2K Games, 2013 for the Xbox 360 version*
While the Bioshock series had put forward a steampunk/dieselpunk/biopunk aesthetic with the underwater adventures in the aquatic, utopian and libertarian city: Rapture, Bioshock 3 or Infinite, the prologue of the first two opuses propels the players on the floating city Columbia in 1912. We play in FPS, first-person shooter, a bounty hunter supposed to find a certain Elizabeth, imprisoned on Columbia.
This time, the player is no longer trapped underwater but in the air, approaching an almost flamboyant Steampunk made of gold, copper (it shines...), wood and shimmering colors. And how beautiful it is! No more dripping rooms in Rapture! The steampunk atmosphere is distilled here by many details like faded signs, old objects, etc. The design of Columbia is breathtaking and offers a real feeling of freedom. Its architecture gives it a strong personality with its "oases" connected by rails to navigate the city.
Just like the first two games, Bioshock Infinite has an important political subtext (racism, poverty, excessive industrialization...), bringing a real superior dimension to the game.
If you want fun, vivid and thought-provoking Steampunk, Bioshock Infinite is for you!
The Order 1886
Sony Computer Entertainment, 2015 for the PS4 version
An order of knights (of the Round Table) is tasked with cleansing an alternate Victorian London of the lycanthropes that swarm Whitechapel with an impressive arsenal. But when the lower classes decide to take up arms to denounce their living conditions, the knights face two threats.
Let's say it right away, the game is a beauty. Gameplay and cinematics follow each other with a beautiful fluidity, making the player go from spectator to player. The immersion is also superb, but the praise stops there because this constant passage between the game and cinematics really breaks the rhythm of the game, which is totally unbalanced. The absence of a cooperative mode, the short game duration (7 to 8 hours maximum), the lack of twists and turns, and the predictable ending do not play in its favor. But otherwise, we say yes to this game for its superb Steampunk aesthetics and immersive dimension.
Arkhane Studio, 2012 for the Xbox 360 version.
Again an FPS! This game mode is definitely well suited to the Steampunk aesthetic! Well, almost. This game, in suggestive view, halfway between FPS and infiltration game with the look of the famous Assassin's Creed license, allows evolving in the city of Dunwall. Inspired by London, the city has based its fortune on whale oil refined into oil (Whalepunk?). Dunwall is as creepy as can be and is infested with rats and plague. We were talking about halfway because the gameplay adapts to the actions, and the total freedom left to the players in the resolution of the actions strongly impacts the future missions. Choose the soft way, and the game becomes infiltration. Choose the hard way, and the FPS takes over.
Dishonored is a real fresco full of details inspired by Steampunk (the visual director has a degree in industrial design). Players play as the personal bodyguard of an empress who is murdered. Caught up in a plot, he decides to avenge her death, save the empress's daughter and restore the truth. Dishonored deals with fanaticism and class struggle. Pop culture fans will recognize Carrie Fischer, Susan Sarandon, or Brad Dourif in the voice cast.
To go further: Arcanum, Engrenages and Spells (Troika Games, 2001) is a PC role-playing game that mixes Hero-Fantasy and early 19th century Europe with a rich universe. Machinarium (Amanita Design, 2009) is a point-and-click adventure and puzzle game in which a tin robot must solve puzzles by logically combining elements of the scenery and certain objects found during the game. Finally Dr. Grorbort's Invaders (Magic Leap, 2018): Here's a game we have been looking forward to. An augmented reality adventure inspired by Greg Broadmore's retro-futuristic universe...