After all the hype and the multiple delays, it’s finally time to dive into the world of Cyberpunk 2077! As expected from this much-awaited title, this game is MEATY. So much so that we can’t give you a full review as of yet and this will simply be a non-spoiler Review-in-Progress. At the time of writing, I’ve barely even made it to even half of the game but I believe that I do have enough to give you a good idea of where the game stands.
If you’re reading this article then you’re most likely here to find out if Cyberpunk 2077 lives up to expectations or if it falls short of all the hype that surrounds it. So that’s exactly what we’ll tackle in this article. So far, it’s looks like Night City makes the cut but not without a few shortcomings here and there.
For the purposes of this review, it’s worth mentioning that I’m playing on the PC using an RTX 2070 Super GPU. My graphic settings fall under the “Ray Tracing: Medium” preset. This is an early release review code which will still be subject to a Day 1 patch once the game is fully released on December 10. This means that there’s a possibility that the game will be patched to include fixes to some of the issues I’ve observed. Lastly, I did my run using the Corpo backstory.
A City Worth Seeing
Probably the very first thing that will hook you into the magic of Cyberpunk 2077 is just how beautiful and lively Night City is. With all the announced graphical requirements along with the reveal that Ray Tracing was going to be a thing with this game, I had high expectations that this game had to leave me in awe with its visuals. And it did. It really did.
The first scene that really wowed me was this moment during the Corpo intro where you’re riding a flying car cruising the city skyline at night complete with a fancy drink in hand. There’s just something about the way Night City looks and is lit that just makes it such a beauty to behold. The ride was short but it did a fantastic job of setting the tone of the game as you behold the beautiful towering ad-filled buildings of Night City while you’re on a call with your Life Coach who contacts you because something just feels off about all of it anyway. Fast forward to another scene, the game then brings you to the street level of your apartment building where you live. Here, I saw a nicely populated part of town with people of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicity walking by. I was hearing sounds of a lively city and I found myself just happily panning my camera as I looked around to explore. All this considering that I have yet to even see the whole map but I’m already seeing huge style / aesthetic differences with both the locale and the inhabitants. All in all, the visuals in Cyberpunk 2077 so far have been consistently great.
While yes, CD Projeckt Red definitely delivered on the visuals we were all love seeing, I also realized that Cyberpunk 2077 was the perfect type of game to play during these times of lockdown. As someone who’s missed the regular hustle and bustle of the outside world as well as the chances to travel, the sights, sounds, and freedoms of Night City were able to scratch an itch I’ve had caused by the global situation. The world felt seamless as there were barely any load times in the game meaning that there was barely any downtime to my exploration (aside from my upgrades which is a whole other topic that I’ll get into later). It was definitely a welcome experience in my eyes.
V All You Can Be
At its core, Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG that gives you a whole lot of freedom to play the way you want to. Cyberpunk makes this clear from even the first minute of the game. While you are named “V” and you have no way of changing that, you get to choose so many things about who V will be. First, you’ll get to choose your background – Corpo, Streetkid, or Nomad. This will determine how V interacts with his world. Will you be someone who’s “made it” and knows the ins and outs of this corporate dog-eat-dog world? Or maybe you want to be someone who has practically blended with the shadows of Night City – a someone who’s deeply familiar with how its underbelly functions? Or maybe you want to be an outsider who’s looking to be part of Night City? As I mentioned above, I chose the Corpo for my backstory as I felt that it was be an angle that I would be familiar with.
Next, you get into Character Creation where you can make V into whoever he / she is. The character creation tool isn’t THAT deep as I’ve experienced other games that had way more options to make your character. There were a few things however about the Character Creation that definitely stood out. First, you could determine the pronoun that people use to refer to you depending on the voice you choose. You would also be able to choose how big your breasts or penis would be. Actually, you’d even be able to choose if you had a penis, a vagina, or nothing at all down there.
Choices you make at the beginning of the game aside, the real choices on who you want your V to be happens during the game via your dialogue choices, stat allocations, and playstyle. In Cyberpunk 2077, there is no such thing as role / class selection… well, not in a strict sense at least. Instead of selecting those outright, you get to build yourself up to the role you want with 3 ways, the first being allocating points into 5 Core Stats (Body, Reflexes, Intelligence, Technical Ability, and Cool) which allows you to pass checks in the game that will determine if you can break / unlock something. The next is assigning PERK points to the abilities within each of the core stats for unlockable skills and passives can be learned and unlocked. And finally, by becoming better at things the more you do them. Similar to games like Skyrim, the more you perform certain actions, the more proficient you become with that skill.
Through these systems, you get to mold V into the type of character you want him/her to be. Wanna be like Genji from Overwatch? Level your melee weapon usage and movement and you can play just like a Cyber Ninja! You’re a fan of Gunplay? There are skills that improve damage for specific firearms and even passives that can increase your damage when shooting from cover! Maybe you wanna be a big beefy brawler? Say no more, fam! Just level up your BODY and focus on motions like evading and movement so you can gain the proper passives.
Almost everything about your character can be customized and fine-tuned to fit the playstyle you want and it’s definitely an awesome liberty that Cyberpunk 2077 gives you.
A Lot to Take In
That said, it caaaan be a bit too much. The game throws so many things at you that, personally I felt quite overwhelmed. I’m sure, as with all games, things get more and more natural and second nature as you put in more hours into it. But for where I am into the game, I can honestly tell you that I still find myself pressing the wrong buttons instead of doing a certain action that I wanted. Selecting your guns is also a tad complicated when you’re not just looking at DPS but also what type of damage the gun does (Chemical, Thermal, Physical, etc) and what bonuses you get.
Yes, this isn’t something new but it happens A LOT because the game allows you to loot all your enemies and get whatever weapon they were brandishing while they were fighting you. It’s overwhelming BUT it’s not exactly a bad thing. The flipside to this is that you have almost total control over what you want to do. With all this looting though, I only wish my V had WAAAY more carrying capacity so that I could just collect all the guns and thin them out later on. Because in my game (note that I decided to put more stats in Technical Ability than Body), I have to clear out these guns for selling like almost every after 3-4 fights. Of course, I have no doubt that as I go on through the game, I’ll be able to figure out a more optimized / efficient way of going about this.
Another thing that overwhelmed me was the amount of things one can do in the overworld. When the game first gives you access to the free roam, there is A LOT of stuff to do. There are tons of icons that you can go to. Yes, you have your usual stores for gearing up and buying consumables. However, you also have random shootouts you can stop, gang territories, a whole lot of “?”s and “!”s that could be anything ranging from special NPCs to interact with, chance encounters, or tasks. The game throws you all this right off the bat. Once again, technically this is a good thing as this ensures that you have A LOT of game to get through when you’re playing Cyberpunk. I did hope though that the game would ease you in slowly so that you could properly take in the various systems it has in place.
A Few Bumps on the Road
While I haven’t finished the game, there are 2 things that I felt were worth calling out.
First off, the game is very BUGGY. The game has crashed on me a handful of times (thank God they had autosaves in place so I never really lost significant amounts of progress) but more than that, there were a lot of times that certain animations or moments didn’t happen they should have. You may think that it’s not a big deal, but if you’re the kind of gamer that really likes immersing yourself in an RPG like I am, then things like these do feel kind of jarring. I won’t go into a lot of detail but I’ve had cinematics not play out the way they should, my character loses his hair when I look into the mirror, V’s model has his penis out even though he’s supposedly wearing pants, random things around me breaking when I interact with objects / people, and more. As mentioned earlier, there will still be a Day 1 patch which I hope fixes these issues.
One thing that may not be fixable is how the story flow doesn’t seem to be all there. Yes, once again, I will say that I haven’t finished the game so this sentiment could very well change once I do get to complete Cyberpunk 2077. However, based on where I am in the game, there are certain bits of story that just doesn’t tie in quite well. As of writing this, I’m currently in Act 2. The game has already put me through a Prologue (which is dependent on the backstory you pick), Act 1, an Interlude, and then Act 2. I can tell you that the Prologue story for me felt… lacking. What kept me going during the Prologue and Act 1 was literally just the aesthetics of Night City and the systems of the game. Any story that went on during this time just felt like “Oh cool. I guess that happened”. It was when the Interlude and Act 2 kicked in that I finally felt the story become very interesting and significant.
From my current progress, I can still say that Cyberpunk 2077 is worth playing. It’s an absolute delight to just look at, and it does scratch that itch of the traveling and roaming around that we’re missing out on right now. Now, I’m hoping that the story of the game nails it and that the systems have a good pay off. I’m still just a regular gunslinger in Night City but, hopefully, my V starts doing really cool combat mechanics in the later stages of the game.
For our final verdict on Cyberpunk 2077, watch out for our Full Review which will come out soon!