[Top 20] Best Cyberpunk Games Ever Made

Just try not to get cyberpsychosis from all those mechanical enhancements, okay?


The 20 Best Cyberpunk Games of All Time

 

While the cyberpunk genre was once more niche, a simple subset of the sci-fi genre back in the day, it has since skyrocketed in popularity, with more and more games being made every year. Developers are now creating worlds of cyberspace closely tied to our own, with sky-high corporate buildings, neon lights and oppressive advertising billboards, as the prophecies of the cyberpunk genre are becoming more tied to the current world we live in. 

With sentient AI deadset on killing you, nanomachines that want to take over your mind, and the means to look good while evading all of that, the cyberpunk genre has it all, and we’re going to explore the very best the genre has to offer in this article just down below.

 

1. Stray (2022)


Meow..?

You’ve likely experienced the world of cyberpunk through the mechanical eyes of every kind of person residing in your favourite cyberpunk cities - bartenders, corporate workers, gang members, even simple bystanders. But you’ve likely never seen them through the narrow eyes of a cat. That is the concept of Stray, developed by BlueTwelve studios. 

In Stray, you become a cat, lost in a breathtaking labyrinth of a dystopian city. No longer on equal footing with the much larger, robotic inhabitants overrunning the crowded setting, you use your agility to bound gracefully from dilapidated, futuristic buildings and richly coloured neon signs to weave past them all. And in calmer moments, when you let your game idle for a moment to take in the warm lights and neons illuminating the city, the feline will do what it does best - curl up into a tiny loaf, and warm the hearts of even the most hardened players of the genre.

 

2. Cruelty Squad (2021)


Oh, now this is a fever dream...

Cruelty Squad, the debut game developed by a single developer, Ville Kallio, is nothing short of an eccentric exploration of a mechanically and biologically augmented assassin who carries out hits on targets given by their employer: Cruelty Squad. Every single level is set in a sensorially aggressive open world, in a similar vein to Hitman - except with more absurdist equipment to carry out your killings than you could ever imagine. How else are you supposed to survive in your classic corporate, dystopian corporatocracy? 

Among the examples of equipment you can biologically install are The Eyes Of Corporate Insight, the Funkgrunters, and my personal favourite, the Grappendix - and no, describing their exact functions here does not do them justice at all.. Of course, if it’s all getting too much, you can always take a break by investing in the stock market, or simply going fishing. Truly, a cyberpunk style game that has it all.

 

3. Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)


Society may be screwed, but at least I look cool.

Virtually no list would be complete without Cyberpunk 2077, and for good reason. Put simply, it is a love letter to the genre with a tantalisingly expansive, open world that I, personally, have wanted to live in for years now. 

You’re never short of missions to do or people to interact with, in any way you wish: hacking, killing, chatting - take your pick. There are even references to the books that shaped the cyberpunk genre into what it is today, such as “breaking ice”, the security measures of hackable objects. (William Gibson’s Neuromancer) Of course, what everyone comes for are the aesthetics - in one moment, you can be walking through the unkempt and gang-infested streets, and in the next, wandering the sky-high corporate buildings, all laden with neons and bright lights as far as the eye can see in Night City. Don’t be discouraged by the disaster that was its first release, as CD Projekt Red has been updating the game to become more than playable, even three years on, especially with their recent patches and DLC, namely Phantom Liberty.

 

4. Cloudpunk (2020)


God, so many deliveries...

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the genre at any point, there are always more relaxed games that pride themselves on immersion within the setting - Cloudpunk is one such  example. You work as a new delivery driver for a (slightly illegal) company known as Cloudpunk. 

No need to ask what’s inside the packages you deliver, just sit back in your HOVA vehicle and get lost in the neon roads of Nivalis, with stunning voxel pixel graphics. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it big someday. Perhaps soon, you’ll be delivering for the CEOs high in the sky, detached from the ordinary citizens just trying to make their way in life. Just try not to look down too far, I hear the drop is none too pleasing, according to the guide on your intercoms. Oh, and did I mention that you get a dog to travel around with?

 

5. VA-11 Hall-A (2016)

You go ahead and do that, Dana...

One amazing thing about the genre of cyberpunk is that its elements can be felt across all genres, including visual novels. Again, if the genre proves to be too action-packed, becoming a bartender in a downtown dystopian district, meeting new people along the way can prove to be just as valuable an experience. Like most cyberpunk games, you are faced with the hardships of residing in a society where private sectors make the world go round, nanomachines can infect even the toughest minds, food and drink shortages are rampant, and… you can’t talk. For any of it.

No, your primary method of communication is making drinks, while in turn developing deeper connections with people that they may not have even realised was possible with the nanomachines infecting them. If you want to sit back, relax, and just make your dream mix for people to enjoy, VA-11 Hall-A is worth the buy.

 

6. Signalis (2022)


Give her a second to recover, maybe...?

Survival horror games have been a staple of the gaming scene for decades now, and while some people may believe that there is nothing left to be done with the genre, Signalis disproves that notion.  In Signalis, you play as Elster, a Replika made from copied human neural imprints, who lands on an unknown planet with one goal in mind: to look for her partner, Ariane, while coming to terms with the idiosyncrasies and memories that made them human together, once. 

And if that’s too heart-wrenching, just remember that you also have to work against other Replikas on this planet, who have degenerated into mindless, murderous beings with their sights set on you. And with limited resources, you’re essentially within a cyberpunk Resident Evil, finding a way to outmanoeuvre the Replikas with only 6 items in your inventory. Have fun!

 

7. Ghostrunner (2020)


Brought a knife to a gunfight? Just slice the incoming bullets in half, or something.

Never bring a knife to a gunfight. Well, unless you’re in Ghostrunner, where both you (the knife-wielder) and the enemy (the gun-holders) can die in one hit if you aren’t careful. You play as the Ghostrunner, with no other recollection of your life besides your title, and your first task: To free a being known as The Architect. 

You might be wondering about how you go about doing all that when you’ve just come into existence, but there’s no time for deep thinking and long, contemplative silences, unless you want to invite your death. You dash, sprint, grapple and slide over the jagged and dangerous futuristic architecture with nothing left to lose as bullets fly at you from all angles, and your reward is the ability to slice people in half with the knife you brought to the gunfight.

 

8. The Ascent (2021)

I've played games like these long enough to realise that questioning hanging robotic limbs on market stalls should not be questioned.

In a dystopian future, within the city of Veles, a cyberspace colony infested with grime from years of corruption, you start off as an enslaved worker - known as an “indent” for a megacorporation, called The Ascent Group. You know your way around using a gun, but that is all you’re good for, to begin with. Your time with the company doesn’t last long, however, as its mysterious collapse leaves the remaining world in anarchy, and you with only your wits, your gun, and your cybernetic upgrades to help you unravel the mystery behind the fall.

The environments themselves are nothing short of breathtaking. Beneath the veneer of The Ascent Group’s control lies a rich underbelly of cyberpunk culture, with glaring neon bazaars, shops to upgrade your indent’s cyberdeck, sewers to rummage around and find loot in and backstreets to truly live out the high tech and low life that the (proclaimed) fathers of the cyberpunk genre idealised back in the 80s. The constant nods within The Ascent to original works lend to the detail allocated to world building, as interactivity with AI is nothing short of creative, and representative of the small ideas plotted here and there about the sentience of AI, and how they have similar quirks to humans . 

 

9. Mirror's Edge: Catalyst (2016)


The Sentinels can't get you from up there. Probably.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is a personal favourite, despite my constant disdain for reboots in video games. You play as Faith Connors, a youthful runner who delivers messages and packages all across the City of Glass after her release from prison, located in the fictional world of Cascadia while evading the classic private conglomerate powers that be, known as Kruger-Security, making a return from the first instalment to become the primary antagonists.

However, the story really takes a backseat to the awe-inspiring gameplay. In a true declaration of love for both Cyberpunk and parkour, most of your time will be spent hopping from district to district with slick, fluid movements that immerse you into the futuristic, sky-high rooftops of the world. And Solar Fields, the composer, goes above and beyond, having gorgeous ambient tracks for literally every circumstance in the game, between different acts, times of day,  whether you’re exploring or in combat. Let’s just say your time won’t ever really be spent using the game’s fast travel system, since it’s just too damn satisfying to run across the whole world, from the unpredictable rezoning district, to the loCaste hideouts of other runners, all the way to the upper hiCaste districts of Regatta Bay.

 

10. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016)


I love how they're still on the grind despite what's happening. Truly, NPCs are the backbone of society

You’ve explored worlds that actively encourage biomechanical upgrades, set way in the distant future, decades from today. But Deus Ex goes in a completely different direction, instead focusing on the lives of those who have become outcast from society as a result of the now commonplace version of cyberpsychosis, activated in those with augmented upgrades and biochips in the previous game. 

You play as Adam Jensen, a member of a group known as The Juggernaut Collective, who oppose a group running the world behind the scenes, thought to be the cause of the mass Aug incident just years prior: The Illuminati. Being heavily augmented himself, Jensen uses his own upgrades to try and stop the mechanical apartheid set up by them. Ever felt like your speech was lacking in the world? Ever feel too lonely? Well, just get a dielectric enhancer and watch as even the most hardened dissenters become persuadable. Hopefully..

Most of your time, however, will be spent gawking at the torn apart and mechanically enhanced industrial open worlds you explore as you work your way through the story, with geometric windows and ceilings encased in metal, blended with subtle neons and fractured scaffolding and buildings, mixed in with hints of nature peeking through.

Don’t spend too long gawking, though, unless you want to become nothing more than a shell of your former self.

 

11. Transistor (2014)


Damn, all a girl wanted to do was sing.

Usually, the first or third person perspectives are a staple of these games, but Transistor chooses to take an isometric point of view when exploring the world, something that works to its advantage when viewing the world of Cloudbank. The sci-fi cityscape is chock full of haunted and gloomy atmospheres, lit up by neon windows, followed by starkly empty open worlds (When you aren’t being surrounded by enemies), complete with ghostly glowing rays of light.

In this world, you play as Red, a famous singer residing in Cloudbank - that is, before she loses her voice, trapped within a special sword known as the Transistor, located within the chest of a seemingly random man. Sounds like an average Sunday night in the UK. However, what isn’t like an average Sunday night in the UK is being surrounded on all sides by murderous robots, and being made to plan every move with limited energy slots to take them all out, strategising and plotting the most efficient way to stop the little semi-autonomous mechas.

And as a bonus, if you’re one of those games who finds every game way too easy, Transistor gives you the option to increase the difficulty with collectable limiters you find across the cyber world of Cloudbank. Sounds like a win to me.

 

12. Tales Of The Neon Sea (2019)

I don't have anything funny to say, just LOOK

Of all the games on this list, Tales Of The Neon Sea is easily one of the brightest neon worlds I’ve ever come across. When you load into a level for the first time, it is tempting to just spend 10 minutes staring at the lively futuristic metropolis. Blacklight-like neon signs jut out from the sides of buildings, garish store fronts beckon you to come in, some windows light up, showing life within the pixelated screen, beyond what we can see. The lighting, surprisingly, is even dynamic, affecting characters that wander into its proximity, creating an extremely lively world from pixel graphics alone.

Beyond that, of course, is the story, a classic detective noir that nods to the origins of the genre back in the 1930s. You play as Rex Mist in this side-scroller game, a private (alcoholic) detective, with a robotic arm, leg, and a cat (Note: The cat is not robotic), and a drive to hunt down a serial killer who's been terrorising the metropolis in the year 2140. And the best part about this game? There are some sections where you can play as his cat, called William. 

 

13. Shadowrun Trilogy (2022)


Lovely night to stand around and do nothing.

To all the fantasy fans out there: no, the cyberpunk genre has not left you out, as the Shadowrun trilogy has you covered. The trilogy covers a world in which magic and fantasy races, such as your classic orcs and elves, meet the modern technology of the futuristic late 21st century. In this, regular character classes are not available, but are instead replaced by archetypes, such as samurais of the street, or deckers who focus on computer hacking.

You thought armies of dead-eyed AI machines employed by heartless megacorporations were bad enough? Imagine what these corps could do with magic at their disposal as a means of controlling others. Yikes. 

The Shadowrun trilogy in itself is a collection of three different stories, with far too much lore behind the universe to condense into a few sentences, but the gist is that you play as a fully customisable shadowrunner, secret workers for megacorps who aim to take down other big-name corporations when hired to do so, armed with bioware and cyberware, implants (like alpha legs and data jacks) that aid the player in their jobs, after a data crash event before the  the games that rapidly advanced technological progress in society. 

 

14. Katana ZERO (2019)


Hey, it's not a party until I get there.

In this side scrolling hack n’ slash game, you play as Subject Zero, an assassin who awakens during the aftermath of a war, which his city is still reeling from the effects of. He has amnesia, but to compensate, he also has precognitive abilities, and the ability to slow down time entirely. His contracts are set by his psychiatrist throughout the course of the story, which is probably the most unique form of therapy I’ve ever seen.

You, as Subject Zero, go through these contracts in sidescroller levels, amidst a background of mechanical and purple cyber-like buildings with the all too classic neon lights that set the ambience of the cyberpunk genre in a tasteful way that doesn’t overload the player as they take part in the smooth and fluid one-hit kill type combat the game has to offer - it never leaves you feeling stuck, or at odds against an oppressive world, making this not only compelling in its plot, but the neo-noir world of the Metropolis.

 

15. Invisible, Inc. (2015)

If I can't see them, then they definitely can't see me. 

Invisible, Inc. is a game that places a heavy focus on the skills of stealth and espionage, as you, the player, fight (quietly) against attacks from multinational corporations at your private intelligence agency as a remote operator, directing a team of agents, and an AI called Incognita, to retrieve valuables of all kinds from rival corporations across the globe - all done in under 3 days, lest your agency falls to the hands of its attackers. Sounds high pressure - and it is.

Your decisiveness and ability to make calls is put to the test, as you may be stuck between leaving your agents for dead, or getting less resources for your agency. It’s never been so tantalising in this turn-based gameplay to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, and with the procedurally generated worlds, there is no feasible way to get bored. 

Despite the top-down gameplay, you truly immerse yourself into the world of being a spy travelling across the globe before your final mission. Between electronic safes, laser grids, spy cameras, and daemons that can restrict your movement entirely, Invisible, Inc. does not mess around when it comes to its difficulty. But that makes the game all the more fun, of course.

 

16. Watch Dogs®: Legion (2020)


Hey, I've been there!

Watch Dogs: Legion is the third game in the Watch Dogs series, set this time in a dystopian London. And having been a Londoner all my life, Unisoft have somehow managed to make the game look even more futuristic than London already is, if the game’s version of Big Ben, decked out in neon luminescence, is anything to go by.

In this game, the well known hacker group, Dedsec, is the first suspect in a case of terrorism against the country, leading to an uncertain future for the cause as the city’s fascist, private military corporation, Albion, take control, and the threat of the rival hacker group, Zero Day, encroach on the lives of citizens and DedSec operatives.

However, you, as the player, make it your mission to rebuild DedSec by employing citizens with a firm and vested interest in making change before the suffocating grip of the all too powerful megacorporations take hold of London. You hack and fight your way through the city, littered with delivery drones in the sky, holographic displays, security checkpoints and, shockingly, even more cops on the street than in London today, playing as all kinds of characters with their own lives and one common goal: To stop the plans of Albion and Zero Day.

 

17. Neo Cab (2019)


Ma'am, I'm not a therapist, please-

This game takes the experience of being an Uber Driver to a whole new level. You play as Lina, one of the last human drivers remaining in a world full of self-driving cars, working for one of the only companies that would take her: Neo Cab, located in the dystopian, technological metropolis of Los Ojos. 

As you pick up passengers, based on the amount of fuel you have and how much you get paid, as well as your own emotional wellbeing (due to the mysterious disappearance of an old friend..), you learn from your all too eclectic passengers (ranging from a girl trapped in literal robot armour to a nomad photographer to a statistician who will instil existential thoughts of other timelines into you) about sinister plots beneath the game’s surface that aim to instil the culture of AI into the world and remove the human touch entirely. Say goodbye to your precious dialogue options!

Since it is set in the the dystopian cyberpunk world of Los Ojos, also has the tendency to get really creative with its designs and setpieces, Lina herself has jewellery that almost glows against the gloomy navy and purple backdrops, and even some the passengers have eccentric cybersuits and armour that brighten the world.

 

18. Severed Steel (2021)


Motion sickness was 100% worth it.

In this fusion blend of Ghostrunner and Superhot, you play as a woman called Steel, the very definition of a glass cannon, equipped with one arm, a gun, and the ability to slow time in each bite sized level with targets who are dead set on ripping you to shreds with bullets if you don’t immerse yourself into the high octane gameplay almost instantly, wall sliding and jumping to victory in the form of an extremely satisfying, well placed headshot on your targets, with a range of weapons that, quite frankly, have the ability to destroy entire countries. And in fairness, with your level of adrenaline in the game, you probably could.

One of the crowning jewels of Severed Steel is its keen eye for level design and aesthetic, truly embracing the sleek, cyber world it's set in. A playground of geometric shapes is set out for you to jump and pinball around, in illuminating shades of orange, purple, blue and neon red against the contrasting blues and greys that bring the cyberspace to life.

Severed Steel, to this effect, employs one of the greatest uses of the cyberpunk aesthetic I have ever seen, the high-tech world being nothing short of breathtaking to look at. 

Before you get gunned down, that is.

 

19. The Red Strings Club (2018)

Only real chads don't even attempt to face the oppressive advertisements behind them.

If the drinks from VA-11 Hall-A weren’t enough to satisfy the desire to be a cyberpunk bartender, then the Red Strings club is the perfect game to continue fulfilling that need. It is a game set in the style of the old cyberpunk and sci-fi games from the 90s, a classic pixel render that takes place in a dive bar owned by a simple, shockingly unaugmented bartender, and his partner. 

As always, there’s a megacorporation, called Supercontinent, dead set on taking control over the citizens through augmentation, but with a greater emphasis on the identity of the mechanically altered people, who fear their own shortcomings, often resulting in them becoming enhanced through their implants to escape their flaws in the neon cyberscape, where anything is seemingly possible. 

While the gameplay is varied, the most notable bulk of the gameplay comes from the unaltered bartender, Donovan, who sees the plight of the citizens first hand, and - just like in VA-11 Hall-A - makes drinks in order to match their emotional state and get them to reveal information about the world and the Supercontinent corporation, in order to take it down for good.

 

20. System Shock (2023 (remaster))


I don't think he'll listen if I give him to the count of three, right?

And last but not least, the 2023 remake of System Shock, a cyberpunk game set within the TriOptimum corporation’s space station in the distant and far off 2072 (well, distant and far off for now). Amongst the usual enemies to kill on space stations, from aliens to killer robots with mechanical enhancements surpassing your own, there is one more threat to contend with. And as a hacker, it seems fitting that you are the reason this problem exists at all.

Yet another game that finds its roots in William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the primary antagonist working against you is a malevolent AI, known as SHODAN. Malevolent in the way that without their ethical limiter, they are capable of repurposing human bodies, turning them into deformed cyborgs, and even creating metagenic viruses, fully intent on overtaking the world. And they’re excited to do it all.



I am not a discriminate gamer. I will play what is put in front of me, but I can't promise I'll be good at them. :)
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Cyberpunk 2077
Top 3 Favorite Games:Portal 2, Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc:, Mirrors Edge Catalyst


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