While We Wait: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

When is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [official site] coming out? Not that soon. Not soon enough. But while we can’t magically give it to you to play now, now, now, we can give you a fun selection of things that will help keep the cravings at bay. From games to books and beyond, here are some recommendations for both getting into the cyberpunk, mechanical and freedom loving mood. Got any others to suggest? Let us know in the comments. For now though, grab your wallet and prepare to enter the future… even if you can probably do without something kinda like Adam Jensen’s coat. (Nobody asked for that*.)

Games

Part of the reason that Deus Ex remains so beloved is that there really haven’t been that many games to point to and say: There! That! That’s the new Deus Ex! But there’ve been a few, and a few more that at least offer a little of the same spark. Have you played them all?

EyE: Divine Cybermancy

I’d like to describe EyE, but I’m not sure I have the words. If I do, they’re definitely not in English. Still, here’s a good starting point. It’s very much like Deus Ex in trying to offer you ranges of abilities that let you approach missions as you want. That said, you know how in Deus Ex, you can hack doors? In EyE, doors can hack you. That’s just the start of the pain. The translation isn’t simply dodgy, but openly hostile to understanding, throwing you into a world full of warring organisations with names like “Secreta Secretorum” where characters have a maybe 1/5 chance of being who they claim, or even existing at all. Occasionally you kill someone and are told “You just killed a soccer player”, to add a little pathos. It contains the line “You jus wake up after your death, but careful, you went mad.” And later on, things get weird. Still, if you’re in the mood for a challenge… and have aspirin…

Dishonored

C’mon, you’ve played it by now, right? You must have. But if you haven’t, it’s Deus Ex’s love of tools taken to one of the best realised fantasy worlds around, and made all that much more exciting with the help of magic. The two basic paths of stealth and murder soon open up a ton of possibilities, with every major encounter its own little microcosm of possibilities instead of simply a puzzle to solve. The DLC is pretty good too, if you never got around to it.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

While it’s nothing like Deus Ex in terms of mechanics – turn based combat/RPG versus FPS with RPG elements – Dragonfall is a must-play for cyberpunk fans. I never liked the original campaign, Dead Man’s Switch, making this expansion a wonderful surprise. It’s essentially the second chapter of Baldur’s Gate 2 extended into a whole game. You have a big mission to prepare for, and for that, you need cash. How you raise it is up to you, and your gang of mercenary specialists looking for work in future Berlin. The Director’s Cut freed it of the need to buy the original, as well as adding some extra fun stuff around the side.

Alpha Protocol

If anything is Deus Ex 2, ignoring Invisible War, obviously, it’s got to be Alpha Protocol. No game has ever, ever devoted itself so intently to your choices, which range from how many people you kill, to which characters you visit first when visiting a new city. It’s a fractal web of consequences and responsiveness that truly puts every other game out there to shame… making it all the more unfortunate that its own crap gunplay and mini-games routinely spoil the party. Still! If you can endure those, and a few truly terrible opening hours, what awaits is simply unforgettable. I just wish I could remember the main character’s name. What was it again?

Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines

Again, if you’re reading RPS, you’re required by law to have played this at least once. If not, it’s okay. Here’s one last chance to sink your fangs into its deeply shaky yet wonderfully charismatic FPS/RPG hybrid. Installing a fan patch is pretty much essential, but there are several to choose from and a couple of big ones on the way – see Alice’s piece on two of the most exciting here. Sadly, CCP shut down a remake, and with the cancellation of the World of Darkness MMO, there’s no sign of anything else like it on the horizon. Boo. Boo. Boo…

Books

Altered Carbon

I remember being really excited when I read Richard Morgan’s original cyberpunk novel and realised there were more. Going out and reading a couple of the others… not so much. Luckily, going back and re-reading this first tale of evil corporations, conspiracies and body-swapping, it more than held up. It’s a great mix of hard-boiled mystery and future dystopia that really finds some fun ways to play with ideas of self and survival in a world where death is largely a choice.

Snow Crash

Of course. It’s not simply one of the defining cyberpunk novels, it’s the one that more than anything else struck a chord with gamers – its Metaverse concept being brought up time and time again with virtual worlds like Second Life and Playstation Home and There, until most of the world realised that such things were better imagined than experienced. (But hey, maybe with virtual reality? Ahem.) It helps that it’s got its tongue firmly in its cheek, often as much parodying cyberpunk as defining it. Like most of the classics, a bit dated now. Still, very readable.

Icarus Effect / Fallen Angel

The original Deus Ex and its sequel, Deus Ex: Sorry About This, never really saw any interesting spin-offs. Human Revolution was better timed to cash in, but again, we didn’t see much. There was a very short comic book run, but otherwise only a single novel. Unlike many franchises though, it was at least a side-story rather than just a retelling of the plot, largely focused on the Tyrants – the bosses. Author James Swallow also wrote a shorter story though, originally for the Director’s Cut but now free to all, which focuses on Jensen’s pilot, Faridah. Read that one here.

Neuromancer

The other must-read cyberpunk primer, and pretty much the Bible for the genre, only better because it’s not full of boring bits like Proverbs. Its first line alone is one of the greatest openers ever, albeit a little dated now – “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” Not a whole lot more needs to be said, though there was a very obscure and very weird adventure game version of it back in the dark ages featuring such memorable weirdness as a church devoted to Pong, selling organs for a little cash, and the least fair justice system this side of Phoenix Wright.

Mods, fanworks, TV shows and movies on page two.

112 Comments

  1. KindredPhantom says:

    Some good recommendations. Though I disagree with what you said about the original Ghost In The Shell movie.
    The TV series is great, the new spin-off Arise is enjoyable but not as good as Stand Alone Complex.

    I have a recommendation of my own, a game/mod that by it’s definition is Cyberpunk. It’s called Dystopia, it’s mulitplayer only though.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      One thing that struck me about that movie is that it’s very much the Blade Runner concept; on the surface a simple chase, but in between addressing deeper themes.

      • KindredPhantom says:

        That is part of what makes the movie so special.

      • Viroso says:

        I thought it was funny he mentioned “dull”. My favorite scenes in the movie are probably the dullest ones. With just music and sights from the city.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          Nah, those are the best bits. The bits looking at the city, the birth of a cyborg, all that stuff is really cool. The dull bits are where people stand around having long and boring conversations that are only thought-provoking if you’ve never actually had a thought in your life.

          • malkav11 says:

            Pretty much. It’s also kind of bafflingly convoluted, and not in a clever way. I’m always sad when Ghost in the Shell gets held up as a major touchstone and recommendation for new entrants into anime because it could scarcely be more offputting if it tried. The series is brilliant, though.

          • The_Ramen_Within says:

            I share this sentiment. I love the anime and manga but the concepts are presented in a ridiculously convoluted manner through sparse and halting dialogue, surrounded by action scenes requires to keep the average viewer entertained. If you weren’t already aware and/or did additional reading, you would have little to no understanding of the concept of the Ghost which is the crux to understanding much, if not all, of the storyline and philosophical concepts involved.

            There’s some really interesting and inspiring concepts raised like, a ghost arising from the sea of information, ghost dubbing and multiple ghosts in one body but prepare for disappointment if you were hoping for a one to two hour animation dialogue fully exploring these concepts as well as a wider depiction of the impact of cyborgism and specific technologies on society.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, Dystopia is excellent. I wish it was a bigger hit and/or they’d been bought by Valve.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I too am in the SAC > movie camp. Everything that the film says, is covered in the series, and the series is actually entertaining as well.
      That said GitS: Innocence is even less entertaining than the first film, but oh so pretty!.
      Not watched Arise yet…

      • unit 3000-21 says:

        Innocence is actually my favourite bit of GitS. The basset hound in it has more screen time than Motoko – just the way it should be.

  2. Anthile says:

    Oh, there’s a ton of cyberpunk anime. You just have to lower your standards! You start out with the nigh-incomprehensible stuff like Texhnolyze, Lain and Ergo Proxy but you still want more. After a while you end up watching Bubblegum Crisis, Megazone 23 and MD Geist, and your sanity slowly slips away from you as you realize cyberpunk peaked in the 80s.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Never said there wasn’t a ton of cyberpunk anime :-) But in terms of things that tie into the Deus Ex atmosphere specifically AND is actually worth watching… well, ‘aint gonna be recommending stuff like AD Police or Angel Cop.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        If there’s another anime I think that actually ties into the themes of Deus Ex it would probably have to be Psycho-Pass.

        Not quite as good as Ghost in the Shell at really scratching that Deus Ex itch, but closer than anything else Anthile mentioned.

    • heretic says:

      Great list, read Neuromancer but not Altered Carbon – will pick it up.

      Anyone got more cyberpunk anime or manga? @Anthile

      Manga:
      – BLAME! The absolute king of cyberpunk manga imo
      – Ghost In The Shell – the manga is really something, if you’ve seen the series read this
      – GUNNM (a.k.a. Battle Angel Alita) is pretty cool, the art is great
      – Eden – It’s an Endless World is really gritty and somewhat depressing but one of my favourites

      • Unruly says:

        If you like Altered Carbon when you read it, let me suggest that you cautiously eye its sequels. They shift away from the noir style and each go in different directions, which can be jarring when you’re expecting more Altered Carbon.

      • dorobo says:

        Blame! is amazing. Story wise much better than what deus ex will ever be.
        And this Eden seems nicely drawn. Never heard about it. Ty for pointing at it. Might be good.

    • Ex Lion Tamer says:

      @Anthile: Texhnolyze is really excellent.

    • Michael Anson says:

      If you REALLY want an enjoyable, if very, very bad, cyberpunk anime with 80s aesthetics, check out Angel Cop. It has very little in the line of redeeming qualities, but it is fun.

      • Spacewalk says:

        Watch the condensed version instead, it’s got nearly all of the best bits (and all the best lines) and none of the shitty bits. Goku Midnight Eye, Cyber City Oedo 808 and AD Police are more enjoyable, watch those instead.

    • commentingaccount says:

      OH GOD WHY DID YOU BRING UP GEIST ;_;

    • Rindan says:

      Psycho-pass. No, seriously, watch Psycho-pass.

      I had long ago discarded anime as essentially junk. I knew that there were a few that swung to the artsy side of the spectrum and had seen a few, but those really held very little interest for me. I like strong plot and character driven sci-fi, and as far as I knew, most anime was boss fight of the week junk. Then I watched Psycho-pass and had my expectations brutally violated.

      Psycho-pass is some of the best cyberpunk I have ever seen in any form. Only a few books surpass it. I was solidly “meh” on the concept when I saw the first episode, thinking that I had found a pile of plot holes. Within an episode or two I was utterly hooked and found that the holes had been life there intentionally. There are no “boss fights”, no “the one”, and no one has any awesome super human abilities. It is just good sci-fi drama built on a fascinating world that you desperately want to know more of. It is good. Damn good. It led me to give anime a second shot, and since then I have enjoyed Death Note and Parasyte.

      Anyways, Psycho-pass is good. Go watch it.

      • MrUnimport says:

        I was thinking about typing out a long and bitter reply about how Psycho-Pass let me down, not just as cyberpunk but as storytelling, but I don’t think it’d really add anything to the discussion.

        I’ll limit myself to complaining about how it fails to add depth to its setting by discussing its merits as well as its numerous failures, namedrops big names in science fiction but fails to mention Minority Report, which it most closely resembles, the way its central premise apparently only exists to limit the protagonists, its cliche cultured-sociopath villain, the fashion in which the Dominators directly undercut the purpose of the system by executing criminals in splatterhouse fashion in plain sight of ordinary, naive citizens….

        I’ll leave it at that. I’m glad it came along, ultimately, but it was deeply flawed.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          You’re kinder than I would be. I made it through two episodes and thought it was utter, utter shit. Absolute laughable by-the-numbers shonen juvenile fanservice to the hilt with no redeeming features whatsoever. No-one should be watching this rubbish, let alone enjoying it.

          Seriously, this isn’t trolling; I thought it was appallingly bad, and I find the size of the fanbase it’s attracted depressing, if entirely predictable. But then the poster above you also liked Death Note and Parasyte, which I also alternately hated and found laughable. Perhaps I’m just old.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        I had long ago discarded anime as essentially junk.

        While I can appreciate how you’d come to this conclusion, it always strikes me as being pretty similar to discarding ‘books’ or ‘film’ as junk.

  3. Scurra says:

    There can never be too much love for Alpha Protocol – even though the endgame sucked horribly (by basically saying “hey, you know that stealth game you’ve been playing? Forget it.”) But the way even insignificant choices at the start can help to change the ending is unmatched, and some of the twists are properly unexpected (I still don’t know who [redacted] works for even after all this time.) No matter how often I play it (and it’s been quite a lot), I feel that I’m still exploring new routes and new permutations.

    And likewise for Neuromancer. Like the movie Tron, it feels completely of its time and yet entirely modern, which is another reason why Deus Ex has lasted too.

    • twaitsfan says:

      I agree. I wish the game hadn’t been so flawed because what they did was really impressive. Made every other game that had ‘choices and consequences’ look like … they didn’t.

    • fredc says:

      I think who [redacted] works for was probably something to be explored in the sequel/s that never happened.

      I disagree with RPS – the biggest problem with AP isn’t the extremely extended intro/tutorial sequence, it’s the mandatory, consoletastic boss fights all through the game. To which the same objection applied to the endgame also applies. You can’t stealth your way through all or most of those, from memory.

      But even the “bosses” couldn’t spoil it. I genuinely don’t understand why it wasn’t popular enough to justify a sequel when all the Deus Ex games and the Mass Effect series were. While I’m not one of those who whined about ME3, the narrative and gameplay is certainly no more compelling than any of the ME series.

      • Orageon says:

        I totally agree that AP should have gotten way more love. The 3 reasons I see why it didn’t is :
        1)Bugs and issues when coming out
        2)a little less pretty than the competition at the time
        3) Not so many “big bang” moments or bling bling flashy thing that will imprint your mind.

        The dialogue system, the story, the choices… it was excellent all in all. But it lacked maybe some more visual identity. Instead it seemed so rooted in geopolitical realities, with that branching story and okay graphics… this will appeal more to certain adults but lacked the glitter that attract the rest, and the teens.

  4. Eleven says:

    It’s not really Adam Jensen’s coat unless it has the shiny filigree patten on the back.

  5. MiniMatt says:

    Kinda obvious but worth stating – for the Books category: the works of Philip K Dick.

    Might as well start with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and just keep on trucking.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah, I avoided him purely because Blade Runner/Androids seemed to go without saying.

      • Saarlaender39 says:

        If I may add one, that I consider as one of the best cyberpunk stories, but that never reveives the acknowledgement, it deserves (imho):

        John Brunner – “The Shockwave Rider” (1975)

        Really, to anyone, who hasn’t read it already – do yourself a favor and read it!

        • SIDD says:

          …and when you say Shockwave Rider, you kinda ought to follow up with ‘Stand on Zanzibar’ which as far as I recall is quite brilliant as well.

          Which also makes me want to call out….

          Pat Cadigan’s Fools, Mindplayers, Patterns and Synners
          John Shirley’s Eclipse trilogy
          Norman Spinrad’s Little Heroes

          …All brilliant cyberpunk

        • Scurra says:

          +1 to Shockwave Rider – ridiculously far ahead of its time considering the technology he was trying to extrapolate from.

          (In passing, I met John Brunner once at the World SF Convention in Glasgow; he was just about to turn in for the evening and I did the usual fan-overcome-by-nerves thing to try to thank him for Stand on Zanzibar which I had finally got around to reading about thirty years late. He had a heart attack that night and died – really. It was a genuine shocker.)

    • Philopoemen says:

      ooh yes, Ubik is a personal fave

    • Guzzleguts says:

      However, (off the top of my head) Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is his only book to feature cybernetics.
      Am I missing any others?

      • Guzzleguts says:

        PS: Palmer’s cyber eyes are called ‘Jensen’ eyes iirc. Co-oincidence? Probably.

      • MiniMatt says:

        Fair point, can think of one or two where artificial organ replacement is noted, though largely to replace a failing function rather than enhancement of the organic default. It’s fair to say pharmaceutical and theological enlightenment is often a larger theme in his work than the cybernetic.

      • Jackablade says:

        Huh. I’ve not heard of that one before, but the human in Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain who sells out humanity for a chance of vampire immortality is called Eldritch Palmer.

  6. Philopoemen says:

    Fun times :)

    Games – Snatcher, Syndicate, Blade Runner, Flashback, Another World, so many mid to late nineties titles that deserve some love.
    Films: Robocop (OCP is the archetypal megacorp of the 80s),
    Books: if you can find them, old Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebooks
    Comics: Transmetropolitan (by Warren Ellis)

    • commentingaccount says:

      The new Robocop’s pretty good too, though not as good as the original. The film honestly feels like a mix of Robocop 1987 and DE:HR.

      • piedpiper says:

        New Robocop honestly feels like crap to me.

      • MrUnimport says:

        New Robocop did a pretty decent job of updating the original’s commentary, but is an awful movie, so it’s a bit of a shame.

    • twaitsfan says:

      Snatcher was an amazing game. One of the best stories in a game I’ve ever played. Course I was 14 at the time so maybe I should say one of the best stories for a 14 year old boy…

  7. Kyber92 says:

    For series, Almost Human did some fantastic things about how everything being connected in the future and advancing technologies could be problematic, as well as being disgustingly pretty. Shame it got cancelled after one season really. Also Karl Urban as a grizzled cop IN THE FUTURE. What more could you want?

    • JoeX111 says:

      I don’t know, how about a plot that went somewhere instead of Evil Technology of the Week procedural nonsense? Or characters who move beyond thinly-veiled stereotypes like the Gruff Cop with a Heart of Gold, the Android Who Wants to be Human, or the Techie Who Lacks Social Skills? Or world-building beyond “We have robots and genetically modified people and this wall thingy but we won’t tell you much about them” ?

      Don’t get me wrong, I watched every episode, but I also fully understand why it got canceled.

      • Cash at Folsom says:

        THANK you. I have had this conversation online and in meatspace a few times now, and every time I just come away more angry that the folks who were handed “cyberpunk cop show” used the opportunity to produce some of the blandest pablum I’ve ever seen.

    • conidium says:

      There is also an awesome Swedish TV series: “Real Humans”, I saw the first season and was stunned for the ethnic challenges it took on.
      “Black Mirror” by the well known Charlie Brooker might also be worth looking, but it is closer to our present. Haven’t seen it yet.

  8. noom says:

    I was always told that if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. This is why I’m not going to say anything about Altered Carbon.

    • Guzzleguts says:

      I agree with what you didn’t say there.

    • Unruly says:

      Altered Carbon wasn’t anything spectacular, but I thought it was good enough. Too much of the whole “let’s have Kovacs nail every woman he comes across” detracting from what was an otherwise decent, if fairly stereotypical, cyberpunk story.

      • malkav11 says:

        Hey now. Kovacs doesn’t have graphic, lovingly described sex with -every- woman he comes across. Just two per book.

        I love Morgan’s stuff but the sex scenes annoy me as well. And unfortunately it’s one tendency he carries over into his other books as well, although his fantasy series’ protagonist is gay, so if you’d rather read graphic descriptions of men having sex with one another, hey, Morgan’s got you covered.

  9. YogSo says:

    I’m not saying it’s good, and having watched it only once a long time ago, I can’t even really give a recommendation to it, but there’s this little-known movie which, from what I remember, got very close to Neuromancer’s (the novel) “feeling” – closer than any direct adaptation I’ve ever seen since: Nirvana, an Italian production starring Christopher Lambert (and here’s where I lost you :-D).

  10. conidium says:

    First of all: Android: Netrunner (Its perfect)
    Games: Arcanum (well its steampunk on fantasy but it works), Gemini Rue, Uplink (the better Hacking game, as I call it since DX:HR)
    Movies: GitS movies that are not the first one, Dark City, Hackers, eXistenZ, many more
    Books: tthe Android-universe based book are quite nice

    • Emeraude says:

      +1 For Netrunner.(Go narch or go bust !!)

      Since we’ve been talking Oshii (and I don’t think it’s been mentioned in the thread yet): Avalon. Not the greatest movie, but I just love the way the filters are being justified by the end of the movie. Plus thematically fitting for being video game related.

    • Cockie says:

      On the topic of Netrunner, I’ve been recently addicted to Why I Run, a piece of cyberpunk interactive fiction that is also a game of Netrunner. It’s well-written and very enjoyable.
      Asked at Netrunner newbies so no prior knowledge required. Definitely worth your time.

      • Snidesworth says:

        Just finished playing it, and it was absolutely worth my time. Familiarity with Netrunner made it all the more tense, especially when Weyland was sitting on 25 trillion credits of funds and the Space Elevator Authority had their name dropped. Lovely music too.

  11. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    One of the best Deus Ex-esque gaming experiences I’ve found is the first level of KOTOR2. It’s full of things to hack, lockpick, sneak past, booby-trap and converse with.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the game drops those systems like a hot potato. But for that one level, you could see what Obsidian was going to try doing with Alpha Protocol.

  12. Synesthesia says:

    You should all read Stross’s “Saturn’s Children” (man, am i glad i didn’t have to say that out loud)

    Robots living in a colonized space, post human extinction. Fun!

  13. MiniMatt says:

    Oooh, another book recommendation: Future Shock by Alvin Toffler

    I’m old enough to remember it on my parent’s bookshelves; and steal it from their bookshelves when I fled the nest.
    Non fiction, it’s a thesis warning of the effects of rapid technological change upon the psyche of us mere humans – ie. many of the underlying themes of the cyberpunk genre.

    Written ~50 years ago it alternates the twee & outdated, with remarkable prescience and relevance.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      If you haven’t read it already – John Brunner’s “The Shockwave Rider” would be a personal recommendation.

      He (John Brunner) even acknowledges the influence of Toffler’s work in the foreword to “The Shockwave Rider”.

      Quote: “The “scenario” (to employ a fashionable cliche) of The Shockwave Rider derives in large part from Alvin Toffler’s stimulating study “Future Shock”, and in consequence I’m much obliged to him.”

      It’s a great read.

  14. Goodtwist says:

    I’m throwing in Enki Bilal’s comics and generally the works of his fellow colleagues at the publishing house Les Humanoïdes Associés. His most prominent comic trilogy I believe is that of Nikopol. It’s very cyberpunky and très bon!!

  15. kud13 says:

    I’ve read all these books. I’ve played all these games (except Dishonored – still working on the Thief trilogy as prequel)

    Alpha Protocol was brilliant. The year I got it on Steam I did something like 5 consecutive replays. I even did a melee build once.

    E.Y.E. Was a day 1 purchase. So broken, but you can run around with a sword and Katana at once, and you katana deflects bullets. The game desperately needs an old-school manual, with a big splashscreen “Read the manual before playing, or don’t complain”

    There’s a bunch of older adventure games that do the cyberpunk thing.

    When doing the recommendations of “I played Deus Ex, I want more”, there’s usually 3 main sub-categories of “what’s to look for” I like to use:

    1) “First-player game with more than shooting” (this is the multi-pathing aspect HR embraced). Includes the Looking glass games, the DX games, bloodlines, Arcane’s stuff, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R games, Deep shadows’ stuff (Xenus 1-2, Precursors), the Bethesda stuff, the Shock games, and others. Giant Bomb has a pretty comprehensive “list of immersion sims”. As a sub-section of this you can slot stuff like Hitman, for the multi-path simulations.

    2) RPG with a deep choice and consequence model (widest scope, really. You can get fantasy games falling into this category) – Arcanum, the mandatory Planescape: Torment reference, the Witchers, Alpha Protocol, Shadowrun Returns, etc

    3) A cyberpunk game (allows you to branch out in other genres). For me that’s mostly older adventure games, like Day of the Dragon, though there’s lots of cool stuff in there (still need to get BloodNet working, to see if I can plaster it all over every cyberpunk post I make). I also heard nice things about Gemini Rue.

    Some games overlap these categories. The more they do, the closer they are to being “like Deus Ex”.

    Oh, and “Johnny Mnemonic” movie was awesome

    • Emeraude says:

      If I had to sum up E.Y.E in one word, it would probably be “brouzoufs”.

    • Ross Angus says:

      still working on the Thief trilogy as prequel

      Harsh, but fair.

  16. grrrz says:

    I will resist rewatching ghost in the shell sac
    I will resist rewatching ghost in the shell sac
    I…
    best animated show
    the movies have their own merits though

  17. kud13 says:

    Huh, forgot to add books:

    Gavin Smith’s “Veteran + War in Heaven” duology is a great ride of sci-fi military fiction heavily laced with classic cyberpunk.

    Neal Asher’s “Owners” trilogy (disclaimer: Bk 3 is still sitting unread on my shelf due to lack of time). What I’ve read of this not-so-distant future so far is an amazing mashup of all the best things cyberpunk.

  18. sonofsanta says:

    Orphan Black is absolutely amazing, and you’ll be happy to know that (a) Season 2 landed on Netflix a fortnight or so ago, and (b) it’s just as good as the first series. Season 3 is starting to air now on BBC America, as well.

    Ghost in the Shell is a great movie! The second one is the weird, depressing one. Anyway, I’d also include Akira: it’s not a cyberpunk plot, but it’s a very cyberpunk city.

    Tad Williams did a massive cyberpunk series as well but as I’ve twice failed to make it through the first book, which is an enormous tome unto itself, I don’t think I can actually recommend it, per se.

    • malkav11 says:

      So, on the one hand, I really enjoyed Williams’ Otherland books. On the other hand, they’re not particularly cyberpunky or Deus Ex-ish. I mean, yes, the setting is a bit cyberpunk, but the vast majority of the actual action happens inside computer simulations of things like Alice in Wonderland. And with the rules of the simulation hard enforced for the most part, so you don’t even get Matrix-style superpower shenanigans. Mostly.

  19. piedpiper says:

    I would say that Alpha Protocol and Bloodlines are better than Human Revolution. Also, new Thief is not that bad as everybody describes it. I would even say that it is better than Deadly Shadows (but still far from perfect).

  20. JoeX111 says:

    Altered Carbon was great. It’s a shame that the sequels are so very different. I understand that the author didn’t want to retread the same material, but it sure made for an uneven “trilogy.” His later novel, Thirteen (or Black Man in the UK) is also a good read, once it finally gets going.

    • malkav11 says:

      I really disagree. Sure, I could absolutely understand wanting more of the cyberpunk noir of the first book. But I think the way Morgan uses the body-swapping concept and wide variety of futuristic settings he’d already introduced to explore a bunch of different genres with a single character and world was one of the best things about his Kovacs novels. To me the real shame was that he capped it at three books instead of running with it further. Well, that and Woken Furies being a bit underwhelming in comparison.

      • Geebs says:

        I rather like Richard Morgan although I am very sick of him doing that thing where he italicises for emphasis when he really doesn’t need to (Peter Watts does this too and it’s never not annoying). Market Forces was one of my favourites; the eighties/Thatcherism angle on the sci-fi “corporations run everything” trope is fun.

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          Harlander says:

          I enjoyed Market Forces a lot, but by far my favourite bit is where the protagonist finds a copy of one of the Takeshi Kovacs novels, reads a bit and goes “this is a load of rubbish”

  21. Guzzleguts says:

    There’s an early access game called Underrail that may be of interest. It’s nearly into Beta.

  22. Viroso says:

    I felt Human Revolution was the least cyberpunk cyberpunk game. You were fighting for the corporations and the rich folk who could afford be more than human. Okay I didn’t beat the game, but still.

    It just felt weird that they’d portray the people who can afford expensive augmentations as poor saps. This one seems to kinda do that too, and at the same time making non augmented people oppressors and somehow capable of beating the hell out of people with super robot arms.

    Then to top it off, let’s say I buy that people who can afford robot bodies are the ones with less power, Jensen goes around killing the augmented people who are resisting being oppressed.

    • JoeX111 says:

      I was under the impression that the augmentations were affordable, but people were getting screwed having to pay for regular Neuropozen treatments so their bodies wouldn’t reject the tech. It has been a while since I’ve played it, tho.

      • Unruly says:

        That was my impression as well. Below is my, probably partially misremembered, synopsis of the game’s underlying plot/theme.

        Basic cybernetic parts, like bog standard replacement limbs, seemed commonplace. The expensive stuff was the stuff with weapons, or that boosted your natural abilities, and it seemed like those were generally locked away for military use. Where socio-economic status really came into play was the drug you needed to keep your body from rejecting them. And that was what the conspiracy was all about. You get the majority of the populace fitted with these parts that require this expensive, limited availability drug that you control and suddenly you’ve got control over everyone by threatening to cut off access. But then this scientist finds a way to make the body fully accept the implants and no longer need the drug. So she gets kidnapped and her research destroyed by the folks who want people to be addicts groveling at their feet.

        Sure, you’re working for the biggest name in the cybernetics industry, but the guy you work for is sort of like Elon Musk, and he seems to be a decent philanthropist. He sees that his product has the potential to make mankind so much better than it is, and he’s working to make it as affordable as possible, but there’s always the bottleneck of that expensive, limited medication. He knows that the kidnapped scientist was making a breakthrough on that front, so he sends you off to rescue her and bring her back so she can finish it. He also wants revenge on the bastards that wrecked his labs and murdered most of his other top scientists, but that’s just icing on the cake that is the breakthrough that allows mankind to progress beyond its limits. And there’s, you know, unresolved emotional tension between you and the scientists because of your divorce, and subsequent daily interaction in a protector/protectee role, that makes it all the more personal.

        Or at least that’s how I remember everything being.

    • Emeraude says:

      I don’t think the team behind HR gave too much though about the socio-economical ramifications of their premises. Or if they did, most of their work was probably washed away in the whirlwind of a chaotic development process (what do you mean “pleonastic redundancy”?).

      Either way, I don’t find the end result worked that well.

    • commentingaccount says:

      SUPER SPOILERS TIME

      The cyborg pricks who attack you in the first place and cause you to become a cyborg are actually working for a massive conspiracy that is attempting to control the populace with the augmentations. You basically wind up taking that conspiracy down in most of the endings.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      Okay I didn’t beat the game, but still.

      So you’re confident that you know the whole story of DE:HR, despite having never finished it? Talk about speaking from ignorance.

  23. Shazbut says:

    That Human Revolution short was very good all things considered

  24. Rince Wind says:

    What about some music?
    NG Resonance from IW is a real thing, kinda. The name is different, it is Kidneythieves, some really nice industrial rock with female vocals.

    System Shock (2) feels very much like cyberpunk to me, what with all the implants and stuff.

    • Distec says:

      I quite liked their contributions on IW at the time. I’ve since fallen out with that style of music, but I know I put them on my minidisc player with a few others.

  25. unraveler says:

    No place in the mod section?

    • unraveler says:

      Well, it seems I got mixed up with the hyperlink (Shame I can’t edit it)
      Anyway, It was about the mod: 2027

  26. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    All this DX talk has me thinking… I loved loved loved Deus Ex, actually enjoyed Invisible War other than the console-itis dumbing down of the inventory (nano-ammo? Agggh.). I even still have an original copy of what was almost DX3, Project: Snowblind. It was really quite good.

    But Human Revolution… I got burned bad on it. I was disappointed that the tranq gun was twice as big in inventory as a dang machine gun, ammo for it was more rare than a unicorn with a degree in musicology, and after a certain point it became useless. I know in the original game there was a certain point where I realized I could no longer go Mr. Sandman, but it was a clear game changing moment. I stupidly tried to stay stealth too long in DX:HR, and ended up stuck in a foreign city with no ammo, no weapons, and no choices. I turned on the game then, began hating it, just tearing through to the end not caring, and then the end with the Splicers (let’s face it, Splicers) and the Choose An Ending Slide machine… GAH.

    But then someone gifted me the Director’s Cut. Where supposedly your chances with a boss aren’t solely based on whether you chose the right augmentation or not. But I don’t know if it fixed any of the other glaring problems.

    You folks here, you might know. Is the Director’s Cut just the DLC merged into the game, with redone boss fights, and the rest (lack of stealth options after a certain point for example) still broken?

    I know there’s some people who have managed to beat the whole “save the chopper” mission with basically no guns, but it seems so hit and miss and convoluted, I can’t say I’m willing to try.

    So do I try HR again?

    • Ross Angus says:

      I came here to mention Project: Snowblind (it’s a bit rubbish, in my opinion). But to answer your question, stealth is absolutely possible in Human Revolution. But my approach to stealth is more “no one every sees me”, rather than “collect ALL OF THE UNCONSCIOUS BODIES IN A CUPBOARD!” Having said that, I failed to get the “sneakiest of the foxes” achievement. With this approach, ammo isn’t much of an issue, because you never use it.

      If anything, stealth gets easier in the endgame, due to the increased ease of augmentation use. Those flailing nitwits in the last level can be walked past while cloaked (admittedly, the bridge near the end with twenty or so of them required many retries for me).

      • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

        Ah, see, I didn’t go for the “sneak around everybody” stealth, I went for the “these guys need stopped and arrested, I’m gonna tranq em but not kill ’em” stealth. Except for random thugs in sewers and stuff, who I mostly Batmanned from behind. So by the time I got to the Chopper level, I had next to no ammo. And nobody around sold any. So after that, I just ended up cloaking, superjumping, and bypassing everyone and every bit of setpiece and plot. But hey, maybe the Director’s Cut is worth a shot?

        • Ross Angus says:

          Yes, the Director’s Cut was my second playthrough. It’s great. Jonathan Jacques-Belletête is very charming and enthusiastic. Well worth listening to. Plus the boss fights were improved slightly.

    • kament says:

      First time around I went with taser so I wouldn’t know if there were issues with tranq rifle on release. But when I tried it in Dir Cut I had no problems with the ammo whatsoever. Didn’t even have to buy it. But then, I only tried to tranq them all in the first mission.

      I didn’t try to save the chopper using tranqs, but it should be possible as well – it takes two darts to pacify the big guys and you can’t tranq the robot, but other than that it should be easy enough. Although you might want to upgrade reloading speed for this particular encounter. And outfit Jensen with the augs that stabilize his aim.

  27. RARARA says:

    While it’s not as consistently amazing as Black Mirror or Orphan Black, I’m rather fond of Person of Interest. You start watching it and it seems like yet another CBS procedural with a gimmick, until you realize that Nolan has basically snuck in a scifi show under everyone’s radar when one of the chief antagonists turns into the priestess of omniscient intelligence gathering software.

    • Geebs says:

      I still watch Person of Interest even though Root
      Is tooth-grindingly annoying, because Harold and Lionel are great. On the other hand, with Orphan Black, I got as far as “ok, OK, clones” and then utterly lost interest.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Dang, I was all gearing up to mention Person of Interest, shoulda known I’d be beaten to it.

  28. Supahewok says:

    “I’m aware that this is not a universal opinion, but as today’s List Compiler In Chief, what I say goes. So, in a nutshell, nyah.”

    Surely you mean a “ghostshell,” yes? Yer slippin’, Corbett.

  29. Low Life says:

    Also you can just stare at this tumblr all day long (some stuff that could be considered NSFW) : link to rekall.tumblr.com

  30. Gap Gen says:

    For anyone who’s a fan of dystopia where ubiquitous information technology being used to control us by an all-consuming corporate elite, I can’t recommend reality strongly enough.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Also yes, Continuum is fantastic and I honestly can’t believe the premise of “left wing terrorism is pretty great, guys” got past the producers for as long as it did.

    • RARARA says:

      I love you.

    • Emeraude says:

      Reality’s sadly lacking in style though. No cohesion.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah but you can scarf candy bars then plunge giant knives into people.

  31. Aysir says:

    “Yes, I’m suggesting the TV series rather than the movie. The movie is overrated, depressing and dull, while this has the advantage of a sense of humour and life to it. ”
    So glad there’s so many more people who feel this way. Each offering of GITS is very different – but I find SAC to be the most enjoyable and interesting.

  32. marlowespade says:

    On the tabletop front, obviously Android: Netrunner and its proper boardgame progenitor Android (amazing storytelling in Android, even if it can be a bit slow at times). I’d also recommend (again from the Android gaming universe) Infiltration, which is a lighter game that still captures the feel of a cyberheist gone wrong.

    Speaking of which, Shadowrun: Crossfire is a cyberpunk deck builder set in the Shadowrun universe that places you and your team in a run gone wrong, but opinions on it are pretty polarized, so read some reviews first.

    • Emeraude says:

      I have Android here, but never managed to get a game off the ground.

      Lovely design though.

      Crossfire – I love the idea of the collaborative deck-building game. Sadly half the people I would play it with are of the old “if it’s not in French, it’s not getting played” school. So will have to wait

  33. Horsebane says:

    With books maybe try Rx by Robert Brockway. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s world is classic cyberpunk.