A bleak urban future, merciless megacities, dystopian regimes, and revolution in neon – that’s what cyberpunk is known for. The famous sci-fi noir genre is full of deep themes that just never get boring. No wonder this genre appears again and again in novels, films, and various video games. Cyberpunks rule everywhere, from adventure to shooter to role-playing, and here are our 13 best games full of tech, violence, and rebellion.
For fans of thrilling strategy battles on the dystopian streets, we now have a newcomer on our list too!
Invisible, Inc. (PC, PS4, Switch…)
Cyberpunk can do not only action or FPS but also tactics. At least that’s what Invisible Inc. proves, throwing you into varied, isometric combat rounds in an urban future. There you sneak into company buildings of powerful corporations as a skilled group of agents on a secret mission. In turn-based missions, you have to use the abilities of different characters, items, and terrains as cleverly as possible to achieve the goals of the invisible organization, stealing data, hacking computers, or eliminating guards. In addition, the whole thing has a slight rouge-like touch because the locations, items, and dangers are randomly generated, giving your cyberpunk agents’ missions a high level of replay value.
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Blade Runner (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch…)
An absolute classic tops our list, and by that, we mean the famous cyberpunk blockbusters and the retro adventure based on the film. As Detective Ray McCoy, you experience similar adventures as the protagonist in Ridley Scott’s film, using the same spacey equipment and listening to the voice actors from the Hollywood original. Funnily enough, Blade Runner 2019 takes place in Los Angeles, and we don’t remember this year as futuristic. However, the dark cyberpunk atmosphere is timeless, and therefore the game should not be missing here either!
Probably one of the most narrative-heavy games on our list and one from Germany: The adventure comes from the Berlin studio ION LANDS and tells the story of the semi-legal delivery driver Rania in the neon metropolis of Nivalis. In terms of gameplay, Cloudpunk may not be the best game you’ve ever played. Still, it certainly has one of the best cyberpunk atmospheres you’ve experienced in gaming: Nivalis, the multi-layered characters, and the stories of the cyberpunk city are all themed of the dark genre in one: everyday dramas, corruption, trans-humanism, and cool AIs and all of this is excellently told and set to music.
Alright, there was a lot of heated discussion around CDPR’s role-playing game when it was released. Cyberpunk 2077 definitely ranks here on the list in terms of the lively and detailed depiction of the neon city of Night City, the wide-ranging plot lines full of decisions, and the diverse characters – especially the PC version of the game, of course. With main character V, you roam the dark streets of the megacity in search of artificial eternal life! It’s all wrapped up in first-person action gameplay, starring Keanu Reeves as notorious rock star Johnny Silverhand.
Deus Ex Human Revolution
One name always has to come up when it comes to cyberpunk games: Deus Ex! The series has produced some action-packed, atmospheric future spectacles, but Human Revolution is a special treat for cyber friends. With the pithy main character Adam Jensen, who is actually supposed to protect the data secrets of a large company, but of course, everything turns out differently, namely with a murder! As it befits the genre, there are dark scenarios, dilemmas, and decisions along with fast-paced action, gunfights, and stealth actions – everything the cyberpunk heart desires.
Then we have another real adrenaline rush on our list: Ghostrunner is a breathless first-person action game full of neon and speed, and not for people who get overstimulated easily. Pulsating music transforms the game’s tough fights into a violent little state of intoxication. In it, you hit the top of the Dharma Tower as a cyber ninja to rebel against a tyrannical regime. In the end, the cruel Key Master Mara awaits you as a final challenge – if you make it until then, because this slasher is anything but easy.
A deeply dark first-person cyberpunk thriller: Daniel Lazarski is a neural detective – an “observer” – who can hack into other people’s minds in drastic ways to uncover the truth. Goosebump moments are pre-programmed in the futuristic horror title by Bloober Team because a strange message leads you to the Kraków slums of the future, and there you have to uncover dark secrets. Of course, in 2084, the dirt under the carpet is pretty disturbing, so Observer isn’t for the faint of heart. After all, the game comes from the same people behind Layers of Fear and other scary titles.
What does the Berlin of the future look like? That’s exactly what you experience in Dragonfall. Shadowrun is originally a pen-and-paper system on which several video games are based. However, Dragonfall is one of the most popular titles in the series, even though it was first released as an expansion for Shadowrun Returns. Dragonfall is now also available as a Director’s Cut, an independent RPG with even more content, and it’s really atmospheric: lots of story, different decisions, and endings in the futuristic megacity. In addition, exceptionally for the cyberpunk genre, there are no action battles but turn-based tactical battles on top.
The fact that there is a slight cult of personality around developer Hideo Kojima is nothing new, so a game by him or by Konami also made it onto our list. Snatcher is an adventure in a kind of visual novel look from 1988, so a real retro title. In it, you navigate through a story inspired by Blade Runner and Co. and implement it in a 2D look using commands such as “Move,” “Look,” or “Ask.” It is about humanoid robots in the human society of a megacity with numerous colorful neon characters. But don’t let that cheerful color scheme fool you: Snatcher gets down to business!
System Shock 2
The second part of System Shock is also a cyberpunk game from 1999. This first-person shooter can contain a hint of horror and is about bare survival on a spaceship in the year 2114. In the beginning, you wake up as a member of the security team in a cryotube with fresh cyber implants on; death and doom reign all around you. Armed, you must now decipher the dark secret of the Von Braun ship, always accompanied by death screams and a dubious voice that whispers to you. In order to survive, you have to use technical aids, hacking or special psy skills.
Read also: The 11 best post-apocalyptic games
The Red Strings Club
Would you like a drink in the best dystopian bar in town? Then off to the Red Strings Club to see cocktail specialist Donovan, who can trigger certain feelings in people just with his drinks! Really fitting because he also works as an information dealer. This particular bartender encounters the ambivalent plans of a mega-corporation: They want to influence people’s psyches. This is meant to eliminate emotional issues once and for all, but is it worth brainwashing? How dangerous are these plans really? And what can you do about it other than a real rebellion? It’s all in this pixelated adventure from Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital, full of deep conversations and philosophical dilemmas.
The look is retro, but the story is futuristic: The 2D pixel adventure by Technocrat Games and adventure specialists Wadjet Eye Games is set in the year 2087. Between addiction problems, the influence of all-encompassing genetic engineering, and complete surveillance by a powerful AI, the game tells the fate of three characters: Charlie Regis, Latha Sesame, and Max Lao. Not only do these three have their own deep problems in the unforgiving future, but they also uncover a far-reaching conspiracy. The indie title tells a far-reaching story full of well-written dialogues between individual fates and societal problems.
Most cyberpunk games involve action and wild gunfights, but they don’t have to be. Exciting conversations over a cold drink sometimes do the trick. In VA-11 Hall-A, for example, it’s about good conversations after work and big feelings in the dystopian Glitch City because this adventure from Studio Sukeban Games is a visual novel in which you run a futuristic bar. Accompanied by cool sounds, you will get to know exciting cyberpunk girls at the bar, mix refreshing drinks, and sometimes have charming, profound conversations about life in the future, which is easygoing or dark.
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