Title: Cyberpunk 2077
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Genre: First-Person Open-World RPG
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: https://www.cyberpunk.net/ca/en/
Release Date: December 10, 2020
Disclaimer: Before I begin my review of Cyberpunk 2077, there are two things worth mentioning. The first is the immense crunch that developers went under to make this game release when it did. I do not support developer crunch in the slightest and believe that all of us should take a serious stance against it. The other mention is of the accusations of transphobia from those who have played the game. As I’m not personally trans (or of any marginalized group for that matter), I don’t feel right giving thoughts on it. I’d recommend researching into this if you’d like to have your own viewpoint. With that out of the way through, onto the review.
If you had told my 13-year-old self that I would be playing Cyberpunk 2077 when I was 20, I would’ve laughed at you. Despite that, seven years later, here we are. Cyberpunk 2077 has finally released, putting us into the shoes of V and their adventures through the world of Night City. This is a game that promises a lot, including some being led to believe this would be gaming’s next big revolution. While it isn’t that, seeing as that would be unrealistic, this is a role-playing game that you simply should not pass up, even if it has its fair share of issues.
The Desperate Details of Cyberpunk 2077’s World
This is mostly thanks to CD Projekt Red’s great skill at building a believable world and characters. Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City is more than just a play space for you to run around in. It’s a living, breathing world, something that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been infinitely praised for. From the luxury of the towering high rises to the bustling city life below, each of Night City’s locations tells a story. It’s captivating, something that you’ll find yourself trapped in. I played it for just five days, yet countless times I found myself lost in the game for hours. Getting lost in game worlds is a cornerstone of the RPG genre, and Cyberpunk 2077 not only meets but exceeds in that.
It all helps to convey the true desperation of the poor that the cyberpunk genre is known for. In this world, wealth and fame mean everything. I noticed this most during one of the dialogue bits, where 911 tells a friend of a recently deceased person that they’ll get the body in a few days. This is something thought ludicrous in today’s world but is commonplace in Night City. Don’t have the money for top-tier health care? Then you’re to be forgotten. There are a lot more examples of this if you pay close attention. While I would’ve liked to see it more directly looked at, that subtle disgust for the state of society is exactly how you should feel.
On a less grim note, the world is further built up by the excellent soundtrack, composed by Martin Przybyłowicz, P. T. Adamczyk, and Paul Leonard-Morgan. Thanks to some rather bombastic tracks, every battle feels like a thrilling adventure you don’t want to put down. In contrast, the calmer tracks help get you in the stealthing mood. There are even some great radio tracks, helping to build the world and giving you something nice to listen to while cruising. Everything about it is crafted with intricate detail and deserves immense praise.
A World of Its Own
The writing accentuates this level of detail throughout the game. Each character in Cyberpunk 2077 is written with a level of detail that makes them feel so real, despite them being mere AI constructs. They’re all characters with clear desires and distinct personalities that you can love to hate or love to love. This is especially true of the chemistry between V and Johnny Silverhand, which felt especially familiar due to my love for the show Mr. Robot. That chemistry of two people in the same head trying to get along is something seldom explored in media. This helps the idea to stand out while in its respective entertainment, something all the more true for Cyberpunk 2077. Admittedly Keanu’s performance is a little one-note at times, but the growth of the two character’s bond is something to easily fall in love with.
But of course, what you’ll be spending most of your time with is the game’s various quests, which are among some of the best in the RPG space. For the first time in years, I actually wanted to do the sidequests. The last time I recall that is the Mass Effect series, which feels like an eon ago. This is due to the sidequests feeling like an extension of the world rather than a mere cash grab. You spend a lot of time learning about the world, which makes the experience that much better. Even the main quests are good, offering some exhilarating experiences while never overindulging.
Battling Through Cyberpunk 2077’s Hilarious Issues
Missions are only as great as the gameplay offered by them though, and thankfully Cyberpunk 2077 offers a fair amount in this department. There’s a fair amount of diverse weapons you can find on the ground, with iconic ones being earned through the various missions. Each of these has that kick to it that makes the weapons feel so powerful, something necessary in a shooter of this style. I would’ve liked a little more in terms of diversity on each weapon, but being able to mod and craft various parts and weapons is a nice touch. You can even score yourself some nice cybernetic enhancements, a system reminiscent of Deux Ex: Mankind Divided’s enhancement system. While those who like just picking up a gun and going will have some good fun, min-maxers definitely have a lot to dig into.
Through my 30+ hours with Cyberpunk 2077 (I may have a problem), I found myself falling in love with all of this and the immersion on offer. That’s why it breaks my heart to be unable to call this game a masterpiece. While everything built up is nothing short of magnificent, the game finds itself cracking under its own weight. While it far surpasses its quality, Cyberpunk 2077’s polish is on par with fellow RPG Fallout 76. I don’t think I went five minutes without some sort of issue being present. From simple visual glitches like NPCs becoming ventriloquists with their speech to cars doing literal breakdances, this is far from a polished product. This is all considering I played on PC, which doesn’t even include the numerous issues on consoles. It’s unacceptable, especially for a game that’s been in development for as long as Cyberpunk has been.
Verdict: Cyberpunk 2077 is, all around, a great RPG that you shouldn’t look past. The world that CD Projekt Red has built up is nothing short of breathtaking, with new things to explore around every corner. This is all supported by some solid writing and believable characters, making Night City a whole world of its own. It gets nearly everything right about what an RPG should be but ultimately cracks under the pressure. Its bugs are rampant, creating a hilarious and sometimes game-breaking experience throughout a lengthy adventure. It’s completely fair to let these issues be ironed out before buying. Ultimately though, don’t pass on Cyberpunk 2077. You’ll be missing one of the greatest and most immersive RPGs in a long time.