Lockdown Gaming, pt.7: Cyberpunk 2077

Hello and yes, we are still in lockdown, and yes I am still gaming. Here’s a brief overview and some thoughts on what I’ve been playing lately.

To round off the last of 2020, I have been tackling one of the most anticipated RPGs of all time, Cyberpunk 2077. While these posts are never intended as in-depth (or even game reviews in any sense), I will be keeping this one fair and to the point; any talk of the controversies involving the studio have been covered to exhaustion across articles and YouTube videos, so look into that if you’re interested.

[+++++++ I’ve also tried to keep the in-game pics spoiler-free +++++++]

The main protagonist is V, a trouble-maker whose appearance, background and skills are selected by the player. After a prologue determined by whichever life path is chosen, it is down to the nitty-gritty in Night City, a bustling futuristic hub teeming with style, neon lights, overbearing corporations and sinister gangs. The comparisons never truly do it justice, but the longer I play the more I see hints of Blade Runner, The Warriors, and Total Recall, as well as the more obvious influences like GTA (in particular San Andreas), the original Deus Ex, and William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer.

There is the standard fare of open-world fun to be had, with multiple main quest threads appearing, along with a variety of side jobs, investigations and crimes that pop up as you make your way through the city. What’s refreshing is that side jobs don’t just equate to random bitch-work; there’s moments for the player’s character to shine with cinematic points popping up unexpectedly in these little quests, and they do flesh out a number of aspects of Cyberpunk, from the gangs to tertiary characters, to V him/herself on occasion, and are enjoyable all the same. There are a small handful of cut-and-paste jobs however, certain quest types that are just staples of the sandbox game genre these days, and I imagine these missions are hard to deviate from in the design process.

Being an RPG, there are skills and perks to choose from, with attributes being tweaked during character creation and skills being increased through use during the game. What perks are purchased is up to the player, and the better V gets at any given skill determines how many new perks are available for purchase with these points. I like this system as it both encourages and rewards for playing a particular way, and there are many options for completing tasks; hacking, running-and-gunning, sneaking, breaking in or using a diplomatic/flirty approach are just some of the methods for getting the job done. Cybernetic implants are also on the menu to enhance areas of V’s body and performance, such as additional armour plates, hacking decks or retractable forearm blades, to name a few.

The sounds of Night City are immersive in their own right. The voice acting is outstanding, with special mention to (female) V’s voice actor, Cherami Leigh, and Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand. Every character I have encountered feels like a legitimate part of the world and helps to sell it in a big way. The sounds of techno-rock blaring from a passing car stereo, the whooshing blast of a tech sniper as it fires, even a gang member calling me a pussy when they were scouring the area for me- it does wonders for the atmosphere of Cyberpunk 2077.

A bunch of downsides though? As mentioned, this will be game-specific and nothing more. There are issues with glitches and bugs aplenty; NPCs T-posing, enemies straying into solid objects and becoming stuck, subtitles getting lodged on-screen and not disappearing, game crashes and save corruptions are rife, though two patches have helped to trim a bundle of issues down. I’m playing on PS4 Pro and the game is in a playable state for myself, which I’m grateful for, although I know this isn’t the case for everybody. Cyberpunk 2077 is a huge game and it just doesn’t run as well as it should on a platform it was seemingly developed for. What should have been a successful launch saw a game with strong storytelling and engaging game world marred by technical and visual issues.

The story is hypnotic, the voice acting is great and the RPG system is robust and addictive itself. I’m constantly reminded of Deus Ex while playing, a classic chunk of sci fi that still holds up to this day. A little more work needs to be done by CD Projekt Red to fix bugs and make this playable for everyone, because I think Cyberpunk 2077 should (eventually) be experienced by a wider audience than it currently is. Is it a great game? I believe it is, at its core. The poor console performance is disappointing and certainly took me out of the action until the patch went through, and I understand why others are angry at the state of the product at launch. Let’s hope 2021 can see things turn around.

These are just a few thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077, though. In the mean time, I hope you stay safe and thanks for reading.

21 thoughts on “Lockdown Gaming, pt.7: Cyberpunk 2077

    1. Azazel

      Ghosts of Tsushima is well worth it. I’ve just started playing around with it in the last week or so, and if you like the general “Assassins Creed” style of game, this is an excellent one. It fights a little differently, and doesn’t have a lot of the usual Ubi baggage (markers like skittles thrown across a map). But yeah. Well worthwhile IMO.

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      1. Steve Post author

        I do like the look of the combat, the pacing of it and the swordplay. I think in many ways I’m hoping for something to scratch the constant Tenchu itch that I’ve had since 1999 πŸ˜„

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          1. Steve Post author

            The feudal Japan style setting always appeals to me, mainly down to the old Tenchu games. I haven’t played Arigami, but it looks like my kind of game

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  1. savageddt

    Ive been following this in the news and through some of the youtubers I follow. To hear you say it is playable and to hear from others its a piece of poo, really broke my exitemnt for this game. I have listened to the game music for a while now and i still feel pretty hyped to play it some day. But hopefully by then itll be in a better condition than what it is at launch. The internet truly went out of its way to make me feel negative towards this game, but luckly i tend to make my own opinion. Why doesnt Bethesday get more shit for shady stuff or EA with blatant lies away with no one batting an eyelash?

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    1. Steve Post author

      It’s a really polarising game for sure; some folk think it’s the messiah and others loathe it to the point of getting a refund. I’m in the middle somewhere, as it operates like a solid RPG with some genuinely brilliant story beats, but the bugs and visual issues are just running rampant. I would maybe recommend waiting for a while until it’s brought up to scratch, which should hopefully be Jan/Feb.

      I agree that EA needs more hassle, especially for its copy-paste job on FIFA titles and the gambling aspects in there too. Bethesda and their whole shenanigans with Fallout 76 will forever be one of the most embarrassing game launches I’ve ever witnessed, along with the canvas bag fiasco, the Nuka dark rum and the secret room stuff πŸ˜„

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      1. Azazel

        As the proud owner of both a cheap vinyl bag as well as the coveted replacement canvas bag, I can say that Beth deserves all they get. 2 copies of F76 here (one each for myself and Marouda). I should have gotten hers refunded at least, but I wanted to keep my PA helmet. Those things went on deep sale as well for half the bloody price I paid, but shit happens!
        I guess it must depend on where you look/who you watch/read. The gaming media I follow give FIFA a lot of crap for FUT and loot boxes, but sports gamers just seem to eat up that MTX stuff with a spoon!
        As for CP2077, I was looking forward to it, was planning to get it later once patches and DLC happened, but then I got caughgt up in the hype and would probably have bought it right after release but luckily the dam burst before I could waste my money.
        I’m sure I’ll buy it, but given it’s state, I’m sure playing backlog and getting to it in a year or two will net me more game for less money, and a much more finished, polished and complete product. It’s not often I go back to a game I’ve finished – especially a long one, so for me it’s for the best to hold off.

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        1. Steve Post author

          That’s good to hear that you got a replacement canvas bag, I did like the look of it in the promo materials. I remember reading about German retailers that were physically zip-locking copies of the game to F76 Xbox console bundle boxes just to be rid of them, so folk were ending up with multiple copies in some cases anyway.

          I don’t blame anyone for holding off on Cyberpunk, it’s not in great shape just now. The side quests and story quests have so much bulk to them that I sometimes find myself playing for hours, though the crashes and dumb glitches rip the immersion in two. I’m convinced that the buggy visuals were giving me motion sickness at one point.

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          1. Azazel

            Let’s face it, no-one bought it for the bag, we all got it for the Helmet, but seeing the nylong bag was a “WTF is this supposed to be?” moment before checking what it was supposed to be, cursing bethesda for a minute for being heels, throwing it back in the box and then forgetting about it. At least until it all blew up, at which point I was happy to get the bag that might last more than 20 seconds before disintegrating.
            Of course, by the time it arrived I’d long stopped playing F76 and even F4 in disgust over the condition of the game.
            As for attaching them to consoles – I read about/saw that on YouTube as well. Especially amusing to see them attached to F76 console bundles! πŸ™‚
            I’m alternating between Ghosts of Tsushima, Agents of Mayhem (started yesterday, patched up for X enhanced on the Series X) and Far Cry 5 (in co-op) right now – hoping I can finish all three before I go back to work. Then I might go back to Odyssey after a brerak of a few months, though I’m also interested in WD Legion and Legend of Fenyx (or whatever Gods and Monsters is now called). Time!

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            1. Steve Post author

              It got to a point where every few days was a producing a new scoop on Fallout 76, and it just began to get ludicrous. The bag situation was bad enough, but everything thereafter seemed crazy, and then didn’t Bethesda try to turn it into a subscription service? Then someone bought the domain name right out from under them πŸ˜„

              Sounds like a great mix of games there, I will be picking up Ghosts of Tsushima at some point soon. Is Far Cry 5 the post-apocalyptic Far Cry game? That looked pretty slick.

              I’ve been jumping between Cyberpunk 2077 and Untitled Goose Game, as well as playing Payday 2 with a mate of mine. Not enough time in the day

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              1. Azazel

                Yeah, the F76 situation has pretty well been mirrored by the CP2077/CDPR train when you think about it. And yeah, despite promising to not monetise gameplay, Bethesda monetised gameplay with various perks and then later the actual subscription. /facepalm
                Far Cry 5 is the “Cultists in rural Montana” one that leads directly into the post-apoc one (New Dawn), which is a side game based on one of the possible endings – which we’ll get to once we finish FC5. And the three FC5 story DLCs… so it could be a little while…
                I had some fun with Payday back in the day – was playing it on steam semi-regularly with randos, but eventually petered out. Was a lot of fun while I was playing it, though. I also played and completed UGG when it was on Game pass. Cute and fun little game, but I didn’t keep going to unlock all the achievements once I finished it.

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                1. Steve Post author

                  I admit that I’ve missed out on much of the Far Cry series, with the last one I played being Blood Dragon, which was ace.
                  Untitled Goose Game has been quality- mainly got it to keep the kids occupied over Christmas but I ended up playing it as well, and yeah there are a good amount of quirky achievements to muck around with- I’d heartily recommend it to anyone.
                  I only started to play Payday 2 more as we had played Left 4 Dead 2 to death and fancied something in a similar vein. It’s fun and the RPG tree system in place offers some decent customisation but the game is very susceptible to human error and having one total clown on your team seems to spell doom for any heist that was running smoothly πŸ˜„

                  As for Cyberpunk, yeah it does seem to be mirroring Fallout 76 in many ways. Last thing I read was a lawsuit coming in to play over false advertising, so probably not a great year ahead for CDPR. In some ways I feel bad for them; if they had delayed the game again it would have been a sensible move but then what? More death threats from rabid fans, which isn’t acceptable. Instead the game was pushed out the door for a Christmas release and has seen a huge loss of trust and the removal of the game from the PS store. It’s a disaster… I wonder how things will shape up over the next few months.

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    2. Azazel

      Much of it is broken trust. CDPR was (supposed to be) better than that and their carefully cultivated “pro-gamer, good guys” reputation was pretty much shattered by some pretty blatant lies, especially right before release.
      As for no-one batting an eyelash towards EA or Bethesda…. sorry but honestly you could not be more wrong. Both publishers cop an enormous and constant amount of (mostly deserved) criticism.
      Bethesda always had a reputation for borken buggy games, so it was kinda expected, though not on the scale of F76. They were also kinda “good guys” and beloved, but they and Todd also fell from “gamer grace” and became a meme company as well. I’m personally hoping that Microsoft can cut the head off the snake since their purchase. We’ll see….
      EA is just considered pretty much evil, which is why people are pleasantly shocked and surprised when stuff like Jedi: Fallen Order or Squadrons come out in the way they have been released.

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      1. savageddt

        Man i was so hyped for this game and i dont even own a console to play it onπŸ˜”. But yeah, its bad what they did and shady the debacle that happened just before launch. I hope they can win their trust back in future.

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  2. Prog.Gaming

    “but the longer I play the more I see hints of Blade Runner, The Warriors, and Total Recall…”

    Well, that’s sold me. I admit that all the online chatter about bugs etc. has put me off a bit. Am I right in thinking this was all a bit over-hyped and it is actually a pretty good game?

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    1. Steve Post author

      The game’s aesthetic and the story are brilliant, and I enjoyed the side missions, many of which were fleshed beyond the scope of a simple fetch quest. The bugs were a problem, not just from an immersion-breaking standpoint but also from a performance one, i.e: regular crashes.

      I think it’s hard to judge, because it was both over-hyped as being this game that was going to reinvent the open-world sandbox, but it also took a heap of flak because of the various bugs and glitches that people found. There is a good game in there, at its core. It just depends on a) how much tolerance you have for performance and graphical issues and b) what your setup is. PC and next gen consoles apparently had/have less issues.

      Sorry, to sum up: Cyberpunk 2077 is a pretty good game. It just suffers from some glaring issues that should have been addressed before release.

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