Best Sci-Fi Games to Play When your PC Can't Handle Cyberpunk Windows Central 2021
While the PC requirements for Cyberpunk 2077 are relatively modest, if you haven't upgraded your equipment in a while, you might not be able to get the best performance. You could pick up one of the best gaming desktop PCs to play the fantastic game, but if that's outside your budget, we've put together a guide to some of the best sci-fi PC games like Cyberpunk 2077. These genre classics and new indie titles should provide you with plenty of futuristic fun.
- Featured favorite: Observation
- Testing: Portal 2
- Retake Earth: Half-Life 2
- The choice is yours: BioShock Remastered
- Explore the galaxy: Mass Effect 2
- Build an army: StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
- Reclaim your home: Homeworld Remastered Collection
- Space horror: System Shock 2
- Apocalypse now: Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
- Mech battle: Into the Breach
- Defend Earth: XCOM 2: Enemy Unknown Complete Pack
- Under the sea: Subnautica
Featured favorite: Observation
Play as S.A.M., the AI controlling a research station that has mysteriously been transported to Saturn's orbit. You'll help Dr. Emma Fisher discover what happened to the rest of her crew by solving puzzles, searching for clues by bouncing around to different cameras, uncovering lost data, and controlling probes to go where Emma can't.
Testing: Portal 2Staff pick
Play solo or team up with a friend to break the laws of physics at the behest of GLaDOS, a murderous computer who wants to test out your skills with portal-making technology. There are two separate campaigns, with co-op mode requiring you to closely work together to make your way through Aperture Science Labs. You can even use the game's editing tools to design challenges that your friends can play through.
Retake Earth: Half-Life 2
The first-person shooter puts you in control of the research scientist Gordon Freeman who awakens after two decades in stasis to find that interdimensional aliens have conquered Earth. You must gather allies among the planet's dwindling population and fight against terrible odds to save the world from the problems you caused.
The choice is yours: BioShock Remastered
Set in an alternate version of 1960, this first-person shooter takes you to the fallen underwater city of Rapture, where the residents have been using sea slugs to alter their DNA and gain special powers. You'll have a huge number of weapons at your disposal, but the resources you choose to utilize to gain an advantage will determine how your story ends.
Explore the galaxy: Mass Effect 2
Customize your version of Commander Shepherd, the hero who must assemble an elite team to save humanity from a new threat abducting entire colonies on the fringes of space. Use a variety of weapons to blast your enemies' weak points and shoot off their limbs, but make sure to take plenty of time out of combat to chat with your companions as those interactions significantly impact the story.
Build an army: StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
Assemble armies of space marines, the psychic alien Protoss, or insectoid Zerg, and smash your enemies as you compete against AI or other players in fierce real-time strategy battles. The game also comes with an excellent single-player campaign where you'll play the rebel Terran Jim Raynor as he tries to stop the Zerg by taking out their leader, the Queen of Blades.
Reclaim your home: Homeworld Remastered Collection
Members of the original development team and the fan community worked on updating the classic RTS series by improving the graphics, score, and voice recordings along with allowing competitive multiplayer games of both Homeworld and Homeworld 2. Build an armada and complete more than 30 missions using different units, formations, and tactics to try to reclaim your species' ancient home.
Space horror: System Shock 2
The starship Von Braun is on humanity's first interstellar journey, but everything goes wrong after the crew deployed to answer a distress call brought something terrible back with them. The RPG/survival horror hybrid puts you in charge of a ship security officer who must carefully explore dark corridors while conducting research and unlocking weapons to deal with infected crew members and a rogue AI.
Apocalypse now: Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
Fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where you'll need to monitor your radiation levels as you explore. You'll have a huge variety of character customization options as well as the ability to shape the world with your decisions, whether you choose to help others or destroy everything in your path. Pause time in combat to target specific body parts and queue up attacks.
Mech battle: Into the Breach
Save human civilization from giant monsters breeding beneath the earth by controlling powerful mechs sent to you from the future. The turn-based strategy game provides a new, randomly generated challenge every time you play, and when you're defeated, you'll need to send help to another timeline. Figure out the best combination of weapons and pilots to help you protect cities from the invaders.
Defend Earth: XCOM 2: Enemy Unknown Complete Pack
Assemble a squad of operatives and negotiate with world governments as you command XCOM, an elite paramilitary operation defending Earth from an alien invasion. The turn-based strategy game forces you to use cover to your advantage as you deploy your troops to rescue civilians. You'll also want to recruit scientists and engineers to help you upgrade your weapons, armor, and combat abilities.
Under the sea: Subnautica
Explore the oceans of an alien planet you've crash-landed onto in search of food, water, and resources you'll need to craft additional equipment. Build a base on the seafloor to let you range further in search of rare components and answers to what happened to the residents of the planet. You'll have to deal with plenty of hostile life to make it out alive.
Space survivors: RimWorld
Manage a colony on a distant world as they build a home in different biomes where they must contend with pirates, giant insects, and murderous machines. If your citizens get injured, they can replace lost limbs and organs with bionics or harvested biological parts. Gather materials to craft structures, weapons, and clothing, trade with passing ships, and tame all manner of creatures ranging from cute pets to fearsome beasts.
London calling: Watch Dogs Legion
The near-future cyberpunk style of the third entry in the Watch Dog series is a great fit if you're looking for something similar to Cyberpunk 2077. Everyone in the city can be recruited, so you'll need to find people with the right skills for whatever you need, from big fights, to infiltration missions, to healing up other characters. You'll also get to ride drones and hack ATMs.
So many worlds to explore
Even if your current PC can't handle Cyberpunk 2077, you have plenty of great options for exploring one of gaming's most popular genres. Portal 2 is always one of the best sci-fi PC games like Cyberpunk 2077 because it's got such a great mix of dark humor and clever challenges that you can experience by yourself or with a friend.
If you're looking for something newer, Observation provides a twisty plot and innovative gameplay by putting you in control of a ship AI rather than a humanoid character. Its puzzles are challenging, so make sure you pay attention to your surroundings. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty is currently free, making it a great way to have some fun and save money so you can eventually have a machine that will play newer AAA games.
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