Best Steampunk Games (2018 Review)

Best Steampunk Games (2018 Review)

By Steampunk Origins | Updated Oct 29, 2018

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Elements of Steampunk have been present in videogames before the genre earned its name. From eerie technology in an otherwise backward culture, to Industrial cities run by a corrupt elite, Steampunk is used as both as a tool for storytelling and design for both ideas and divergences in the background, as well as dominant themes in the fore.

Steampunk Games Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Fallout Freestyle Play
2. Darksiders Puzzle Solving
3. The Legacy of Kain Series Vampire Lovers
4. Final Fantasy Xiii Cross-Platform
5. Too Human Combat Strategies

Top Choice: Fallout

How a series can throw you in the midst of a nuclear holocaust and still make you smile is beyond me. Fallout continues to add to its mythology without deviating too far from why we loved it in the first place.

1. Fallout
Best For

Freestyle Play

Our Rating
2. Darksiders
Best For

Puzzle Solving

Our Rating
3. The Legacy of Kain Series
Best For

Vampire Lovers

Our Rating
4. Final Fantasy Xiii
Best For

Cross-Platform

Our Rating
5. Too Human
Best For

Combat Strategies

Our Rating

Steampunk Video Games

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Steampunk is one of those genres that nobody can quite figure out, which is why each game adds their own unique take, which in turn develops the genre. It’s found on every console, sometimes in overt ways such as the Dishonoured series which uses a corrupt Industrial age to talk about honour, the individual, and pollution; to games like the early Mario titles which have anthropomorphised reptiles causing mayhem inside floating ships.

It doesn’t seem to matter how you use it, only that it’s cool, or at least sufficiently weird enough to have people like me scratching their heads as we wonder what they were thinking.

Best Steampunk Games Review

Darksiders

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Darksiders 2 is a game that balances masculinity with heart and a little philosophy. It’s a game for people who want to think while they’re saving the day.

Each of the Darksiders games puts you in control of one of the four horsemen (or equestrians as they’d be known nowadays) of the apocalypse. The second instalment places you firmly at the command of the dry wit and all-round smack talking Death, a masked Nephilim who isn’t afraid to show off the results of his time restricted diet and Insanity fitness training.

The game is huge, throwing you across dimensions and time, but the most Steampunk element has to be the race known simply as the Builders. The Builders are what happens if you take Norse Mythology’s Dark Elves and give them a steroid heavy Ketogenic diet. They’re huge, they’ve built the universe, and they make robots out of stone and magic.

Darksiders 2 focuses on Death, from the act of expiration, to the dreams and desires left so long that they stagnate and poison the World around you. Steampunk isn’t the dominant force in this series, but its heart and message that technology isn’t the salvation or ruination of us but a tool that must be respected really hits home for the genre, teaching us once again that there’s more to Steampunk than Victorian society and cups of tea.

  • The game is available on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii U, so you have your bases covered.
  • It’s a huge game, rich with imagery and lore.
  • It’s a relatively old game so isn’t great if you’re all about the most up to date graphics
  • You’ll probably have to wait for Darksiders 5 before you get a chance to play as Death again.

Fallout

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How a series can throw you in the midst of a nuclear holocaust and still make you smile is beyond me. Fallout continues to add to its mythology without deviating too far from why we loved it in the first place.

Fallout is a series set in a Dystopian post atomic war-ridden America, but does that mean it’s Steampunk? Well, Fallout is centred around the human spirit to continue no matter the obstacles. Traders, raiders, and technologically superior groups show that there is always a way, and what’s more, that way isn’t always so clear cut.

The biggest Steampunk element is in the World’s technology which due to the collapse of the social infrastructure have take some interesting turns. Steampunk is centred around individualism, and its technology is not exception. There’s a real mad scientist feel to Fallout’s technological elite, and this is largely because there isn’t any red tape holding their genius back, nor anyone intelligent enough to say, “Are you sure we need a sentient egg whisk, Harold?”

  • Each game in the series adds more to this dystopian mythology, and if you’re not too concerned with graphics the previous games can provide you with a great way to spend the next year.
  • A great series if you’re into bleak atmosphere and existential dread.
  • Fallout is available on PlayStation, PC, and Xbox.
  • Fallout Three is very large and players can wander for what seems like forever in a broken environment, which can get tedious.

Final Fantasy Xiii

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A World full of intrigue, rebellion, and lots of mechanised monsters.

The Final Fantasy series isn’t afraid to get a little weird, and XIII isn’t any exception. A World full of intrigue, rebellion, and lots of mechanised monsters. Perhaps a little too streamlined and futuristic to be called a Steampunk game through and through, XIII defends its corner with perhaps the strangest (and therefore Steampunk) weapons: transformers.

Throughout the history of the Final Fantasy there are consistencies which act as the continuity glue that holds the series together and adds that familiar feeling, like visiting your childhood home, and even though there’s a new family living there and someone’s turned your room in the basement into a Red Room doesn’t mean you have to lose all those wonderful memories.

Summons, Eidolons, GFs, call them what you will, but without the names of figures such as Ifrit, Shiva, and Bahamut you’d feel that the game was at most a homage to better days. XIII takes all of these names and turns them into living machines, capable of transforming into bigger and more dangerous forms, not to mention cool modes of transport because, who hasn’t thought “Yeah Shiva, goddess of winter and ice, she’s pretty cool, but can she double up as a weaponised Harley Davidson?”

  • Final Fantasy XIII is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
  • The graphics are beautiful, the voice acting is great, and the story is good.
  • The soundtrack is a masterpiece.
  • The characters in this game seem to be generally disliked.

Too Human

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Too Human shows that some monsters cannot be civilised, no matter where you take them. Set somewhere off the page in an early Thor comic, Too Human brings the cold darkness to a crystalline future.

Too Human blends a technological future with Norse Mythology. All those monstrous creatures which we take for granted: goblins, trolls, Loki, which thanks to Tolkien have become synonymous with Middle Earth, and thanks to the Internet and geeks everywhere have found their way into almost all fictional mediums, and it’s only a matter of time till it gets the rest. But for the record it should be pointed out that this all started with Norse Mythology.

Too Human puts you in the role of Baldur, most handsome of the Aesir, turned brooding baldie, armed with the latest tech and a bad attitude. Over the course of the game you will fight all of your favourite creatures in mechanised form.

The game is simple in its mechanics, but it’s the story that shines, leaning heavily on the gruff and miserable stories of the Prose and poetic Eda, Too Human is one those games that teaches, without making you sit down and pay attention.

  • Great for any fan of Norse Mythology.
  • The game mechanic focuses between technological and human progression adding a philosophical note to its pantheons which wouldn’t be out of place in a comic series.
  • Too Human is only available on the Xbox 360.
  • It’s simplistic combo bashing and slightly different variants on random treasure can become annoying.
  • It’s 2003 graphics are a little dated.
  • You have to really commit to the Healer class before you get that cool Tron suit, and it’s really not worth it.

The Legacy of Kain Series

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The Legacy of Kain series is professional in its approach, existential in its message, and downright weird in its delivery. A must for anyone in the market for something odd.

To say that The Legacy of Kain Series is Steampunk is to suggest that you could narrow down a World of time travelling vampires. Set in Medieval/Industrial realm of Nosgoth, the mythos reflects that strange late eighties Sci-Fi-Fantasy crossover driven by writers such as Michael Moorcock, Tracy Hickman and Margret Weis, and Anne Mccaffrey.

Subverting expectations by adding elements of cosmology and time travel to vampiric story which holds the eternal philosophy driven by Anne Rice with the added existential dread of destiny and cosmic horror.

Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen Two is arguably the most Steampunk in its aesthetic, with the rise of Industrialisation brought about by the Totalitarian Seraphim, and the mysterious Hylden who shape society from the darkness.

The blend of steam power and the highly volatile glyph magic lends an otherworldly feel that reminds players that this isn’t our World.

Playing with our own shortcomings in the understanding of technology, Legacy of Kain uses the Arthur C Clarke principle that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, it’s just that in this mythos it happens to be true.

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  • Blood Omen 2 is available on Playstation 2, Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube, and PC.
  • Excellent (but hard to follow) storyline.
  • A must for any puzzle solving goth.
  • Stunning voice acting (I nod over at Simon Templeman and the late Tony Jay).
  • You can probably pick up all the games for about the same price as any of the others mentioned here.
  • The series is old, with Blood Omen 1 published in 1996, so don’t expect the graphics to blow your cog covered socks off.
  • There doesn’t appear to be another one in the works anytime soon. It’s like that new Hendrix record you’re just waiting for him to release.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Steampunk is a great tool in storytelling, whether it’s going over stories which are hundreds of years old to try and influence the younger generations, to the what ifs of a conflict gone wrong, and other worlds and realties where you can have fun atop your sentient bobsled, the important thing is to find what fits just right for you.

The best thing about Steampunk is that you can’t quite identity where to draw the line between it and some of its neighbours such as Cyber Punk and the larger Dystopia. The ambiguity surrounding the genre gives artists that all important wiggle room when deciding to incorporate suits of armour powered by steam, vampiric forcefields powered by an otherworldly material, or casino guarding armed televisions, at the end of the day it’s all a matter of taste.

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