Cyberpunk video games are something you’d think would be extremely popular and, indeed, some of them are classics of the genre. The release of Cyberpunk 2077 late last year was controversial for its host of bugs and issues, but it was still an immensely entertaining game. As such, I’m going to give you guys a wonderful collection of recommended cyberpunk games that I think will help fill up your collections. For the most part, these are available on last generation systems, but I have every hope they’ll still be available to the determined gamer.
Gamers may notice that there is a mixture of Triple-A, Double-A, and indie titles in this work. This is because the people at Grimdark Magazine like to mix it up. Cyberpunk is about rejection of authority and embracing technology to subvert the status quo. As such, there’s nothing more in-genre than supporting smaller developers.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The Deus Ex series is easily at the top of this list because of its massive role in defining cyberpunk for many generations. However, the choice of what game to play is a tough one. In the end, I give Human Revolution a slight edge out over the original installment due to the more grounded story around Adam Jensen. The original contained the Illuminati, Grays, Majestic-12, and others while Human Revolution was built more around the ethics of visionaries spreading transhumanist tech versus those attempted to profit from it or control it. Mankind Divided was a decent enough sequel but monetization, confused storytelling, as well as a clumsy metaphor (people sporting millions of cybernetic enhancements aren’t going to be a disadvantaged minority) undermined it.
Faith Connors is more famous for her parkour skill versus her technological prowess, but it is a cyberpunk series. Mirror’s Edge has our young Runner moving against oppressive corporate and government interests while having uncertain allies among the city’s criminal element. The remake, unfortunately, didn’t love up to its potential as it attempts to introduce an unnecessary backstory that linked our heroine with the villain’s main family. Even so, if you can avoid motion sickness from the first person running and jumping, this is an utterly fantastic game.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
I state that Blood Dragon is unambiguously the best Far Cry game and possibly one of my all-time favorite games. It is also hilarious, stupid as hell, and a budget spin-off of Far Cry 3. You play Sergeant Rex Power Colt (Michael Bien), cyborg supersoldier, on an Apocalypse Now-esque mission to terminate his former commanding officer, Colonel Sloane. There’s cybernetically enhanced dinosaurs on the island, cyborg super-soldiers, and Tron lines on everything. The Eighties homages are everywhere, and it has one of the greatest synthesizer soundtracks of all time, evoking the Terminator and Robocop movies.
Metal Gear: Revengeance
Metal Gear is a franchise with many cyberpunk, political, economic, military, informational, and utterly batshit themes. However, Metal Gear: Revengeance is an often-overlooked entry. Starring Raiden, the Sons of Liberty protagonist, it follows him as a cyborg ninja caught in an attempt to traffic human brains to serve as enhanced child-soldiers. It deals with a lot of uncomfortable and yet fascinating themes that culminates in a fight with a football playing super-Senator. It has to be seen to be believed.
Watch_Dogs is a present-day series and that might mean some people wouldn’t qualify it as cyberpunk. However, it stars a hacker hero who is up against both the Blume Corporation as well as the Irish mafia. Aiden Pearce is a hypocritical antihero who is as much criminal as vigilante and regularly endangers his loved ones. The sequel, Watch_Dogs 2, is too lighthearted by comparison but still another excellent cyberpunk story. As for Legion? Much darker but moves from the street to an active resistance movement.
Technobabylon is an adventure game rather than a more traditional game. A poor hacker and two police officers investigate a weird variety of crimes taking place in the city. It is an interesting who dunnit that ties together corporate politics, AI, and terrorism. How would I sell this game to you? I would tell you it has a restaurant where the rich buy cloned human meat for the thrill of the exotic. It’s a lighter and softer game with some truly dark material.
A side-scrolling Metroidvania adventure game about a beautiful blue-haired girl named Dex. Dex has awoken with amnesia and a need to work with a mysterious voice that wants to use her against a corrupt corporation. Lots of good quests like dealing with a corrupt brothel, drug abuse, and a crooked cybernetics doctor. I really enjoyed this one and think its underrated.
A fantastic story crippled by somewhat uninteresting gameplay. Remember Me is about a post-apocalypse France that has been overrun by a new technology that allows in the re-arranging and trading of memories. I love the biracial protagonist, Nilin, who wants to help overthrow the corrupt memory-traders but has an associate willing to destroy the city in order to achieve his aims. I really liked this game despite its somewhat limited combat as well as a lack of good memory-sequences.
A relatively new release, I really liked Cloudpunk. It has also been updated and improved dramatically from its initial release. You must fly your way through a cyberpunk city for your illegal delivery company. It’s a kind of weird story being a cyber-Taxi and delivery woman, but I think it works well.
A classic video game that was re-released on modern consoles, Perfect Dark is a game deserving of an update and is getting a third game in the franchise. Joanna Dark is a agent for a megacorporation involved with aliens, conspiracies, and espionage. While the graphics are stuck in the year of their production, I had a bunch of fun replaying them.