The Best Sci-Fi Games

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by William Lobley |
Updated on

While all games are fictional flights of fancy, the best of sci-fi takes self-invention, imagination and narrative to the extreme. Science-fiction takes our current reality and thrusts it into the great beyond, or sometimes even an alternative timeline, to explore the logical ends of the human endeavour. Plus, there are lasers, androids and spaceships.

While the modern sci-fi movement finds many of its roots feeding on the pulpy soil of 1950s paperback and action comics, the genre has blossomed into one of the most significant pop-culture phenomena around. The world of video games reflects this well, with hundreds of sci-fi and sci-fi-infused releases just waiting to be enjoyed.

To help you find the best sci-fi games, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide. With the games chosen, players will be able to live out their wildest Force-wielding dreams, in Star Wars JEDI: Fallen Order, escape to the retro-future in The Outer Worlds, quest epically in Mass Effect or even save Earth from machine conquest in NeiR:Automata.

Keep reading for the best sci-fi games on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC.

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

Mass Effect: The Legendary Edition

Mass Effect: The Legendary Edition (Multi)
Price: $29.98

Platform: Multi In Mass Effect, players take up control of Commander Shepard to embark on a quest to save the galaxy from nefarious Reapers. Players forge close friendships, alliances and romances with crewmates (or the opposite, if anyone is feeling spicy). Itu2019s an epic work of sci-fi, full of tough decisions and meaningful consequences. Previously the Mass Effect trilogy wouldu2019ve taken up three spots on this list -thanks to the new and polished Legendary Edition, thatu2019s no longer the case. This new edition treats the original games to a shiny 4K remaster - great for old-timers, perfect for newcomers. It also includes 40 DLC packs from across the games, including missions and weapons.

Returnal

Returnal (PS5)

Rrp: $69.99

Price: $49.18
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Platform: PS5 Returnal is a sci-fi third-person shooter that pulls roguelike gameplay into the new generation. As Selene, an intergalactic scout trapped in a time loop on an alien world, the player must escape from an everchanging, hellish and mind-bending planet. As if fighting gigantic monsters while doing so wasn't enough of a challenge, the plot has players battling with reality and Selene's sanity, as the game twist-and-turns its self into a truly excellent psychological horror.

The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds (Multi)
Price: $25.99

Platform: Multi Coming from the developer behind cult-fave Fallout: New Vegas is the quirky space-galivanting FPS RPG, The Outer Worlds. Taking place in the Halcyon system, players must work their way through various worlds and colonies to uncover a nefarious conspiracy. The universe has a nice retro-futuristic edge (yes, a little like Fallout), which is a joy to explore and behold and makes for some interesting tech to use and discover.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Multi)
Price: $21.95

Platform: Multi Do we all remember when the Jedi were purged in Revenge Of The Sith? As it turns out one sneaky (and very lucky) padawan managed to give the slaughter the slip. Now fully grown, fully ready for revenge, the survivor is ready to re-establish the Jedi Order, right under the nose of the Empire. Boasting a solid story and compelling single-player gameplay, Fallen Order is brimming with fodder for hardcore gamers and dedicated Star Wars fans alike.

Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons (Multi)
Price: $21.71

Platform: Multi While the Fallen Order lets us all live out Jedi fantasies on the ground, Squadron lets us take to the skies in the franchises most iconic starfighters. Set following the events of Return Of The Jedi, players battle it out in thrilling skirmishes, dogfights and fleet battles, in control of everything from the TIE Fighter to TIE Reaper, X-Wing to the A-Wing Interceptor. For an extra special touch, the game can be played on PSVR, though standard TV and monitor gamers will still have a grand time.

Control: The Ultimate Edition

Control: The Ultimate Edition (Multi)
Price: $32.40

Platform: Multi Developed by Remedy Entertainment, Control is a unique third-person action-adventure game inspired by the literature of the New Weird. As Jesse, players will step into the Oldest House, home to the Federal Bureau of Control - an agency that takes care of items breaking the laws of physics. Needless to say, things go wrong and get pretty weird. Thereu2019s nothing quite like this out there. The Ultimate Edition comes bundled with The Foundation and Awe expansions.

BioShock: The Collection

BioShock: The Collection (Multi)
Price: $24.18

Platform: Multi Much like Mass Effect, the BioShock trilogy is of huge importance, making defining strides in storytelling, atmosphere and gameplay. The first two games take place in Rapture, an underwater city intended to be a haven of human intellect and progress. The third game, Infinite, takes place in the floating city of Columbia, a city of similar intent. Narratively, each game explores the dangers of unfettered scientific experimentation and questionable politics, while mechanically, they are a tour-de-force of action, FPS and RPG gameplay and convention.

Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation (Multi)
Price: $24.78
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Platform: Multi The player controls Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley, part of a team sent to retrieve the Nostromo's flight recorder. She soon finds herself stranded on a base alone with hostile humans, androids, and the eponymous alien. The gameplay forces the player into evasion over all-out warfare. The game captures the essence of 1979's Alien, and thanks to the first-person perspective and atmospheric world, lighting, and sound design, the player will never be free of a sense of dread.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal (Multi)
Price: $34.79
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Platform: Multi Unrelentingly brutal with gore galore, Doom Eternal is a frantic and breathless festival of slaughter. So, pretty much on point for the iconic FPS series. You will breathlessly bound from swarm to swarm, fighting off the hoards threatening to overwhelm to an equally over-the-top heavy metal soundtrack. Occasionally you get a break with some light platforming, but otherwise, Doom Eternal is adrenaline-pumping hellbound sci-fi at its finest.

EVE Online

EVE Online (PC)
Price: £0 (base game)

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Platform: PC EVE Online is an MMORPG that has you heading out into the Milky Way to explore and gather resources. The true scale of EVE is hard to comprehend - its vast universe is home to vast player alliances and corporations and maintains its own social structures and economy. Though EVE is one of the best sci-fi games around, we highly recommend newcomers look at the official beginneru2019s guide. Go it alone, and youu2019re likely to feel overwhelmed.

Gears 5

Gears 5 (Xbox)

Rrp: $10.99

Price: $8.00

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Platform: Xbox Offering a new perspective on the Swarm-slaying series and stunning with its graphics, Gears 5 is franchise high. As Kait Diaz, players will indulge in gristly, octane-fuelled gameplay full of refinement and well-implemented mechanics. The campaign engages solidly for its 10-14 hour runtime, proving there is still space for the Gears formula in the modern gaming scene.

Astral Chain

Astral Chain (Switch)
Price: $52.44
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Platform: Switch Developer PlatinumGames has Bayonetta, Vanquish and NieR:Automata to its name. With such genealogy, it's no surprise that its Switch exclusive, Astral Chain, is a hack-and-slash triumph. Set in 2078, players will fight their way through hordes of supernatural beasts in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world. The game is over-the-top, heavily stylised and features an esoteric combat system that involves simultaneously controlling a law enforcement officer and a powerful familiar from the astral plane.

Outer Wilds

Platform: Multi Equal parts sci-fi, mystery and open-world explorer, Outer Wilds is set in a time-looping solar system which, every 22 minutes, is destroyed by a supernova. The players, a stranded astronaut, must observe the planets as they crumble and change, hunting for clues that will help stop the endless cycle. Cue a supernova and unavoidable death. Again the player hunts, armed with whatever nuggets of information uncovered in the previous life.

XCOM 2

XCOM 2 (Multi)
Price: $29.99

Platform: Multi For many years XCOM 2 defined PC gaming for swathes of players. Itu2019s a turn-based strategy shooter in which players command an elite military squad, rebelling against an alien force. The squad is comprised of different classes, from standard Rangers through to telepathic Psi Operatives. Procedurally generated levels host skirmishes, keeping things forever fresh while studying fallen aliens and their technology and upgrading your research facilities can yield rewards. Though years have passed since its release, itu2019s still a marvel.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding (Multi)
Price: $23.90

Platform: Multi While Hideo Kojimau2019s Metal Gear Solid series falls more squarely into speculative fiction, there is no doubt that Death Stranding is a fully-fledged sci-fi outing. Set in a barren open-world, players painstakingly navigate the post-apocalyptic landscape to fulfil Sam Bridges delivery missions. Itu2019s a slow burn, but a lot is bubbling under the surface. Thereu2019s also an interesting asynchronous online feature that sees players leave behind equipment to help other players master the landscape. Itu2019s indulgent and idiosyncratic in ways that only a Kojima title can be.

Detroit: Become Human

Platform: Multi Quantic Dream has made a name for itself by creating accomplished narrative games with spiderwebbing multiple-choice storylines. Detroit: Become Human is one of its most complex endeavours. The story follows several androids encountering an issue with their programming that has them gaining self-awareness. Player choice has huge, irreversible effects on the plot progression, with dozens of variables cascading evermore, creating a unique and highly cinematic experience.

No Man’s Sky

No Manu2019s Sky (Multi)
Price: $49.83

Platform: Multi No Manu2019s Sky offers players freedom. Not just the freedom to explore an open map or skip side quests, but to discover countless solar systems across innumerable galaxies. Powered by Hello Games’ processual generation, No Manu2019s Sky is home to over 18 quintillion planets. Alongside intergalactic travel, the game hinges on survival mechanics with resources, such as oxygen and jetpack fuel, needing to be managed. Resources can be gathered, homes built, pets bred and winged-aliens captured and flown. For the story-driven player, an optional central plot has them hunting down a mysterious being known only as Atlas.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus (Multi)
Price: $56.43

Platform: Multi Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a strategic combat game with plenty of frantic and furious battling to be had. It echoes XCOM, albeit it's a little lighter on the mechanics. Gladly, what Mechanicus is heavy on is Warhammer 40K lore. The player controls a team of technology cultists, the Adeptus Mechanicus, as they scour for knowledge and tech in the tombs of the Necrons, a race of ancient and mysterious alien robots.

Prey

Prey (Multi)
Price: $30.51

Platform: Multi Morgan Yu is exploring a space station when he encounters an alien race, the Typhon, that can manipulate physical and psychic space. As Morgan, you too have some extraordinary powers to hand, which will help you as you fight and explore your way through the deadly station. The sci-fi chops are all here. Whatu2019s more, the gameplay positively swaggers with Arkane Studios’ signature mechanical confidence, combining stealth, RPG and open-world concepts with flair and finesse.

Half-Life: Alyx

Platform: PC VR A PC-powered VR headset (ideally, the Valve Index) is needed to play Half-Life: Alyx. Chronologically, Alyx has the player return to dystopian City 17 a few years before the events of Half-Life 2. Valve has taken its time with it, ensuring that the game isnu2019t just some on-rails shooter cashing in on the Half-Life name, but a finely crafted and fully formed VR experience that will likely define the VR space for years to come.

NieR:Automata

NieR:Automata (Multi)
Price: $25.12
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Platform: Multi NieR:Automata isnu2019t a game to shy away from the more complex and bizarre tenements of sci-fi. It follows the androids 2B, 9S and A2, as they fight on behalf of the human race to reclaim the earth from its mechanic overlords. Other than this, itu2019s got an open-world, RPG mechanics and hack-and-slash mechanics, not to mention mech battles. To top it all off, to fully unfold the story, it needs playing three times. Automata is weird, sure, but it earns its place as a certified cult classic.

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