Cyberpunk 2077 once again shows CD Projekt’s RPG know-how. But between the monumental hype, the massive communication around the game and the expectations as high as they are different among all the players, will Cyberpunk 2077 satisfy everyone?
CD Projekt’s talent is well established in role-playing games and The Witcher 3 remains a benchmark in the field today, whether in the design of its open world, the writing of its quests or its technical aspect. 8 years ago (it’s been a long time eh?), The Polish studio announced that its next project would be an adaptation of the paper role-playing game “Cyberpunk” written by Michael Pondsmith, and this time he’s not going to make the same mistake as with Andrzej Sapkowski regarding adaptation rights which will lead to years of legal disputes. Then come long years of development marked by a growing hype, hopeful players and others who are starting to imagine a wet firecracker. It’s inevitably regrettable to think that Cyberpunk was born in pain, with its many postponements and an abysmal crunch for its development team, while the studio management had announced that the game would be done without this practice, but after all this obstacle course, we are finally there.
Video game… but RPG above all.
Cyberpunk 2077 is first and foremost an RPG. This is something important to clarify because with the first person view coupled with the communication and the ads around the game very much focused on combat and explosions, you would think it was almost more of a game. action. From the creation of a character, you can feel your role-playing side, with the choice of an origin (Nomad, Child of the Streets or Corpo), which will then unlock specific dialogues and finally statistics divided into 5 categories which will already more or less define our style of play. Cyberpunk is also a lot of dialogue, downtime, of choosing not to take out his weapon at every opportunity. You have been warned and those who expected something other than a paper role-playing game transposed into a video game will not find their happiness at every moment.
A game of paper on the screen
For others, Cyberpunk 2077 is a great RPG and I haven’t dived so intensely into a universe since Mass Effect. The first person view helps a lot with immersion but it is especially the multitude of small details that make Night City come alive which will strengthen the whole, but we will come back to that later. In his role play mechanics, Cyberpunk 2077 offers something quite classic in the end, but very solid, like the choice of dialogues some of which are blocked by stats or by its origin, actions available only according to its strength or intelligence. The progression is very rich sincein addition to improving your stats, you will have to choose between the different attributes, And there are many.
In terms of inventory, we spend a lot of time looking at the new weapons that we find and compare the stats of each to see if it is worth it. A little laborious process, but which is compensated by a very simple crafting system in which you can improve your weapon for resources, or change its category (from blue to purple for example) to increase its potential. Of course, Cyberpunk 2077 still offers some originalities on the RPG side with the cyberdeck, aka technology enhancements, ranging from legs that allow you to do a double jump or a bionic eye that will allow you to spot enemies around us, through an armored arm to have an armor bonus. The possibilities are again numerous and we expected no less.
The epic of the future
Beyond its mechanics, what will make Cyberpunk 2077 a great RPG is its writing. So we embody V, a mercenary who is tasked with stealing something from Arasaka, one of the biggest companies in Night City. After this mission, the V’s fate is linked to that of Johnny Silverhand and a race against time begins. We will not give you more details but this main mission is very well paced, do not hesitate to afford downtime at times and will also be striking thanks to an absolutely memorable gallery of secondary characters and we expect to see the fan art of Jackie, Takemura, Rogue, Judie, Panam, and of course Johnny Silverhand to arrive in the hundreds when the game is released.
The relationship with the character of Keanu Reeves is of course the most interesting and complex. You never really know which foot to dance on with Johnny and there’s a spirit of mistrust and camaraderie with him that works very well. The important point about this main quest is thatit can end very quickly since it took us barely 25 hours to get through it (also doing some side quests to stay level), with four different endings depending on your choice. We are a long way from the 140 hours that had moved a lot of people a few weeks ago, but in my opinion it is a good choice for CD Projekt. Those who want to do the main story won’t need to spend weeks there and for others, Night City has plenty more to offer.
We regrets, however, that some things are under-exploited throughout history. The braindance, a device that allows you to view someone else’s memories, and which will be used for the investigation phases is used very little in the game and it’s a shame to have developed such a brilliant concept to let it collect dust. The same observation can be made with the net-runner network, a virtual world that is also very little exploited and that we would have liked to see more. This does not prevent the plot from being excellent, but we hope that the DLCs will further exploit these aspects forgotten too quickly.
Night City the generous
When it’s about side quests, we can trust the Polish studio to offer something exemplary and Cyberpunk 2077 is no exception to the rule, even if there is a certain hierarchy of interest in what we can do. The the most interesting missions are going to be those related to secondary characters that I mentioned above. Then come missions that we unlock with our level of “street cred”, a system of fame that you gain with each mission as experience. And finally, the missions found on the Night City map, which will be a little more anecdotal and with a less extensive script, even if we are sometimes entitled to excellent surprises. Add to that the different vehicles to buy, the tarot cards to find, the different ripperdocs which each offer different cybernetic upgrades to visit and we have enough to explore Night City for over a hundred hours. Especially with references in all directions to Portal, Akira or Hideo Kojima for example.
And it will be a real pleasure since Cyberpunk 2077 is a gorgeous game with a surgical eye for detail. Whether at night with all the neon advertisements or during the day when the city is teeming with people, it’s hard not to dive head first into this universe. Between the posters everywhere, the dark alleys with prostitutes or criminals, the little boui-bouis selling street food, clothing styles or cars, walking the streets is pure happiness and we feel that the development team has put all its soul into bringing them to life. Simple but very effective game mechanics will reinforce the immersion, such as the fact that our camera moves a little when running and passing NPCs as if to give the impression that we are avoiding it, or that we are going get run over by a car if you cross anywhere and no matter how.
On the sound side, there is also a lot of work to harmonize the constant noise and the hubbub of a big city., between the advertisements, the people talking, the engine noises, but also the peace and nature once you leave the city. A job that goes unnoticed but which is also invaluable for immersion. For the soundtrack, the music is ultimately very discreet except at the decisive moments, with the exception of the radio when driving. Very varied in genres, difficult to listen to all that it has to offer. Speaking of vehicle, the behavior is quite particular in Cyberpunk 2077 and it will take a little time to adapt to master and tame these little soaps on wheels and fully enjoy the streets of Night City.
Cyberpunk also works very well when it comes to teaching us more about its world. Rather than stuffing us with information, the game will find subtle ways to explain to us what the society of this universe looks like, the powers that be, the gangs from different neighborhoods through missions or film clips from the TV news. in the background when we walk. Beyond its beauty and its immersion, Night City is a level design marvel and we realize it with every mission. Any building can be tackled in so many ways and each situation can be resolved differently depending on its stats, both in the main story and in a small mercenary job.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk 2077 may be an excellent RPG with solid foundations, a very beautiful and very immersive universe, it is ultimately moderately representative of the literary genre from which it bears the name. William Gibson, the genre’s main representative, said in 2018 that the game was “Not enough cyberpunk” before finally going back on his words a few months later. We find the side rocker and anti-hero, with a main character at the bottom of the ladder, characters with questionable morals as well as a very dark and depressing dystopian sci-fi universe with mega-corporations that have taken over the world. The game is also relatively vulgar in its dialogues and does not hide its relationship to sex with more than explicit posters and dildos found in quite a few places in Night City. A higher bid that is not embarrassing and that contributes a lot to giving a raw and provocative side to the game world. In short, a punk universe.
The game therefore ticks all the boxes of a work that can be considered as belonging to the cyberpunk movement. The problem is that based on standards established over 20 years ago and will stick to it without ever trying to modernize them or offer a direct critique of our current society, which is (I don’t need to explain it to you) totally different today. I said at the start of this test that Cyberpunk 2077 was a paper RPG well transposed into a video game and if this is a good thing for the gameplay, it is less true for this aspect there. We find the rebellion against the system aspect throughout the main story, but we would have liked CD Projekt to take more ownership of the codes genre and moves away from the original work of Michael Pondsmith to bring something new and closer to our reality.
The arsenal of the future
Well with all that, we still haven’t talked about the fighting and the weapons. It was my big fear when I tested Cyberpunk 2077 for a few hours three months ago with a little soft gun fight sensations. In the end, the first fights are a bit difficult and lacking in readability but you get used to it fairly quickly, as we discover the new weapons. Between katanas, weapons with self-guided bullets or those that pass through walls, you can have a fairly varied and rather fun arsenal to use. The game forces us to change weapons and armor regularly anyway. since we constantly spend our time looting new items and checking our inventory. When you get out of an Assassin’s Creed Valhalla that has finally managed to erase this aspect, it’s tough.
The some game bosses are very nice to fight and the opportunity to have an additional challenge. The AI of normal enemies is quite correct in combat and we will have to take cover and take advantage of the hacks to have the advantage. Beyond weapons, the originality in Cyberpunk fights comes from its hacks. We can only equip a few but they will prove to be very useful, between the one that allows bypass someone, turn off their cybernetic eyes to make them blind, or even simply turn his arm against him, the possibilities are numerous beyond weapons and give a big plus to combat.
Cyber-ninja vs. blind AI
This mechanic will also be very useful and original in infiltration to distract enemies by activating nearby devices or even reset an enemy that had spotted us before he attacked us. In general, the AI is much dumber when playing in stealth mode. than in direct combat. Sometimes you can walk past her without her seeing anything and nothing but crouching is enough to be a true ninja. We would have liked a slightly higher difficulty on that side, especially since the level design and its many choices of course often make it possible to avoid a lot of obstacles. On the other hand, the checkpoint system is not as well done as that of TLOU Part 2, which allowed you to resume from the previous action if you were spotted. In Cyberpunk 2077, getting spotted sometimes means having to redo a whole section.
What is it worth?
Cyberpunk 2077 is a excellent RPG that will delight gamers and succeed in convincing a lot of people. But with the hype that the game has known and its communication, we will also end up with a lot of disappointed people who perhaps did not expect a game that allows itself at times a lot of dialogue and to take its time. . Yes the whole is based on a solid structure inherited from The Witcher 3 and will offer few revolutions in its game mechanics, it remains a very safe value to offer a great experience, with a good script and very endearing characters and very well written. We would have liked to spend less time in our inventory, or find more often original things like brain dance but the CD Projekt’s latest creation remains a work that marks.
It is necessary tame it, both in its gun fights and in the conduct, but we do in the end very easily grabbed by Night City, its graphic beauty, its atmosphere, its sounds and the love of detail of CD Projekt. And if we encountered some bugs during the test, it is significantly less critical than Valhalla at this level. The conclusion of the game comes quickly, which should appeal to those who do not want to spend 100 hours on it and the game is rich enough for the most fervent players but in any case, it does not leave you indifferent and I had to wait a few hours after finishing the game to fully assimilate the experience I had just lived. Is Cyberpunk 2077 really a cyberpunk work? The debate will not captivate the general public and will animate fans of literature without preventing them to appreciate the game for what it is: a very immersive experience in which it is very difficult to stop once launched, and that we want to redo with another origin to further prolong the pleasure.