Cyberpunk 2077 is a good game with some great moments, but it’s a good game in spite of, not because of, about two thirds of its content, writing, and systems. Most disappointedly, so much of the noirish, paranoid intrigue and existential body horror that defines the genre is relegated to transient background snippets. I loved Panam as much as anyone, but let’s face it; the entire Badlands and the Nomads they housed could have existed in practically any vaguely dystopian setting.
The book that eventually became Blade Runner contained exactly one gunfight. Similarly, I would trade a hundred ‘drive a big tank in the desert’ sections for one more conversation with Clippy, or Jefferson Peralez. Night City is all pistols at dawn, at the expense of daggers in the dark.
If we follow the famously definition-adverse logic of punk, it stands to reason that a game literally called ‘cyberpunk’ would automatically be the least cyberpunk game ever made. If we follow the logic of cyberpunk (the genre) it would stand to reason that any company capable of trademarking the word ‘cyberpunk’ has no business making a cyberpunk game.
I may have just written those last two sentences purely to be a !*$% on the internet, but really, isn’t being a !*$% on the internet the very core of cyberpunk? This aside, here are ten games that did cyberpunk better than Cyberpunk 2077.