With Cyberpunk 2077 less than 3 months away from release and being one of the hottest games of 2020, people are filled with anticipation to see & experience this dystopian world with their own eyes, 8 years after its initial announcement. However, we recognise there are only so many times you can re-watch the likes of Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell & other science-fiction titles.
Therefore, I have compiled a list of 5 games centring around the genre of cyberpunk, which I recommend you check out before you lose yourself in Night City come November and beyond.
Developer: Bloober Team | Publisher: Aspyr
Released: 2017 | System: PC, mac, Linux, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Observer is a futuristic tale that takes place in the city of Krakow, Poland in the year 2084. Following a digital plague that has lead to war & an increase in addiction to drugs and holograms, a corporation named Chiron has taken control to try and restore a resemblance of society in the city. Voiced by actor Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner’s Roy Batty), you play as Daniel Lazarski; an observer who has the ability to hack the minds of citizens. Following an unexpected call from his son, he’s led into an investigation & pursuit of someone involved with smuggling data outside of Chiron, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.
Its use of augmented vision provides an interesting and pleasant way for you to piece together what transpired, as you are dragged further into the source of this mystery. Whilst this title does prioritise its presentation over gameplay, it presents a suspenseful story that glistens with a flair of neon imagery & desolation, which will certainly immerse you further into this world over its 8 hour runtime.
The Red Strings Club
Developer: Desconstructeam | Publisher: Devolver Digital
Released: 2018 | System: PC, mac, Linux, Switch
As reviewed by our fellow writer Troy McJohnson, The Red Strings Club is a point-and-click adventure, set within the confines of a bar of the same name. In this world, a company known as Supercontinent Ltd. has created a trend in society that allows people to manipulate parts of themselves via an implant. Following a course of action planned by Supercontinent, it’s up to our three protagonists to conjure a plan to take down this corporation from implementing its said plan; one that will impact humanity in an uncertain manner.
The game uses a simple pixelated presentation with a story that approaches the subject of human rights, all whilst using a unique concept of the focus on a single setting to effectively deliver its story. If you want to find out more, check out Troy’s review here, as he was extremely positive on this title and we inherently trust our fellow point-and-click commander.
Developer: Sukeban Games | Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Released: 2016 | System: PC, mac, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, Switch
VA-11 HALL-A is a visual novel game that blends bar-tending mechanics into its core gameplay. In this world, all humans have become infected with molecular machines designed to control and oppress them. You play as protagonist, Jill, as she encounters a number of intriguing patrons, who request drink orders & it’s up to you to ensure they receive the drink they require, so you can indulge further into their post-dystopian lives.
Although this can be described as a game of booze, waifus and technology (by their own website and own words, not ours), there’s something intriguing about its use of mixology in place of a standard RPG action system. Its gameplay can be a little repetitive, but its premise is unique with a branching plot, complimented with a stylistic use of pixelated imagery & a beautiful electronic soundtrack by artist, Garoad. Working at a bar has never been so satisfying.
Developer: Konami | Publisher: Konami
Released: 1988 | System: Sega CD, PlayStation (Japan Only)
Snatcher is a Konami title written and directed by legendary developer, Hideo Kojima. Released initially in 1988, it takes place in a futuristic Asian city where humanoid robots have been reportedly killing humans and taking their place in society. It follows the story of Gillian Seed; a man suffering from memory loss who joins an agency that specialises in the hunting of these law-defying humanoids, in hope that this will help him bring back his forgotten memories & try to reconnect with his estranged wife.
Whilst its menu-based interface can seem outdated, it presents a mature, linear story presented in a visual novel format. It delves into the themes of humanity & the morality of artificial intelligence, leaving a thrilling experience for you to process & interpret. Unfortunately, this game is exceedingly rare and only available on the Sega CD in western territories but if you do manage to find yourself a copy and have the funds/hardware to play it, we highly recommend it.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: 2013 | System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Following the success of Far Cry 3, Ubisoft would release a standalone title heavily influenced by the action movies of the 80s. You play as the military cyborg, Rex “Power” Colt, as you travel to an unknown island where a rogue Colonel named Sloan is said to be hiding. With his plans to turn the world back into a pre-historic state, you must reach & defeat him whilst taking down his allied forces and as you encounter a number of fluorescent dragons, which also inhabit this island.
Utilising its Far Cry engine and mechanics, it creates a futuristic FPS adventure that puts its foot on the throttle and honours its action influences. Peppered with a fantastic soundtrack by Australian artist, Power Glove, as well as the use of a neon-against-dark colour palette that delivers one of the most memorable Far Cry experiences to date & in glorious style.
Are there any honourable titles we omitted? Feel free to include your choice(s) in our comments down below, as we would love to hear and explore your choices!
Cyberpunk is set to be released on November 19, 2020 on PC, Google Stadia, PlayStation 4 & Xbox One. A next-gen version, which can be upgraded for free with a current gen copy, is also set for a release in 2021.