Cyberpunk 2077 has finally made its debut. Millions took a deep dive into the CD PROJEKT RED title after years of anticipation. Though the launch was rocky due to bugs and poor performance on older Xbox and PS4 systems, the game has been received positively by gamers thus far.
Cyberpunk 2077’s best quality is its setting. The immersion found within the streets of Night City, barring bugs, which will be discussed later, is one of the best experiences in gaming. Cyberpunk 2077 feels fictional and non-fictional in the same breath. The world is built up by great characters, stunning visuals, and grave attention to detail. The side quests and gigs carry this title and its world to one of the richest environments in gaming.
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Interacting with the world is enjoyable. There are all different types of events and people to engage with just by traversing the map. Clearing the map is a tall order, but it never gets redundant or old, even as side jobs and gigs become similar. Each area poses new details and culture, making the experience literally like being in a major metropolis.
Cyberpunk 2077 stores much of its world-building in data shards, which can be collected almost anywhere from the Badlands to the night market in Kabuki. There are hundreds of shards, but taking the time to read them only expands the world of Cyberpunk 2077 even more, further highlighting how much attention was given to ensuring Night City would stand out among other famous gaming settings.
The story in Cyberpunk 2077 is enjoyable enough, though it does not do anything to change the genre. Initial leaks of the length of the campaign posed concerns to those waiting for the game’s release, and unfortunately, those leaks were accurate. The main campaign is very short. However, this should not dissuade interested gamers from picking up the title, the aforementioned best feature – the side quests and other activities within the world – add hours and hours of gameplay arguably better than the main campaign itself.
By intertwining the side quests and the main campaign, players open up endgame-changing options that make Cyberpunk 2077 feel like the RPG experience so many know and love. So while the main story on its own may be one of the game’s weaker qualities, its interaction with the side quests and characters interacted with along the way bolsters the experience and makes the time put in worthwhile. Paying attention to decisions made, allies gained, and quests completed all play a role in how V’s story ends.
The story introduces players to a diverse range of individuals, whether human, AI, or almost cyborg. CD PROJEKT RED has provided gamers from all walks of life ways to feel connected to this game in a way few others have. From taking the first steps in gender fluidity in gaming to so many different body types, colors, cultures, and beyond, allows Cyberpunk 2077’s V to be anybody they want to be.
Cyberpunk 2077 allows for very diverse gameplay depending on the player’s preference. From abrupt to stealth, V can take on a number of skills that hone them into an unstoppable merc regardless of technique. Brute force from firearms to blunt weapons to mantis arms allow a more direct approach to mowing down enemies in V’s way. Cybernetic enhancements can improve these skills, but can also allow V to take a more nuanced path of least resistance. Cybernetics can allow for V to hack into technological components, which are bountiful throughout Night City. It’s up to the player to decide how V deals with each and every interaction encountered.
The setting of Cyberpunk 2077 also has gameplay mechanics of their own that lend credence to CD PROJEKT RED’s attention to detail. From frequent and changing advertisements throughout the city, to a realistic day/night cycle, to changing weather, Night City is an interactive world with so much to discover. The secrets of Night City could be explored for hundreds of hours utilizing mechanics that are just flat out awesome. Marketplaces have lore to find and secrets to unearth, while bustling city sidewalks have characters to interact with at almost every corner. The exploration is as much part of the gameplay as the combat – whether brute force or light-footed.
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
As mentioned earlier, it is unfortunate that Cyberpunk 2077 cannot be reviewed without mentioning the myriad of bugs and glitches players across platforms have experienced. Even players on the top-of-the-line PCs are running into bugs that are quickly leading gamers to shelve the title until enough patches roll out to fix many of the issues. Many players on original Xbox One and PS4 consoles are getting the worst of the problems, leading to a controversial statement and handling of the situation by CD PROJEKT RED over the past week. And on December 17, 2020, Sony went as far as to allow any owners of a digital copy to get a full refund and pulled the game from the PlayStation Store.
The bugs range from simple floating objects, to T-posing, and all the way up to crashing. Some players have also had bugs that do not allow them to progress certain missions. While the bugs vary from mine inconvenience to game-breaking, it is definitely disconcerting given the amount of time the game was in development. CD PROJEKT RED had similar woes on the release of their generation-defining The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but with some patches and unmatched DLCs, many have quickly forgiven and forgotten. The gaming world will have to see if Cyberpunk 2077 is given the same treatment.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an immersive world in a setting that gaming has not seen often. The side quests both big and small carry this game alongside the beauty and detail that make up Night City. Due to a short main story, which can feel unfulfilling unless intertwined with the side quests, and the plethora of bugs experienced on release, a shadow is being cast on what could have been one of the most celebrated titles of the year, and one that could have really bridged the old console generation to the new.