Looking for the best cyberpunk games on PC? It’s a likely scenario, as you’ll need something to tide you over until CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 release date, after all. From neon lights and synthwave music to political commentary and body augmentation, you can probably see why anything with the cyberpunk tag becomes a favourite in pop culture.
Philip K Dick’s novels played a hand in that, with his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? going on to influence Ridley Scott’s cult film Blade Runner. Cyberpunk is far from a Western lover affair, too, and is also present in the East, with Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira proving to be iconic in both manga and anime forms.
It’s only right, if not unsurprising, then, that Cyberpunk games have manifested as a result. From indie favourites such as Deconstructeam’s Red Strings Club to big hitters like Square Enix’s Deus Ex. Heck, there’s even a Quantic Dream developed Cyberpunk game with Davie Bowie in it. Moving on. You should keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list of every cyberpunk game, but it contains some of the most wonderful and weird cyberpunk games you could hope to get your inquisitive hands on. It’s time to dust off your decks and trenchcoats, head out into the rain and marvel at our picks of the best Cyberpunk games on PC in 2020:
The best Cyberpunk games on PC are:
Donovan is a little bit different than the rest. The Red Strings Club is stuffed with a wonderful array of diverse and cybernetically enhanced characters, but our bartender stands out for being free of robotics. That doesn’t mean he’s not special though. Thanks to a special power, he can judge what kind of drinks can enhance parts of people’s personalities, which is pretty handy for getting information out of them. A good thing, then, that Donovan doubles as an information broker.
Donovan’s rare grasp of empathy allows The Red Strings Club to play out as part cyberpunk narrative experience, and part bartending sim. However, as you spend more time speaking with friends and patrons, it quickly becomes apparent that a professed altruistic corporation called Supercontinent Ltd is on the verge of launching Social Psyche Welfare. According to some, it’ll eradicate depression, anger, and fear creeping social anxiety. But others argue that the ability to make mistakes is how we grow, and toying with that is immoral. It’s always said that the making of a good villain is not presenting a force of evil but giving the audience someone with a strong belief that what they’re doing is right. The Red Strings Club is full of characters with conviction, and hearing each of them out will thoroughly toy with your head. It’s no surprise that this gem was one of the best games of 2018.
Shadowrun is a curious blend. Elves, Orcs, and magic spliced with hacking, street samurai, and giant corporations – it’s Tolkien mixed with Gibson, and it’s bloody marvellous. It’s a great pen & paper game, too, if you’re here for that.
Dragonfall is an expansion to Hairbrained Schemes’ Shadowrun Returns and improves on it in almost every way. Set in New Berlin, you control a group of Shadowrunners, each with their own fleshed out backstories and rich personalities, as they attempt to… well, it’s a mystery, so you’re better off finding out for yourself.
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What I can tell you, without spoiling things, is that you will spend most of your time infiltrating various facilities, employing firearms, magic, summoned spirits, and robots to get what you want. Oh yes, and you’ll be able to venture into cyberspace, where you’ll fight AI programs to hack into critical systems.
Most cyberpunk games put you in the role of someone outside of the manipulative, corporate system. The original Syndicate turns this on its head by putting you in charge of a group of cyborg mercenaries working for ‘the man’.
In Syndicate Wars it’s more of the same, as you can work for both the all-controlling EuroCorp, or a group of religious zealots trying to start a revolt. Whoever you side with the result is the same: things get blown up, people get mind-controlled, and all the regular folk suffer.
It’s one of those games that deserves the accolade ‘ahead of its time’ because it offers you entirely destructive sandboxes and so many ways to tackle missions – levelling city blocks with nuclear weapons and manipulating masses of innocent people as you go. This may be one of the old games, but it’s one of the classic PC games for sure.
In Gunpoint, you’re a private detective with fancy future-trousers that allow you to leap like a frog. Don’t get ahead of yourself, though, you might have fancy trousers, but you’re also down on your luck and about to get in over your head.
Tom Francis’ extremely bright game of infiltration and hacking is built around a cyberpunk story of corrupt corporations and murder. If you need a break from the stealth, though, you can fling a few chaps out some windows, which is a whole lot of fun.
As Richard Conway, you’re sort of like a vigilante electrician, sneaking into buildings and rewiring their electronics to steal disks, hack executive computers, and clear your name.
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Part puzzle game, part platformer, Gunpoint can be tricky, but it also forgives and rewards experimentation and creativity, using a building’s security systems to your advantage. It’s very short but has an in-game level editor blessing it with countless new missions and even trickier challenges. Yes, you can finish the game in an afternoon, but what an afternoon it will be.
A squad-based, turn-based tactics game, Invisible, Inc. is a little bit like XCOM, a little bit like Shadowrun, but has no aliens and no magic. Instead, Klei’s understated roguelike hones in on tech and stealthy infiltrations. Either way, it’s one of the best strategy games on PC.
Here’s the deal: megacorps rule the world, your private intelligence firm has been compromised, and most of its agents have been “removed”. You’ve got 72 hours to prepare for a final mission to infiltrate the enemy HQ and insert Invisible, Inc’s AI into their computer or you’re done for.
It’s a slick, sneaky game with plentiful opportunities for emergent gameplay, with each mission escalating in difficulty the longer you spend in it, creating a tense risk versus reward loop as you try to decide whether or not to explore areas in their entirety or complete the mission and get the hell out.
Meant to be played more than once, completing different objectives unlocks more agents that can be used in new games, each with unique starting loadouts and quirks. It’s extremely moreish, like the popcorn of Cyberpunk games.
Wadjet Eye has published (and developed) its fair share of excellent sci-fi adventure games, including the brilliant Gemini Rue and Resonance, but it’s Technobabylon that gets onto this list, not just because it’s the most cyberpunk, but because it’s the best adventure game of the lot.
Genetic engineering, oppressive AIs, the surveillance state – Technobabylon is serious business. The game jumps between three characters, two members of the secret police with divided loyalties, and an agoraphobic hacker who prefers to spend her life in cyberspace, and they all become entangled in a cracking sci-fi conspiracy.
This is one of those games that, because of its gorgeous pixel aesthetic, gets called “classic” or “traditional” but is absolutely a modern game that pushes the genre forward with exceptionally creative puzzles that never actually feel like puzzles.
Logical but inspired problems, a thick, multi-layered story, and some of the best and most believable world building you’ll have the good fortune to witness – Technobabylon is a brilliant reminder that point and click games can still reach new heights.
The weird blend of console-style JPRG combat and Western cyberpunk and film noir themes is a bizarre combination, and yet Anachronox makes it work against all the odds. It’s still utterly ridiculous though. You’ve got a down on his luck private investigator nicknamed “Sly Boots” living on a city-planet that’s continuously shifting where, if you look up, you’ll see people walking upside down on gravity-defying streets, and somehow this drunk, sarcastic fellow is meant to stop the galaxy from being demolished.
Anachronox even makes the simple mouse cursor interesting. Instead of an arrow or icon that only you, the player, can see, the cursor is a tiny floating vessel containing Sly’s deceased chum in hologram form. We can’t say we’ve come across any other game where the protagonist has hilarious banter with the cursor.
While the eccentric cast and bizarre world will keep you grinning for hours, this recommendation is tinged with melancholy. Anachronox was developed with a sequel in mind, and thus the story is left incomplete and is unlikely to be picked back up again.
If it weren’t for the next game down, EYE would easily be the loopiest game on this list. It’s mad and rarely makes any sense whatsoever, and yet it’s so strange and ambitious that it demands to be played. It’s also one of the few FPS Cyberpunk games, so gets a nod for that niche alone.
You play a cyberpunk warrior monk working for a megacorp – shooting, hacking, or doing weird things like psychically cloning yourself as you make your way through sprawling levels. You can try to play through it like a standard shooter, but you’ll want to explore the more esoteric and peculiar abilities at your disposal.
One thing you’ll undoubtedly want to experience is the hacking. While so many games relegate this to a mind-numbing but quick mini-game, EYE gives us a turn-based combat experience against deadly AIs. Lose the battle, and the AI will hack you instead, infecting you with a nasty virus.
There are too many big concepts, not much coherence and it’s immediately overwhelming. But this cyberpunk game is so bold and weird that it has to be experienced even if just for a mission or two, and you might find yourself sticking with it to the end.
Nomad Soul is fourth-wall-breaking cyberpunk, supernatural fantasy, an adventure game, an action game, and a game where David Bowie stars both as an NPC and in the excellent soundtrack – it’s so many things. Too many things, and that’s why we love it.
Quantic Dream is more well known for Heavy Rain, but this is where David Cage first started assaulting us with his crazy ideas. And like all Quantic Dream games, it’s very uneven and bites off more than it can chew.
It is fascinating, though. You find yourself drawn into another dimension where you possess the body of a futuristic cop in the bizarre city of Omikron. There’s some detective games DNA in there at the start, but eventually the plot spirals into a completely barmy tale about an eternal battle between good and evil complete with powerful demons and a They Live-inspired conspiracy.
While Nomad Soul is primarily an adventure game, it dabbles in lots of other genres, interrupting traditional adventure shenanigans with shooting, brawls, and moments where you can hang out and listen to David Bowie. What more could you want from one of the best cyberpunk games?
With a suitably neon and retro aesthetic, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has enough 80’s theatrics and showmanship to make Daft Punk green with envy. It also features giant genetically altered lizards and spawned one hell of a trailer. Throw in some tight first-person shooter gameplay into the mix, and you may come to understand why we reckon it’s the best DLC Ubisoft has ever made.
Some may doubt If Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is really cyberpunk, but the expansion is so thoroughly in love with ‘80s cinema that we’re willing to bet you’ll still dig it. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a parody of the period’s action films, cartoons, and video games rolled into one.
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It takes place in a retro-futuristic open world island with players jumping into the boots of Sergeant Rex ‘Power’ Colt, who is a military cyborg. Where it truly succeeds, however, is in providing a smaller, tighter, more entertaining open world shooter than its predecessor and even its successor.
We could expend a great deal of energy reminiscing about how Deus Ex’s dramatic narrative weaves themes of conspiracy, terrorism, and transhumanism together with intriguing characters into a believable dystopian cyberpunk future. Or, we could go on and on about the breadth of character customisation, and how it lets you hone protagonist J.C. Denton into a cybernetically enhanced soldier, expert hacker, or a ghost that lurks in the shadows, and how that makes Deus Ex one of the best stealth games on PC. But what we want to tell you about this iconic cyberpunk game is how good the level design is.
Every map represents a complex sandbox ripe for experimentation. Every combat encounter has the potential to play out in remarkably different ways; should you participate in said encounter rather than slinking past it. Secret paths, hidden caches, informants waiting to be bribed and confidential information opening up new routes and options litter levels, ensuring that when players discuss their experiences. It’s like they are talking about different games.
And it’s all so organic, too. There’s a strong temptation for developers to signpost choices that can be made, to the point where mission objectives explain precisely where you can go and what you need to do, but in Deus Ex, it’s all a surprise. You don’t know that hacking a computer and reading private emails will give you a code that lets you defeat a tough enemy without a fight. You also don’t know that there’s an item hidden within a level that will unlock a previous invisible, unimagined route to the mission objective – you need to go out and explore.
Upcoming Cyberpunk Games
How do you follow up something like The Witcher 3? According to CD Projekt Red, it’s by ditching the medieval tomes of the past and heading straight to a cybernetically enhanced future.
Much like how The Witcher series bases itself on Eastern Europe’s beloved fantasy book series, Cyberpunk 2077 will be adapted from the Cyberpunk 2020 pen-and-paper game. Similarities don’t end there either as CD Projekt Red’s next game will also tell an adult story that tackles themes of drugs, violence, and social politics.
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All of this will, of course, come with a Cyberpunk spin. You’ll find yourself in Night City, in an avatar of your choosing, and you’ll be able to augment your body constantly throughout the game with everything from brain implants to giant wrist-mounted scythes. Details are slowly dripping out about CD Projekt Red’s latest game leading up to the Cyberpunk 2077 release date – we’ve recently heard about the star-studded future sounds of the Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack. All signs point to Cyberpunk 2077 proving unmissable when it eventually comes out on 17 September, 2020.
What is it with cyberpunk games and tending bar? Sometimes the best remedy for forgetting your problems is by listening to someone else’s. It makes the life of a bartender sound quite idyllic when you think about it – watching strangers come and go with new stories on tap. It’s something that Va11 HALL-A seems to get, too, which is why we’re looking forward to its sequel N1RV Ann-A, which should be with us in 2020.
This time around, you’ll be out of Glitch City and in a tourist paradise called Saint Alicia in an upscale bar where the game takes its name from – where better to hang out and learn the secrets of locals? And hoo boy is there information to find out, too. Despite posing as the face of extravagance, this artificial island has a seedy underbelly, and you’ll meet all its demons – from those connected with mafia extortion to others guilty of human trafficking.
You’re not entirely free of this either, as your partner, Leon, has his ties to the Yakuza. Better pour a drink, looks like there’ll be plenty of drama to sift through. We reckon this one could be one of the best anime games on PC.
And there you have it, the best Cyberpunk games on PC in 2020. There’s plenty of traits to identify them by – body augmentation, the police state, chuffing good synthwave soundtracks, and oodles of neon. Regardless, the genre has a special pull to it. If you want to mix drinks and listen to someone gab, or argue philosophy and get involved in a shoot ‘em up, there’s plenty to get stuck into.