Cyber Punk 2077 - Review

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Cyberpunk 2077 kicks you into its beautiful and dazzlingly dense cityscape with few restrictions. The look of the city takes a great deal of inspiration or steals directly from the Blade Runner movies, Altered Carbon series and 5th Element Movie. I’d even go as far to say Tokyo or New York nowadays at night. So much to say, it looks striking, full of bright fluorescent lights, enormous skyscrapers, a real high tech reflective world of the future.
It offers a staggering amount of choice in how to build your character, approach quests, and confront enemies, and your decisions can have a tangible and natural-feeling impact on both the world around you and the stories of the people who inhabit it. Those stories can be emotional, funny, dark, exciting, and sometimes all of those things at once.
The depth and variation available throughout most of these is genuinely hard to wrap my head around. You have to understand that in Cyberpunk 2077, just because something is a side mission doesn’t mean it’s not important to the story.
The missions themselves are also largely delightful, ranging from hilarious to deeply emotional to thrilling to intensely dark.
The main quest may be shorter than expected when taken on its own and it’s not always clear what you need to do to make meaningful changes to its finale, but the multitude of side quests available almost from the start can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the options you have when you get there. It’s a shame that frustratingly frequent bugs can occasionally kill an otherwise well-set mood, but Cyberpunk 2077’s impressively flexible design makes it a truly remarkable RPG.

Unfortunately, the amount of bugs I’ve experienced really does need to be mentioned. I’ve only been able to play Cyberpunk 2077 on a PC with a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, and as of writing this I have yet to lay hands on either the PlayStation or Xbox versions, but the issues I’ve encountered were extremely frequent and distracting. Performance on Ultra settings at 1080p with ray tracing off was largely okay for me, as you’d hope would be the absolute bare minimum on a brand-new and still-hard-to-get graphics card, generally only noticeably dropping in framerate while driving around busy areas or in certain weather conditions – but it was the routinely messed up animations, missing models, and glitchy dialogue that really got to me.

When things do get loud though, a special commendation needs to be given to Cyberpunk 2077’s soundtrack. The music here is fantastic throughout, with radio stations full of custom songs made by in-universe artists singing about the struggles of Night City like it was a real place, but the combat music stands out even in that company. It often drove the pace of firefights directly, pushing me forward and frequently making me bob my head to the beat as I leapt at people with Mantis Blades or shot them through their cover. A few choice sequences became truly memorable moments thanks to their soundtracks alone.

Cyberpunk 2077’s way of blending hacking into its stealth and combat, letting you essentially pause time to use equip able viruses that can deal damage, mark enemies through walls, or even blind or deafen them temporarily. The enemy AI is fairly easy t o manipulate at the best of times, but using hacks to quietly get through tougher areas or disable a stronger target mid-fight was always an awesome feeling regardless. That hack-stealth combo was my go-to playstyle, and with it I was able to complete some missions without ever drawing a weapon.
Cyberpunk 2077’s level design is frequently a playground of decisions to make, be that finding which hidden entrance to quietly enter or which door to kick down and start firing through for maximum effect. There are tons of valuable items to pick up tucked into hidden corners, as well as computer consoles that can be accessed to turn off security cameras, open doors, or read emails that might offer clues to other things in the area. So, while the stealth itself isn’t much more complex than crouch-walking out of sight and occasionally doing quiet takedowns, I loved puzzling out the best route and then using Quick hacks to mess with guards along the way.
This is the crux of what’s so impressive about Cyberpunk 2077. It’s not a Rubix Cube to be solved in an optimal way but with different routes to get there: it’s a Rorschach Test. It’s shorter than the epic-length quest you might’ve expected, but with an amount of variation that’s almost impossible to keep track of, so whatever you think you see in that inkblot is what you’re going to get out of it. There are no wrong answers here and nothing forcing you to play more or less than you want to. It offers you a marvelous amount of control as a player.
That said, this structure does misfire slightly in how it’s organized and presented. The mission log itself is a big messy list with no clear indications of what different tasks will reward you with or which optional jobs might be more pertinent to V and Johnny’s story than others. It’s primarily broken into “Main Jobs” that are required to progress, “Gigs” that offer amusing but quick and inconsequential bites of action and story, and a “Side Jobs” category that basically houses everything else, be it an important but optional piece of plot, a date with a side character, or just a series of bare-knuckle boxing matches. What’s frustrating here is that since all these Side Jobs are clumped together and optional, at a certain point I was at a loss as to how else I could impact the larger story and see more endings.