Steam Has Emerged as the Mainstay for Cyberpunk Video Games
Cyberpunk is a genre that I feel always translates well to videogames. It drips with style and has the versatility to fit into multiple types of games. Cyberpunk games offer both high-octane action and a thoughtful story.
I’m going to cover a few cyberpunk games worth discussing. My criteria is as follows: I have personally played the game, it’s available for purchase through Steam, and I consider the cyberpunk story in the game to be creative and interesting.
Without further ado and in no particularly ranked order, let’s dive into the heart of some cyberpunk games.
You play as a driver for Cloudpunk, a delivery company that pays you to take packages from A to B. Seems simple enough, right? But things become more and more complicated as the story progresses. You have to start making hard choices, and those choices have their own consequences.
Outside of driving through the skies, there are multiple items to collect throughout the city and a vast array of characters to interact with. What Cloudpunk lacks in action and violence, it brings in atmosphere and the somewhat calming experience of driving through the rainy skies.
A psychological horror set in 2084 Krakow, >Observer lets you play as Daniel Lazarski (voiced by cyberpunk legend Rutger Hauer). Lazarski is an aged observer, a neural detective in a corporate-controlled police department. He receives a message from his estranged son and heads to a decrepit apartment building to investigate. While he’s there, the apartment is put under lockdown. Lazarski puts his augmentations to use, hacking into the minds of building inhabitants.
The process is far from seamless, as you have to trawl through the minds of the insane and unhinged. After having to wade through the fears and experiences of those whose minds he hacks, Lazarski is left shaken. He begins to question his own reality as the line between neural interface and the real world draws thin.
>Observer offers a dark and gritty world and allows the player to investigate at their own peril. The world it creates is unfriendly and hostile, with more questions arising as you delve deeper and deeper into the mystery.
An isometric shooter puts you in the seat of a plethora of mechs as you’re given contracts to take on the government of the planet Novo Solo. Working for a corporation to retake the planet after a revolution, you’re given collateral damage carte blanche to achieve your goals. Destruction has no limits in Brigador. Just about everything on the map is destructible as you fight against other mechs and forces, leveling entire building blocks in your conflict.
What begins as a cyberpunk skyline ends up flattened by the time you’re done. All this plays out alongside a fantastic soundtrack which could easily be listened to on its own. Each contract you are given has its own specific objectives. Brigador also presents the opportunity to choose which mech, weapons, and pilots you to take into battle. It’s definitely a game with plenty of scope and options to customize to your own preferences.
A highly stylized and brash isometric action game, Ruiner places the player in control of a faceless mute protagonist who’s out to save his brother. This thin pretext is an excuse to plunge the player into a whirlwind of violence and brutality. Between missions, the hub area of Rengkok allows the player a brief respite to explore and interact with the colorful characters that inhabit the city.
The combat is hectic and requires some reflexes as you dodge, duck, and dive away from threats and close the distance to really deal some damage. You’re given all manner of firearms, melee weapons, and gadgets to slice your way through the level, usually to a one-on-one boss fight. The combat is harsh but rewarding, and offers a good challenge for players.
Ion Fury is retro FPS made on the legendary build engine which ran games such as Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and Blood. The player is dropped into Neo DC under the control of Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison as she battles against a cybernetic cult. The city of Neo DC is beautifully crafted within the build engine; it looks like something straight out of the 90s generation of PC games. It’s also chock-full of references that fit the era.
The campaign is bombastic and over the top with a wide arsenal of weaponry. Every weapon is greatly needed, as you’re outgunned and outmanned in your battle against the scum of the streets. With multiple paths, plenty of secrets, and more explosions than a Michael Bay movie, Ion Fury is more than enough to keep you entertained as you gun down cultists. It’s every bit the classic FPS with all the modern upgrades and mechanics to put together– the best of both worlds.
Jazzpunk is a surreal comedy adventure that places you in an alternate reality where the Cold War never ended. You play a secret agent who’s sent out into this world that’s a blend of 60s spy thrillers and cyberpunk. However, the world of Jazzpunk does not follow obvious rules of logic. The solutions to the puzzles you run into may seem simple at first, but soon you’ll find yourself jumping through the most nonsensical hoops.
At one point, you forget why you were doing it in the first place. You’ll be involved in a number of mini-games and puzzles that you would usually find in a point and click adventure, but always with Jazzpunk’s own parody twist. The game isn’t the longest, but it does not overstay its welcome while keeping the humor punchy.
Hypnospace Outlaw is a unique game that aims to simulate the internet of the 90s. It places you in the role of an enforcer (essentially an admin) in Hypnospace. Hypnospace is an alternative internet which you log onto during your dreams. It’s your job to investigate Hypnospace for any content that breaks the rules and could be malicious.
Also, you can indulge and explore this unique world at your leisure. However, as you start to delve deeper into Hypnospace, you may wonder if there’s more going on than meets the eye. Will you be able to figure it out? Only one way to know: start dreaming.
I’ll be cheating with this recommendation somewhat, as I’m not recommending just one but three games (Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall and Shadowrun: Hong Kong). All three are isometric RPGs set in a cyberpunk world with some fantasy elements. Elves and dwarves mingle with all the standard cyberpunk elements. Each of the three games offers a distinctive campaign in a different part of the world and lets the player create their character as they wish.
Different classes are available for whichever play style fits your preference. Alongside this, choices in the type of character you select will enable you to take different paths with different play-throughs. The combat is turn-based and relies on tactics as you manage your squad and their abilities. Each game takes you through an interesting campaign that is equal parts mystery and adventure as you shape your own story with your actions.
I had to mention Deus Ex while making this list. The original is one of my genuine favourites of all time and is the grandaddy of Cyberpunk FPS games. It was a pioneer in the FPS RPG genre. Deus Ex gives players the ability to choose their own builds and paths through levels and to implement long standing RPG mechanics in an FPS game. CyberPunks.com did a more indepth review of the original, and it can be found here.
I want to speak about the series in general, which has maintained a consistent level of quality. Arguably one misstep was Deus Ex: Invisible War. The prequel games which were released more recently for modern platforms have confirmed this. They toss players into a deep globetrotting cyberpunk conspiracy and offer them free reign. Want to be a super spy who expertly slips through defenses without so much as a shot being fired? You can! Want to be a gun-toting one man army? It’ll certainly be harder, but the game allows you that choice. It’s through this pivotal inclusion of free will and choice that you are able to shape the story as you wish. You can make the play-through your own, dictating actions and consequences as you unravel this conspiracy that reaches the highest levels.
With all the excitement and setbacks, we had to confirm that Cyberpunks 2077 will definitely be available on Steam. Will you play some of these classics before the big launch, or will you just dive deep into Night City? Either way, Steam offers all the cyberpunk games you need.