Review of Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 was handed out to the press on December 1 – exactly one week before the review embargo fell. I even thought that I would not have enough time to complete the storyline, but as a result I not only managed to “close” the plot, but also a dozen or two side quests passed. The developers decided not to go “the way of Ubisoft” and did not make the open world even larger than it was in their previous game – on the contrary, they squeezed it noticeably, made it more compact.
At the same time, there is still a lot of content – even if we discard all the “garbage” quests like “go to the dump and beat off the kidneys to the gopniks with fittings”, of which there are a lot. Chains of side quests, some optional stories like “V enters the cafe exactly at the moment when the institution is trying to rob”, various activities like “knock out the boss / steal data / save the hostage” and so on. You will definitely spend more than a hundred hours mastering all the content – believe me, there is something to do in Night City.
And about all the most important things related to one of the main games of the year, I will tell you point by point.
The plot, I think, is familiar to everyone who at least somehow followed the game. The focus is on a mercenary (or mercenary) named V, who is trying to make a career for himself in the dystopian metropolis of Knight City. At a certain moment, the order that the hero receives from the “fixer” Dexter DeShone does not go according to plan, and V receives several painful lessons from life. He also runs into Johnny Silverhand, a highly controversial personality to deal with throughout the game.
After that (in fact, after the prologue), you are released into free swimming and wave the handle goodbye. Then you are left to yourself – you decide where to go and what to do.
Talking about what’s going on next is a spoiler, so I stop here. I can only say that the plot itself is well written and is worth playing at least for the sake of the story (and how it is presented!). Despite the fact that at first the story seems a little trivial with all these “evil corporations doing evil things, and their leaders are smug bastards”, gradually the story unfolds – and soon it will not be pulled away from it by the ears. In addition, do not forget that Cyberpunk 2077 is still an RPG, so how the plot will turn depends on your choice and certain moments during the passage. There are several endings in the game (I will not say exactly how many), and the opening of each of them depends on certain circumstances.
Johnny Silverhand and Vee
Johnny is generally worth talking about separately. The character of Keanu Reeves (voiced by Ilya Bledny in the Russian localization) is the real star of the game. This guy is a rocker, revolutionary and terrorist, narcissist and just a disastrous mu * ak force. However, at the same time, he is devilishly charismatic and is able to decorate any scene with himself. Silverhand is not just “another storyline NPC”, he is the second protagonist, whose storyline unfolds parallel to V’s story.
There are a lot of Silverhand in the game, a lot. He comments on every second V’s action, interferes in almost all main and side missions and always teases the player, flooding him with streams of sarcasm and malice.
And at the same time, the duet of V and Johnny came out excellent. The protagonist can either ignore the “guest from the past” or constantly engage in dialogue with him, which turns some scenes into a theater of absurdity. These dialogues come out very lively and each time they gradually reveal to the player the personality of Silverhand, showing him from an unexpected side. And yes, when Johnny first appears in the game, he will be almost the central villain for V. At the same time, it depends on you with what mood Silverhand will come to the end of the game – whether he will become your friend, or will remain an unwitting rival.
A small spoiler: there is a series of quests in the game dedicated to Johnny and his life. And she reveals the hero better than all other tasks. I strongly recommend not to postpone its passage.
At the same time, V remains the main character – you have to play for him (or for her). Like Silverhand, V has his own character and personal opinion on many issues, but most of the time the player has a choice – what to say, how to act, and so on. The character of the hero is mainly influenced by the choice of origin, so the reaction of the hero-corporation and the hero-nomad to the same events may differ, albeit slightly.
Vee’s ultimate goal is to become the city’s best mercenary and legend, inscribing his name on the list of the best. Which way the hero comes to his dream depends only on you.
The world and its filling
Many open world games have one catastrophic problem – they make this open world huge in order to artificially stretch the play time (hello Ubisoft!). Another problem with this approach is that sometimes you have to search for interesting content. In Cyberpunk 2077, this is much better.
As I already mentioned, the game world can hardly be called huge. It is more compact than in the same third “The Witcher”, and is packed to capacity with very different content. Story quests, chains of side quests, small adventures, orders from “fixers”, “bandit camps”, collectibles – all this is enough, and the game does not hesitate to drive you around all areas so that you inadvertently do not miss something.
Night City is a huge metropolis, where there was a place for both ultra-modern skyscrapers, from which streams of holographic advertisements break into the sky, and half-abandoned buildings on the outskirts of the city, where they planned to build an elite quarter. Each zone is at least slightly, but different from the others: if you can still confuse the Chinese and Japanese quarters, then you will hardly be able to confuse the Pacific and the Northside. In addition, the game does not keep you inside the city – if you wish, you can also drive around the outskirts of Knight City, where sand scorching from the sun and a wasteland scorched for kilometers around is waiting for you. Although even in such forgotten places there is something to look at (and something to do).
One problem is connected with filling the world: if you were furiously maddened by the “question marks” in The Witcher 3, then you risk being left unimpressed by filling the world in Cyberpunk 2077. No, there will be no repetition of Skellige, there are just a lot of meetings with bandits.
The main thing here is that the city feels alive. Night City is also a character in the game. Invisible and intangible, but present in every scene and imposing a certain imprint on the events taking place. The heroes themselves sometimes notice that the city seems to be alive, and it turns out to feel this not only in words.
Wherever you go, there will be people everywhere (well, except for voyages in the wasteland, perhaps). Cars scurry along the streets, in some crowded places like the market in the Japanese quarter it is naturally impossible to push through – in short, the game is constantly trying to create a sense of presence, to show that the city is not just a static decoration. And for the most part, she does it: when you rush on some task, you always knock someone down, after which curses fly in your back. And the scene of chasing a car in some quest can quite accidentally end at the moment when you and the person being pursued together fly into a traffic jam at an intersection. And this is an absolutely random event – for some reason, I was forced to replay the segment with the chase, and in the end we flew through the streets without traffic jams.
The aforementioned meetings with the bandits, the search for evidence at the crime scenes – all this perfectly emphasizes the “liveliness” of the city and gives it additional colors. The game honestly explains to you that the crime rate in Night City is catastrophically high, so it is a must for all residents to shoot back the bandits. So, if you suddenly stumble upon gopniks in the gateway, you should not be particularly shy about your actions.
At the same time, the laws of the city also apply to you. Start shooting at civilians – the police will appear and clearly explain to you that you cannot do this. If you provoke gang members into aggression, you will get it, and then you will have to fight off crowds of opponents from almost all over the area.
Quests and pumping
With pumping, everything is clear – you increase the levels, improve the characteristics, learn new skills. There are five characteristics in total (and it seems that there is also a secret sixth – but this is either a mockery from the developers, or I never found how to open it), to each of which a certain set of abilities is tied. For example, intelligence is responsible for hacking, engineering is for crafting, and strength allows you to be healthier and painful to punch.
In addition to the usual levels, there are also reputation levels, and they also increase for quests, kills and all that. Reputation makes you more famous (which will come back to haunt in several tasks), gives you access to new guns and implants from merchants, and it grows much faster than the normal level. For completing the storyline and several side branches (and, of course, a number of “street” activities), I received 44 reputation levels out of 50 possible, so I won’t have to grind for the coolest clothes for a long time. More precisely, you have to – but not reputation, but money.
Quests are the most interesting. There are many of them in the game, they are diverse and many of them give a completely unique experience. And many more of them are connected by a common plot and form whole arches.
Since I’m trying very hard not to spoil, here’s a short description of several side quests. Ride a race with a sandstorm. Dive into a flooded town near Knight City. A detective investigation about who killed the previous mayor of the city. An attempt to help a Buddhist monk who was “cyborgized” against his will. In half of the quests, your main weapon is not firearms or cold weapons, but your hanging tongue and pumped up characteristics for answers with skill checks. Of course, you will also have to shoot and beat the muzzles, but there are just tons of dialogues in the game. And almost all, I must say, are written very, very well.
And, no, sidechains are cool, but not everything in the game. Also in “Cyberpunk” there are many small quests – “one-shots” (short stories for a couple of minutes), orders from fixers in the spirit of “A super-famous fixer from the USSR has arrived in Night City – throw him a beacon”, and stuff like that. There are also chains of fist fights, racing and shooting championship, but similar things seem to be in all the big open world RPGs. Well, the obligatory “kick your face with a pack of gopniks”, but they don’t even count as tasks – you can only see them on the map.
Weapons, vehicles and cyber-implants
Another question that worried many players – how in Cyberpunk 2077 with weapons? The same “Witcher” (no, I’m not tired of comparing them), many scolded for the “one-button” combat – what do we have here?
The action in Cyberpunk 2077 is much more varied and very “evil”, and the game has a rich enough arsenal to make everyone happy.
In 2077, engineering and technical thought took a step further, but the conflicts themselves – apparently following the precepts of the Fallout series – have not changed much. Firearms are still in use, and some have a weakness for nail-studded baseball bats, switch knives, and katanas. I did not find any combat lasers, disintegrating weapons or anything else futuristic, but the usual firearms here for every taste – from the good old grandfather’s double-barreled gun to a huge sniper crossed with an electromagnetic gun. Or, to put it simply, a railgun with a sniper scope.
All firearms are divided into three types: standard weapons, projectiles from which can ricochet, “smart”, which is directed at the enemy itself, and electromagnetic, which allows you to accumulate a charge and break through cover. As a result, I opted for a kinetic sniper with a silencer, an electromagnetic rifle and a vibro-club with the excellent name “Vstanislav Shishkin”, which proved to be indispensable in battles where enemies had to be stunned rather than killed.
Each barrel is unique, behaves differently and sounds insanely cool. From shots from a sniper rifle, you can become deaf. Katanas effectively cut enemies to pieces. Electromagnetic guns are charged with a characteristic hum, which then “shoots out” with an indescribable sound. The best sounds, however, are the clubs and that vibro-club – every time I hit someone on the head with it, there was such a bright sound of a slap that I began to giggle disgustingly.
The bosses who received the final blow with this ridiculous weapon probably burned with shame in the next world. But what can you do! The club turned out to be from the category of “cult” weapons (its rarity can be pumped) and did more damage than all my unique melee weapons.
There are not very many types of weapons in the game, but it is quite possible to choose something to your liking. Again, no one forces you to use this weapon – you have to get it only on the segments with bosses, the rest can be passed by an unarmed hero.
But there are many vehicles in the game. And if your wallet allows (but it usually DOES NOT), you can replenish your garage regularly, buying cars from familiar “fixers”. All cars differ from each other not only in appearance, but also in behavior on the road. Some things run better in a straight line, others are better at turns, and others will look great during races through the wastelands.
CD Projekt has contrived to strike a balance between realism and arcade, dramatically improving the physics of the cars compared to what I saw before release. No, the game still does not require a steering wheel, pedals and knowledge of traffic rules, but basic driving skills are still needed. Probably the coolest feel is the motorcycles – fast, nimble and small, they are perfect for the pace of life in Night City and allow you to skip where a car would create an accident.
Interestingly, the game has a lot of tasks that involve driving a car. Going on a quest? Sit with your partner in the car, discuss the details on the way. In side missions, it will still be possible to refuse trips, but with plot missions such a number will not work – if you please sit and listen.
And also cars and motorcycles are your warehouse, where you can put any gun you like, for which there are still not enough characteristics (or which you just want to keep in your collection). He left, left – and then you can pick her up, for example, from the cache in V’s apartment. Quite a convenient system, especially considering the fact that the car at your call will rush almost anywhere in the city.
This is the case with implants. You can go through the game without installing them at all – except for a couple of storylines, of course. Cyberdecks with a set of viruses, improved eyes with a scanner and hands with a ballistic module (this is the basic set) will be enough for your eyes, the rest is already improvements for the sake of improvements.
But this is cyberpunk, right? Why not turn your hands into huge blades that rip your enemies in half? And not to upgrade your lungs so that they better restore endurance? Or not to make legs with “springs” to jump twice as high as usual? You can also, after all, make yourself a bulletproof skin or improve your brain function. The main thing here is that there is enough money and the reputation is appropriate. A novice mercenary will only sell junk, while a veteran of Night City will definitely not lack cool upgrades.
True, in the end I went through with practically no improvement – I took only my legs for powerful jumps, “mantis blades” and improved the cyberdeck. But you can go as you please – no one will restrict.
By the way, about cyberdeck and viruses. This is a pretty useful thing that allows you to “break” your enemies and infect them with all kinds of rubbish. Chopping off their implants, “extinguishing” vision, motor skills, short-term memory, hitting them with electricity – the list is quite long. At the same time, even if you go through the game as a pacifist and do not kill anyone, the cyberdeck will still help you. It also allows you to highlight enemies, and can turn off cameras, and there are enough non-lethal scripts for hacking.
Immersion and directing
“Why the first-person view ?!”, “Bring back the third!”, “Well, since the first one, I won’t take it!”. Familiar words, right? Some players really talked a lot about the fact that the first person view will only hurt the game. Time has put everything in its place – such a camera in the game is more than appropriate.
CD Projekt has managed to do what BioWare did with the first Mass Effect – the most cinematic role-playing game with an incredibly high level of direction. Only now you observe everything that happens from the eyes of the character, from the first person – and thus become a direct participant in the events. Cyberpunk 2077 has a huge number of scenes where a third person view would not give even half the desired effect.
Yes, at first it is a little unusual, but then you get involved and no longer notice how you yourself live in a world of a not particularly cheerful future. You yourself wander the streets, you jam the whiskey in the bar yourself, you yourself argue fiercely with other characters who do not hesitate to press with authority, poke a gun in your face or smile cheerfully.
The direction in the game is great without any jokes. This, I suppose, partially explains the short storyline (from 30 to 50 hours of gameplay, it all depends on how you play). If the same level of production were stretched over a hundred hours, then we would have waited for the release for five more years for sure.
However, you can still look at your hero. While driving in a car or on a motorcycle, you can turn on the third-person view, the model of the hero can be seen in the inventory menu, plus the mirrors in the game reflect V, but only if you approach him and click “move closer to the mirror.” This maneuver, by the way, also inferno drops the number of frames per second (in the press version it is so accurate), so be careful.
Where the third person view is lacking is in the sex scenes. By the way, there are a lot of them in the game, and all are different (excluding scenes with prostitutes from Chpok Street, of course), and some with a third-person view would only benefit. On the other hand, the first-person view here also works for immersion, especially considering the fact that each such scene is a definite point in the development of V’s relationship with other characters. All those scenes that I have seen are great staged and animated, but without pornography. Naked breasts are shown, but the genitals are practically absent in the frame. It is, however, understandable – the authors clearly did not want to get the Adult Only rating.
Technical condition of the game
We are approaching the “darkest” moment in the whole game. Cyberpunk 2077 looks amazing – some frames can freeze in place, the characters look great, and even a close-up on the characters’ faces does not turn them into a smeared set of pixels. Nightlife and daytime are beautiful, and I have not decided which option I like more. The nightlife seems to be all cyberpunk – a dark city with a mass of neon signs and holographic advertisements, but it’s just so trite and trite that it’s boring. Daytime Night City may not amaze the imagination with bright colors, but it still looks great.
However, beauty comes at a price. In our case – optimization and the number of bugs, which are pretty infuriating in places.
The game itself weighs 70 gigabytes, and the press has already got access to the first patch, which weighs 49 gigabytes. This is not the final “day one patch”, but only part of it – even more fixes and improvements will be rolled out simultaneously with the release of the game (all this will be built into the release version, to be more precise), so stability and performance should still improve. And a number of minor bugs like levitating weapons, problems with a number of quests and similar little things are promised to be fixed in this patch too.
I have not seen any fatal bugs that prevent the game from being completed. But there are many small mistakes. In one of the quests, during a chase in a car, my V was “blown off” by her head, which made her unable to shoot. In another, I got bald after putting on a wetsuit (and then in the same quest the required NPC teleported underground, and I could not complete the task on the first try). The number of frames sometimes drops sharply out of the blue (this point has already been fixed). There were also funny bugs like “if you run along the curb along the wall, you can” shoot “the character like a cannon.” Finally, EVERY TIME after exiting the game, I get an error that Cyberpunk 2077 did not close properly. This has no effect on saving, but it is insanely annoying.
With optimization, things are like this – on my configuration with an i7-7700, Vega 64 with 8 GB VRAM, 16 GB of RAM and an SSD (by the way, it’s really better to play on it) a game in 2K resolution at maximum settings gave out 30-40 FPS. At 1080p – already 50+ frames per second, but I never saw a stable 60. At the same time, everything is played quite stably and I did not notice any hard drawdowns (except for the above-mentioned moments, when the FPS randomly fell twice).
The worst, I think, will have to the owners of pastgen consoles, and the owners of the PC version with good assemblies will feel most comfortable. However, patches and new drivers for video cards can also improve the situation a little.
Yes, someone probably imagined Cyberpunk 2077 as a completely different game, but here the developers, it seems to me, are not to blame. Still, to fantasize for yourself knows what, and then scold the developers for the fact that they did everything somehow wrong – that is.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a large immersive RPG with a rich history, the coolest production and extremely charismatic characters. A game ready to give you dozens of hours of adventure in the city of the future. It may not always be perfect (at least in terms of the interface) and not in all respects your personal ideas about how a cyberpunk story should look, but nevertheless it is cool. And I gave her the maximum score without a doubt precisely because the game gave me a huge amount of emotion – something similar this year happened with Hades (which I also gave a top ten) and Doom Eternal.
I’m going to be trivial, but just go and play it yourself. In the end, many probably still have a pre-order, and you are already waiting for the opportunity to break into Night City without any evaluations and abstruse texts. So hold on, there are only three days left – and no transfers this time!