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Cyberpunk 2077 review
by Deakon Black

This review is spoiler free.

The reason why you should take your time and wait for this game to be properly patched, is that Cyberpunk 2077 has a lot of potential for the future to stand in the same line with the best open-world games in this industry. For now it's an unfinished product that gained success as a money making machine but it failed in delivering a polished work that would meet the expectations with the hype surrounding it. Lack of marketing deliberation and overgrowth of ambition are just the top of the iceberg that I won't explore over here. Instead, I will concentrate on the gameplay-only aspects.

Main character of the Cyberpunk 2077 is V - a street mercenary who desires to earn reputation and become a legend of Night City. Despite of already having certain personality (that we can't change or modify) developers didn't wanted to give us a character made from A to Z; instead they gave us an opportunity to choose V's background, attributes and appearance. It resembles very much creating Shepard in Mass Effect series. Chosing a background (corpo, nomad or street kid) will reflect on your prologue mission, it will affect few dialogues just a little bit and give you other type of clothes for the beginning but it won't make a big change on your overall gameplay; after the first unique mission for each class (which lasts maximum 25 minutes) all three lifepaths will continue the same story. Defining V's background is more about picking an identity that will suit your role-playing style the most, but nothing beyond that. After chosing your class, you get to dispatch 7 points for your attributes: body, intelligence, reflexes, technical abilities and cool. Each attribute is divided to few subcategories where we can pick specific skills at the cost of perk points that we get through three possible ways: leveling up, skill progression or through finding perk shards in the game world. The skill tree should be more lucid in my opinion, but once we will start to get any ideas in which direction we want to build our character it should make more sense. There are few interesting options: melee based sneaking character (cool + body), direct approach riflemen (reflex), hackers desintegrating enemies from safe distance (intelligence), engineers who craft powerful items and lockpick all the doors (technical) and other mixed variations between them that you can make to your liking. Be careful though: it won't be possibile to master all the skills in the game, and the maximum level of progression that you can reach is 50, so you should be concentrated on what kind of build you want to make. After deciding which attributes are the most important for your V, you will start working on the visual aspect of your character. We get enough of tools to create something original, yet not so much as most of us would expect. The promise of changing the size of V's penis could stimulate imagination of some people, but when it comes to body creation, Saints Row 2 from 2008 was way more complex on that matter. You shouldn't expect much but just enough. You can choose a voice (one for a male and one for a female), one out of 39 haircuts, beard type, skin type and its tone, eyes and eyebrows, nose, mouth, jaw, ears, visual cyberwares, piercing, tattoos, scars, make-up, teeth, nails, nipples etc. It seems like a pretty good base for making something original, yet you still can't change things like age (V is always 28 years old), body type (fat or muscular) and variety of tattoos or piercings is pretty low. You won't see V's face too often during your gameplay anyway; it's always FPP with no third person perspective available like in new Fallouts, which means that the only chance to see V's appearance will be by approaching to the mirror (which has to be turned on because there is no mirror reflections in the game), by using photo mode or by watching the ending cutscenes. If you don't want to spend too much time in character creator or you can't make anything interesting by yourself, you can always hit random button; it's pretty messy, since the creation algorythm randomizes every customizable part of your characters body and face, but after removing piercing, make ups, tattoos and scars you should get some cool results after few moments of trying. Watch out: once you confirm your V's appearance, you can't change any part of it in the game - there's no tattoo parlours, no barbers, no pedicures or manicures to be made. It's a missing feature that should be updated in the future, but for now it isn't, so make sure that your male nomad V doesn't have pink nails or crazy tattoos on his body or you will continue with it until the very end of the game.

The introduction to Night City - the main area of Cyberpunk 2077 - starts with a prologue unique for each one of the classes. In my opinion, the way that the game world was presented to us in a such story-focused game could have been done better; the introductions usually are the best moments to create element of surprise, to shock or either to take a slow-paced approach to build a tension that arouses curiosity. Entering to Night City should be a BIG thing, especially for nomads who start their journey at the desert environement of Badlands, yet things escalates so quickly that it seems like no one really has paid too much attention to importance of such introduction. You can feel that there is a significant part of script that's missing, and it's a pity, because the prologue mission of street kid was so well directed that with a little more time of work it could easily fill the emptiness I felt at the start. I think that the problem lays in the cutscene that you can watch after first 25 minutes of gameplay which presents V doing all kinds of stuff that YOU should be allowed to do: hanging out, making contacts and meeting people, getting things done, earning rep. Instead, the storyline skips all of this and suddenly it takes us forward in time 6 months later to Japantown, where you will have a messy task to do. That is the moment where things are starting to get bizzare - and a player still has absolutely no idea about it. The prologue presents to us gameplay mechanics that don't exist after reaching to act 2. Few examples. Our first mission in Japantown is the only place where we will find a breakable wall - the game will allow you later to shoot through obstacles with power weapons, but no object in the game can be truly destroyed in the same manner. It is also one of the very few moments in the game when we will have a possibility of participating in a drive-by shooting from a passenger seat, which is nothing more than a scripted shooting-on-rails part of the mission, despite from what the tutorial hint of "vehicle combat" appearing on the screen is trying to tell us; it's not a tool that we will be allowed to use later in the game. Also, our first visit to the ripperdoc will show us few animations of installing implants, but during your future visits there you will see nothing more than a shopping cart on your screen. But out of all these things, the most important matter of prologue exceptionality is that it appears to be the only part of the whole story where dialogues really seem to have an effect on the final course of action; you will realize that during your first big assignment from a fixer and your first mission with Maelstrom that there are multiple ways of solving a questline. It's not only one of the best missions in the entire game but it's also one with the biggest variety of outcomes depending from our actions. That's right - the most complex quest in the game appears in the prologue, which means that as the story will progress there won't be more missions alike! Gameplay exceptions like this creates a problem: it hypes you for a specific kind of experience that you expect to see when Cyberpunk's open world will be finally available to discover, but when you will reach act 2 and complete few missions here and there you will feel that something is missing. After putting some thought into it I realized that the reason why prologue presented all these unique mechanics was not just for the idea of introducing the world of Cyberpunk 2077 to the players, but most importantly for marketing reasons. The events from act 1 were presented by CD Project RED in their famous 48 minute gameplay reveal. Of course, as usual, the trailers are supposed to show what's the best to attract the attention of consumers and build a hype - and that is exactly why such materials should be approached with caution as they are overestimating the actual condition of the game - but I think that at this point we are touching the subject of false marketing or - to be more polite - a lack of deliberation. I can't recall any other game in the history that would have more agressive marketing than Cyberpunk 2077.

Finishing the prologue starts the act 2 which will present to us completely open world of Cyberpunk 2077 - the Night City and the Badlands. With the world at our feet, we can go out and explore it - and it takes some time until we start to get a hang of its topography. The game world is pretty big and it easily stands in the same line with the biggest sandbox AAA games such as Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas. It delivers one of the most detailed open worlds known in the game history, and the developers have done tremendous amount of work when it comes to building a distinctive for the genre atmosphere through Night City's complexity. I haven't been that amazed by gargantuanness of a cyberpunk megacity since seeing Hengsha from Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the first time in 2011. I think that CD Project Red deserved great words of appreciation for showing us a future dystopian metropolis not through dark, rainy and other sci-fi well-worn visual patterns with "the sky [...] that was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" but through a rich palette of colors emanating from the lights, neons, megascreens and holograms elevating above the city. Its districts differs from each other on the levels of architecture, social classes, fashion, quality of technology and cars driving through their areas. The game world designers were basing their work on few art styles such as kitsch, neo-kitsch, entropism and neo-militarism. You can adapt to the flow by establishing your own fashion style, or you can just travel on the streets of Night City and enjoy the variety of different areas: Cherry Blossom Market in Japantown with it's asian restaurants and gaming parlors; industrial part of Watson filled with Maelstrom gang members who seem to exercise Franz Rottensteiner's rule of high-tech and low-life with their cybernetically upgraded to the limit bodies; area of City Center serving as headquarters of corporations with its skyscrapers and splendor; the wastelands of Badlands surrounded by nomads driving in their Mad Max inspired vehicles. Even the view of the junkyard - and the size of it - near Santo Domingo can be astonishing. The attention to details in all of these locations is praiseworthy. We can't enter to all buildings in Night City, but when we do, we will realize that it's hard to find two look-alike locations, which is a common problem in games with open world. It is not perfect though - I admire the magnificence of the in-game world, but it has a strange and uneasy feeling of emptiness arriving from time to time. The reason of it lies in few things. One of those that I really hated was that sometimes the game engine was incapable of rendering crowds on the streets and in effect the city looked literally empty! Restarting the game usually was solving the problem but - unfortunately - not always. Some districts are just vacant and while for some areas it might be justified because of the high rates of crime activity (like Pacifica), this aspect just seems to be underdeveloped. The other reason behind the sense of emptiness of the Night City is... Radio stations. I know that it might be hard to believe - as the soundtrack in this game is amazing - but radio stations are in 99% just music. Sounds even more crazy? Then listen to no matter any radio stations from Grand Theft Autos and then check out any radio from Cyberpunk 2077. The difference is huge: in GTA - just like in the real world - the speakers talking all kinds of stuff, interrupting music with annoucing name of the track actually playing, agressive noises of product placement, commercials, news - it all makes driving through the city way more interesting and simultaneously it brings life to the streets. This aspect of the game, if properly done, could change very much in the overall experience of exploration. I really wish that radio stations could be done with the same pietism as in Grand Theft Auto series. I think that in creating open worlds like this CD Project Red could learn a lot from Rockstar Games and radio stations is definitely one of the aspects that the Reds should work on in the future. Apart from those that I already mentioned, there are few more ways of reducing the sense of emptiness; exploration of the city and the desert surrounding it could be more fun if developers would allow players to immerse themselves in the game world by doing side activities in town, such as hanging out with friends, eating, drinking, clubbing, bowling as Grand Theft Auto games allowed us since GTA San Andreas. In Cyberpunk when you go clubbing and want to order a drink at the bar, you will see a shopping cart on the screen - and it immediately throws you out of the flow. Considering the magnificent architecture of Night City, lack of immersing tools in it is one of the biggest missing features which prevents us from experiencing it more fully. In effect, exploring the game world concentrates for 90% of the time around driving from one mission to another and nothing beyond that. Cyberpunk 2077 is still far from the level of simulation reached by GTA IV and GTA V. Maybe in future games from CD Project RED we will have a chance of enjoying a more deep gameplay.

The best way to get around Night City is to drive one of the 54 vehicles available: sports cars, economy class vehicles, motorbikes, trucks etc. I especially liked the esthetics of nomad type of rides, so Mizutani Shion "Coyote" was my first pick and I am pretty sure that everyone will find something that will match their taste. The thing that made great impression on me was not only beauty of vehicle design on the outside but also inside them. Car cockpits are made with fantastic attention to details and I enjoyed driving in a first person perspective very much even if it's not my preferable view in racing games. For your creativity at designing vehicles in Cyberpunk 2077, I say chapeau bas, CD Project Red, BUT I have a big problem with car purchasing system. I don't know who came up with this idea and why it was implemented, but on the world map all cars and motorbikes available to buy are marked as side-quests... It creates an unnecessary mess when you're trying to filter map legend to figure out what should be your next move. System of buying cars in this game really seems like a last minute attempt to make it function and it was made quickly because nothing else was working, so they left it like that because they couldn't waste more of their production time. Who knows how many other aspects of the game were treated the same way? We can only guess. As for the driving system itself, I think that it should be toned down as the sensibility of handling makes our car turning too sharp. There is no need to expect from a story-driven RPG to be trying to implement Colin McRae Rally mechanics, and honestly there is no need to be changing that much. Actually - ironically speaking - sharp handling might be actually pretty useful at this point, since minimap during fast driving is zoomed so much that we will always miss a turn. It often ends in making u-turns and it's one of the most annoying features in the game that should be repaired as quick as it can; it lead me to a point where I turned the minimap off to be more focused on the traffic. Funny thing is that when I did it, while driving through more vacant locations of Night City I realized that the game engine keeps rendering artificial traffic in the far distance. It is especially highly visible during fast driving on the highways or Badlands and it wouldn't be a problem with more dense of real traffic. If at any moment of the game you will feel tired of driving - which shouldn't happen often anyway - there's a possibility of fast travel, but considering the amount of jobs that you can do in Night City I don't think that it will be necessary.

The world map is full of filler-quests of the same nature as question marks from Witcher 3, Far Cry series or Assassin's Creed. Majority of them are contracts for fixers who want you to steal a valuable object, hack computers of their enemies, kill someone, neutralise people sick of cyberpsychosis (Blade Runner vibes) or proceed a rescue mission; all of them starts with a phone call from a fixer who explains the nature of the contract and then sends you a message with all the details attached. Purpose of such missions is the same as always: earning experience, money and respect, and while most of them are just time fillers, the star of Cyberpunk 2077 shines its brightest light where the main plot and side quests lies. To avoid unnecessary spoilers I will keep it simple, and say that the main story focuses around a biochip which works as a storage for human personality - it's an obvious reference to mind constructs from William Gibson's "Neuromancer" and their subject will be deeply explored as the story progresses. It will also touch the subject of cyberspace, immortality, AI, human sex-dolls (reference to Gibson's meat puppets), braindancing (experiencing someone else's feelings through virtual reality) and many other aspects known in the cyberpunk genre. There is also another thing that has to be taken into consideration when we talk about great scenario and it is phenomenal character design. Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the games that presents a great variety of characters so different not only on their superficial level but most importantly through their personality. We will get to know them more through dialogues, and these are of the same quality as all The Witcher games which is a good thing on one side and a bad one on another. The good side is that dialogues are well written and the voice actors have done their best to express the emotions of their characters (even an actor of one face such as Keanu Reeves). The bad side is that we won't have much conversation lines to choose comparing to other RPGs (like Fallout New Vegas or Mass Effect) and their outcome mostly stays the same; the only thing that differs is the NPC reaction to our words, but after this, the conversation follows it's linear script. Unfortunately, after prologue, the dialogues seem to be losing their importance.

To complete your tasks in the world of Cyberpunk 2077 you can take different approaches as you like. If you're a sneaking type, the game allows you to avoid enemy encounters, hack security cameras and silently neutralising your enemies, reaching your target, and then going out unseen through air shafts or rooftops like in a good immersive-sim, so fans of Deus Ex games or Dishonored should be excited for it. Unfortunately, sneaking mechanics are still underdeveloped and have to be patched. You will easy get thrown out of immersion when your character will just suddenly stand up on it's own and get quickly exposed which usually causes a carnage and more often our instant death (especially on the hardest difficulty). To hide your activity in enemy area you can carry bodies of unconsious enemies. Problem is that by leaving them on the floor the game often kills them, treating them as if they had fallen from a great height - it may be a problem for a pacifist kind of players, so remember to make tactical quicksaves often because there is still a lot of work to be done here. Another approach is just open combat with firearms or melee weapons. Gunplay in Cyberpunk 2077 is the same you know from Borderlands, The Outer Worlds or Fallouts; not only the enemies but your character too are nothing more but sponges for bullets and the difference between living and dying in this world lies in precision of your attacks (aim for the headshots) and in the quality of armor you're wearing. We have to remember that Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG and it is a genre that has it's flaws when it comes to keeping right pace of the combat. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if people found out that they like it; it's a matter of personal preference. Personally I don't like the bullet-sponge gunplay style; I liked more of a static combat known from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or Dying Light. The reason why I am not a fan of such mechanics is because they often lead to bizzare situations on the screen. Surviving rocket fire or shotgun blast in the chest from close distance is one thing, but I find it quite an abuse when we are unloading a whole magazine of bullets to an enemy sprinting in our direction with a melee weapon and despite our precision and headshots, he still manages to reach us with 5HP left and he kills us with two hits of a baseball bat. At this point I think that we can deny AI's self-preservation instinct. Oh, speaking of AI? Right...

Artificial intelligence of NPC's in Cyberpunk 2077 is a misunderstanding. Lack of self-preservation instinct is just a beginning. Small word of advise: stay away from the police. The wanted script is a mess; no matter where will you hide, the police will get to you. You can even try to barricade yourself in the basement with power weapons - the police officers will magically spawn behind you and quickly put you to the ground. High speed chases with law enforcements? You have to forget about it. AI driving script is pretty bad too.

For now, Cyberpunk 2077 in its current state (version 1.12) is far away from what we were supposed to get. The marketing machine behind it promised the players way too much and set for this game a difficult challenge to meet the expectations of the immersive, open world gameplay. Promises lead to expectations and expectations often lead to dissapointment. The matter of agressive marketing of Cyberpunk 2077 proves a lack of deliberation, which combined with the fact that we have recieved an unfinished product is absolutely unacceptable. Despite of over 8 million pre-orders sold - which is pretty impressive - I have to argue with the idea of calling this game success.

Other reviews45

«Blew my mind»
«Liked before it became a hit»
Ugly! Useful! Stupid!
alright i know what im supposed to say about this game and what i actually feel about it are 2 different things so im just gonna tell you what i actually feel about the game but it must stay between me and you. I shit myself not once, not twice, not even three times. I played and shit myself 4 times in this game and each time i felt like a new character in a fresh new anime. Thats until you pass the intro for each lifepath of course but the gameplay is fun each time. 9/10, not a masterpiece but my god it is fun
I know how everyone suffered but I finished this game without bugs and I loved this game. It has a lot of problem, a lot of expected features missing but still it made me play it. This game is most immersive game I've ever played and probably it will stay like this. Night City is best looking city in a video game world, I wish that it felt more alive too. Even driving a car in that city is an experience you should taste. Most underrated part is writing of this game. Main story is not original but side quests and characters are amazing. I believe everyone should play this game, at least when it is playable to everyone. 
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
It's ok
«OST on repeat»
Cyberpunk 2077 portrays a hyper-capitalist future where megacorporations have beyond the capacity of governments to control them, creating a dystopian world. Everything is for sale; nothing is protected. Dedication to this environment is what makes Cyberpunk a wonderful success story.
«That ending!»
«Can’t stop playing»
Buggy as hell, not even close to what it was supposed to be, unforgettable experience, loved (almost) every minute.
TW // Suicide


Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that seemed to be doomed on release, what with the many delays, the onslaught of bugs and glitches, previous-gen consoles running the game like a progerian. So much backlash against the game put onto lists of the worst games of 2020, and even with CD Projekt Red getting sued by their sponsors I still came out of this game loving it to the high heavens.

With a nice blend of GTA style gameplay with RPG style leveling systems and questing, Cyberpunk 2077 takes you through an emotional downfall of your character V trying to make it in Night City but after one bad heist ends up with proclaimed rock legend Johnny Silverhand, voiced by Keanu Reeves, overwriting her brain and you have to try to figure out how to stop it by having various interactions with the different Night City gangs, teaming up with the big corporation Arasaka, and ultimately coming to a six-pronged fork in the road with various choices on how you the player would like to go out.

The side missions are overall pretty great. The NCDP dispatches, Assault in Progress', Fixer jobs, and Cyberpscyho Sightings all play out like radiant quests with a limit and at a certain point they can get kind of tedious, but there's so much compacted into Night City that getting to and from each job isn't much of a hassle.. until you get to the Badlands where the spacing is at it's absolute worse having hundreds of km between each job which is where I started finding them to get really tiring.

There's a handful of romanceable characters with their own stories that I found to be pretty entertaining. I really only cared about romancing with Judy and Panam, but sadly the game cucked me from Panam because I decided to play as a female V but nonetheless I had a lot of fun going through the different characters and watching them progress and gain these relationships.

And of course, you can't talk about Cyberpunk 2077 without mentioning the absolute absurdity of Johnny Silverhand being voiced by Keanu Reeves. The relationship you grow with this character throughout the game is phenomenal. Starting off with you two hating each other guts to soon enough letting him take control of your body so he can try to fuck his ex from 50 years ago to which he blue balls him right before he's about to stick it in. I find myself gravitating towards the side character that makes comments about what's going on, and that's one of the purposes that Johnny holds. Think Joker in Arkham Knight. The gameplay was already an immense amount of fun and the story is captivating, but the extra frosting of hearing Keanu make sarcastic comments about everything or insult my cock just makes the Night City experience all the greater.

One last thing I wanna discuss is the endings. As said before, there are about 6 different ways that you can end the game, and I played through 5 of them. I would've gone for the secret 6th ending but I fucked up a dialogue route with Johnny earlier in the game and I honestly don't have the drive to replay the entire game and rebuild my character after putting 90 hours into this game, but I digress. The different endings you have are

1) V takes over her body but will only have 6 months to live due to her body rejecting her code and accepting Johnnys.
2) Johnny takes over V's body and lives his life.
3) V takes over her body but will only have 6 months to live due to her body rejecting her code and accepting Johnnys... but with the addition of living the rest of her life with Judy, Panam, and the rest of the Aldecaldos clan.
4) Let Arasaka deal with the problem to which a bunch of wild shit happens in space and soon you're given the decision to either stay with the Arasaka and become part of their coded program or go back to earth and die soon later.
5) Commit suicide.
6) Invade Arasaka with Johnny, basically a suicide run.

Now I could go on about each and every ending that I was able to play, but I'll sum up my thoughts quickly for the first 4. V taking over her body is a really sad and lonely ending which I actually like how it's not happy. Johnny taking over is sweet, wholesome, and emotional. The best way I can describe it is melancholic. V living with the Aldecaldos is without a doubt the best ending in the game because she gets to spend the rest of her short-lived life with her friends and family. Teaming up with the Arasaka is like a Twilight Zone episode and the ending that I have the least amount of feelings on.

Now for the suicide ending, an ending that's deemed as "The Bad Ending" but I personally don't. I find it more, the beautiful ending. Coming from someone who's has a history with the topic both personally and being around people with their own personal history, the way the devs wrote this ending is absolutely perfect. After watching the camera pan away from V and Johnny sitting together starring out to Night City, you hear a gunshot and the credits start rolling. Now, with every ending you get certain characters that have a response to the kind of ending you chose, so with this particular ending each character displays the exact different type of reaction to a close one committing suicide. Vik feels regret, Judy is demolished, Panam is furious, Kelly goes on a rant about suicide being glorified, and finally Rivers and Misty accept it, with Rivers telling a story of when his cop buddy killing himself and ending the message wishing that V is living a better life. Misty talks a bit is surprisingly relaxed about the entire thing and understands your decision, and then ends off with wishing that hopefully one day you, her, and Jackie can all meet up in the afterlife. It's an ending that genuinely left me emotional and speechless at how beautifully they handled the topic

Overall, Cyberpunk 2077 is an emotional ride of marvelous beauty and easily grew to be one of my favorite games that I have ever had the joy to play. Of course, I had my bugs and glitches but none of them were ever game-breaking, just really funny which having a history with Bethesda games makes these random moments where the game doesn't work properly actually up the enjoyment for me. I wholeheartedly believe that Cyberpunk 2077 deserves a second chance and I hope eventually video game culture will ease the fuck up and come to terms with what happened and decide to pick up this game because I recommend it heavily. Especially on Xbox Series X because that's what I played it on and like I said, didn't really experience anything game-breaking.

FINAL SCORE: 9-9.5/10

oh yeah and the radio stations are filled with BANGERS
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
Played it on PC. Loved almost every second, besides bugs and technical issues. Solid gameplay, interesting storylines (especially in side quests) and one of the best characters in video games. Visuals are stunning with rtx and maxed out details. 

On contra, the city is not very reactiv and more like a stage for the story and characters. It can't be compared to a GTA.