Cyberpunk 2077 Review
Of all the games released in 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 might be the most anticipated. A project nearly a decade in the making, Cyberpunk 2077 promised fans a living city to explore, complete with a cast of rich characters and innovations that would redefine RPGs. After spending dozens of hours exploring what Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer, it’s clear that many of those promises are empty.
The game puts players in the position of V, whose origin depends on which of three lifepaths the player chooses. Those lifepaths change how the game unfolds and offer special conversation options throughout the story, usually a nod to information unknown to other lifepaths. While they don’t dramatically change the gameplay, it’s an interesting way for players to determine who V is, laying the groundwork for the character throughout the game. V’s choices will also affect how Cyberpunk 2077’s story unfolds, giving set decisions a satisfying layer of urgency.
There’s an extensive character customization menu, though players don’t have the option to change their character’s face or hairstyle later. While that’s not a huge problem considering that the game locks players into first-person mode, Cyberpunk 2077 makes a point that players will regularly look into mirrors, so the anyone unhappy with their past decisions will be constantly reminded of them. This is a surprising omission for a game that places such a heavy emphasis on character customization, which, when combined with Cyberpunk 2077’s lack of a transmog system, can result in an aesthetically unappealing character run in funny clothes.
For the most part, Cyberpunk 2077’s combat is just a mild challenge, with boss fights occasionally ramping up the difficulty. The gunplay itself is okay, but it tends to feel stale as time goes on, especially when players find their groove with certain types of weapons. Melee combat doesn’t feel as powerful, making bladed weapons feel like they’re being swung through the air, but it’s still usable. There are also some outstanding weapons to try cosmetic things on, like Mantis Blades and Skippy. Mantis Blades is an augment hidden inside V’s arms that sends limbs flying everywhere when used, and Skippy is a talking pistol meant to pardon Microsoft’s Clippy. Together, the make for some of the most entertaining weapons to be found in a modern RPG.
Where the game truly shines is storytelling. While not all of Cyberpunk 2077’s missions are home runs, CD Projekt Red has effectively managed to keep both story missions and side quests from feeling generic, even with objectives that repeat over and over again. worldwide. One of these goals is for players to take part in a sort of fight club, with various fights scattered around Night City. While it would be easy to have copy-paste battles, there are a few unique twists thrown in to keep it from feeling the same. For example, one battle has players eliminating “twins,” but, in reality, it’s a mind sharing two bodies. It’s a small touch, but one that gives the world and characters an extra helping of personality.
Cyberpunk 2077’s main story doesn’t include many twists, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome either. Focus on the main campaign, and players can probably do it in 20-25 hours. At its core, Cyberpunk 2077 is about grappling with one’s own mortality, with Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Silverhand trying to claim V’s body. While going any further would cross major spoiler territory, Cyberpunk 2077’s campaign delivers, even if it doesn’t quite match The Witcher 3, for those expecting something at that level of quality.
Night City itself is a game world worth admiring. Its architecture has real scale, with skyscrapers dominating many of the downtown areas and distinct differences between the game districts. There are a few quirks; drivers are effectively AI-free and citizens tend to disappear if the player avoids them, though that’s almost nothing compared to Cyberpunk 2077’s severe issues.
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The problem is, on every level, Cyberpunk 2077 is a technical disaster. Bugs dominate almost every aspect of the experience, many of which are inexplicably horrible. Cars will occasionally randomly explode while driving down the street, NPCs will occasionally rise from the dead and go about their business, and on one odd occasion a motorcycle will partially appear inside a car. After mounting it, however, it teleported us into the night sky, leaving us floating there.
Perhaps the most crippling issue, however, is the almost constant crashing. Playing the PS4 version through the PS5’s backward compatibility mode, the game crashed about once an hour, including once during the end credit scene. It’s an issue that immediately takes the player out of what he’s doing, and while the game autosaves so often that a significant amount of progress is rarely lost, it’s still a huge disadvantage.
There is a level of bugginess that can be forgiven, but Cyberpunk 2077 exceeds that limit. Important moments in the story are undermined by too many issues, which can make it difficult to keep pressing the story and side activities. Sometimes half an hour or more will pass without issue, and those moments are pure bliss. Looking back, though, it’s hard to pinpoint more than two or three of those instances during the time we spent exploring Cyberpunk 2077.
It’s disappointing, but Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t done yet, and it will likely be months into the next year before the game is stable enough to be considered the intended experience. For every high point in the story, where the player’s choices have a visible impact on the narrative, there are dozens of issues that undermine those moments, and that’s inexcusable for a game that promised players one of the most profound experiences of all time.
There’s a great RPG buried somewhere under the mountain of Cyberpunk 2077 issues, but it’s going to be a while before that RPG is revealed to the world. Those who have followed the game’s development since the reveal may want to hold off on getting it until the issues are fixed. Take a trip now, and there’s a good chance that Cyberpunk 2077 will leave a sour taste. Night City and a well-realized cast of characters can help with some of the frustration, but Cyberpunk 2077 still needs some time in the oven.
Cyberpunk 2077 is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Today Technology reviewed the PS4 version on PS5.
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