We usually like to imagine that the future will bring cutting edge technological advances that will provide a better life for all citizens but if we were to take a look at some of the gaming titles that tackle with this subject we’d get really scared. Everything from homicidal robots, to nuclear explosions and civil wars seem to shape a possible future where humanity is struggling to survive in the following 10 dystopian gaming titles that show us a darker side of the world as we know it.
Papers, Please doesn’t focus on an intense gameplay where you need to fight for your life in a harsh environment, instead it has something much more valuable: depth. Its storyline takes place in the dystopian communist state of Arstotzka where you are an immigration inspector who has to check the refugees’ papers and decide if they are allowed to pass or be arrested. The bleak world, the rudimentary office space where you work and the permanent feeling of being watched are the key elements that shape the gameplay of Papers, Please.
Even though the quasi-futuristic world of Mirror’s Edge is not painted in dull colors as we’re used to seeing in the majority of dystopian gaming titles, you simply cannot shake off the feeling of being constantly controlled by a force greater than yourself. The government surveillance that prevents people from acting without restrictions is the main ingredient that helps build a dystopian world where free will is no longer an inherent right.
In 2084 an evil mega corporation named Memorize managed to develop a technology that tracks, stores and deletes memories at will, giving birth to a terrifying police state permanently patrolled by heavy armored soldiers and drones. Remember Me is not a video game known for its highly qualitative gameplay, but it sure excels in its creation of a dystopian world so terrifyingly accurate that it seems almost real.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
The decaying human civilization from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is represented in such striking imagery that it’s impossible to forget the aesthetic of the game even after having just a quick glimpse at it. A form of mechanized machines are trying to eradicate all the living beings from this oxymoronic world where nature entangles with technology in the most terrifying yet beautiful of ways. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a title that is usually overlooked, even though it has such valuable content to offer.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex has always delivered when it comes to both gameplay and storyline. Conspiracies, shadow organizations that want to instate a new world order, biologically augmented human beings and other paraphernalia are the key elements that constitute the premise of Human Revolution. In this video game, the idea of a dystopian society is represented in the most transparent of ways, providing its players with an unmatched gameplay experience.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
When the world gets torn apart by numerous civil wars, the civilians are the ones who suffer the most. Of course, for a seasoned soldier like Solid Snake, this chaotic environment is nothing he can’t handle, his quest of assassinating Liquid Ocelot being perfectly integrated in this desolate world where the fight for survival is the direst. The world’s armies and private contractors are permanently at war creating a dismal environment to live and survive in.
There is nothing more petrifying than being forced to live in the underground tunnels of the former metro system of Moscow, but when the surface world is torn to shreds there’s nowhere else you can go. Add to this claustrophobic scenario the dangerous encounters with other hostile survivors and you have the dystopian universe where Metro 2033 takes place. The darkness, the sentiment of hopelessness and the feeling that you’re permanently hunted adds greatly to the horror of living in a restricted world.
Most of the dystopian societies start off as an idealistic utopia that should offer the ideal environment for each and every citizen. Bust as it’s also the case with Bioshock, wishful thinking is not enough to make a fair political regime and the Rapture will transform into a city ridden with monsters, psychopaths and addicts who will throw the world into utter chaos. There isn’t another game out there that manages to create such a compelling depiction of a dystopian world like Bioshock and this is why it is such a one of a kind gaming title.
Half-Life 2 is undeniably the most immersive and well written dystopian video game on the market. It tackles with such great attention to detail. The conspiracies that make the world go round make it impossible not to get totally involved in its intricate plot. Even after so many years since its release, Half-Life 2 still manages to leave its mark on the players that first enter its desolate world, full of unfathomable theories about aliens, weird scientific experiments and a general feeling of oppression.
All the titles from the Fallout franchise build their storyline on the same post-apocalyptic dystopian world subject, where the players have to scavenge for food, medicine and weapons in order to survive the challenging environments of a world in decay. The first time when we think about a dystopian universe in a video game, the Fallout game series is most definitely the first one that comes to mind, its vivid representation of the struggle to live in a crumbling civilization being one of the most evocative in the history of gaming.
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