5 Games to Replace the Hole in Your Heart Left by Cyberpunk 2077

Posted by Bryan Terng on January 27, 2021

The Internet is already oversaturated with the gaming community's disappointment towards Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red's latest ambitious endeavour, so this writer will forego a rant-y intro for this piece. Instead, he'll openly wonder if anyone feels the same as he does, on how Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to fill his appetite for a deep sci-fi RPG that's as complex as the tabletop game it's based on.

With the void left by Cyberpunk 2077, he sets out to uncover what other video games could scratch his itch for a good quality cyberpunk game, for the greater good such as readers like yourselves:

1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The year is 2029, and the world is divided between humans and augmented people (individuals installed with advanced artificial organs). You take on the role of Adam Jensen, an augmented double agent for hacker group Juggernaut Collective and Interpol, to uncover who's dead set on dividing both populaces even further and bring global destruction.

This was the first game that this writer dived into after Cyberpunk 2077, and as a newbie to the Deus Ex franchise, he's glad that he did. In spite of its half-finished plot and unnecessary microtransactions (presumably caused by publisher Square Enix), Mankind Divided is still a great cyberpunk action RPG that's true to its genre, with game-changing dialogue options, different varieties of augmentations, a plethora of approaches to complete your objectives (including hacking, hidden pathways, lethal or non-lethal takedowns, and even through dialogue which change consequences). Combining those with its impressive level design and unique mix of realistic and futuristic aesthetic, especially the main hub of Prague, makes Mankind Divided worth your attention. Or you could opt for its superior predecessor, Human Revolution, which most gamers seem to agree with.

Available on PC, PS4/PS5 and Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

2. Ghostrunner

Image credit: NME

The idea of playing as a cyborg ninja may sound a little angsty, but when you see how Ghostrunner plays, that notion wouldn't matter, especially when it's so darn fun and cool. The One More Level-developed cyberpunk action game combines fast-paced platforming/parkour, sword combat, and high-tech gizmos, as you traverse the megastructure of Dharma Tower and take down enemies to exact your revenge on its tyrannical ruler.

Doesn't this look cool as ****?

Ghostrunner is one fast-paced game that keeps your heart racing as you slide, wall run and grapple to your objectives. But, if you need a bit more time to make a decision - or you just want to admire the setting - you can slow down time to redirect yourself, or even dodge and deflect bullets with your katana. Be warned though, Ghostunner can be quite tough, because both you and your enemies can be killed in one hit. But on the bright side, checkpoints are pretty frequent (unlike Dark Souls), which makes Ghostrunner more accessible.

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

3. The Red Strings Club

Image credit: DualShockers

In The Red Strings Club, a compassionate corporation aims to entirely remove negative emotions like depression, fear and anger from society. But, one ragtag group of individuals - as well as one empathetic android - believe that it's basically brainwashing, setting out to take them down not with tech guns and thermal katanas, but with bartending, pottery and social media deception.

Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun.

As you can tell by now, this indie darling isn't your run-of-the-mill sci-fi game, with The Red Strings Club playing a bit more like a visual novel that explores intimate topics like humanity and emotions. Its gameplay may not amount to much, but its unpredictable story, colourful characters and endearing pixel art will make The Red Strings Club a game you won't forget so easily.

This guy knows what he was in for.

Available on PC and Nintendo Switch.

4. Observer: System Redux

When you have the villain of a cyberpunk classic taking on the role of a cybernetically-enhanced detective in your game, you can bet your butt that it’s going to be a cyberpunk tour de force. Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner stars as Daniel Lazarski, who uses the Dream Eater tool to hack a person’s mind to interrogate them and solve crimes in the year 2084.

Observer: System Redux is a psychological horror game set in a dystopian futuristic world, with its main attraction lying in its mind-hacking segments. You'll traverse dark, glitchy and surreal worlds in the minds of your targets to uncover clues, and witness the stuff of cyber nightmares coming to life. And most impressive is how believable the world feels with its minimalist yet thoughtful level and sound design, truly immersing you in its urban future. System Redux is the enhanced version of the original 2017 game, which has since been removed from stores.

Available on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

5. Disco Elysium

Your very own character wakes up with memory loss, remembering nothing except that he's a detective hired to solve a murder. As you explore Elysium and investigate further, you'll soon uncover that powerful invisible forces are affecting the world, as well as your history.

Although Disco Elysium isn't exactly a cyberpunk game, it has one of the deepest RPG elements that modern gaming has to offer, something which this writer wishes Cyberpunk 2077 had more of. Its gameplay is inspired by tabletop role-playing games, so you can guess how complex its system can get - you can even change your personality traits, ideals and beliefs as the game progresses! Pair these with its intriguing watercolour art style, and you know why it was so good that a television adaptation of Disco Elysium is underway.

Available on PC, but the upcoming Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (an expanded version of the original) will be available on consoles too from March 2021 onwards.

What are other games do you think are as good as what Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to be? Share your wisdom with us in the comments!

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