13 Best Hacking and Surveillance Games, Ranked


Although the stealth genre is no longer as prominent in gaming as it once was, there are still plenty of titles that incorporate many of the hacking and surveillance mechanics that gamers love into these experiences.

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Sure, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is all but gone, but looking at both the indie video game scene and triple-A titles, there are plenty of games bringing the goods into that department. Let’s highlight the best hacking and surveillance based video games you can get your hands on these days.

Updated on June 27, 2022: Hacking and surveillance games are not a new concept. You have been able to hack into equipment and spy on people in a virtual environment for many years. However, it is still rare to see these types of titles. It’s a shame because they are often interesting – at least when done well.

Originally, we put ten of the best hacking or surveillance games in this collection. However, that wasn’t exactly an exhaustive list, as a few great ones were missed. So now we’ve added several more that didn’t make the cut before.


13 Cyberpunk 2077

In Cyberpunk 2077, you play as a mercenary called V, who tries to improve his position in Night City. The RPG’s title reveals the setting to be a cyberpunk world in the year 2077. As such, there’s a lot of sophisticated technology in the game. Even people have cybernetics in their bodies.

The protagonist happens to have hacking skills, so you can go in and mess with your enemies’ systems. You can also hack cameras, computers and many other things. In fact, you’ll have to do a lot of hacking throughout the engrossing main story.

12 Observer

If you like games set in European countries, then Observer might be for you. The game is set in Poland – not in contemporary times, however. It’s 2084 and the country is trying to recover from a digital plague. You play as an Observer, which is a technologically advanced type of detective.

One method that helps you solve cases is to hack into people’s brain implants. These segments inside other people’s minds are pretty trippy. But you could say the same about much of the game because it’s a psychological horror adventure. So the game continually tries to mess with your head.

11 Don’t feed the monkeys

Sometimes titles can be misleading. For example, a game called Do Not Feed The Monkeys looks like some sort of zoo simulator. Yet the monkeys the title refers to are humans. These people go about their daily business and you observe them on your computer.

As you observe, you should look for little things on each screen that help you learn more about your subjects and what they are doing. You are told not to get involved in their life, but that is ultimately up to you. It is a very creative surveillance game that continuously surprises you.

ten Legion of Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs: Legion provides some of the most ambitious hacking and surveillance mechanics in gaming to date. The ability to play with hundreds of different characters, hack nearly every tech you come across, and the sandbox nature of open world environments all come together to formulate something special.

Watch Dogs: Legion’s strengths lie in its systems and mechanics, not in its narrative and characters. Setting expectations correctly before jumping in can be the difference between a fun hacking game or a bland heist story.

9 Hacknet

With a name like Hacknet, you know what kind of experience to expect. It makes you feel like a real hacker, as the game simulates realistic hacking procedures that teach you the basics of UNIX commands.

Hacknet is a black backgrounds game with green text that offers the ultimate hacking experience. It’s filled with tons of Easter eggs to discover, and also has an expansion called Labyrinths that adds a bunch of new ARG stuff.

8 His history

Surveillance is often thought of as watching through camera feeds or listening through hidden microphones. His story offers a surveillance-based experience by having you investigate pre-recorded interviews with the police.

You must work to not only find the context of what is happening in the interviews, but also to decipher the answers to what you will eventually discover to be the police’s unanswered questions. The game sits at 91 on Metacritic and has won numerous industry awards for its innovative and artistic approach to game design.

seven Watch Dogs 2

Following the straightforward tone of the original Watch Dogs, its sequel offered a colorful and refreshing take on states of hacking and surveillance. The core of the game is all about letting you complete goals the way you want.

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You can approach aggressively with prepared weapons and technology, or you can enter quietly and take what you need without resorting to violence. It’s perfect for hacking fans who want to feel a little more creative freedom and experience a world that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

6 Operation Tango

When they think of hacking, most people default to the idea of ​​a team working with someone remotely who is known as the “guy in the chair”. In Operation Tango, two players work together, one playing the role of a computer expert and hacking into systems, while the other is a field agent playing the role of a spy or a thief.

The game’s asymmetrical gameplay breeds chaos among teammates as they rely on each other to get the job done. It’s a refreshing and unique take on the hacking and surveillance subgenres.

5 Quad Cowboy

Depending on whether or not you’re looking for a realistic hacking simulator, you’ll appreciate how Quadrilateral Cowboy you’ll find. You play as a thief who seeks to commit thefts of a lifetime with the use of his laptop.

This game requires the player to learn basic coding and will not hold your hand. You’ll need to learn these skills to open entrances, control equipment, and more. If you’re looking for a real hacking experience, it’s hard to find something as well designed and authentic as Quadrilateral Cowboy in the gaming space.

4 System Shock 2

Most modern gamers are familiar with Bioshock, but they might not realize it had a spiritual predecessor called System Shock. The second entry in this series has found a special place in the hearts of hacking game fans as it has engaged multiple skill trees into the hacking mechanic.

The hacking mini-game in System Shock 2 is quite similar to Minesweeper, which in itself is nothing special, but add that to the implementation of the optional hacking engagement and there’s real magic in System Shock 2.

3 Hitman 3

Hitman 3 is the finale of IO Interactive’s World of Assassination trilogy. This entry builds on the foundations of the previous two titles in the series and polishes the surveillance and interactive mechanics to near-perfect levels.

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It’s a game that rewards player effort, because when you spend more time studying character habits and assessing the level you’re in, it can open up many unique and effective methods to eliminate your target.

2 papers please

Rarely will you find a video game as politically and sociologically driven as Papers, Please releasing universal praise for its design and gameplay experience. It works like a puzzle simulation game where you have to accept or refuse immigrants at a checkpoint border.

You must rely on your monitoring and analysis skills to determine who should pass and who should be denied. Papers, Please is available on PC and mobile, making it accessible to most people.

1 Deus ex human revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution, in the eyes of hacking and surveillance fans, is the pinnacle of what video games can offer in this space. Its score of 90 on Metacritic is a shining example of how strongly it nails the cyberpunk world and incorporates the stealth and hacking systems that lend themselves to its open mission structure.

The game not only offers the option of first and third person play, but features four distinct playstyles including stealth and hacking. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, hacking is considered a crucial part of the experience as it gives the player a ton of experience and as a mini-game it challenges the player without it becoming tedious or frustrating.

NEXT: Games That Punish You For Hacking


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