From the moment you start playing Cyberpunk 2077, this is your story. From the size of the grains to the choice of life path, V is immediately formed. While CD Projekt Red has possessed us with the charming charm of Geralt for years, with Cyberpunk 2077 the developer gives you the reins to tell stories and asks you to forge your own tale in Night City. After spending 16 hours in the game, I just hit Act 2 and only now started writing the story of V, but the journey so far has been intoxicating. Anyone who worries that Cyberpunk 2077 may be frustrating should not be; this is a game that will surely exceed expectations.
The last time I visualized Cyberpunk 2077, I bet on Corpo Life Path ̵
But this initial decision is only the beginning. From now on, V’s life will unfold according to your decisions, the conversations you have, and the consequences you have triggered. Even after almost two full days with Cyberpunk 2077, it was difficult to see how far the network spread from one call, from one answer to another. It doesn’t help that there is often a subtlety in the difference between the answers you can give. Some, of course, are much more emphatic – they obviously lead you in many different ways depending on where you place your attachment – but others are much less clear. The optional goal of the mission may include arranging an alternate meeting or simply involving calling another character to register, but they all have the potential to send targets that rotate in a very different direction, or uncover a hidden plot that can affect your future election. And here, deep in the gray between them, the real intrigue in the branching story of Cyberpunk 2077 enters your psyche like the biochips that feed these cyber-enhanced individuals.
I’m deliberately vague here, because from the beginning, even a hint of Cyberpunk’s storyline would have penetrated to the waist in a spoiler city. Even the first six hours or more of this game – I might add before credit – deliver the kind of story you’d expect to find much deeper into the story. CD Projekt Red is not afraid to surprise you, to take action and consequences as a cleverly hidden poker player – nothing is visible. But it’s always worth remembering that your decisions are literally everything in this game.
Joytoys and clamps
Much of this election will come from the conversations you will have with the actors you will meet in Night City. So far, I’ve only met a few of them, the notorious Dex fixer and Braindance editor Judy, to the disgustingly terrifying ripperdoc Fingers and a mysterious fixer known as Mr. Hands. From those with whom you interact only through your phone, to those who will no doubt become more permanent bodies in V’s life, each of them is a significant addition to the cast. They are all stunningly animated, fully formed, but at the same time set in mystery. There is no Rolodex of character biographies to flip through, if you want to know more, you’ll have to find it yourself.
Of course, CD Projekt Red is no stranger to creating living worlds filled with memorable characters. But the nature of Cyberpunk 2077 in the first person, combined with the clean layering level for each offer that is offered, makes it feel like a much more personal journey than any we’ve had with Geralt and co. It helps that Cyberpunk 2077 offers the most organic gameplay I’ve ever experienced, closest to true human interaction. If you want to talk to someone, just go to them. The “Press X to Interact” prompt for NC residents has disappeared; instead, you are simply given options for your opening devices and then logged in. This is also very limited in terms of cutscenes, instead of focusing on offering interactive conversations that you can still control freely, choosing to pick up something that happens elsewhere in a room in the middle of the conversation if you wish.
One particular moment lingers with me, so simple, but just another element of the organic dialogue in the game. I had spent some time talking to the aforementioned Judy – currently one of my best favorites in the game – and when the conversation was over, I turned to leave the room. I was halfway through the door when she called me with just “Hey, V.” I wasn’t back to choosing stories, I could choose to keep walking up the stairs and into the cool air of the neon-soaked streets of the Night City. Of course, I didn’t, I turned back to find out more, and the rest will go down in V.’s story.
The city that never sleeps
Moments like this constantly enliven the Night City. But as cliché as it sounds, your actions are just as important as your words in Cyberpunk 2077. After the game’s initial missions, which vary depending on your life path, Night City unfolds before you like a super-science book. , glowing with billboards and noisy from the urban chaos of this troubled city. It is difficult to exaggerate how full this world is; the card is a candy store with options, whether it’s live crimes, shopping trips, pick-up concerts, side quests to browse, a little shopping or renting out some of the local toys, there’s almost too much to do in Night City.
But what you do and in what order also matters. I delayed taking payment for one of the game’s first missions from a fixer called Wakako, and later in a major mission I was able to bring out my missing vortices as part of a completely separate conversation. It’s a small thing, but a huge part of how this world was created to feel completely realistic and always responsive to V.’s actions.
This is not an easy feat, especially in a world that is as dense with decisions and distractions as this one. After 4pm (reluctantly), I left Night City with about 30 side quests and concerts cluttered my magazine after spending a lot of time immersing myself in the main campaign and listening to each passer-by’s conversations for a little too long. The night city is extremely absorbing and extremely beautiful.
Cyberpunk 2077 is obviously a huge undertaking. The density of the game’s systems is proof of this, as I feel partly comfortable understanding the complexity of weapons, the vast tree of skills, strengths, or my future in cyber upgrades – to name just a few. But this scale comes with some worries, and although Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t introduce me to any game bugs, there were a lot of visual bugs – although CDPR says it’s aware of them. I’m hesitant to suggest that everyone will be fine until we all get to the full game, came on December 10, but with such an ambitious – and frighteningly huge game – I mean to forgive a few unintentional quirks. This is a hell of a game soaked in neon seduction from the first second.