Best Cyberpunk Video Games
Dystopian, futuristic worlds built on the glow of neon extravagances with technological beasts as corporate overlords, these are the main themes ever-present in the best cyberpunk video games of our time.
What is cyberpunk? That's a very good question, and I'm glad you asked. The genre, concept, or setting as it's often referred to, mostly dates back to around the 1960s and 1970s, give or take, stemming from a blend of elements like cybernetics, science fiction, futuristic technology, and societal downfall, or some sociological subversion of the human race. Acclaimed Neuromancer, published in 1984 by William Gibson, is said to have cemented the genre into being. However, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a 1982 film incidentally based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? also includes similar traits and characteristics of this immersive genre.
Now, though, cyberpunk is far more than a subgenre of sci-fi. It's a literal movement in culture and artistic expression, as seen within the best cyberpunk video games. Most of these titles are probably some you've never even heard of, while others had shone once in the limelight, only to fade in age. Either way, they've added their own twist to gameplays and storytelling as a whole, serving as among the best in a small corner of the video gaming industry, yet still maintaining a massive fanbase. Since I couldn't add it below, and for the extreme excitement behind it, get ready for the up and coming Cyberpunk 2077 with these following hits...
Though given a "good" overall rating of 7.3 by IGN, Shadowrun Returns needs no high critic to give it, or its well-refined series of cyberpunk games, any note of worth given its massive scale and following. Shadowrun first began as a franchise in 1989! Since, it's regaled as one of the most played and beloved role-playing games, then on spawning nearly two decades worth of substantial content, like this very gem.
Released in 2013 thanks to a crowd fund on Kickstarter, Shadowrun Returns no sooner soared into becoming an unpredictable additions in the best cyberpunk video games. And, I'm sure the series will only continue further into the years to come.
Blending the genres of horror and cyberpunk is no easy task, but System Shock made it look easy, if not their sole destiny. System Shock is quintessential for the gaming world in bringing us the likes of none other than BioShock, among more in science fiction.
Among the best cyberpunk video games is System Shock 2, a game involving a Dead Space-esque plot where the player awakes from cryosleep on a spacecraft known as the Von Braun. The scene here is gruesome, for the highly intelligent and deadly AI, Shodan, has plans to enslave the human race.
Though the sequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution may be the more popular name of the series, I feel Mankind Divided deserves its credit as one of the best cyberpunk video games for introducing players to the artistry of cyberpunk itself and the diversity of gaming methods.
A mesh of action, stealth, and role-playing, Mankind Divided was a complete success if not for its short length of playtime. Even so, the game's characters, narrative, and the decision-making component were all heralded, which made it an easy win as the Best Role Playing Game at the 2016 Game Awards.
Second on this list of the best cyberpunk video games to be crowdfunded on Kickstarter is Dex, a 2015-released open world cyber punk-based adventure game. It draws upon elements of role-playing and side-scrolling, and it's in 2D format—often a disqualifying factor for many players, despite Dex's complexity.
Based in a futuristic city run by mega corporations called Harbor Prime, Dex is a young woman who becomes singled out by the Complex, Harbor Prime's secret authority. Before she's taken captive, Dex is saved by a hacker named Raycast, who reveals to her she's an invaluable key to solving the entire structure of their lives.
This action adventure cyberpunk classic remains among the most celebrated and, by far, the best cyberpunk video games. Remember Me, a story of Nilin and her dealings under the Errorists, blends terrific storytelling with even more fluid gameplay. Not only was the game itself a hit, but so too was its soundtrack, Oliver Deriviere's master work of music.
Remember Me will remain a classic in video gaming, despite a relatively low-level name in the industry. The general in-game world is a spellbinding place full of much and more to explore, while the combat system seems to be the overall issue by most critics (slim, if at all anything to be concerned about).
Released in 2013, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon appeared more to be a parody, or at least a joke, more than it being among the best cyberpunk video games, which it garners for a variety of reasons. First among them, the cyberpunk game being a parody on 1980s action films with its neon drenched, retro-futuristic open world.
It wasn't a major success, but Blood Dragon did receive positive reviews and has an interesting story to it. You play as Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt, a military cyborg who travels with his cyber-pal, Spider, to a remote island in search of rogue agent. While the story may get a whole lot of whacky, even if Far Cry 5 brings the danger a little too close to home, Blood Dragon still is a quality game not to be missed.
In the new era of gaming, Snatcher is practically a nobody. Before there was even PlayStations or Xbox's, this one of a kind title in the best cyberpunk video games was first introduced in 1988 on the PC-8801 and MSX2; literal dinosaurs compared to the tech we have today.
Premised around sci-fi, cyberpunk tones, and set within a dystopian city, Snatcher tells the story of Gillian Seed, an investigator looking into a new breed of bioroids, considered "snatchers." It might be an ancient choice for this list, but Snatcher is one that cannot be ignored for its additions to the video game industry as a whole.
Rebooting the series into a well-refined classic of a next-gen video game, Syndicate grew into the role of cyberpunk by way of its ancestry in science fiction video games and the development of incredibly surreal in-game worlds.
As such, the 2012 real-time tactical shooter became a classic hit, but its story wasn't so well-received by the critics. Still though, Syndicate proved to evoke broad strokes of talent in graphics, style, and gameplay all adding to its inclusion among the best cyberpunk video games.
Considered more of a graphic adventure, Gemini Rue is an interesting game in of itself, even for it being a puzzle game. That being said, there should be no wonder of its inclusion among the best cyberpunk video games; a redefined gameplay method of exploration and discovery.
Taking place in the 23rd century under the Gemini Star System, which has only recently grown independent of rival systems in the culmination of the decade-old war before the start of the game, it's an interesting concept, one that has even been deemed Adventure Game of the Year by three different publications.
Dropping only just last year, Observer has still shown to be among best cyberpunk video games despite its relative youth. Designed as a survival horror with a dab of cyberpunk etched into the framework, Observer is a story about a mega corporation called Chiron, which institutes the Fifth Polish Republic after taking over Poland.
Sort of similar to Terminator and Watch Dogs, the game has players don Daniel Lazarski as their protagonist, a detective under the Observer police unit. His, and essentially your, task is to hack into memories and fears of targets using the Dream Eater mechanism.
Another gem among ancient classics and probably a game no one has ever even heard of, Beneath a Steel Sky is one of those retro games that never took off as it should, since it arrived before the dawn of emerging platform gaming. Still, at least it's not among the best video games never made, because Beneath a Steel Sky is one of the best cyberpunk video games for being one of the very first of its kind.
The point and click adventure game was first released in 1994 on the MS-DOS and Amiga computer systems, then made available for PC in 2003. The dystopian setting mixed in beautifully with the cyberpunk sci-fi of its calling. Breathing to life virtual wonders like "the Gap," Aboriginals, and Robert Foster, an unlikely likable character, Charles Cecil, a game director, and Dave Gibbons, a comic book artist, collaborated in the making of this extraordinary cyberpunk masterpiece of video gaming lore.