REVIEW: ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ Has a Lot to Offer – Including Bugs (PS4)

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Cyberpunk 2077

With the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 finally hitting our computers and consoles, the last few days have been a mixed bag of exultation and disappointment. Created by CD PROJEKT RED, Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure RPG set in a futuristic dystopian city called Night City.

In a city obsessed with money, power, and pushing the envelope on body modification, you play as V, a mercenary hired by Dexter Deshawn to go after a one-of-a-kind device from one of the most powerful corporations in Night City, Arasaka. This is potentially the heist of the century, but the plan quickly goes awry. Jackie Welles, your best friend and fellow heister, dies, and V is betrayed by Dexter and left for dead in a landfill. The device that V stole from Arasaka saves his life, but now he is haunted by the digital ghost of Johnny Silverhand, who died 50 years ago after a failed attempt to bomb Arasaka Tower. With this ghost slowly taking over his mind, V doesn’t have much time left to find out how to remove the device.

From the get-go, players are asked to create their own version of V. Although the character creator isn’t the most expansive I’ve seen, it’s nothing to joke about concerning the number of customizable options. And for the average person, it’s probably good enough. However, it does disappoint in relation to the inclusivity that the creators toted. Yes, you no longer choose sex; instead, you choose a body type. And that body type doesn’t determine your genitalia. However, you’re required to choose between only two voices: an obviously feminine and masculine option. And these determine your pronouns. This seems like a bizarre decision, honestly. Why not allow people to also pick their pronouns along with everything else about their character? It would have also been nice to see a gender-neutral option. Overall, the character creator is fine, but it by no means meets my standards of inclusivity.

Following character creation, players choose between three life paths: Nomad, Streetkid, and Corp. These paths don’t influence much about the gameplay itself. They change the beginning of the game and how you meet Jackie Welles. And, throughout the game, some dialogue options will be available to only certain life paths. But beyond the initial introductory gameplay, these paths don’t seem to influence the game to a huge extent. It may have been nice to see these life paths reflected in the character stats like how other RPG games have done, but I’m glad to see that players can forgo these life paths in the main game itself. After all, people shouldn’t be defined solely by their past.

Players have a large arsenal at their disposal. From melee weapons such as bats and katanas to a range of guns, there are plenty of weapons to keep every player happy. V is also fitted with Cyberware, which can perform various tasks such as hacking into devices like cameras and TVs. Mods can be attached to expand these tasks to anything from resetting an enemy’s optics to render them temporarily blind, to causing a memory wipe, which will cause the enemy target to exit combat mode. Additionally, going to a Ripperdoc allows you to modify and enhance everything about V from their appendages and skeleton down to their frontal cortex, circulatory system, and immune system. These body modifications really dig deep into typical cyberpunk ideas and aesthetics.

All these options allow players to customize their character uniquely and to fit their own playstyles. You can always go in gun blazing, but many of these mods relate to more of a stealthy playstyle, which allows for some novel ways to distract enemies and incapacitate them.

Players will be able to explore the entirety of Night City. The map is rather expansive, and thankfully there are a plethora of fast travel points and cars to help you get around. Each area has a very different character, often reflecting a specific culture. A single gang controls each section, and these gangs also reflect the areas they’re located in. From the Italian Valentinos to the Japanese Tyger Claws to 6th Street populated by American veterans, there’s a lot of borrowing from cultures, but it never feels derogative.

Cyberpunk 2077

As an RPG game, I expected more important dialogue options. While there are some optional dialogue routes to pick from, these primarily inform players about background stories and NPCs. Few if any optional dialogue in the main story drastically change the course of the plot. On top of this, V seems to have one voice (or two, if you consider the life path option players choose). While the dialogue wheels from Dragon Age and Mass Effect games allow players to choose between dialogue options that are polite, humorous, aggressive, or disagreeable and may generally reflect the personality players give their character. Heck, even Assassin’s Creed Valhalla lets you choose what kind of Eivor you want to be. In Cyberpunk 2077 you’re stuck with a V that was made by CD PROJEKT RED and only has one personality. While this does change for the side quests, and players can choose things like whether they want to work for gangs or the police, it would have been nice to see more dialogue choices in the main story.

The world of Cyberpunk 2077 is rife with cyberpunk aesthetics and ideas, but the hard-hitting themes themselves seem to be packed away primarily in the side quests, and the main plot feels a bit devoid of lesson-worthy concepts. After all, cyberpunk as a genre is a warning and not an aspiration. We get more thematic content once Johnny is introduced, as well as a flavor of corporate colonialism. But a large portion of the main plot is about fighting a megacorporation for only your own personal gain, whether that be initially for money or later to save V’s life. The side quests do let you choose between being another sleazy inhabitant of Night City or taking the moral high ground and fighting for the better good though. Additionally, some side quests deal with excellent topics of sentient AIs, mental health issues, corporate elitism, addiction to virtual reality, how body modifications have changed the world (for good or worse), and so much more.

Where Cyberpunk 2077 shines is in its characters. The characters you’ll interact with are deep and utterly human. The dialogue feels organic and smooth; V and Jackie joke and tease and are as thick as thieves, making their tragedy even more impactful. The way people move is so realistic. From Viktor scooting across the room on his stool because he can’t be bothered to stand up to Jackie’s incessant fidgeting, CD PROJEKT RED captures the characters, body language, and attitudes effortlessly. Even the loading screens are given so much thought. The aesthetic sweeps of the cityscapes and the newscasts that play whenever you load into the game only serve to immerse players into the game further.

But here’s where CD PROJEKT RED has most gone awry. At release, for those gamers on PS4 and Xbox One, the game was not worth its cost. Even now, with the couple of hotfixes CD PROJEKT RED has pushed out, there are still various bugs that severely impact the gameplay: various errors that cause consoles to crash, frozen screens, dialogue abruptly cutting off, buttons not being reactive, NPCs jumping around and crashing into things (and you) randomly, bugs in cutscenes, menus taking upwards of a minute to open. The game just doesn’t work smoothly. The graphics are also grainy and blurry. And although there are some changes you can make in the settings to help, the graphics still aren’t where they should be. Don’t get me wrong, these things don’t make the game entirely unplayable. But it isn’t enjoyable and detracts from the great characters and the world of Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk 2077 offers players an interesting world to explore, great storytelling, and loveable and deep characters. But the main story is light on cyberpunk themes, and the bugs and bad graphics really hinder the playability. Once the technical bugs are hammered out, Cyberpunk 2077 will be a game I would recommend.

Cyberpunk 2077 is available now on Google Stadia, PlayStation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC.


Cyberpunk 2077
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Cyberpunk 2077 offers players an interesting world to explore, great storytelling, and loveable and deep characters. But the main story is light on cyberpunk themes, and the bugs and bad graphics really hinder the playability. Once the technical bugs are hammered out, Cyberpunk 2077 will be a game I would recommend.