Cyberpunk 2077: Complete review and gameplay breakdown

Cyberpunk 2077 is an exceptional open-world RPG, period. And as with other such games like The Witcher and Skyrim, the focus of the game tends to be rather on the side quests than on the main storyline. In this game developer CD Projekt Red has managed to base it entirely around this concept. The main storyline although quite short is extremely interesting and takes you around the large futuristic map; Night city. While the entirely optional side quests available make up most of the game. These quests although optional do affect your progress in the game. Due to the sheer amount of these side quests the game does contain some bugs and glitches. But, the freedom this structure provides and the nature of the missions redeems this game.   

Cyberpunk 2077 game poster

Introduction

You begin life as a mercenary in Night city, V. Who has the psyche of a dead anti-corporate rock star called Johnny Silverhand stuck in their head. Silverhand is a somewhat noxious character played by Keanu Reeves. Who delivers a rather weak performance in comparison to the rest. Nonetheless, the relationship between the two and how they navigate their way through the tricky situation they are inlays the basis for the entire plot of the game.

Upon getting past the intro, it takes around 6 hours of gaming till even the game logo is displayed. The beginning stretch only allows limited movement and actions, but it helps cultivate a sense of attachment and feeling with V. This is further fortified as the quest begins to intensify. Once you've managed to get through the opening stages, you can travel anywhere on the map. You will encounter different enemies within different regions, some posing a greater than others. However, you can move around without running into any altercations unless you provoke anyone. And the side missions do a good job of keeping you occupied.     

Structure of the game

The structure even compared to some CD Projekt Reds' recent work seems slightly different. While most games tend to have a continual centralized plotline with a few side missions along the way with not much importance. Cyberpunk 2077 takes a different approach, having a shorter main plot with access to multiple side missions without the need to travel too deep into the main story. You need not try too hard or at times even look for side quests. As you are often offered them via phone calls.

The continuous distraction from the main plot does at times make you lose the feeling of progress. As you might find that the vast amount of side missions initially available will increase but over time start to trickle down. Yet, even when you've managed to complete a considerable portion of the game you still realize that are still plenty of side quests to be found indirectly. This, in ways, outplays the classic style of game progression and structure.      

The map: Night City

Cyberpunk 2077 has a single, open map. This in turn doesn't give the player an exciting feeling of moving between new open-world locations. But this simply does not take away anything from the meticulously designed map that is Night City. The map is diverse in landscape and sceneries with endless opportunities of running into new unexpected sights. For instance, the forest tucked away below the busiest interchange in town is somewhat of a hidden gem. Throughout your quests, you will travel through some picturesque rainforests, stunning cityscapes, rugged desserts, and many other interesting locations best viewed yourself. And you quickly realize the sheer scale of the map. And the attention to detail particularly noted in the advertisements placed throughout the city.

As you progress through the game you can make use of the fast-travel system. This perhaps would come in handy for longer journeys. Traveling around manually will allow you to experience all the scenic views and also the variety of vehicles available. Different vehicles will have an interior reflecting the city it is from. There are also a variety of special vehicles that will be offered to purchase; these vehicles can then be called upon to your location with just the press of a button. But, dare I say more exciting cars can only be unlocked via completing special quests.

Cyberpunk 2077 map

Game progression

To fully experience the game, try to take your time rather than brush through your missions as you are bound to miss out on critical details. Don't let the futuristic world full of action with the endless gunfights and first-person approach fool you. Cyberpunk 2077 is a full-fledged RPG. The game more often than not involves interacting with various characters. And making different choices which eventually affect the outcome of that situation and the progression of your character; V. And don't be surprised if you find yourself rerunning missions and save points to quench your curiosity of finding the different outcomes to situations. Cyberpunk 2077 allows you choices to massively influence the development of V and various other characters throughout the game.

What is most impressive is that the ways in which you interact with different characters alter their character behavior and future actions. Meaning, that exact character you interact with could be portrayed in a different light in someone else's game. Further, as a result of your choices, you could not be offered certain missions or even be as drastic as having changes to the storyline way into the game with decisions you make in the early stages. This aspect definitely provides a personal connection with the game.  

Missions in Cyberpunk 2077

Missions of Cyberpunk 2077

There are a wide variety of missions and side quests, all ranging from exciting and serious to light-hearted and jovial. Without spoiling anyone's gaming experience. Some of the memorable ones would be the parade CDPR which was demoed on the trailer, and a string of detective style missions in which the effort you put into finding clues is reflected in the outcome of the case. The characters which you encounter during these missions also seem to stand out, such as Brendan; an AI-controlled vending machine. The ability and immense work put into developing the game is reflected in different moments of the game with seamlessly changing situations and plot lines.

The detail and quality of the gameplay is quite hard to contemplate. In Cyberpunk you have to be mindful those side quests aren't merely fillers but have actual ties to the progress of the game. It is definitely different from the usual CDPR games such as Witcher. Completely focusing on the main quest and completing will usually require only around 20 hours of gaming, but you are only able to reach 3 possible endings this way.

The game is enjoyable nonetheless. But you don't really explore the entire map or experience the game fully by streamlining your approach. By attempting more side quests and developing your character more through them you are able to reach 7 widely different endings. Upon completing the main quest, you are still left with plenty to do and explore. And the more time you invest in the development of your character, the reward at the end will be greater.

Drawbacks of this structure

There are a few issues with regards to how various missions are offered and ordered. The mission log on which all quests are displayed lacks a clear sense of organization. Missions are categorized into "Main Jobs" which are basically the main missions that will allow you to progress, "Gigs" are small insignificant missions that provide bits of action, and "Side Jobs" basically contain every other mission available. The issue lies in the fact that all side quests are clumped under Side Jobs. You are unable to figure out which quests are important and relevant to the plot. This does tend to create a sense of frustration, as you begin to struggle in finding ways to affect the main plot.

One particular point which contributed to the confusion is the 3 percentage trackers displayed on the main menu. These trackers each defined the progress relating to different aspects of V. And the progress was generally shifted through completion of main quests, but certain Side Jobs also contributed. Even upon completing the game, the trackers would still not be entirely 100%. The rather confusing trackers combined with Cyberpunks 2077's free-flowing gameplay ended up providing a misleading sense of progress at times.

Spending time understanding the workings of the system does help you manage your frustration and better navigate the missions. Although at times the flow of missions might feel in disarray.

Gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 Game Play

Moving into the inner workings of the game you will realize that you are given customary RPG decisions. Such as with the ways in which you decide to deal with your enemies. There is a point system, whereby you spend your point on 5 primary attributes, and further into perks within those attributes for improved performance. Some perks, say   "Like a Butterfly" ensures dodging doesn't drain stamina or "True Grit" increases stamina by 10%.

The rewarding aspect of this system was that you were able to make use of these perks and attributes to improve your style of play. Rather than be put at a disadvantage for not investing in a wide array of improvements. Lacking points in "Body" will limit your ability slightly in handling heavier artillery and busting doors open. But you are still able to handle a shotgun even without having to invest in the "Assault" perk. Also, perks will level up on their according to the way you play. You might spend all your points on a particular skill set. But if you were to continually play a different style the perks related that will naturally begin to level up over time. Following the general theme of Cyberpunk 2077, most things are flexible.  

Combat

Despite the deceiving looks, the game is well and truly an RPG. Initial reactions to the gunfights might not be promising; questionable damage infliction in long-range shots and weird bullet spongy enemies. This does however get better over time and the exciting choice of weapons does redeem the game. The different choice of weapons paired with a wide range of perks that can be invested in makes combat quite exciting.

You could approach battles in ways you prefer. Either face them head-on or approach it rather stealthily by marking them and taking them out one after the other. This again adds to the free-flowing nature of the game. One other unique variation in the game is that throughout your progress, you can also upgrade your favorite weapons to better versions. 

Cyberpunk 2077 frequently engages your feedback even in combat instances. With choices to make between which entrances to breach, using consoles to disable cameras, and gathering clues by scanning the area. The stealth approach along with Quickhacks makes some missions challenging yet quite exciting. 

Quickhacking is essentially Cyberpunk 2077 incorporating hacking with combat. This allows you to freeze time to deploy viruses to inflict damage on enemies, track enemy positions, and stun the enemy for a short period of time. These features help navigate tricky situations and at times enable you to complete missions without having to engage in gunfights.

Cyberpunk 2077 also has great soundtracks which all elevate the combat experience. There's also in-game music related to the struggles and experiences within the games universe. There are some memorable tracks that you would certainly want to download. The music often sets the mood for the situations, reflecting the moment.

Bugs in Cyberpunk 2077

Sadly though, Cyberpunk 2077 has a handful of bugs and glitches which were recurring. Starting, the game seems to run the PC version only on a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. The game ran decently well on this GPU as expected, but there were recurring glitch animations, broken dialogues, and missing models. This affected the gaming experience to a certain extent as it became frustrating at times.

For instance:

  • When having certain important conversations in the game, the character would either freeze or have issues with loading objects that they are referring to.
  • There are issues with phone calls, which cause you to receive calls during conversations and overlap.  
  • Camera view angle issues, where the view would be moving around as if the player was running. When actually you would be driving a vehicle.
  • At times your character model would somehow not have hair.

However, these issues didn't affect my ability to complete missions and progress in the game. It did somewhat take away from a few intense moments in the game.

Updates to Cyberpunk 2077

A patch will be released soon to rectify these issues. As CDPR has pledged to provide support to attend to improve the game's stability and performance. And looking back at CDPR's record with games such as Witcher 3, we can all be assured that the updates will soon arrive. So in say like 6 months to a year, this game will definitely be much smoother and polished.

Final verdict

The game has an amazingly diverse map with the freedom to explore. It offers a wide array of options in your character building, combat, game progression, and the chance to decide on your choice of ending to the game. You will experience intense, funny, and exciting instances in the game. The main storyline of the game might be surprisingly short, but with the endless options in side quests, the way to the end can be rather tricky. You will have to navigate through many things to get the result you expect. Unfortunately, the recurring bugs can affect the gaming experience of an otherwise amazing game. Overall, Cyberpunk 2077 is an impressive RPG with massive potential and provides a new direction for this sort of game to head in.

You can download the game via the following link.

Author of Get Basic Idea - Knowledge Base.

Chamath Perera

Author of Get Basic Idea - Knowledge Base.

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