The cyberpunk genre is in vogue right now with the recent release of Altered Carbon and the incoming release of CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. With a combination of advanced artificial intelligence, cybernetics, lowlife and high tech, there’s a lot to love about this subgenre of science fiction.
This renewed buzz has people calling out for cyberpunk in all forms of media, and if you’re getting impatient waiting for the release of Cyberpunk 2077, fear not, we’re going to run through the 5 best cyberpunk games available right now for you to get started on.
5. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action role-playing game that was released in 2016 and is the fourth instalment of the Deus Ex series. The game was developed by Eidos Montréal and published by Square Enix on various platforms.
Players take on the role of Adam Jensen, an augmented human who formerly worked as the head of security for Sarif Industries. In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, players roam the streets of a cyberpunk Prague in the year 2029. Society has become divided through a collapse in social order and an increase in elite secret organisations that are looking to repress the “augs” (any human that has enhanced their body through cybernetics or high tech.
The gameplay in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is similar to previous instalments. It is played from first-person perspective and has elements of action, stealth, and adventure. You can interact with various NPCs in the game and must roam the open world in order to complete both main storyline quests and side quests. Completing missions awards the player with experience points which can be used to upgrade the player-character in various ways.
Despite the main questline being relatively short, it is rich with depth, intrigue and character development. This coupled with an impressive futuristic setting and high-tech sci-fi elements make this one of the best cyberpunk games to play. To find out more, read our Deus Ex: Mankind Divided review or visit the official Deus Ex web page here.
Observer is a psychological horror game developed by Blooper Team and published by Aspyr in 2017. The game is heavily influenced by Blade Runner and features Rutger Hauer as a voice actor.
Observer is set in Kraków, Poland, in 2084. A digital plague has recently been unleashed on the world, resulting in thousands of deaths and a rise in social disorder and war. Megacorporation, Chiron, have taken control of Poland and have installed a police unit known as The Observers, who are authorized to hack people’s minds in order to solve crimes.
Players take on the role of Daniel Lazarski, an observer detective who, after receiving a strange voice message, is sent on a trail to locate his estranged son. The journey that follows involves a trippy journey into a digital realm where people can transfer consciousness from one body to another in virtual reality.
The game is played from first-person perspective and involves elements of exploration in order to solve different puzzles to advance the game’s story. Speaking of the story, this is what makes Observer so great. It can be slightly confusing at times, and full attention is required, but you get out what you put in. The plotline is engaging and thought-provoking, and when combined with some excellent voice work and truly impressive sci-fi visuals, this game easily becomes one of the best cyberpunk games available to play right now.
3. Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a turn-based tactical role-playing game that was developed and published by Harebrained Schemes in 2015. It is the third licensed instalment of the Shadowrun video game series and received widespread praise upon its release.
The game is set in a futuristic Hong Kong in the year of 2056, a time when parts of the city are exclusively controlled by mega-corporations in a Free Enterprise Zone. Players take on the role of an orphan from Seattle who travels to Hong Kong to meet his best friend after they receive a strange message from their foster father, Raymond Black. The team then embarks on a mission to uncover the truth behind Raymond’s message, which leads them to the underbelly of Hong Kong where they have dealings with various characters and organizations, such as the HKPD and the Yellow Lotus Triad group.
The gameplay is similar to others in the Shadowrun series and stays true to franchise’s unique mix of urban fantasy and cyberpunk themes. It is this cross-genre format that makes the Shadowrun series so special. This instalment has particularly impressive and smooth visuals and an engaging story that makes it one of the best cyberpunk games available right now.
The game is heavily dialogue-laden, which is a real treat for players who have been used to text-based games, such as the early Final Fantasy titles. With the dialogue comes a rich and in-depth story that will keep you gripped and can easily have you lost in a cyberpunk world away from reality.
2. System Shock 2
System Shock 2 is a first-person shooter that incorporates survival horror and cyberpunk elements in masterful fashion. It was developed by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios and published by Electronic Arts in 1999.
The game is set in 2114 in a world that has been plagued by an outbreak of a genetic infection that threatens the lives of many civilians. The infection makes its way aboard a starship, the Von Braun, after it responds to a distress call from the planet Tau Ceti V. The disease takes the lives of almost all on board.
Players take on the role of a soldier on the starship, who wakes up in a cryochamber with no recollection of prior events. After responding to communication from another survivor, you are taken on a mission to uncover the mystery of the infection. The story takes various twists and turns, leading to encounters with the AI supercomputer, SHODAN, and numerous infected ex-crew members.
System Shock 2 incorporates elements of role-playing and survival horror to create an action-packed first-person shooter game that is both suspenseful and engaging. The RPG elements allow you to upgrade your character in various ways to give you an advantage in combat.
One of the best aspects of the game is the production value. Despite the game first being released in 1999, the graphics are smooth and offer some impressive futuristic visuals, while the sound is expertly scored to create an atmospheric environment. All of this make combine to make System Shock 2 one of the best cyberpunk games around right now.
Number one on the list is another oldie, but a game that is often forgotten and under-appreciated. Anachronox is a light-hearted role-playing game that was developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos Interactive in 2001.
The game is set in a futuristic fictional universe and takes place on the eponymous planet of Anachronox, a place parts of the world is disrupted by chaos and social disorder – themes prevalent in the cyberpunk genre.
Anachronox follows the story of Sly “Boots” Bucelli, a charismatic pirate who has come into trouble with the law. Boots operates a detective agency above a rundown bar in South Anachronox. The player is commissioned to find some MysTech – mystical rocks that once belonged to an extinct race. On his quest to locate these rocks, Boots is joined by his robot companion, PAL-18, a maverick recluse, Grumpos, and various other weird and wonderful characters.
The gameplay in Anachronox has a JRPG feel to it and is similar to games like the Final Fantasy series. You control a part of three different characters who explore a vast world with numerous different space-age and cyberpunk locations. Characters can be swapped in and out of your team depending on which skills you want to use in combat.
Without a doubt, the game’s story and quirky humour are what make Anachronox such a great game. In its own charming way, the game contains suspense, thought-provoking dialogue and light-hearted quips, all of which combine to make Anachronox one of the best cyberpunk games around today.
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