Cyberpunk 2077 Game Review

Cyberpunk 2077

Eight years after its announcement, we are finally facing one of the most anticipated video games of 2020. Cyberpunk 2077 is here, but its launch has been extremely bumpy. There’s a lot to talk about CD Projekt Red’s latest project. Is it really a disappointment in every way? Or it is capable of approaching that revolution that it promised so much. I will tell you about it in this analysis. By now, you are probably fully aware of the crashing release of _Cyberpunk 2077_. At this moment it is difficult for me to remember a game that, after many years of waiting and an expectation that skyrocketed, has lived its first weeks surrounded by so much controversy. And even more surprising: it was led by a study that until a few days ago was one of the most respected and admired in the video game industry. Without a doubt, the current situation of Cyberpunk 2077 has not been easy for CD Projekt Red. But neither for the players, who in the end are the ones who trusted and were excited about the project. Including us …

I will be honest from the beginning. Analyzing Cyberpunk 2077 with its surrounding context has been somewhat convoluted. While many agree that the number of bugs is overwhelming on consoles, others point out that their adventure was not ruined despite the few bugs that were found. The second case, “fortunately,” fits my experience. This is not to say that I was free from technical errors or that a smaller number is justifiable. The performance, as you surely know, depends on the platform on which it was played. For this review, the PS4 version running on a PlayStation 5 was used thanks to backward compatibility. Be careful, because at this time there is no native version that takes 100% of the technical power of the next-gen consoles. The next-gen patch is coming next year.

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Night City is visually spectacular, but in the playable, it is totally wasted

Much was said about whether we were facing the video game that would mean a revolution for the industry; the one that would mark a before and after for the open-world genre and RPGs. This belief, driven mainly by the expectation that CD Projekt and ourselves generated, became a reality slap as the hours passed. Playing Cyberpunk 2077 has been a roller coaster of emotions. It has peaks where, indeed, you are contemplating a very high-quality bar. However, it also suffers falls that damage the work in general; moments in which they clearly state that the game took several months of development. And this comment is not just because of the bugs.

No, _Cyberpunk 2077_ is not a revolution, far from it. In fact, the title is supported by multiple games that have been successful in the past. It is not difficult to distinguish elements inherited from FalloutMass Effect, * The Elder of Scrolls: Skyrim, Deus Ex, Watch Dogs and, of course, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt *. The latter also created by CD Projekt and responsible for catapulting the Poles towards Olympus. I warn you from now on: if you are one of the people who expected to play a GTA with a cyberpunk setting, I recommend you turn your back and follow another path. The relationship between the two, at least in their playable pillars, is almost non-existent.

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Cyberpunk 2077 takes us to Night City, a city in which neon lights and technology are part of its identity. Each of its corners tries to portray a society infested with problems; an economic and social crisis that also lead to a crisis of opportunities to get ahead. And it is in this disaster setting that the game begins, with a character eager to earn his place in a fragmented world. The obstacles will be too many, but V, as the protagonist has been named, is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his purpose. The “downside” is that, as in real life, most of the time you have to start from scratch.

At the beginning of the adventure, the game makes us choose one of the three pasts for V: NomodaBuscavidas or Corpo. In a game as ambitious as Cyberpunk 2077, the normal thing would be to think that the rest of the adventure is subject to the selected past. However, the influence of your decision is very poor. The past only influences the first few minutes of the story, some additional dialogue option in the decision system, or access to a smaller number of secondary activities. But no more. Frankly, I do not understand what sense it makes to divide the background of the character if soon after they all go in the same direction.

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Subsequently, a robust character customization system enters the scene. Not only visually, which allows you to edit almost any part of your body, but also with abilities to which you can add a limited amount of points. It is from this moment that Cyberpunk 2077 begins to excel as an RPG, the genre that CD Projekt learned to master perfectly. These attributes, unlike the selection of a past, can substantially alter your journey through Night City. And it is thanks to this system, which you can continue to improve throughout the adventure, you reinforce certain skills and leave behind those that do not interest you or you think you useless.

How does skill choice contribute to the gaming experience? Well, first I have to say that the progression in _Cyberpunk 2077_ is somewhat complex. In fact, for the first few hours, you feel overwhelmed by so many things that you can add and improve. Fortunately, the game adequately explains all the possibilities at your fingertips. V has a complete skill tree that, in turn, is divided into multiple branches: constitution, reflexes, technical skills, intelligence and mettle.. Even within each branch, you will find other sublevels with more specific abilities. The amount is brutal, and it will be very difficult for you to unlock them all when you focus on your play style. Although I mentioned five types of skills, the attributes you choose end up being reflected in three sections: combatstealth and hacking. Yes, it is possible to balance all three, although in the end you always end up giving one or two higher priority. Now, the skill progression system is not perfect. Before I indicated that the number to unlock was quite large, however, many of them are almost the same and only vary in percentage that adds up to a certain statistic. There are some skills whose improvement is minimal; therefore, you don’t notice a noticeable change in your character.

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There is much to say about combat. Cyberpunk 2077 offers us a wide variety of weapons. Pistols, assault rifles, submachine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns and explosives of all kinds. The arsenal is flawless. As if this weren’t enough, your weaponry can be improved both in statistics and accessories. Collecting components and disassembling objects becomes essential to access that improvement that you want so much. This certainly couldn’t shine without a perfectly functioning _gunplay_. I must emphasize that the sensations when shooting are phenomenal with all weapons. You can tell the difference in power and the jump in performance they get when they get an upgrade.

Likewise, a very well achieved coverage system is integrated. V can protect himself from enemy projectiles on walls or other structures and objects on the stage. It is appreciated that the Poles have devoted so much attention to a key mechanic like gunplay. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for hand-to-hand combat. Whenever I had the opportunity, I avoided attacking or defending myself with bladed weapons. The reason? The moves feel awkward, even after progressing through the skill tree and cyberwar, which I’ll talk about later. The first-person perspective has never been suitable for bodily confrontations, and Cyberpunk 2077 failed to solve that problem either.

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The hack, on the other hand, is inspired by a game that has dominated the technique in recent years: Watch Dogs. In the scenarios, you will be able to observe a good number of computers that are vulnerable to cyberattacks. There are many types, and it will be up to you to choose them depending on the circumstance you are going through. I have to tell you that, although hacking might at first seem like the most expendable mechanic of all, when you master it can change the course of a mission. For example, in a scenario with many enemies and technological weapons that are watching everywhere, resorting to hacking can help clear the area before seeking support in your arsenal.

I wanted to save stealth for last because, in my opinion, it is the style of play that can perfectly coexist alongside hacking. The above does not mean, however, that you cannot combine your firepower with infiltration. Of course, stealth comes with a dislike, and that is that it becomes too monotonous an experience. All you have to do is analyze where enemies are looking across the map, draw a route out of their sight, and move to crouch. And if you want to take out an enemy without making a sound, you get behind their back and hit an auto-run – or stun – button. It is precisely for this reason that it is appropriate to take stealth hand in hand with hacking to make it fun.

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To finish with the skill progression, I can’t forget about cyberwar. It is a system of cybernetic implants that add additional capabilities to the character’s body. They work independently of the skill tree, so obtaining them does not depend on attribute points, but on Eurodollars – the currency of the game. Plugins are expensive, very expensive, and possibly most of your savings go to improve your body. You must also take into account that cyberwar is obtained with the “matasanos” of Night City. Your arms, legs and even your eyesight, among others, can obtain improvements that will be key in fulfilling the most challenging missions, since implants do make a difference from the beginning.

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Once I have made my comments on how progression works in Cyberpunk 2077, it is time to analyze whether the story, missions, and level design are really capable of taking advantage of this wide range of possibilities. And in this sense, again I have mixed feelings. First thing: the story holds your interest most of the time; it is entertaining. I say “almost” because there are moments with ups and downs, but nothing serious that hinders a very good development of the main characters. Not only the protagonist, who conveys that desire to excel and recover from unexpected problems, but also all the faces that appear during much of the adventure.

I have to emphasize that the story of Cyberpunk 2077 is, in effect, a set of narratives that at a certain point intertwine with the path of the protagonist. The other characters also face their own goals, difficulties and fears. Some are usually expressive so as not to leave doubts about their intentions, while others are cautious and hide their true purposes. However, how you engage with them and the relationship you build — or destroy — go hand in hand with your decisions. Here CD Projekt is once again taking advantage of its mastery with RPGs.

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The decision system, beyond slightly changing the course of the narrative, allows you to know in greater depth the context that surrounds the situation and, above all, the characters with whom you interact. The most obvious example is that of Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves), who to my surprise had constant and significant appearances. Knowing him thoroughly throughout the story, listening to his complaints, taunts and comments full of sarcasm, and at the same time finding out the cause of his attitude and debauchery, becomes an interactive experience. Of course, with other characters, it is not replicated at the same level, but that does not mean that the dialogues with the rest go at a good pace.

The best thing is that that narrative care in the characters also carries over to many of the secondary missions. Believe me, the number of activities spread over the map are many. As the hours go by, more emerge, so my recommendation is to make a balance between completing main and secondary missions. The above, in addition to helping you take a break from the story, opens the doors to obtain higher quality equipment, unlock new abilities, meet more characters, narratives and locations of Night City. Regarding the number of contents, nothing can be criticized for Cyberpunk 2077; you are guaranteed dozens of hours of play.

I previously noted that history has ups and downs. Not because of the narrative, but because of the level design. There are missions, both main and sub, that are exciting. Others, on the other hand, simply never take off and are quite boring. Yes, it is very difficult for an RPG to be able to maintain a high pace from beginning to end. Now, I think the drawback comes from the fact that the vast majority of missions do not take risks above going from point A to point B. That is, they are linear objectives that do not lead to planning an anticipated strategy. Therefore, the only thing that allows you to alter the experience is your style of play. All this is due, from my perspective to the most serious problem of the title.

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My biggest disappointment with Cyberpunk 2077 is that the open world feels totally wasted. Night City is disconnected from what you do. It is a staging that only manages to amaze by its imposing structures, by that attention to detail even in the farthest pixel of the map, but which forgets to connect with the rest of the adventure. The city has no life of its own; not only because the random events are very poor and repetitive, but also because of almost deserted streets. The density of NPCs and vehicles that roam Night City is miserable on the console version.

Consequently, touring and exploring Night City becomes a purely contemplative experience. I’m not going to deny that I always enjoy being surrounded by amazing architecture, places that reminded me of AkiraGhost in the Shell and Blade Runner. The point is that Cyberpunk 2077 is a video game, not a virtual tour of a city that is a poem to dystopia. In this same sense, the artistic section is more than outstanding. CD Projekt has done a fantastic job creating an urban area that visually exposes its own personality. The care for the design of structures, characters -except for the NPCs-, vehicles, weapons and an endless number of elements that embellish the staging, is to applaud. In addition, it is accompanied by an extraordinary soundtrack and a selection of licensed music of the most varied.

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To finish with this analysis, we have to talk about the technical section, the most controversial of the game and the one that has caused an avalanche of criticism against CD Projekt Red. I want to reiterate that the errors that appeared during my adventure were few, however, a smaller amount it is equally unjustifiable for a work of this “level.” Unexpected closures, missions that do not progress due to a bug in the cinematics, vehicles that make the most surreal movements and enemies that lose their artificial intelligence. It is clear that _Cyberpunk 2077_ is still an unfinished game. It is unforgivable that they decided to launch it incomplete, prioritizing the economic issue over a quality standard.

Although on PS5 and Xbox Series X the experience improves significantly over its predecessors, it is still far, far from what the PC version offers. It is a real shame that the positive points of the title have been weighed down by the technical deficiency it suffers on the consoles. Players cannot be the free beta testers of the companies after having paid 60 dollars/euros. I hope this sets a precedent for those intending to release uncompleted games.

Conclusion

Cyberpunk 2077  is not the revolutionary and innovative game that they tried to sell us for years, although I would not dare to say that it is a disastrous title in general terms. It is not. There are sections that can be rescued, those that are capable of sustaining a work that, strangely, pales in situations in which CD Projekt used to demonstrate exceptional mastery. The main problem with Cyberpunk 2077 is not the specific bugs, but its ambition of wanting to become a benchmark for so many things and stay halfway in many of them.

Even with its drawbacks, the game is capable of entertaining through that deep development of its characters, of living with the protagonist an interesting adventure with unexpected twists. The robust progression system, meanwhile, makes you want to keep moving forward to improve the character and equip him with skills that facilitate his journey in a city full of dangers. And although Night City fails to shine in playability, it is a joy to walk through it and contemplate its imposing architecture and visual details. It’s a shame it never shines in playability.

Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
Entertaining story thanks to good character development and some unexpected twists.The choice of a past has little influence on history.
Skill progression and unlocking, despite its complexity, works quite well.The open world is totally wasted in the playable.
The gunplay feels great.Melee combat feels clunky.
The decision system really does have an impact on your adventure and allows you to get to know the characters in depth.The vast majority of missions are linear and do not allow you to vary the experience beyond the style of play.
Specifically, visually, Night City is spectacular.Bugs and performance drops that could ruin your experience.
The amount of playable content is overwhelming. You will have dozens of hours of play.
The soundtrack and selection of licensed songs are outstanding.

Cyberpunk 2077 System Requirements (Minimum)

 
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K or AMD FX-8310
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 or 10 64-bit
  • VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon RX 470
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 70 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 3 GB

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended Requirements

 
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 590
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.1
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.1
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 70 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 6 GB