CD Projekt Red
CD Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077 was the biggest, most hyped game since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 way back in 2013. The game had been teased in 2012 by Polish developers CD Projekt Red, and delayed many times through the developers’ infamous “Yellow Pages”. Cyberpunk 2077 changed its release dates from its initial April 2020 release date, to July 2020 to September, then November and finally December 10th 2020. So, after almost a decade of hype and build up, years of development time, MASSIVE controversies regarding crunch and having Keanu Reeves be a part of it… Cyberpunk 2077 fell short, a bit more than it was supposed to.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Before I begin my proper review of the game, I want to just clearly talk about the game’s issues. It is safe to say that I think the game itself is fantastic, but it’s not even close to being finished. Cyberpunk 2077 has one of the most beautiful and immersive video game worlds to date. Night City is a sprawling ectoplasm of neon lights, the bustling of crowds, sex, violence and elitism is spread throughout its terrifying yet gorgeous world. The game however, barely works. The game has had the worst launch in the history of video games, resulting in millions of dollars in loss in stocks for CDPR investors, unplayable frame rates and resolutions on last generation of consoles and a plethora of visual and game breaking bugs that soil the experience.
There is not a single time you can play through the game without having to go through these bugs. Even on some of the most hardcore gaming setups; the game managed to dip in frames and constantly remain plagued with these game breaking bugs. For a game that was advertised to be this immersive adventure, the game’s breaking time and time again kills that immersion and reminds you that your preorders were sort of pointless. These glitches can include: animation bugs, save file corruptions, missing dialogue, NPCs not even having proper AI, story missions being completely halted because some enemy NPCs chose to spawn inside the ground. Now that this bit is cleared up, let’s talk about the game itself.
IN NIGHT CITY, YOU CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT
In Night City, you truly can be whatever you want but if I’m being honest, the life paths don’t really matter. The character customization starts off with making you choose your life path, you have an option between Nomad, Street Kid or Corpo. Now choosing either of these is almost always the same thing, however it makes a small difference in terms of dealing with specific groups of people. Street Kid gives you more experience in how to deal with people on the streets, Corpo will give you additional dialogue options for corporate people and… Nomad will well give you a pretty cool unique intro sequence outside of Night City?
The character customization wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but it wasn’t lackluster, you could customize your genitals which was an option that didn’t really matter in the game as you can only look at them within the in game screens. The progression systems in the game are awesome, you get to choose between a ton of different play styles here. Investing in tech and intelligence points makes you a great netrunner, while investing in strength and cool can give you bonuses such as extra melee damage or the ability to intimidate people. Additionally you also have perks under these categories to unlock, which are nice passive abilities to make the overall gameplay experience much more distinct for a specific play style.
CYBERNINJA OR TERMINATOR?
As far as the overall combat goes, it is super satisfying actually. The guns feel GOOD to use and the combat is flashy and the mechanics are tight. There’s a ton of variations in what weapons to use, weapons can be further modded with preferred gun sights, barrels and grips to make the experience better and customizable. The dismemberment mechanics in the game are awesome, with shotguns and well-placed shots of a sniper rifle blowing an enemy’s legs or head clean off. As I have previously mentioned, the choice is immense in this game. You can go guns blazing with your shotguns and one hit revolvers, or you can hack people during combat and take a stealthy approach to your combat scenarios. The guns for the most part are quite unique and differ, the variety in weapons however only starts once you’re somewhat leveled up, as Street Cred and your level matter a lot for the weapons you are able to pick. Melee combat needs refining though, as it is often boring and simplistic without any of the flashiness of the rest of the combat mechanics.
Cyberware is another element of what makes your character unique. Cyberware are body augmentations that you can purchase from various ripperdocs throughout Night City. You can have unique cyberware catering to your personal play style, you can have sneaky Mantis Blades in your arms to chop up enemies or assign missiles instead and blow enemies to bits. These also include giving you more abilities such slowing time during combat, reinforced bones for extra damage protection and even abilities to protect you from various debuffs such as fire or shock damage.
JOHNNY SILVERHAND AND A BAND OF MISFIT MURDERERS
The narrative is where this game shines to a maximum. There were game breaking bugs that would stop my progress from time to time but they never stopped my investment into the story, I would save my game on each checkpoint manually just so I could go back if a bug showed up either way. The story is incredible; Cyberpunk 2077 features a diverse cast of characters and narrative threads that outshine most of anything in the gaming world thus far, with a soundtrack that lights up every single scene that it’s featured in. Even the side quests had massive impacts on the story and choices you get as you reach closer and closer towards the end game.
This is partly credited to the excellent motion capture and animation work that CDPR put into this game, with facial animations feeling realistic even during dynamic world events. The voice acting talent in the game was spectacular, each of the characters felt like they had a proper personality and their voices complimented those personalities amazingly. Johnny Silverhand played by Keanu Reeves stuck out like a sore thumb when he was first introduced, but by the end he felt like a close friend instead of a distant memory.
SO, IS IT WORTH IT?
Cyberpunk 2077 has a unique campaign, an extremely fun core gameplay loop with amazing voice acting talent and animation. The game has so much to do in a compact yet precise open world, full of the colorful ambiance and the horrifying grit of a near-future dystopian world. It isn’t perfect by any means, as it comes with a ton of game breaking bugs, random glitches, broken or incomplete AI, overly complex inventory management or uncharacteristic NPC behavior.
The game offers an incredible campaign full of hundreds of choices that open new narrative rifts to lead you into different areas of Night City’s open infrastructure. This world seems like it should feel real, but unfortunately the broken state that it’s in currently, this remains a dream. Hopefully Night City will take on a proper personality and become the immersive dystopia we hoped it would when we originally saw the gameplay reveal in 2018.
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- • Top tier storylines with a wonderful cast of characters.
- Fantastic Soundtrack
- Flashy and brutal combat
- Beautiful world with a ton of reason to explore every nook and cranny
- Incredible graphics, especially on latest PC hardware with ray-tracing on
- Riddled with game breaking bugs at every corner
- Terrible optimization, with frame dips on even the highest specification hardware
- Incomplete AI and lackluster NPC design
- • Poor inventory system, too much to loot with not much use for it