CD Project Red found themselves in hot water because of the Cyberpunk releases on the base versions of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, that should take nothing away from the success of creating a fantastic game. On PC, the game runs excellently. Even in lower settings it looks amazing and is easily the best game that was released last year.
Of course, the game is still riddled with bugs. This problem exists even after the 1.1 patch. Still, this alone should not discourage players from picking up this game. Most of the bigger bugs seem to have been fixed and the remaining bugs have simple fixes, such as reloading a save or waiting. The Cyberpunk 2077 community is a great resource for dealing with these glitches and bugs as there are always useful tips on how to counter them.
As a game however, Cyberpunk 2077 is fantastic. The main story campaign is a joy to play, the side jobs provide depth for many characters while giving players an enjoyable process of using every technique in their arsenal, and the tense relationship between V (the protagonist) and Johnny Silverhand, played by Keanu Reeves, is great to explore. In truth, the game does not seem new. Instead, it is an amalgamation of numerous games, including open-world games like the Witcher, hacking like Watch Dogs and a city of NPCs as found in GTA V. CDPR seem to have found a perfect blend of these titles and their mechanics and made it their own. Cyberpunk finds its own uniqueness in the story it creates and the super-advanced technologies, and this helps it overcome some obvious issues within the core game.
Within the gameplay of Cyberpunk exists a perfect harmony of first-person shooting, wonderful melee, and an addictive and easy-to-use hacking system. As a result, the combat remains the best aspect of the gameplay. The numerous options players can use to complete missions are a great welcome and the stealth mechanics, while a bit broken at times, is simple yet satisfying.
The best part of the combat though is the blend of melee and gun shooting. Cyberpunk has been able to provide various guns in the game that are classified under three types, Power weapons, Smart weapons, and Tech weapons. Each of these types has their own special features. For example, Smart weapons allow players to hit enemies behind cover by curving bullets towards a tracked target while Tech weapons can be charged to unleash a much more powerful shot.
Melee is a bit more strenuous than this. It involves dodging, blocking and parrying attacks to find an opening to perform successful attacks. All this while ensuring that V does not run out of stamina. While shooting is much better for dealing with masses of enemies, it is possible to create a solely melee build and home in on the abilities that improve this aspect of combat.
Exploring Night City
Night City is massive and packed with a plethora of interesting details and NPCs. From the outskirts of the badlands to the inside of the Megastructures, the city looks stunning, especially at night. With various areas, constant crimes to stop, and numerous factions of enemies seeking your blood, the open world is packed with events that never lets the player truly rest. Unfortunately, navigating the city is a bit challenging.
The vehicles of Night City are not the problem, but the navigation system within the game is. For starters, the mini-map always seems too small, not giving players enough warning before a turn comes and this often leads to players missing turns and forcing them to correct themselves. Next, the guidelines seem completely broken. There are various instances where the map will guide players around an entire section of the map just for the player to move a few meters ahead, which would not be as big a problem if the map were larger. Finally, there are several instances where players will get a warrant issued for them for seemingly performing harmless acts, like driving on the wrong side of the road to overtake cars or correct themselves. While this does allow the game to have a sense of real-life immersion, it destroys the flow while driving and would not happen if the first two issues were fixed.
The city does indeed look beautiful and while these negatives are extremely apparent, they never prevent players from having a genuinely exciting time within the futuristic metropolis. During the day, the city looks phenomenal, with the sun striking off the massive buildings and casting shadows over large areas, but at night, the city comes to life. There are more people out and the sounds and sights transport the players into the game itself. The navigation issues seem menial when compared to the wonderful world that CDPR created.
The choices you make in Night City have a small impact in the overall story. These impacts are seen through various romances, unique unlockable items and one of five alternate endings. CDPR managed to ensure that finding each ending requires a different set of missions to be completed, unlike how alternate endings are usually achieved by simply selecting a different choice in the final mission.
Each choice allows the player to role-play their character in a unique way. This ensures that players can completely immerse themselves within the game and truly feel a part of the world. By allowing this level of immersion, CDPR ensures two things; firstly, players tend to think deeply about their choices and, secondly, it ensures a high replay value for the game. Another important way to ensure these two things work in cohesion is the fact that many of the dialogues have a time limit on it and so players need to react quickly to what they want to say. Even the non-timed dialogue options have a certain effect if a player does not reply in a normal manner, for example, if you take too long to pick a dialogue option, the NPC will often ask why V is not talking.
Ultimately, the choices you make in Cyberpunk have a drastic effect on the overall ending of the story. However, this is a bit of a letdown. During the pre-release trailers and footage, we were told that our choices would have a profound impact on the game, yet the game itself feels far too scripted when compared to what was promised. This is not a bad thing; the game is still fantastic without this impact of player choices and the storyline is still one of the best in recent gaming history.
The character creation within Cyberpunk is excellent. While it is not an extremely in-depth creation that is present in some games, it offers choices that are usually never given to players in other games. The character creation itself allows players to customize the appearance, backstory and starting skill level of V.
The appearance customization goes in-depth but does allow much morphing of each part. There are facial structures, gender and voice selection, body parts and tattoos that can be changed. The one downside of this aspect of customization is the lack of small detail morphing. It is not something that is extremely necessary, but it would have helped create completely unique characters. The second aspect of character customization requires players to select one of three life paths. Each path opens different prologue scenes and unique dialogues that can be used throughout the game. The three paths are the Nomad, the Street Kid, and the Corpo Agent. These do not drastically change the character and the storyline, rather they provide a different approach to the game. The Nomad, for example, can use dialogue options during a set of missions taking place in the Bad Lands, the desert surrounding Night City.
Finally, the skill selections allow players to increase the points allocated to any of the provided five skills in the game before the start. This is a way to jump start the character down a particular path and this is completely optional. Players can choose to allocate enough points to each ability to start off with no skill advantages.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG game. It gives players the choice to level particular skills to create a certain class. These skills are broken into five broad categories, each with sub-categories of their own. As players progress through the game, they will gain experience which allows them to level up and improve their character.
The five main skills are Body, Reflexes, Technical Ability, Intelligence, and Cool. Each of the base skills control a certain aspect of V’s abilities in and out of combat. The Body skill, for example, allows players to increase their carry capacity as well as their strength. The one unique part of this skill system is how levelling up functions. There are two types of points, attribute points and skill tree points. The attribute points will allow the player to directly improve base skills. This has importance within the game as a certain number of points in each ability is necessary to perform certain functions. For instance, players can unlock certain doors if their Technical Ability skill is at a certain level. The skill tree point allows players to pick one of the perks within each skill. This includes increases health, damage with weapons, and even carry capacity to name a few.
The skill tree element in the game is important and vitally noticeable in the game. It is one of the best features and having this deep method of improving a skill and then picking a perk from skills is a great way to mold a character in any way possible.
The plot of Cyberpunk is handled phenomenally. It includes one main story line with numerous branching paths that crisscross their way between each other to provide an exciting story that is somewhat shaped by the player’s choices. While the main story is great to play through, the side quests are not to be ignored.
Arguably the best part about Cyberpunk is the excellent cast within the main story and the numerous side stories. From small characters that you never get to meet in person, to the main cast itself, the NPCs in the game are phenomenally crafted and are great additions that add to the immersive experience of the game. Each character is utterly unique with a personality that can appeal to numerous different persons. Of course, the highlight of the game in the press has been the “breathtaking” Keanu Reeves, his character seems an afterthought when compared to some of the other characters. Not to say that Johnny Silverhand is not a good character, in fact, he is one of the best, but when compared to the likes of Judy or Jackie, he does not seem to live up to the hype.
All in all, the characters are the driving force of Night City and the Cyberpunk story. All their quirks and traits shine brightly when placed in the story and the freedom of interaction given to players allows each gamer to experience this in their own way. While the main story is not the longest, the side quests can have players glued to the screen, like how Skyrim functioned with an emphasis on branching storylines, rather than a single linear one.
Bugs and Glitches
Unfortunately, Cyberpunk 2077 has been given numerous negative reviews due to the sheer number of bugs and glitches present in the game. While on the PC version, these bugs are not game crashing, they still exist and can easily annoy gamers.
For one, there are numerous points in the game where a bug will not allow the dialogue in a particular story to continue, forcing players to reload a save (usually multiple times) to ensure that the dialogue continues.
There are also bugs that do not allow the player to drive through certain areas. For example, there are numerous silver gates that are designed to be forced open when a car drives through it, however, in some areas, these gates do not budge and instead the player’s car will get stuck, forcing the gamer to move a sufficient distance away and recall their vehicle.
While these bugs do not take away from the outstanding work CDPR did to create this phenomenal game, they can at times be an annoyance and completely halt the flow of the game. However, CDPR has promised several patches to fix these issues and many more that players are experiencing down the line.
It is important to remember that with games of this magnitude, it is nearly impossible for developers to create a bug-free game. Games of this size have always had bugs and glitches, and this should not be taken as an ultimate downside to the game or a reason to completely boycott it. On top of that, with the latest release of Mod Tools by CDPR, the community may be able to provide the necessary fixes through unofficial patches.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a great game, and nothing can take that away from CDPR. The studio has been able to create an absolutely bustling world once again with a totally immersive experience. From the combat to the characters, the game is a must-play for any fan of open-world games, RPGs, and even First-Person Shooters. The freedom that players are given to craft their own journey through the wonderfully created Night City is something that will inspire future games and the fact that CDPR is adamant on fixing all the present problems of the game is a good sign that the game will only continue to grow. While the game may not function well on current-gen consoles, the PC version works extremely smoothly (if the hardware meets the requirements) and the inclusion or ray tracing, takes the game’s aesthetics to a whole new level.
Cyberpunk 2077 is easily one of the greatest games in recent history and can compete with the Witcher franchise that CDPR has prided itself with for so many years. They have successfully created a game that can last generations and can compete with titles like Grand Theft Auto and The Elder Scrolls in a way that their previous franchise never could.