A shock for all role-playing fans: The release of Cyberpunk 2077 (buy now for € 59.99) was postponed again at short notice. Instead of next April, the new blockbuster of the Witcher makers is expected to appear on September 17. Means: Another five months waiting time before we can finally plunge into the dystopian night city. But don't worry: We have put together 10 interesting cyberpunk alternatives with which you can make the waiting as pleasant as possible.
Source: Eidos Montreal / Square Enix
It is the year 2029. The conflict between mechanically augmented and "normal" people threatens to finally split society into two parts. In this torn world of opposites, her secret agent Adam Jensen, who rushes across the globe to uncover a worldwide conspiracy, plays. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided impresses not only with a bombastic staging and a gripping story, but also with enormous playful freedom. It is also possible, for example, to end the entire sci-fi adventure without even bending a human hair. The game world of the shabby Prague of the future also looks incredibly atmospheric and is full of stories that are worth discovering. Speaking of which is worthwhile: in addition to the latest part of the Deus-Ex series, all other four parts are of course also highly recommended – especially the debut developed by Warren Spector, which is still considered a milestone in video game history.
Speaking of Warren Spector: He also wrote another masterpiece of the cyberpunk genre: namely System Shock. In the first person shooter with role-playing elements you go to the Citadel space station to do a hacking job for the TriOptimum Corporation. After a few complications, however, you quickly find yourself in a futuristic nightmare scenario in which you have to defend yourself against the insane KI SHODAN and mutated crew members. The MS-DOS classic from 1994 is particularly convincing with its dark, oppressive atmosphere, a versatile narrative and revolutionary gameplay elements at the time. Admittedly, even in the enhanced version available on Steam, System Shock now looks stale – despite 4K support and higher resolution textures. The planned reboot, which should give the series a new shine, still has no specific release date.
Source: Revolution Software
Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is still considered a true cult classic among film fans, as the 1982 science fiction thriller starring Harrison Ford counts as a co-founder of the cyberpunk film genre. So what would be more obvious than playing the point-and-click adventure of the same name from 1997? This perfectly captures the look and mood of the original, but tells an independent story, albeit clearly based on the film: You play Ray McCoy, a so-called replica hunter. With the help of your criminalistic talent and various gadgets, it is your task to track down artificially created people who are prohibited from entering Earth cities. What is special: The gaming experience varies depending on the game play and style of play. This is how a wide variety of outputs come about. Blade Runner also shines in that it confronts you with numerous social and ethical issues – such as abuse of power and absolute control by the authorities or the dwindling contrast between man and machine – just like the film and novel by Philip K. Dick.
Credit: Rare / Xbox Game Studios
Unfortunately, Perfect Dark never appeared in its original form in Germany. When developer Rare launched the title in the summer of 2000, there was simply too much fear that the first person shooter could be indexed by the BPjM. Not an unfounded worry, because the title was based on an agent shooter for the N64, which was not available in the Federal Republic. Nevertheless, the decision was more than unfortunate, because players who did not want to switch to versions from Austria or Switzerland had to do without the retro pearl for a long time. In Perfect Dark you take on the role of Joanna Dark, a young agent at the Carrington Institute. With Joanna you follow the call for help from a certain Doctor Caroll, but you must quickly realize that there is much more to the kidnapping of the renowned scientist than initially thought. The wacky plot about extraterrestrials and super weapons, the successful presentation and the fluid but at the same time demanding gameplay made Perfect Dark famous as one of the best games of all time. You can still try it out with ease thanks to the Rare Replay game collection, which was released for Xbox One in 2016.
Source: Aspyr / Bloober Team
If you prefer to go for a slightly newer title, Observer is a good choice. That appeared in August 2017, so graphically it looks a little bit more. But the story also knows how to convince: It revolves around Daniel Lazarski, an elite neural detective whose job consists of penetrating the minds of suspects and hacking their thoughts. One day, however, you will be torn from your daily work routine when a mysterious message from your son reaches you. In search of answers, you head to the shabby Krakow of the future, which has become a place of violence and drug excesses after a kind of digital plague. There you research crime scenes from a first-person perspective in order to solve a series of murders in which your Filius seems somehow involved. Observer does not save on morbid shock moments: mutilated corpses, vegetating junkies who have understood their last remnants. Developers Bloober Team – who are also behind the scary title Layers of Fear – stage a gripping mix of interactive madness and psychological horror.
Hotline Miami, Katana Zero, My Friend Pedro – these are just a few of the crazy action fireworks that publisher Devolver Digital has in its portfolio. Ruiner has a similar notch – a completely over-the-top action shooter located in the futuristic cyber metropolis Rengkok. There you shoot yourself as a wired sociopath through a corrupt system and let hordes of sinister minions merge into flesh explosions in a top-down view. Ruiner impresses with a unique look, a driving in-game soundtrack and rapid gameplay: In order to survive against your opponents, quick reflexes, a good eye and tactical use of your weapons and skills are required. Oh yes, there is also a kind of background story: After the giant Heaven kidnapped your brother, your protagonist "Puppy" blows the fuse and he goes on a bloody revenge campaign. You don't need to know any more.
Source: PC games
Things are a bit more classic in Beneath a Steel Sky. Developer Revolution Software relies on the old point-and-click principle, but transports it down under to a dystopian Australia that looks even darker than after 1,000 years of forest fires. The country is dominated by six city-states, which in turn are controlled by companies. Between the few patches of civilization yawns a huge wasteland called The Gap, where only a few people live – like your main character Robert Foster. However, its settlement is destroyed at the start of the game and he is dragged under the smoky dome of Union City. Now it's time to find a way to freedom again and to uncover the secret behind the all-controlling AI "LINC". As is typical of the genre, you will speak to NPCs, solve crunchy puzzles and explore great 2D backdrops – illustrated by DC comic artist Dave Gibbons. Together with the black humor of the developers a unique experience!
Source: Wadjet Eye
Technobabylon ticks off several items on the list of typical cyberpunk elements: cybernetic and genetic improvements? Check! An addictive online experience that replaces any social interaction? Check! An almighty artificial intelligence that controls the city? Also check! However, the indie adventure is not an unimaginative craft that simply works off all clichés. Instead, Technobabylon manages to unravel an exciting story in which you hunt a so-called mindjacker in 2087. He clicks into the brains of ordinary people, steals their memories and leaves them dead. The huge conspiracy story is told from three perspectives, which always shed a different light on the events. Anyone who has found their favor with the look and feeling can also take a look at Gemini Rue, which the same makers brought to the market four years earlier.
Va-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk bartender action
Credit: Sukeban Games / Ysbyrd Games
Another slightly different title on our list is Va-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action – a game that sounds a bit strange at first, but is relatively self-explanatory. As the name suggests, the Japanese-inspired future trip is about serving customers at the counter and – as the bartender's guild demands – listening to their worries and problems. Only that they are now about life in a dystopian world dominated by megacorporations, social inequality and nanomachines. Since you do not have the opportunity to influence the fate of your guests with the help of different dialog options, Valhalla remains a rather passive gaming experience in the direction of the visual novel. The trip to Gitch City is definitely worth it just because of the stories you get told there.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director's Cut
Source: Harebrained Schemes
If you talk about Dark Future and Cyberpunk, you probably can't avoid a name: Shadowrun. The pen and paper adventure has enjoyed constant popularity since the late 80s – thanks in part to its unique mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It is therefore no wonder that the franchise has also brought about some video game implementations. For our special, we simply chose Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director's Cut – a standalone version of the 2014 add-on for Shadowrun Returns. The classic RPG is located in Berlin in 2054, where you have to face a dark danger with your group. Dragonfall shines with the successful atmosphere of its predecessors, but brings various improvements with it – such as a revised memory function, an improved combat system and a significantly less linear story with additional side missions.
Of course there are many more games in the cyberpunk universe – for example the 90s classics Snatcher or Syndicate, but also more recent titles like Invisible Inc. or The Red Strings Club. So, let us know your game recommendations for cyberpunk lovers in the comments!
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