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5 Best Steampunk Games To Get Your Cogs Turning

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Top hats and goggles, waistcoats and canes. Just a few things we tend to associate with steampunk culture whenever it pops up in conversation. That, and, perhaps the Industrial Revolution, as well as a scrapyard full of gears, knobs and cogs and what have you. But that’s what we see on the surface, whereas the culture itself goes a lot deeper than what meets the wandering eye.

As far as video games go, developers have been tweaking the steampunk formula for years, with a lot of its stereotypical components being altered into original and innovative designs. As of today, we’ve got thousands of unique works, all of which devote their influences back to the steampunk flagship. But what’s the best in the genre today, and what worlds truly live up to its unfolding reputation? Well, let’s take a look. Here are five steampunk games that will definitely get your cogs turning.

 

5. Bioshock Infinite

One could easily argue that the underwater city of Rapture is quite possibly the most celebrated steampunk-inspired world of all time. Beneath the shipwrecks, bubbles and lighthouses, the dystopian mechanical settlement flows on the same line as those above ground — only with far more psychopaths submerged into its shallow and twisted grave.

But that’s Rapture. Way up in the clouds, however, looms Colombia, a sky-high metropolis where both myth and prophecy go hand in hand. And while you could argue that the city itself is a far cry from Rapture in terms of landmarks and whatnot, Colombia is still a beautifully hand-crafted platform, and, quite frankly, a distant cousin to the steampunk realm that we’re exceptionally proud of.

 

4. Dishonoured

In a city like Dunwall, you can clearly see where the steampunk references come from. In fact, it’s practically drizzled and soaked over almost every nook and cranny, and even bolts itself onto the citizens that flood every suburb and skyscraper, too. And, of course, there’s the classic combination of Victorian attire and new-world machinery, which pretty much just speaks for itself, to be honest.

From the disused factories shrouded in ash and smoke to the stone sanctuary’s swarming with corrupt, corset-wearing politicians — Dishonoured has the full shebang. Plus, protagonist Corvo acts as a shining light in a series that’s already so bogged down with monochrome textures and charcoal palettes. All in all, Dishonored is an absolute credit to the genre, and an all-time favourite for gamers and steampunk fanatics alike.

 

3. Fable 3

I’ll go ahead and say that Fable 3 probably isn’t the most steampunk-heavy game on this list. If anything, it’s borderline noir. However, after Fable 3 rolled out — those known tranquil market towns and squirrel-coated meadows somehow spiraled into block chains of crooked cities filled with greed and corruption. The industrial revolution interfered — and the steampunk era soon followed suit.

Having a choice loom around every corner as the future king or queen of Albion — it was exciting to have the ability to forge the streets to our own design. Choices like, I don’t know — whether to build a brothel for the rich, or a school for children living in poverty. Every decision made an impact on the steampunk city of Bowerstone, and to watch it rise or fall depending on our morality was an absolute delight to spectate.

 

2. Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

After being scared out of our skin over in The Dark Descent’s Brennenburg Castle for what felt like an eternity, the last thing we wanted to do was get invited to yet another frightful expedition with twice the number of shadow-dwelling creatures. But there we were, thrown back into the darkest alleys of London, where machines and monsters locked hand in hand to assemble another sinister faction.

It was dark and dingy, morbid and malevolent — just the way we expected to see an Amnesia chapter after planting roots in the infamous Big Smoke. Sure it’s no cult classic between steampunk enthusiasts — but it’s a tribute well worth keeping close to heart. And as far as solid horror games go — A Machine For Pigs is basically the magnum opus of the genre. Surely that has to count for something, right?

 

1. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

If you ever wanted to know where the steampunk style stemmed from, then you’ll probably want to spool through one of two things: a book on Victorian history, or Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. But seeing as we’re running a gaming setup over here, it seems as though the latter could be your best option. You know — if you want the full picture without having to gloss over a few thousand pages of block text. Think of that as a side quest for a later date.

The Victorian era (as well as the Industrial Revolution in general) was what initially piqued the interest of enthusiasts and, in turn, launched the steampunk culture many years later. Thankfully, Syndicate based its core story around both, and acted as a go-to knowledge bank for steampunk fanatics all over the globe. Although not the best Assassin’s Creed game in the series — it was still one heck of a steampunk gem. Or, at least that’s what we think.

So, what did we miss? What would you include in this list? What are your thoughts on the above five? Let us know over on our socials here.

 

Had enough of steampunk for one day? Looking for more content? You could always take a look at one of these lists:

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Jord is Team Leader for gaming.net. As well as covering breaking news stories and blabbering on in his daily listicles, he also contributes to sites such as Vocal, Collider, as well as his anthology of self-published novels.