Cyberpunk 2077 is the biggest Polish game in history, which was supposed to overshadow everything we have ever seen in the industry. We were tempted to check if the game is as revolutionary as CD Projekt Red's marketing suggested.
Ever since its reveal back in 2012, there was an insurmountable hype preceding Cyberpunk 2077’s release. Hype can be a misleading factor, especially in the case of a game like this one. CD Projekt RED, is coming off what is likely to be one of the best games of the last generation. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and it’s easy to give in to the hype and have unrealistic expectations about what they’ve got to serve up next. They served a great game with some massive problems.
The Best Open World
Cyberpunk 2077 is an impressive next-gen showcase when it comes to visuals. Even if that next-generation you’re talking about is actually the next-generation in graphics cards that you can put in a high-end PC. Cyberpunk 2077's world is such an aesthetic joy that it feels disrespectful to fast travel or skip drives in Night City. At times, it feels as if the game has transformed into some living, voyeuristic screensaver, such is its ability to distract with its good looks. It's not just the way the city comes to life at night either, as the appropriately titled Night City does look amazing in the dark. All neon shimmer and glowing reflections, the headlights of your car carving out a path through the concrete or the dust of the Badlands is just wow!
Night City is a masterpiece of game design. Inside the city, each district has its own style, from the smoky and wartorn abandoned holiday resort of Pacifica to the glitz and glow of Downtown. All of it connected by flyovers, motorways and roads that intertwine. Architecturally, it’s a marriage between futurism and brutalism, highlighting the contrast between rich and poor. heer skyscrapers of polished glass and obsidian sheen for the coked-out corpos. An impossibly tall mega buildings where the citizens live cramped in ominous concrete blocks. But, there's always a but. The technical condition of the PC version is quite poor. There are a lot of bugs in it, which completely knocked me out of the immersion. Still, the city is breathtaking!
Hi my name is VI
You begin Cyberpunk 2077 with an origin story that sets the scene for the character we choose: a corporation, nomad, or punk. The goal is simple: become a character to be reckoned with in Night City, or die trying. V’s personality changes depending on your stats and the way you play. Pick a few dialogue choices and your jobs, connections, even main plot quests will change dramatically. No two players will experience the same game. I almost forgot - with the help of a character editor, you can make your own VI.
Cyberpunk 2077 is in fact an RPG. It’s frequently a slow-paced game full of rich, beautifully presented conversations and an almost mind-blowing amount of choices to make. Choice in dialogue options, how to build your character, how to approach missions, and beyond is just immense. Cyberpunk 2077 lets your choices have a massive impact on both V’s own story and those of the characters around them. What about the character progression? You have five stats to put points into, each opening up new options. You also have perks within each stat that further upgrade your abilities and skills that level up as you use them. The skill trees are massive, bloated by passive boosts like damage, reload speed, or critical-hit chance. That’s not to say that unique moves and abilities aren’t there; you can build for melee damage, evasion, stealth, gunplay, and other combat styles. You have several different weapons of choice, from swords to guns to your fists.There is a ton of different cyber ware that you can implant into yourself to change and break the rules of the game. Hacks that you can use against enemies, and electronic devices, and many many more.
So many ways. Pew Pew Pew
Every obstacle even the thinnest one can be tackled in several different ways. Let’s say your progress is blocked by a closed door. You can use a high Body stat to just force it open, or a high Technical Ability stat to pick the lock. You can also use high Intelligence to hack the security system to open the door for you, or you can just look around and find a second entrance. The number of choices is huge and very satisfying. You can play it the way you want to. Sadly, some methods of play are more fun than others. Linking up smart homing guns to your cyber optics feels great. Driving a car feels terrible. Sneaking around hacking cameras and making enemy brains explode with your cyber magic feels cool. Unfortunately, melee is really bad, and I can't recommend it. Fortunately, firearms handle more than well. Not only do we have three categories of weapons, but we can also find various models of pistols, shotguns, or rifles, also scoped. The vast majority are quite characteristic, and after some time, everyone will find a set that will satisfy them most. Each weapon handles a little differently, shooting feels a bit chunky but still surprisingly satisfying.
We have a City to burn
Cyberpunk's main quest storyline is full of interesting ideas but marred by inconsistent characterization and focus. You'll want to explore everything Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer because the core campaign is surprisingly short. The story is divided into acts, with the first taking a while to get into gear but ending in an impressively shocking style. The main quest is all about finding a way to survive and rid yourself of Silverhand while simultaneously interacting with him and learning about his past. The opening hours drag, but the narrative picks up once Silverhand is introduced about five hours in. V and Silverhand are essentially dual protagonists here, their relationship underpinning much of what you see and do in Night City. This is one of the story's biggest strengths: Silverhand helps keep the narrative focused. The way you interact with the city and quests is pretty much what you expect: Stealth past enemies or shoot them. But CD Projekt Red keeps things fresh by breaking each quest up into stages that naturally build on each other while also revealing more about the world. Cyberpunk 2077's side quests flesh out the world and its people in a way that the campaign does not. In fact, the backstories add so much to the narrative that they should not be optional. They're essential to playing if you want the full Night City experience. Despite how alive the city feels due to its mind-blowing RTX lighting, it’s still sterile. Things don’t just happen in Night City. At its heart, Cyberpunk 2077 is a map game. You choose a quest off the menu and then go and do whatever the developer designed for you. This philosophy filters down into the world itself and how interactive it really is. You’ll find arcade games, but you can’t play them. You can scan people to reveal information about them, but I never found a use for that. You’ll find empty seats throughout Night City, but you can only sit in certain chairs and only when the game permits it. All of these limits kills the potential for emergent storytelling. And again, those quests are usually pretty fun. But the final product doesn’t feel like a new-gen RPG that CDP RED promised us.
Johnny is played, of course, by Keanu Reeves, and I just can’t imagine anyone else in that role. Johnny is, uppish with an ego bigger than Night City itself, who's every word is uttered as if it’s so important that the whole world should take heed. But with Reeves’ charisma in play, this insufferable character remains just barely sufferable, and if you play a bit more it becomes even more likable. Silverhand is with you for the vast majority of the game Showing up in pretty much every mission to try to influence your decisions, make snide remarks, or just kick back on a bed in the background while you talk to someone. His relationship with V is often antagonistic, sometimes playfull, and other times outright hostile. Keanu played his role perfectly - I really liked his creation. I'd love to see a movie in the universe with him as Johnny.
Well, the game is basically a broken, and an unfinished mess. You’ve probably already heard all the stories about glitches, crashes, and graphical bugs. And I can confirm they are all true. The scale of technical issues is too large to reasonably expect immediate fixes. I’ve encountered some kind of bug on every mission I went on. From more common ones, to the funnier ones like characters randomly T-posing to several complete crashes. Some animations don’t trigger right, maps don’t load in, scenes play over each other, the menu freezes, the mouse cursor disappears; it’s bad! Several patches have hit since release, and it’s still one of the buggiest games I have ever played! The most annoying is with the law enforcement mechanic - it's just broken. The NCPD spawn just randomly pops out of nowhere even if you don’t commit a crime, and then if you try and escape in a vehicle, they won’t even chase you. Basically, you just have to get out of their sight and your ‘wanted level will go down automatically. The situation on previous generation consoles (on playstation 4, on xbox one) is even worse! It's a pity that 8 long years wasn't enough to polish up the game.
An Unpolished Diamond - Honest Cyberpunk 2077 Review
In the beginning, I wasn’t impressed with Cyberpunk 2077, but after several hours I played the game. Its gameplay grew on me. The game is one of the best games I’ve ever played. Cyberpunk 2077 delivers immersion and storytelling on a scale rarely seen, a satisfying gunplay, and a world so special that once you’re there, don’t be surprised if you never want to leave. Now I'm only looking forward to getting some technical improvements and perhaps new content, that will make the wait for Cyberpunk Online more pleasant. I've waited a loooong time for this game... but despite its problems - it seems that it was worth it.
Consider starting a Gamedev career in Poland?
If you are serious about working in the Polish Gamedev and making games like Cyberpunk check out our job openings.
(c) Mateusz FaryniarzTweet