What really makes video games so unique is their ability to take us out of reality-oops, there goes gravity- and build these amazing worlds and characters. Ever since the astronauts went up into space, science fiction could not only make great stories but also great video games. Yet if you have been like us and wanted to know the best science fiction video games, it might have been tough until now.
From Asteroids and Space Invaders to Metroid and Star Fox, science fiction was flooding the market. Many have held a great place in our hearts because the possibilities of space exploration, robots, laser guns, and alien life were hard not to get enticed with.
The amount of sci-fi and cyberpunk video games are really vast. So much so, it would be impossible to go through all of them. This put us in a weird position where we had to do the “difficult” job of looking through all the options. We know, pray for us at your next church service or cult meeting. Yet we feel we narrowed down the true best science fiction video games of all time. Check this out!
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – 2012Arguably one of the best of the series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown was all about turn-based strategy mixed with realistic combat. The premise is simple, an unknown alien craft comes to Earth and suddenly, starts attacking every country in the world. You are tasked with building an army and learning all about the enemy.
Oh and also, there’s permadeath, so be forewarned.
It comes as no surprise that a game that involves knowing how to utilize cover and having the best team possible is key. It also becomes stressful cause you don’t know your enemies well. You might end making a bold power move, then find out moments later that you shouldn’t have done it.
This really puts you in the shoes of those who are struggling to save the world, all while knowing you can’t save everyone.
Gradius – 1985Some of the older games dating back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System have always had some kind of game series that was space-themed. Gradius puts you in the action of flying through space and shooting at alien aircraft. One of Konami’s most successful games, Gradius had an arcade release in 1985 before being ported to the NES.
The game was addicting, as it made you upgrade to better guns and taking on multiple enemies. While there was not much in terms of plotting, what Gradius did well was easy to learn. Yet it was hard to master the gameplay, something old Konami games are still infamous for.
The music and atmosphere really felt out of this world. This is just one thing about those old Konami games that keeps us coming back to them. It is clearly one of the best science fiction video games ever. It says a lot that these older titles still hit so well in the 2020s.
No Man’s Sky – 2016We know what some of you are thinking right now, but hear us out first.
No Man’s Sky had a really rocky start upon its launch in 2016. Several promises were unkept and gameplay options were a fraction of what people expected. However, ever since 2016, the team behind this ambitious title has patched and even added new events and updates. All of which improved and enhanced gameplay. All of these updates and patches have come completely free for anyone who owns the title.
You have a large, vast universe to explore with hundreds of millions of planets to take a look at. Alien life forms, survival, combat, and all are procedurally generated so that no two planets are ever alike. You may even encounter other players as you go along. Yet the universe in the game is so big, it’s almost rare to do so.
It is said that due to using now over 100 galaxies, each with thousands of planets to explore. It would take you more than 50,000 lifetimes to visit them all!
William Shatner once said space is “the final frontier,” and No Man’s Sky really makes you think you are really on a “star trek.”
Dead Space – 2008Not only is sci-fi a great genre for action and exploration, but it also makes for great horror settings. Ever since movies like Aliens and The Thing, the thought of an alien lifeform trying to wipe out all life has always been something that has stood in the minds of many gamers, and wanting to experience it.
There are many great examples of sci-fi horror done right in video games, but one that really stands out is Dead Space.
Playing as the silent protagonist Issac Clarke (at least until his two other sequels), you tag along with his team to find out what happened on the ship the Ishimura after it goes dark. What follows is a situation in which Clarke’s entire team is practically all but wiped out to these mutated creatures referred to as Necromorphs.
Between managing resources, having to step out in the vacuum of space every once in a while, and even going zero gravity, this really feels like something out of a John Carpenter script.
Blade Runner – 1997Possibly one of the most influential movies to ever kick off the cyberpunk genre in the Western world, Blade Runner has always been high on fanservice and low in popularity. However, not too later after the 1982 Ridley Scott film kicked off, Blade Runner would eventually get many comic spin-offs. Of course, this included its own point-and-click adventure title.
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This game is something of a unique tie-in into the movie. There are moments that intersect with certain characters and events, at least. Putting it right in between prequel and sequel territory, Blade Runner is a unique game in more ways than one. Every playthrough is different from the last. Some characters may or may not be replicants. YOU may or may not be a replicant yourself.
Dialogue changes and choices change in every playthrough, so no two games are the same.
Even for 1997, the game is very faithful in recreating certain backdrops that looked ripped straight out of the movie. Even cameos from actors like Sean Young and James Hong come into this, making a unique experience. Because when you don’t know who’s real and who’s a replicant, who can you trust?
Half-Life 2 – 2004Valve Studios really shocked people with Half-Life back in 1998. They changed the first-person shooter genre completely with storytelling and puzzle-solving. However, Half-Life 2 is where it really shines and screams science fiction.
Taking place after the events of the first game, you’re once again put in the shoes and HEV suit of Gordon Freeman. You are currently working together with an underground resistance cell to defeat the Combine Citadel. Doing so with the help of old and new faces, armed with your trusty crowbar, and your shooting and puzzle skills.
Even to this day, Half-Life 2 remains one the greatest games for its presentation and art direction, as well as scripting that would make any Hollywood director blush. Seeing aliens like the Vortugaunts, the head crabs, and even seeing the Combine soldiers makes this title feel like it’s out of this world.
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic – 2003We had to mention at least one Star Wars title, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was the best choice.
Taking place 4,000 years before the events of the movies, you play as a character who is chosen to be trained as a Jedi. All the while the Sith is moving in to destroy you, your friends, and the balance of the Force.
What makes this game amazing isn’t just that this is Bioware’s first attempt in a Star Wars game. It also has many great story elements that make you engaged with the characters you surround yourself with. Knights of the Old Republic shows just how easy it is to fall into the “Dark Side,” as every choice you make has some consequence.
The Force is strong indeed, and whether you decide to be good or evil is entirely in your hands. While this is one of the best science fiction video games ever, there is currently a plan to remake it. Sony announced a remake in September 2021 for the PlayStation 5, and we will likely be seeing that within the next few years.
Metroid Fusion – 2002This was almost an impossible choice to make as there are so many great Metroid games. In fact, Metroid titles should have had to go on a list all on their own. However, Samus’s foray into the Gameboy Advance has a great place in many fans of the series.
In Metroid Fusion, we find Samus Aran getting infected with a parasite known only as X. Aran wakes up after so long to investigate an attack that occurred in the BSL station. Many features like the Ice Beam and ledge grab make a return for those who were familiar with Super Metroid.
While Fusion ends up more linear than most Metroid games, the fun was great while it lasted. It still remains a favorite to many Metroid fans.
StarCraft – 1998Blizzard’s first game of the now-famous StarCraft series really put their name to fame. Plus, it really shows what sci-fi is does in an RTS setting.
The main campaign focuses on the Terran forces of humanity encountering the Zerg. These are bug-like alien creatures that all center around a hive mind. You control the army of your choice, be it the Terran, the Protoss, or the Zerg. Then you’re tasked with building bases, barracks, refineries, and attack vehicles as you fight for control and dominance.
Millions of fans have loved this game for its real-time army development, character design, setting, and music. In fact, it eventually saw expansion packs and a sequel. Even to this day, it’s still played all around the world, becoming an E-Sport in South Korea. Plus, in 2017, we saw a remastered version of the original game.
Mass Effect – 2007A title that says it all, Mass Effect is easily one of the best, if not THE best science fiction games of the franchise.
Taking control of Commander Shepard, where you are in control of your own ship with your faithful crew, you take on a variety of missions that not only tests your skills but also the relationship of the team you build.
The series has had many ups and downs, with controversial topics like interspecies romance with alien races or making choices that test your morality. Even if you are just in it for the action and not the story, there’s plenty of action to make even the most hardcore shooter fans happy.
The original trilogy is still loved by many fans and recently saw an updated version in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. If you’re a fan of the series, or very new to it, one thing is for certain. You will laugh, cry, and fall in love with Bioware’s great space opera.