with CLIPREVIEWED learn the article10 Essential Cyberpunk Games to Play Before Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt Red’s upcoming role-playing game is one of the most eagerly anticipated titles of 2020, and it’s coming in right under the wire. But before you get your hands on it this week, consider opening up the backlog for some of the foundational games that defined the genre. Cyberpunk has been a major favorite for developers since the late 1980s, and there are a few all-time classics and unique experiments that use it as a setting. Here are our picks for essential cyberpunk games to play before you log in to Cyberpunk 2077.
Hideo Kojima’s stopover before Metal Gear Solid was released for Japanese home computers in 1988. Heavily influenced by Blade Runner, Snatcher casts players as Gillian Seed, an amnesiac man in Neo Kobe City who is trying to get to the bottom of a spate of murders by humanoid robots called Snatchers. As a new member of an anti-Snatcher task force, Seed discovers the secret history of the Snatcher project and his own memories. It’s a gritty, ambitious, and remarkably adult game that touches on themes Kojima would develop further in later games.
Based on one of the seminal books of the genre, Interplay’s 1988 adventure game transplanted players into William Gibson’s world of hackers and intrigue. Shepherded into existence by psychedelic pioneer Timothy Leary, Neuromancer is an ambitious title for the time, letting users explore real-world Chiba City, Japan, as well as computer networks, entering combat with firewalls and other programs and facing off with artificial intelligences to gain vital information. Throw in a soundtrack by Ohio’s legendary art-punkers Devo and you have a solid introduction to what cyberpunk is all about.
One of the key tenets of cyberpunk is a futuristic world dominated by megacorporations and the scrappy hacker groups that try to bring them down, and few games tap into that quite like Invisible, Inc. Obviously heavily inspired by X-Com, the game sees you putting together small squads for infiltration missions that combine wetwork and hacking in a roguelike framework. With just three days to preserve the artificial intelligence that powers your systems, you must assemble resources for one final mission to implant it inside a supercomputer and save the world…or so you think.
Beneath A Steel Sky
Co-created by Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, this 1994 adventure game is deep and innovative. Protagonist Robert Foster is the only survivor of a helicopter crash as a child and is abducted by hired soldiers from Union City for unknown purposes. Carrying the circuit board of his robot companion Joey, which he can swap into different bodies, he discovers that the city is controlled by a massive supercomputer that is looking to bond with him. Originally released on a staggering 15 floppy disks, it was remastered for iOS devices in 2009.
Nearly every cyberpunk story features the protagonist stumbling into a neon-lit bar to meet a mysterious contact or get information, so why not set an entire game there? Sukeban Games’s clever indie hit cast you as the bartender in a visual novel hybrid that let you mix drinks for a variety of unique patrons, using your observation skills and vast library of cocktails to get them to open up to you and advance the narrative. It’s a completely unique game that gives players a different angle on the future from the service industry side.
Dice’s unique first-person traversal game won raves when it was released in 2008. As courier Faith Connors, you run sensitive information through a series of rich, dynamic environments. This game demonstrated how cyberpunk adapted to the “Apple aesthetic,” with grimy alleyways replaced by smooth, soft white surfaces while still telling stories about corporate control and individual freedom. The 2016 remake, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, changed a bunch of stuff including the storyline but is interesting in its own way.
It’s hard to pick just one entry in what might be the most important cyberpunk franchise in video game history, so let’s just go with the very first installment. Warren Spector put it all on the table in JC Denton’s 2000 outing, giving the player a level of freedom that was unprecedented in first-person shooters at the time. Although the vibe was a little reserved compared to some other games on here, sequels would address the moral implications of the cybernetic implants that gave Denton his abilities in more detail. Each of the games has their own strengths and flaws, but they’re all worth playing.
System Shock 2
While Ken Levine’s 1999 masterpiece doesn’t have some of the neon-laced visual trappings we’ve come to associate with cyberpunk, System Shock 2’s take on the first-person shooter is way too important to ignore. Set in 2114, the game sees players control a cybernetically augmented soldier who wakes up aboard an experimental spaceship helmed by SHODAN, an AI that has been corrupted and biologically engineered a parasitic organism known as the Many. Leaning into the horror aspect of the genre, it was wildly influential and still holds up today.
Released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo, Shadowrun had a troubled path but is recognized as one of the most prescient games in the genre. Based on the tabletop role-playing system by FASA, it delivered a curious hybrid of real-time action and pointer-based adventure. The game’s dialogue system treated vocabulary as currency, with protagonist Jake Armitage able to pick up new terms and use them to expand conversations with other NPCs. A great soundtrack and atmospheric 16-bit graphics put this one on the must-play list.
Another adaptation of an existing franchise, Westwood’s Blade Runner adventure game was mind-blowing when it was released in 1997. Voxel-based graphics gave it a totally revolutionary look as the player guided newbie Blade Runner Ray McCoy as he tracks down replicants. There’s so much cool stuff going on in this one, from the real-time progression in which NPCs are doing their own thing as you explore and investigate, to the Voight-Kampff tests that ferret out the (different every playthrough) replicants. With 13 different endings, this one has tons of replayability.
keyword: 10 Essential Cyberpunk Games to Play Before Cyberpunk 207710 Essential Cyberpunk Games to Play Before Cyberpunk 207710 Essential Cyberpunk Games to Play Before Cyberpunk 2077