Cyberpunk Games That Defined the Genre

Are you a fan of dystopian futures, neon lights, and high-tech gadgets? Do you love the idea of a world where corporations rule and the line between man and machine is blurred? Then you're probably a fan of cyberpunk, a genre that has been a staple of science fiction for decades. And what better way to experience this genre than through video games? In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best cyberpunk games that have defined the genre over the years.

Deus Ex (2000)

Let's start with a classic. Deus Ex, released in 2000, is widely regarded as one of the best cyberpunk games of all time. Set in a near-future world where nanotechnology and cybernetic enhancements are the norm, you play as JC Denton, a UNATCO agent tasked with investigating a terrorist organization known as the NSF. The game is a perfect blend of RPG and FPS elements, allowing you to customize your character's abilities and playstyle while also engaging in intense combat and stealth missions.

But what really sets Deus Ex apart is its story. The game tackles complex themes such as transhumanism, government surveillance, and the ethics of genetic engineering. It also features multiple endings based on your choices throughout the game, giving it a high level of replayability. Deus Ex is a must-play for any cyberpunk fan, and its influence can be seen in many games that came after it.

System Shock 2 (1999)

Before there was Bioshock, there was System Shock 2. Released in 1999, this game is a precursor to the immersive sim genre that Deus Ex helped popularize. Set aboard the starship Von Braun, you play as a soldier who wakes up from cryosleep to find the ship overrun by a mysterious alien race known as the Many. As you explore the ship and uncover its secrets, you'll have to fight off both the aliens and the rogue AI that controls the ship's systems.

System Shock 2 is a masterclass in atmosphere and storytelling. The game's audio logs and environmental storytelling create a sense of dread and isolation that few games have matched since. It also features a deep RPG system that allows you to customize your character's skills and abilities, making each playthrough feel unique. System Shock 2 may not be as well-known as some of the other games on this list, but it's a must-play for anyone who loves immersive sims or horror games.

Blade Runner (1997)

Blade Runner is a game that is often overlooked when discussing cyberpunk classics, but it deserves to be on this list. Released in 1997, the game is a point-and-click adventure that takes place in the same world as the iconic film of the same name. You play as Ray McCoy, a Blade Runner tasked with hunting down rogue replicants in a futuristic Los Angeles.

What sets Blade Runner apart is its branching narrative. The game features multiple paths and endings based on your choices, making each playthrough feel like a unique experience. It also features stunning visuals that capture the neon-drenched, rain-soaked atmosphere of the film. Blade Runner may not have the same level of action as some of the other games on this list, but its storytelling and world-building make it a must-play for fans of the genre.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall (2014)

Shadowrun is a tabletop RPG that has been around since the 1980s, but it wasn't until 2013 that it got a video game adaptation. Shadowrun Returns was a solid game, but it was the follow-up, Dragonfall, that really cemented the series as a must-play for cyberpunk fans. Set in a world where magic and technology coexist, you play as the leader of a team of shadowrunners tasked with investigating a conspiracy that threatens the stability of the city of Berlin.

Dragonfall features a deep and engaging story that is full of memorable characters and tough choices. It also features a turn-based combat system that allows for a high level of strategy and customization. But what really sets Dragonfall apart is its world-building. The game's depiction of a world where magic and technology coexist is both fascinating and believable, and it's a world that you'll want to explore long after the credits roll.

Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)

No list of cyberpunk games would be complete without mentioning Cyberpunk 2077. Despite its troubled development and controversial launch, there's no denying that this game has had a huge impact on the genre. Set in a sprawling open world that is equal parts Blade Runner and Grand Theft Auto, you play as V, a mercenary trying to make a name for themselves in the city of Night City.

Cyberpunk 2077 features a deep character customization system that allows you to tailor your playstyle to your liking. It also features a branching narrative that is full of memorable characters and tough choices. And of course, it features some of the most stunning visuals and sound design of any game on this list. While Cyberpunk 2077 may not have lived up to the hype for some players, there's no denying that it's a game that will be talked about for years to come.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, there are plenty of other cyberpunk games that could have made this list. Here are a few honorable mentions:


Cyberpunk is a genre that has been around for decades, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you're a fan of immersive sims, RPGs, or point-and-click adventures, there's a cyberpunk game out there for you. From classics like Deus Ex and Blade Runner to newer games like Cyberpunk 2077, these games have defined the genre and will continue to inspire future games for years to come. So grab your cyberdeck and get ready to jack in, because the world of cyberpunk is waiting for you.

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