The 8 Ball: Top 8 Cyberpunk Games
Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. This week I’m talking about the cyberpunk genre and the games that are in it. There are varying levels of what is “cyberpunk”, and hopefully the list I made illustrates this to some degree. A few games that didn’t quite make my list were Invisible Inc and the Tex Murphy series, mainly because I’ve never played them. With that said, let’s begin:
I don’t have a great love for Flashback but to be fair I played the thing on the Jaguar which didn’t exactly help matters. Still, from what I remember the game world was cool, full of holo-cubes, stun pistols and various robots to deal with. If only the platforming had been better, then I could have really dug into the game. Still, I think it’s one of the earliest examples of a cyberpunk world that is still recognizable to some older gamers.
#7: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I have some serious problems with the gameplay of Deus Ex: HR, but the world it creates is rock solid. HR (and presumably MD) have great worlds for you to explore, a lot of side quests for you to complete, and some interesting characters. My issues with the game were primarily due to the energy system and how limiting it was and how it prevented you from really cutting loose. Also, at least initially, every boss could be taken out with two Typhoon attacks.
#6: The Technomancer
All told The Technomancer is a bit of an iffy game, and I should know since I reviewed it. Combat is deeply flawed, getting around the map sucks, and the plot is kind of an incoherent mess. However, the actual world was pretty interesting, combat could work in certain instances and the characters had some “ok” writing to them. Also, despite the game maps being impossible to navigate well, cities did have some good visuals to them and were varied from one another.
#5: Leap of Fate
Leap of Fate is almost undone by the lackluster sound effects the game has. When you attack, there is no “oompf” to what you’re doing which takes away some of the impact your attacks should be doing. Fear not though because everything else about the game is great. It’s a dual joystick cyberpunk/magic shooter with 4 characters who play pretty radically from one another. My favorite is the guy who uses a continuous laser that increases damage the longer you activate it, right up until it overheats and has to recharge. The game also has a pretty good upgrade tree letting you change your sub-weapons, or give you bonuses for the time you play.
#4: Shadowrun: Dragonfall
I liked the original Shadowrun game that returned in 2013 but Dragonfall in 2014 was a much more complete package. It had drastically better party writing/combat, some of the general combat itself was cleaned up and it had a more coherent and morally interesting plot. The cyberpunk/magic landscape of Berlin added a more dramatic flair to the game and had some nice moral ambiguity to concern the player with. The later Shadowrun games have been pretty hit or miss but Dragonfall is the best one in my estimation.
#3: Remember Me
Despite it being a *very* odd game, I still love Remember Me. The world of Neo-Paris was beautiful to explore and presented both a city of the future and a city in decay where divisions of haves vs. have nots was clear. The combat system in Remember Me was strange but could be wrangled once you understood it was never going to be as fluid as Batman’s, or a traditional action game. Actually I found the linear nature of Remember Me to be its biggest fault – if it had been more of an open world it would have been a blast. You could undertake missions to get at people’s memories, or to bring down the Memorize corporation. Despite some odd faults, everyone should try Remember Me at least once.
If you want a FPS game with some of the best gun handling around, you come to Starbreeze Studios. In a change from the RTS roots of the prior Syndicate games, the 2012 version is a FPS game set in 2069, it features Miles Kilo (the most cyberpunk name of them all) as he navigates a world of corporate espionage, various betrayals and enough cyber chips to fill a room with. Aside from all that though, the shooting and combat was a blast with your powers, like mind controlling enemy soldiers to work for you, or having the soldier just commit suicide in gruesome ways. This would be the perfect cyberpunk game if it lasted longer than 7 hours, honestly.
#1: Deus Ex
Deus Ex might look dated from today’s “graphics are all that matters” perspective that some people have, but the gameplay holds up incredibly well even after 16 years of being released. It’s an almost perfect fusion of FPS and RPG gameplay where you can just try to brute force your way through encounters or you can try different methods like stealth or hacking to take your foes out which is just as rewarding. The story hits most, if not all, of the cyberpunk troupes including the Illuminati, Area-51, Majestic-12, sentient A.I., and various cyber groups trying to dictate how the world will go. The first level, Liberty Island, is still a master-class in design, letting you approach the objective in half a dozen ways, often times you won’t even realize you could have tried it differently, if you spotted another access point. Deus Ex: HR and MD might look drastically better, but neither game can still touch the original Deus Ex in terms of gameplay.
For comments, list which cyberpunk games you enjoy.
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