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Explore cyberpunk with a list of games that embody this genre

No game this year at E3 has dropped more collective jaws than Cyberpunk 2077 from the makers of The Witcher series. It not only gave us a glimpse of what is unmistakably the next generation of gaming graphics, but also a beautiful love letter to the sub-genre of science fiction, cyberpunk. Now with each reveal of 2077, your curiosity must be growing about cyberpunk and perhaps you want a taste of other games that embody this genre. Fear not, here’s a bunch of games to satiate that sweet tooth and tickle those cybernetic implants.

What is Cyberpunk?

Back in the early days of science fiction, we're talking about the 50's onwards, popular writers wrote about a rosy, spotlessly clean future. Full of space travel and a world where technology is used to save us. In the 70's though, a group of writers emerged that wrote sci-fi that told of a gritty future full of social and economic downfall, where technology would be a drug. In 1984, Neuromancer by William Gibson was the first novel to take all these concepts together and band it under one new genre dubbed as cyberpunk. Several books followed suit and a host of movies, chief of them being Bladerunner and the most recognizable is The Marix.

Cyberpunk tells stories in cities and worlds that are in deep social breakdown, with cities that are overpopulated and overtly commercialised, run by rich, greedy corporations. Where humans augment themselves with technological implants to help them be more than human, allowing them to hack through computer systems to get what they want. Taking cues from the punk lifestyle of the 80's and the aesthetic, it's hard not to think of Cyberpunk and neon drenched environments in the same thought frame. Such eclectic eclectic playgrounds make for some fantastic gaming.

Deus Ex Universe

The first few Deus Ex games came in 2000 and fleshed out a fantastic world of corporate espionage in a world governed by nano-technology. However, the last few games started from 2012's Human Revolution that acts as a prequel to the original Deus Ex, shows a world that is on the brink of widespread cybernetics augmentation as you play a cyborg agent in search of an augmented terrorist outfit. Quintessentially cyberpunk and touches on some incredible themes of what it means to be human, Deus Ex lets you experience the genre in first person.

Cyberpunk 2077

Set in the same universe as the Cyberpunk 2020 role playing board game by Mike Pondsmith, 2077 is an upcoming open world action RPG from CD Projekt RED. After being in development for years, there's finally lots of glimpses of the game. Which adapts everything we love about 80's action movies and cyberpunk and add everything we love from other cyberpunk fiction over the years into one large melting pot. All we know of the game is that it'll played from several characters perspectives and that it features a diverse multicultural city. Also, that car from the trailer looks incredible.

Syndicate series

Apart from the mediocre 2012 reboot of the classic game, the Syndicate series is one of the best gaming has to offer. A game that's entirely set on corporate espionage, you play four agents sent out to do the bidding of Eurocorp. Syndicate Wars is where things get very Bladerunner-esqe. Letting you play as Eurocorp or as religious zealots known as Church of the Epoch. Painting a grim picture of a dystopian future controlled either by a corporation or a fanatical cult, with the common people caught in the crossfire, which is represented in the game as explosive environments and collateral damage.

System Shock

With a remake currently in development by NightDive Studios, one of Cyberpunk and gamings finest will make it's way again to PC's and Consoles this year. The System Shock series, when it came out way back in 1994, took a different angle to a first person shooter. Made by Warren Spector, the man behind Deus Ex, System Shock lets you play a hacker on a space station where things have gone horribly wrong. As you hack and fight your way through to see the destruction a rogue AI SHODAN has wrought on the station as it's denizens. All told though eerie leftover electromagnetic recordings that represented storytelling at it's finest.

ShadowRun

What if creatures of J.R.R Tolkiens legends, like elves, orcs and dwarves, made it into twisted cyberpunk future. Where not only cybernetics and technological augmentation is rampant but also magic. A world where fantasy and cyberpunk meet and coexist, telling stories of these hackers and agents and the ways they conduct industrial espionage or pull off daring heists in a combination of hardboiled detective and horror writing. The best place to start are the excellent isometric RPG's like Shadowrun Returns, Dragonfall and Hongkong. Someone should make a AAA game on Shadowrun's fantastic world.

Transistor

Another isometric RPG, Transistor takes a very different view of a cyberpunk world. Telling the tale of a songstress who has lost a voice and finds herself lugging around a giant sword that can talk. Which she uses to fight back against a robotic army called the Process. The world itself is a combination of cyberpunk electronics and an Art Deco styling that's elegant and works well with the jazz like soundscape the game brings in.

Remember Me

Made by the same people behind the award winning Life is Strange visual novel game, Remember Me is one of those hidden gems that did not get the recognition that it deserved. The game is set in a future where memory is monetised, where you play a girl called Nilin who specialises in remixing memories by entering into peoples minds and changing what they remember. This very inception like game holds and excellent story and some incredible graphics and platforming.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:23:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/neon-gaming/article24792928.ece

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