Action / RPG science fiction Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most anticipated games this year, and for good reason. CD Projekt Red is renowned for creating fantastic experiences based on stories filled with difficult choices and unpredictable consequences. Cyberpunk 2077 represents a new opportunity for CD Projekt Red to further enhance and merge with gameplay.
We worked on the game for four hours to see how it looked and left in amazement with the ambitious reach and great flexibility of the gameplay. Although we have ended our time with the impression that we have barely scratched the surface of this massive undertaking, we have had an idea of what to expect. Here are our biggest points to remember from our practical demo, which allowed us to discover the prologue, see the life paths of player V, play through a story mission and discover some of the activities in the world.
The night city is gargantuan, there is no shortage of things to do
CD Projekt Red has really increased the range and size of the map with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Cyberpunk 2077 seeks to surpass that in many ways. It’s a very different backdrop to that of Geralt’s fantasy world, but it still captures a similar sense of danger and unpredictability. Night City is a fast-paced, technology-obsessed place that embraces excess. People modify and augment their bodies on a whim, enter virtual mental landscapes to chase fleeting sensations and confront corrupt Megacorps who run the show. During your stay in the metropolis, you visit six vast and disparate neighborhoods of Night City, from the poor, Watson, to the Westbrook inspired by Las Vegas and Kabukicho, and things never fail.
In addition to the main story quest, CD Projekt offers its own distinctive side quests that do it all, delving deeper into the stories of the main characters to offer insight into the different gangs and societies at play. Dynamic events also appear in permanence, whether it is a crime or gang violence. You decide if you want to get involved and reap the rewards. V can also participate in fun activities, such as car racing, punching fights and shooting range. But perhaps the most lucrative business is to do concerts. Each region has a fixer who will send V jobs, and these are your main source of income. These tasks can range from eliminating a target to sabotaging a server. You can also take bonuses or uncover clues that point to secret hiding places.
Remember how in The Witcher 3 the map became littered with points of interest, and it felt like a massive undertaking to do all that each area had to offer? Night City produces a similar feeling of endless opportunity, but it’s also much faster and flashier, creating a sense of sensory overload when you go through it. The world is fascinating because it is a portal to a difficult future where our dependence on technology has taken an ugly and excessive turn.
Personalization is deep and satisfying
If you thought The Witcher 3 didn’t provide enough options to build Geralt based on your playing style, Cyberpunk 2077 might be for you. CD Projekt Red has created a fluid classroom system, and just opening the skill trees and seeing all of their branching paths is a remarkable sight. The impressive amount of freedom means there is a lot to tinker with. It may sound overwhelming, but once you master the basics, upgrading your character becomes an exciting adventure, as it always seems like a powerful new ability is within your reach that will help you tailor the experience to your needs. gameplay style.
At the most basic level, as you gain experience, you unlock attribute points and perks. The five main attributes are the body (gross physical power, increased health and endurance), intelligence (memory and intellect, improves hacking skills), reflexes (coordination and speed, improvement of critical chances and escape), technical (technological ability, provision of armor bonus and the additional chances of collecting artisanal loot) and cool (self-control and willpower, improves stealth and the speed at which NPCs notice you).
You invest points in improving the main attributes, but each also has its own tree of corresponding branching advantages to unlock new skills. For example, in the intelligence attribute path, you can choose to focus on hacking, and from there, you can invest in hacking the device or the target. You can mix and match the two. Device skills enhance your prowess by hacking things like security systems or making turrets friendly, while targeted skills disrupt enemy cyber software, like calling one enemy to another to make it come close and make explode a grenade. You also increase the skills the more you use them, which can then open up rewards, such as increasing your memory regeneration – your resource for hacking – outside of combat.
You’re also never locked into a class or style of play, so you can create interesting combinations, like a cyber ninja wielding katana who also hacked his way through life. I experimented with the fluid class system, starting my reading with a focus on hacking and improving my intelligence stats to support it. However, I became very fond of the shotgun as a backup when my stealth approach didn’t work. It meant investing in my body attribute so that I could manage the close combat necessary to use it. Keep in mind that your main attributes take into account the extent to which you can improve a specific skill. For example, the hacking capacity is limited by the intelligence statistic, which means that if my intelligence statistic is three, I cannot increase my hacking beyond level three.
Beyond the basic statistics, you also have cyberware that you can install on your character, which also opens up new capabilities and fun new benefits. Cyberware is a way to improve your body and give it superhuman abilities that can be passive, active or triggered. You can improve different parts of the body, from your arms and legs to your nervous and cardiovascular systems. All you have to do is visit a ripperdoc, which can do it all, put a monofilament (a narrow fiber optic wire in the shape of a whip that cuts enemies at lightning speed) in your arms, installing a pump to your cardiovascular system to improve healing. All cyberwares have different levels: legendary, epic, rare, rare and common. However, the higher the level, the more locations will have to be installed.
Do you always want more? All of your gear can also be equipped with upgrades, such as adding mufflers to guns so your bullets don’t alert the entire room. For armor, upgrades usually add stat increases, such as increasing your critical strike chance or getting additional padding for the effectiveness of your armor. All of these areas allow you to constantly adjust your character to something better, and most importantly, the one that best suits the way you want to play.
Life paths provide interesting ways to define V
Roleplaying as V is one of the most exciting parts of Cyberpunk 2077. You end up deciding who they will be, and that goes far beyond customizing their physical appearance (although these features are extensive and impressive!). CD Projekt Red approaches this question in an interesting way through the ways of life. When you create your character, you can choose between three: Nomad, Corpo or Street Kid, and each one adds a different flavor to V. Similar to Dragon Age: Origins, the prologue of Cyberpunk 2077 is played differently depending on the path you choose, get started and team up with your partner Jackie in different ways and for different reasons. Throughout the game, certain dialog options are available depending on the life path you select, giving more context to situations regarding this perspective.
the Inside Gamer Staff tested all three and came out with very different versions of V. The Street Kid means you grew up living a harder life, where you had to work for everything, but they also taught you how to navigate difficult situations with your street intelligence. Corpo makes you live a more privileged life; you start at the top and are confident to start, but staying there is a battle in itself. Then there is Nomad Road, which has a Mad Max vibrate and send you to the Badlands, where you play as an experienced smuggler who is a lone wolf in a place where many associate in packs to survive. You will never forget your roots, and it can certainly color your approach to situations and role-playing V in this world. We do not know to what extent or the number of additional choices that appear depending on the initial life path choice, but this establishes a good starting point for the story of V.
Braindances are a hook of cool gameplay
Remember Weralt’s meaning from Geralt? V has its own interesting way of looking at people and places for additional information and clues. As Night City’s main entertainment attraction, braindances allow you to dive into the memories of others, to live them as if you were the person who lived them. You watch them as playing a recording, and V has the option to edit this footage. You can rewind, fast forward and zoom in and out on particular objects for more information.
There are also layers to edit, such as focusing on the audio to hear distant conversations or switching to the thermal observation layer to detect if something is in the freezer. We used it during our playthrough to detect hidden elements and get more context on what exactly happened. For example, in one case, a guy created his own man to get the reward for himself. Browsing through the images can take time and dedication, and we’re not sure how often the tool is used in the game, but it does provide an interesting twist on the powers of V.
Replayability is high
Because there is so much freedom in various aspects of the journey, Cyberpunk 2077 is full of replay options. Missions can be approached in many ways, from blazing cannons to stealthily avoiding chaos. There are also branching paths based on dialog choices and many sub-plots to discover. For example, in one of our story missions, you can choose whether or not to release a man from prison, by determining whether he will appear later in the story.
Power struggles between business and gangs are everywhere, and your decisions could determine who wins. From what we’ve seen, it looks like situations will play out differently in terms of story events and gameplay sequences. Even in the prologue, we have all had very different experiences, whether we meet a boss, a character, or even a particular game area. It does not even take into account all the different dynamic events that can appear in the world. We can’t wait to see how far some of these decisions and consequences go, but if The Witcher 3 is anything, it should be pretty substantial.
Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on November 19 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. A PS5 and Xbox Series X version is also expected to be released, but no official date has been revealed.
For a more detailed account of our demo events, check out Matt Miller’s deep dive. Also be sure to check out this week’s podcast where we discuss and break down our practical experiences.