also incorporates some RPG and stealth elements. It was certainly ahead of its time (it was released back in the year 2000) and by far, is one of the few cyberpunk video games these days that fully comprehend the setting along with its implications on gameplay. It had a sequel but it was nowhere near as immersive or faithful to the setting; this game is something that won’t be replicated until more than a decade later…
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Fast forward to 2011, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released and was the first competent successor to the original Deus Ex. Oddly enough, it’s actually a prequel and the game world is set in the year 2027 (that’s like, only 8 years from today– brace yourselves). It’s a society on the brink of collapse all because of cybernetic augmentations which caused a huge divide among humans.
As security agent Adam Jensen, you are tasked with finding out what the heck is going on. Oh, you also have to nip an impending corporation and social class war in the bud. Some of the super secret factions and corporations here are also the ones present in the original Deus Ex. Needless to say, it was also a masterpiece and easily ranks among the best cyberpunk games ever.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Mankind Divided continues the story of Adam Jensen’s involvement in a corporate conspiracy and a secret war. It’s set two years after the events in Human Revolution (in 2029) and features a deeper delve into the inner workings of the one of the secret faction literally called the Illuminati.
The gameplay to Human Revolution and functions more like an RPG than the original Deus Ex. However, the game worlds here are a lot bigger and more detailed than any cyberpunk setting before it. A word of warning: you’ll need a rather beefy computer for this game, it’s notoriously demanding. Hopefully, these games distract you long enough until the next big cyberpunk thing, Cyberpunk 2077 :
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