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My review of Cyberpunk 2077

- Published on 14th December, 2023 -

Hey there!
Today, we’re having a special post: a game review.
This one was supposed to come out back in 2020 (so a while ago) when the game originally came out, but bad time management and just forgetting about it made me push it all the way back to today; but hey, better late than never, right?

This article might contain spoilers about the base game and the DLC Phantom Liberty. Read at your own risk.

The game itself

Let’s have a bit of a background first shall we?
Cyberpunk 2077 is a game released in 2020 by Polish game studio CD Projekt Red, most known for the game series The Witcher.

Cyberpunk itself goes back way more, starting in 1988 with Cyberpunk 2013, created and written by Mike Pondsmith, as a tabletop game.
Later editions included Cyberpunk 2020 (1990), Cyberpunk V3.0 (2005) and Cyberpunk Red (2020).

The Cyberpunk universe takes place in a world where the USA fell to a military coup, collapsing its economy, avoiding the fall of the USSR and strengthening European and Japanese markets, making them stand out as superpowers.
It’s at this time that megacorporations arose, taking control of huge parts of the economy, fighting between themselves and basically starting to form quasi-independent states.
Technological advancements in term created cyberware (or chrome) which are bioengineered implants used to enhance one’s body abilities, leading to cyberpsychosis if too many implants are used.

The main location of the game is called Night City, located on the south of current day San Francisco.
This autonomous city represents well how the Cyberpunk world works: megacorporations taking over every single aspect of life, rampant crime, violence and corruption.

Outside of all of this are nomads, once working for corporations, now living in family clans, roaming roads and plains, attacking corporate convoys and regular people alike.

Before proceeding further, note that all my play sessions were done on either Hard or Very Hard difficulties.

My original 2020 review

This was the review that was supposed to be released back in 2020.
It mainly concerns what was released at the time.
An updated review is below.

The story

Summing up the base story, you are V, a mercenary.
At the start, the game gives you the choice for three life paths: street kid, corpo or nomad, which after some events, you will encounter Jackie Welles, former Valentinos member, now mercenary.
After a cooperating a while and gaining reputation as a reliable merc, you finally get a job from a well-known fixer, Dexter DeShawn; being stealing an experimental chip from the corporation Arasaka, called The Relic.

During the heist, everything turns to vinegar, the relic container being damaged, you are forced to slot the Relic in one of your shard ports while your partner and friend Jackie is dying under your eyes.
During that time, you also happen to witness Yurinobu Arasaka kill his father, Saburo Arasaka, CEO of Arasaka which you are accused of.

You later learn that this Relic is now erasing your mind, replacing it with the one of rockerboy and terrorist, Johny Silverhand.
Your goal is now to find a way to get rid of that Relic and survive at all costs.

The elephant in the room

Cyberpunk 2077 is bugged. Hell, I don’t even think that’s a strong enough word.
Crowds will fail to load, your character will T-pose on zone loadings, some enemies flicker, and calling your car will make it run over you and kill you.

It also happened that on release, a braindance sequence would use flashes designed to trigger epileptic seizures as a visual effect, triggering a grand mal seizure for game journalist Liana Rupert.
Luckily, an update modified the affected sequences and are now mostly safe to play, though the game still contains a warning.

Overall, the game isn’t pleasant to play in longer play sessions.
The game has to be restarted every hour or so because of bugs, there is performance issues with terrain not loading in time or just plain lag.

Also, some police units like MaxTac, being known as the most dangerous police force, can be killed like regular enemies which is kind of underwhelming.

The good stuff

Though the bugs are omnipresent, the game does something extremely well: cutscenes.

In CP2077, everything is dynamic.
Unlike Bethesda games where NPCs will just stand there and talk like robots, people move, have expressions, will pull guns on you; everything is dynamic.

The best representation of this is during one of the missions before The Heist. You need to get a military drone from the gang Maelstrom, however, the person that was paid for it, Brick, former leader of the gang has been removed by the new leader, Royce.
Though Dexter DeShawn already paid for the bot, Royce asks you to pay again in probably one of the best cutscenes I’ve seen in video games.
This particular cutscene usually ends up in a bloodbath (though there is other options) in which the game will transition seamlessly back to gameplay.

More than cutscenes, the game has a strong story, with characters you can identify with and feel close to.

All in all, it could be a great game, if not for all the bugs.
I really hope CDPR will release more patches to the game to render it more playable.

2023, 2.0 and Phantom Liberty

Now, that’s the part where I start praising CDPR.

The 2.0

In September 2023, after three years of releasing patches periodically for the game, CDPR release the 2.0 update.
This patch is probably the largest update the game has seen, bringing in new features and enhancement:

  • New police system - MaxTac is now actually hard to fight and cops don’t magically spawn around you when you commit a crime
  • Vehicle combat - There’s even car chases between gangs, you can slash tires and more
  • AI enhancements - While enemies are still relatively dumb, they now move more and have reactions to grenades and actually use their cyberware correctly
  • Perks tree overhaul
  • Cyberware overhaul
  • New weapon finishers

And even more!

Recently, scrapped features have been implemented in the game, most notably the metro system.
The game also has way less bugs, making it a solid game by itself.

Phantom Liberty

On September 26 2023, CDPR released a major DLC for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty.

I cannot express how much I love the content added to the game with it.

The DLC takes place in Dogtown, a part of Night City near Pacifica, ruled with an iron fist by Kurt Hansen.
You are contacted by a mysterious netrunner claiming to be able to help you getting rid of the Relic, leading you right in that part of the city.
All of the sudden, you are now involved in a large web of problems, having to save NUSA president Rosalyn Myers from Dogtown and find the netrunner with the help of FIA agent Solomon Reeds.

The DLC even adds a new ending to the game, which is in my opinion one of the saddest endings to it.
The story itself is extremely well-written, the characters attaching, choices hard to make, making the base game look dull in comparison.

The DLC also adds new skills, new vehicles, new side missions, new radiant quests and a bunch of other stuff.

Difficulty wise, it is also a big step up from the base game which I welcome.
Early in the DLC, you are faced with a difficult boss fight that might take you multiple attempts to beat, though not frustrating.

The word of the end

Cyberpunk 2077 evolved into being one of the most solid games I’ve recently played.
The soundtrack written by P. T. Adamczyk, Marcin Przybyłowicz and Paul Leonard-Morgan keeps you in the ambience while the gameplay is engaging and fun.

One action I will praise is CDPR actually updating the game, fixing bugs and adding content without succumbing to the temptation of saying “eh, the modders will fix it”.

Overall, fun game, I recommend to play it!

That’s all for today.
I’ll see you next time chooms!

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