I'm so very, very happy. I'm happy, that I didn't purchase Cyberpunk 2077 when it originally launched in 2020. I did, back then, just as CD Projekt Red suggested, and waited till launch. And after it had launched, I decided to wait some more and now, after I did buy it a couple of years later, I can honestly say, Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best gaming experiences I've had in years. I mean, technically, it still has some issues, but all said and done, it is an awesome experience with a world, that just sucks you in.
I'm not gonna go over the whole kerfuffle that happened during the launch. If you've kept even the smallest tabs on gaming news, you might be aware, that Cyberpunk 2077 was a game loaded with tremendous expectations and almost unparalleled hype. When it finally launched, it soon became evident, that it had been released woefully broken and unoptimized, which lead to Sony pulling it from the Playstation store.
You are a mercenary known as V. You do have a full name, but the people you meet call you mostly only V, because they aren't your friends and because that probably made the voice acting simpler, as the game doesn't refer to your name that often. I recall it being uttered only once during my whole playthrough.
Before getting to the meat of the game, there's a small prologue based on the character backgrounds, lifepaths if you will, of your choosing. You can be a Nomad, Streetkid or Corpo. This has the most effect on the beginning of the game and in some conversation options later on but is overall mostly flavouring. This is more or less the tutorial phase of the game, trying to show you all the ropes.
When V comes upto, they find out, that the Relic houses the engram of Johnny Silverhand, a rockstar terrorist, who decades ago deployed a nuclear bomb into Arasaka headquarters. As he now resides in V's brain, the engram is slowly taking over. While there are bigger things going on in the world, for V, the story has more personal stakes in trying to find a way to prevent Silverhand from taking over.
Silverhand appears throughout the game to give his input on the matters, trying to guide V in a direction he prefers. V can be either antagonist towards him or not. The relationship you have with Johnny has some relevance to what endings there will be available for the story.
Sure, just like with every AAA open-world game, the world has issues. Like 99% of people in it exist solely as extras who wander around the streets of Night City or act as cannon fodder. There's very little reason to visit any of the many shops beyond decking your V with nice little improved body parts. Buying clothes or weapons is basically a pointless exercise, as you never really have any problems finding them just laying around or by looting fallen enemies.
Crafting, of course, there's crafting, is mostly just as pointless, unless you happen to fall in love with some specific piece of clothing you want to soup up as high as possible. Crafting weapons, never saw the need for that just like there never really was a need to craft any consumables or grenades. if the crafting would be removed from the game, nothing of value would be lost. By this point in time, I'd announce crafting as the most pointless feature modern games have.
V can have multiple homes all around the city, but beyond a couple of mission rewards, there's really nothing to lure you back to them. Sure, your weapons stash is there, but it's in the trunk of every car you own as well. V doesn't have to sleep either, so in the end, it's all just additional fluff.
On the technical side, driving requires a special mention. For a game that relies so much on driving around, the driving system is almost hilariously horrible. Now, generally, driving is rarely well done in any of these types of games. The GTA series fares pretty poorly there as well, despite GTA 5 is a huge improvement there. In Cyberpunk, the cars seem to exist in an entirely different realm of physics from the rest of the game. This goes to how they handle how they behave and move. It's telling, that while the game is 1st person, you can switch to a 3rd person mode while you drive. That's how little the devs trusted in their driving model. And even in the 3rd person mode, driving around is a hassle when the cars suddenly seem to lose all their weight.
Speaking of cars, and motorbikes, there are quite a few of them. From time to time, the mission fixers inform you of calls for sale, which is a way of getting specific cars to your personal garage. You get vehicles as mission rewards as well, so it's not necessary to buy them if you don't want to. V does have their own starting car as well and that serves you to the end just as well as any other vehicle.
Quickhacking is perhaps the most fun system of the game. the grimmest skills make it possible to force the target to kill themselves or others, the non-lethal ones help you to make people go blind for a moment, lose the use of their cyber implants or just lose consciousness. It's also possible to disable or takeover turrets and cameras and cause environmental electronics to glitch, distracting enemies.
Sneaking around in the enemy compounds is actually a pretty fun exercise. I do reckon it's possible to play the game without firing a single shot if you so choose. Though there might be a handful of situations, where shooting is more or less mandatory. The skill trees allow you to spend points on technical, stealth or attack skills, so can build V that suits your game style the best.
As in most modern AAA RPGs, you can also try and romance some of the characters you meet. And it's not only you who can do romancing, Johnny Silverhand can ask to borrow your body a couple of times in order to do some romancing of his own. And speaking of Silverhand, there are a couple of segments in the game, in which you can play as him or play as him controlling V's body. These segments bring more flesh to his backstory and offer a nice change in pace.
Overall, Cyberpunk is a reasonably easy game, definitely easier than any of the Witcher games CDPR is also known for. But that's fine. The way I see it, Cyberpunk 2077 is a good starting point for a new game series. And it is a fun game as well, despite some of the technical issues and poor design choices aside.
If you're interested, Cyberpunk 2077 is sold in most digital storefronts for multiple platforms. Here are GOG and Steam links. If you aren't willing to shell out the full price, it's in a 50% sale pretty often.
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