The 8 Best Cyberpunk Games

Firefights and neon lights

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When looking for the best cyberpunk games, we look for many of the same characteristics we’d want in a good strategy or action adventure game—an engaging storyline, good graphics, and solid controls. But in addition to these basics that simply make a game playable, we also want to see a game world that fits pretty well within the cyberpunk theme. As part of the science fiction genre, cyberpunk worlds are intrinsically high tech, but the tech doesn’t look sleek or new. The worlds are often somewhat dystopian, with rundown residences and some sort of opposing forces who are fighting to change the world or keep it the way it is (or in some cases, make it even more dystopian).

Cyberpunk is a relatively common theme in science fiction movies, with films like the Matrix, Robocop, and Bladerunner depicting cyberpunk worlds. A good cyberpunk video game takes full advantage of the theme, using it as inspiration for creative stories and visually interesting worlds. Our list of the best cyberpunk games contains titles that successfully combine playability with the theme, and our pick for the best overall is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. If you’re looking for something different, we’ve also included our picks for the best cyberpunk games in other categories like the best RPG and the best first-person shooter.

The Rundown
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided provides everything you would want from a cyberpunk game
Have you ever consumed a cyberpunk tale and thought it would be better with magic and orcs?
Syndicate is a reboot of the isometric real-time tactical and strategic game from 1993
A “booze em' up about waifus, technology, and post-dystopia life.
The story doesn’t really do anything new, but the developers know that and own it.
You control your characters using RTS-style controls, but the action is quick and exciting.
Red Strings Club tells an interesting tale in an innovative way.
Ghostrunner is a first-person platforming slasher action game with a very heavy emphasis on action and style.

Best Overall: Eidos Montreal Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Mankind Divided
What We Like
  • Engaging branching storylines

  • Good controls

  • You can choose how to approach missions

What We Don't Like
  • Some bad writing and voice acting

In 2029, the world is divided between humans with cybernetic upgrades known as “augmentations,” and those without such augmentations, creating a cyberpunk world filled with segregation and discrimination. This game picks up two years after the events of the previous Human Revolution game, which left augmented people without rights and forced them into a lower class after an event perpetrated by the Illuminati caused them to lose control and violently attack those around them.

Your character is Adam Jensen, and he works in the TF29 anti-terrorism group and with the Juggernaut Collective, a hacker group looking to expose the Illuminati. The Illuminati are trying to pass the Human Restoration Act, which would segregate augmented humans permanently.

This is an action-adventure role-playing game. It allows you to approach missions and your character in a way you find the most fun. You can use stealth, first-person shooting, hacking, or a combination of different approaches. The game gives you branching storylines, which make you feel like you are deciding how the story plays out. You are rewarded with experience points that earn you more skills and abilities as the game goes on. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided provides everything you would want from a cyberpunk game—evil plots, cybernetically enhanced heroes, an interesting world, and lots of choices. This excellent combination gives Deus Ex: Mankind Divided our best overall designation.

Best RPG: Shadowrun Trilogy

Shadowrun Trilogy
What We Like
  • Abundant upgrade and tech tree options

  • Interesting and unique world

  • Effective turn-based combat

What We Don't Like
  • Story can feel linear at times

Have you ever consumed a cyberpunk tale and thought it would be better with magic and orcs? If so, you need Shadowrun in your life. Based on the tabletop RPG Shadowrun, the Shadowrun world is not afraid to combine multiple genres to create something unique.  

It combines Cyberpunk and Fantasy together in one, allowing for a futuristic look at what a dystopian society would be like if it had trolls and elves with grenades. You can create your character from several human-mutated fantasy races and explore a top-down world with dialog trees and turn-based combat.  

Letting you grow a character and build that character the way you see fit, Shadowrun wins the best RPG category. The writing and storytelling are top-notch, and the world is interesting to learn about and explore. The Shadowrun Trilogy includes Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong. Each game improves on the one before it. There are machine guns and spells being cast during the same battles, along with storylines that center around plots and conspiracies. What’s not to like?

Best FPS: Syndicate

What We Like
  • Tight controls

  • Fun co-op missions

  • Puzzle-like approach to combat

What We Don't Like
  • Predictable story

The classic Cyberpunk tale of giant corporations running the world, Syndicate is a reboot of the isometric real-time tactical and strategic game from 1993, but it’s turned into an FPS. In Syndicate, the corporations use agents to fight each other for technology and land. Each Syndicate provides its citizens with chips in their heads in exchange for a lifestyle. These chips can be used to provide powers, or hacked for more nefarious reasons. 

You play as an agent fighting for one of these corporations while trying to understand your own story and motivations. While the story of this game can be relatively ho-hum, the real star here is the puzzle-like combat, which gives you options between hacking someone's chip and causing them to shoot their own allies, or stunning them and finishing the job yourself. 

This shines even more in co-op, which sees up to four players taking on missions together for high scores. This game takes the prize in the FPS shooter category due to its tight controls and innovative approach to combat.

Best Soundtrack: VA-11 Hall-A

VA-11 Hall-A
What We Like
  • Unique ideas

  • Excellent for those who like graphic novels

  • Good music

What We Don't Like
  • Some sophomoric themes

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action describes itself as a “booze em' up about waifus, technology, and post-dystopia life.” A very original idea, VA-11 Hall-A is a bar locally known as Valhalla, and it exists in a dystopian cyberpunk world run by mega-corporations where implanted chips keep people controlled. You do not get to explore this world or challenge the forces within it. Instead, you serve drinks to citizens and hear about the world while trying to earn money and keep the people happy by mixing them drinks. 

The tales told by the citizens give you a deeper look into what this world is all about. In between your shifts as a bartender, you will go to your home and spend your money making yourself happier so you can be a better bartender. The soundtrack, which sounds like retro game music with an upbeat anime twist, will definitely get you into the feeling of the game. It fits perfectly with everything that’s going on in the game world. You can even buy the game soundtrack separately if you want to hear it on its own.

Best Shooter: Ruiner

What We Like
  • Frenetic and fast-paced gameplay

  • Excellent art style

  • Tight controls

What We Don't Like
  • Not much depth storywise

Ruiner is a twin-stick top-down action shooter which revels in high adrenaline and frequent casualties. This game is extremely difficult, and you’ll likely fail often while you gain the skills and upgrades necessary to survive this neon cyberpunk world. 

Your protagonist is silent and on a mission of vengeance. There are fun cliches being thrown out by bosses and the story doesn’t really do anything new, but the developers know that and own it. To be clear, you are trading in any chance at a good story here for bombastic shooting glory and a test of your twitch skills. If you go into Ruiner knowing there’s not much depth, but a good solid six or so hours of fun gameplay, you will not leave disappointed. 

Each room you enter offers a challenge that will require you to react fast and shoot faster. It is hard not to recommend this game when someone is looking for a shooter, and the cyberpunk theme is all over the place. Even though the game is difficult, it does not feel unfair. The better you get, the further you will go.

Best Strategy: Satellite Reign

Satellite Reign
What We Like
  • Multiple ways to approach a mission

  • Open world gameplay

  • Deep strategy and decisions

What We Don't Like
  • Generic story

Satellite Reign approaches the classic cyberpunk story—one of mega corporations ruling the world from the view of a small corporation on the rise. This game places you against the large corporations and their advanced technology, with your only option being to fight for your life or experience crushing loss. 

A real-time class-based strategy game, you control your characters using RTS-style controls, but the action is quick and exciting. You have a lot of choices to make, from character customization to how you approach missions and goals in the open world. You as the player decide much of the way the game happens. 

You have four characters, but you do not always have to take them with you. You can approach some areas with a single character in a stealthy way if that is the strategy you want to take or can bring the whole team and come in guns blazing. This amount of choice is what makes this a top pick for the best strategic game since you really can plan your strategy and attempt to pull off your grand plan.

Best Adventure Game: The Red Strings Club

The Red Strings Club
What We Like
  • Great story

  • Fun choices

  • Engaging puzzles

What We Don't Like
  • Light gameplay

Centering around a trio of protagonists who are working to stop the mega-corporation Supercontinent LTD from turning humans emotionless, Red Strings Club tells an interesting tale in an innovative way. The three characters all specialize in one form of dealing with people— manipulating or getting information in their own way. 

Donovan, the owner of the Red Strings Club gains information about a person through serving people the correct drinks. Donovan mixes drinks and interacts with customers, hoping to ease out their story. Give them a good drink that they like, and you may find out their motivations. Donovan then feeds this info to Akara, who builds implants using what seems like a pottery wheel. 

You decide what kind of implant will help the person, or help you on your mission. Should you make them less self-conscience, or perhaps make them more empathetic? This can make people happier, or possibly manipulate them into potentially not thinking in such a corporate way. Finally, there’s Brandeis the hacker, who can infiltrate the corporation when the time comes. This is done through conversations where Brandeis can mimic people’s voices. Red Strings Club is a fun little adventure game, but it lacks in-depth gameplay. This is definitely a game for those who want to relax and enjoy a good cyberpunk story.

Best Design: Ghostrunner

What We Like
  • Super fast platforming

  • Tight controls

  • Action heavy game

What We Don't Like
  • Story is light and predictable

Ghostrunner is a first-person platforming slasher action game with a very heavy emphasis on action and style. The game places you in the role of a cybernetically enhanced ninja-type character who is looking to discover who he is and why he’s fighting. 

Ghostrunner truly gives you the feeling of being a hyperfast and deadly ninja assassin by combining lightning-quick platforming with awesome powers, which you must use against a growing set of more and more difficult enemies. The story is generally handled during the basic platforming sections, so there isn’t much time to slow down. 

There’s a Tetris-style upgrade screen, where you try to fit in your enhancements in the most efficient way possible. The world is bright and interesting, though you might not want to slow down and take in the sights because you have to act so fast.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a cyberpunk great game with an interesting story, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a clear-cut choice. For those who want something that adds a bit of fantasy and magic into the mix, check out the Shadowrun Trilogy.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 125 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

What to Look for in a Cyberpunk Game

A fascinating dystopian world- A cyberpunk game should have good graphics, but the dystopian world should also be interesting to you. Cyberpunk worlds will share some commonalities by virtue of the fact that the worlds are in the same sci-fi genre, but each individual world should be completely unique, with different challenges and characters that make the game innovative and interesting.

Playability- As is the case with any game, you’ll want to look for a cyberpunk game that has tight controls, a good fighting system, a good aiming system (if it’s a shooter), and character enhancements. Even the most interesting world can’t make up for a game that doesn’t play well.

Storyline- Does the story keep you interested? Some of the best cyberpunk stories make us ponder the nature of humanity and our future. A really good story can make it hard to put down the controller.

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