So, finally the day of reckoning has come and gone. Just a few short weeks ago, CD Projekt Red, after a few bumps and delays, has finally released one of the most anticipated games of the year, Cyberpunk 2077. A game set in the not so distant future, it boasts huge exploration, deep story arcs anc character development, characters, exciting combat, and much more.
Let’s kick things off with the obvious, because let’s be honest, no game is ever perfect when it first releases, and boy do we know how to blow it out of proportion. Yes… it has many bugs, glitches, crashes, freezes, and other technical issues that could be ironed out. I think we knew that, and CDPR knew that too. I’d like to think and hope that it will be continuously monitored and improved over the next coming months and years to make it the best they can possibly make it. But that also means they need a contribution from us, to be constructive and report these issues properly, so that they can then rectify them, instead of being a keyboard warrior, head butting whatever words impale their thick skulls with them ranting on Reddit saying “ThIs GaMe Is So ShIt!**!!” and all the rest of whatever nonsense springs to those empty minds. So, if you are interested and committed to the game, do the right thing and report bugs and improvements properly. Enough said.
Anyways! Apologies! Let’s get back to business! This game is packing heat, a lot of it too. First base I will quickly glaze over is the story. There is one, a very in-depth one it seems. One which I can’t wait to dive into a lot more, because as it turns out I’ve put maybe 15+ hours into it and I haven’t even passed the prologue. I didn’t even realise either. I knew I was at the start, just didn’t realise how far back at the start I was! Then there’s the character creation. I think they might have over emphasised that this part is truly in depth. There are a lot of customisable options with your character, a lot of fancy colours and widgets you can apply. But even when spending a good 30 minutes looking through it all, I did somewhat expect there to be just a bit more.
That’s quite minor considering you can choose if your character has genitals or not. What’s even interesting is the flexibility of the character creation, which they’ve even done well to appeal to the trans community, in ways that you can make your female character speak like a man or have your mail character have a vagina. It’s…. wonderfully strange, because looking back I don’t really know a game that considers those options when customising your character.
Coming to combat, depending on your style of gameplay in Cyberpunk 2077, you’ll either find it very enjoyable or slightly clunky. Stealth in the game is very good. I tend to be a sneaky shit at the best of times, and wherever there is a dumpster, my enemies go in them. The idea being you will want to tidy up your mess as best as you can to stop alerting the others. It’s fundamental in the world of covert combat. Along with the use of distracting techniques by using quick hacks, which I’ll come to soon, it can be very effective and pretty cool to perform. The only thing I would say is it has a handful of animations for sneaking, and wouldn’t mind seeing a little more variation in eliminating your target, because right now I should title myself ‘Le Stiff Neck’ from all the necks I’ve been snapping…. the title needs work i’ll get right on it.
Then there is melee combat, which you do end up coming across from time to time. It has your standard strong attacks, light attacks, blocks and counters you can perform, but this is the clunkier side of combat I was referring to. The enemies seem to almost pause for half a second which signals a time to counter, when I think in a game like this, especially on the hardest difficulty that I play it on, it shouldn’t be that obvious. I think it’s something that just needs to be ironed out of course, otherwise the heavy attacks using some implants are very fun to do. There’s nothing like using mechanical fists to punch the living crap out of someone across the room. The gunplay is by far the best combat feature, being able to peak from cover, moving fluidly using slides, vaults and dodges, it really keeps you on your toes, especially at the hardest difficulty where only a few rounds can kill you. Then you look like the most athletic asthmatic alive, huffing all the inhalers in the world.
There’s also different types of firearms. You essentially still have an arsenal to choose; pistols, revolvers, rifles, snipers, assault rifles, sub machine guns and so on. Each weapon can come under one of the 3 archetypes, Power, Tech and Smart. Power weapons (with the right cybernetics) allow you to ricochet shots off of hard surfaces to make skilful trick shots. Tech weapons, and in my opinion the most powerful, allow you to charge shots that penetrate through light cover, or in the instance I’ve found… anything. For example, after scanning a warehouse and pinging enemies inside, I proceeded to flatline them one by one, only using a tech shotgun, without setting foot inside whatsoever. They’re crazy effective. Finally Tech weapons are for your average ‘I’m trying to eat something but don’t want to pause my game’ style of play, where the rounds track whatever target is in front of you, also useful to hit behind cover, but they’re just inherently lazy weapons to use.
Let’s just cover driving real quick. At first off, driving initially started like I was playing GTA IV for the first time, or that in 2077 friction no longer existed, because you slide everywhere. But then I thought perhaps it’s just the specific vehicle I’m using that’s all. I stand corrected. There are vehicles which are blessed with the power of grip, you just have to find them. Diving into first-person in the driver’s seat depends on the car you’re in too, as they can provide clear visibility or stuff a great big engine right in front of you, which you’re then tempted to go to Third-person view. I also found my game crashed more than usual driving through in third-person than in first through densely populated areas like the main city network, and be careful of hills, because then you may as well picture yourself flying as you cannot see the road at all.
Of course, being an RPG there are a lot of additional elements to help you get the best out of your combat experience. You can enhance your body with cybernetics, allowing you to do above and beyond normal human capabilities. This is a feature at the forefront of Cyberpunk. Cybernetics allow you to jump higher, move in slow motion, punch harder or slice enemies with hidden blades in your arms. They increase your base stats, allow additional enemy information, and in some cases can make you superhero land like you’re some kind of marvel hero. One key feature I found useful was getting a better CPU, because that’s when quickhacks come into play. Quickhacks are another feature that allow you to hack into enemy software or other tech surrounding you, allowing you to see where your enemies are, set them on fire, poison them, disable their weapons and activate their grenades, both performed in stealth or in active combat.
It’s a very nifty and handy tool, and with an upgraded CPU this allows you to equip more quickhacks at your disposal. Alongside with weapons and clothing, these can all be crafted and upgraded. Everything is scaled like normal RPGs in rarity, from common to legendary, so it does feel a lot like Fallout when you start to dismantle random junk and weapons for parts to craft with. Finally, there is also a levelling system, which allows you to gain attribute points and perk points. Attributes are your base states and each attribute has a perk attached to that. The perks themselves have their own skill trees which you can delve into to upgrade to suit your play style. People are saying that it’s complex, but it’s really not that difficult to understand, you just have to pick and decide what you would like to prioritise in, because all in all, it’s pretty flexible to use.
Perks also coincide, along with your back story, within certain dialog options too. You meet all sorts of wild and brash characters throughout the game. Some forgettable, others not so much. The conversations you will strike up can sometimes determine whether you go out in a blaze of glory, or sneak out the back door. Whether a weapons deal goes south on your terms, or you keep a level head. Depending on your perks and your backstory this can also determine newer dialog options, which may sway the outcome of the conversation. It’s a neat feature, one which I’ve seen being used a lot, especially in The Witcher 3. I just wish that the backstory of your character was implemented a lot stronger at the beginning of the game.
Even with its bugs and flaws right now, I like it. I’m really enjoying this one and for the devs to be able to pull this off with the whole world going tits up due to COVID, it’s lucky we got this game this year at all. I’m hoping that more hot fixes and patches come into play, as well as finding out what it’s like to play on the next-gen consoles too. Otherwise, it’s a pretty damn good game filled with content that will keep you entertained for hours on end.