Here we are, finally. Just eight years after the first announcement, postponements of the release date, crunch controversy e an obscene communication to say the least, cyberpunk 2077 has arrived on all consoles, PCs and Stadia. From the first trailer, published on January 10, 2013, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. I had never even played the paper role-playing game, created by Mike Pondsmith in 1988. Over time, this lack has also returned. A few games, but above all the reading of the various manuals published over the years, has dropped me into a dystopian, sick, futuristic world whose usual ending is always one: death, but in the most spectacular way possible. But even this goal is not at all easy to achieve: you could also end up riddled with any booster just for taking one step too far. It doesn't matter, the important thing is to live on the razor's edge and make sure your name is remembered after death.
The original author of the paper game also collaborated in the realization of Cyberpunk 2077 and his influence is felt in full. It might seem like a stupid thing to say, but it is better to make some points clear immediately: if what you are looking for is a transposition of the paper on the screen, you are totally wrong. If, on the other hand, you are willing to embrace the Cyberpunk philosophy, explore the beautiful Night City e really feel what is the mentality that has made the role-playing game famous all over the world, with his sayings and all of it style over substance, then your wishes have been fulfilled. Choomba, Night City is ready to welcome you, but don't think she is a kind mother. She is a ruthless dictator who bleeds every human being who lives within her borders, ready to use it and throw it away at the first opportunity. Which is exactly what happens to V after a few hours of play!
The review is written by simultaneously analyzing the versions for Xbox Series X and for PC. The latter is equipped with a 2080, 16GB of ram it's a i7-9700K, all connected to a 21: 9 screen. I immediately point out that there are some problems precisely with regard to the aspect ratio of the screen. For example, by accessing the inventory or the selection of cybernetic grafts, during the tutorial phases, the screen returns to 16: 9 and some explanations appear cut out. In addition, my first few hours of play were marred by a series of constant crashes. Virtually every half hour the game closed for no apparent reason. I tried all the solutions reported on the site without finding a remedy, then fortunately arrived with hotfix 1.04: from then on, these random crashes disappeared. On the new Microsoft flagship the situation was much calmer. Immediately set to "Quality" mode, the game only had a couple of freezes and a few glitches, which was very little and never compromised my experience. Again, with patch 1.04 I encountered a net improvement in performance and I was able to continue playing without the slightest problem apart from the usual bugs and glitches scattered that have not affected my game anyway.
The story of V, your digital alter ego, can start in three different ways depending on the background that is selected, and then converge, at the end of the tutorial, in a fixed point which is the keystone that starts the entire Cyberpunk 2077 campaign. Selecting one background over the other also opens up several dialog options usable with the various characters encountered, in what proves to be one of the best written and most edited RPGs I've ever played. Your choices have a real effect on the characters around you and each sentence selected in the dialogues can lead to different endings, even as regards the side missions, treated in detail. One thing that left me pleasantly struck is that usually in games of the genre some sentences are inserted to choose from that have the sole purpose of broadening the conversation, without these affecting the choices necessary to continue. In this case I realized, through a secondary mission, that practically all the proposals of the dialogues that are given could modify the final result. My hours of gameplay were spent more on completing side missions and police assignments than following the main story, which still has a great pace and often deals with rather raw themes. This path opens immediately after the prologue, the ending of which has a twist that paper players or connoisseurs of the game world could easily define as "epochal", with a series of missions to follow and which takes about twenty hours of gameplay to complete. CD Projekt RED had already announced months ago that the game's campaign would be shorter than that of The Witcher 3 but I do not consider it a defect given the much tighter and more engaging pace of the story that, combined with the secondary ones, takes you away well more than just twenty hours.
Also in this case there is no real linearity of the work, with tasks that can be completed before others and thanks to which we can come into possession of certain information that may be useful in another mission, thus making it proceed in a certain way. In short, the greatest attention of the developers, rightly, focuses on the narrative sector of the work and on this there is very little to criticize. Be careful, don't make the mistake of comparing it to a GTA or saying it copied from Deus EX (if anything it's the exact opposite). In the first case they only share the open world, the core of Cyberpunk 2077 is totally different. In the second case ... well, if there were no authors like Aldous Huxley, Philip K. Dick and William Gibson or, even more, people like Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the paper role-playing game himself, Deus Ex wouldn't even exist. Other hours I spent instead of wandering around the city, often on foot, taking as many photos as possible of Night City, beautifully made and which gives a perfect idea of how immersive this Cyberpunk 2077 is also. On both PC and Series X, always after update 1.04, I have not noticed any particular technical problems beyond the usual bugs and sporadic glitches. On the Microsoft console it has never crashed, on PC it happens but in a very sporadic way. In the first case, the frame rate has always remained stable even in the most excited phases, on PC I reach and exceed 60 fps without problems with some minimal adjustments.
The game, as already announced by the developers, can be terminated even without firing a single shot, this symbolizes the variety of approaches that can be used in the various missions. I'll give you an example: one of the first requests you are made is to bring a chip, containing malware, to a group of boosters (slang indicating the members of a street gang) making them believe that it is a harmless credit chip. You can follow the instructions to the letter and, when they discover the deception, pretend to be ignorant of it and blame the other party. By doing so, you'll find the gang leader later in the game as a cyberpsychopath. You can hack the chip to remove the malware, keep the money and kill all the boosters, including the boss. You can ally with the latter in order to attack whoever provided you with the offending chip. In another case, playing both on PC and Series X, I made two different choices in a subsequent mission which in one case led me to receive a simple call and a package, in the other they opened a mission with dialogs, investigations and a deeper study of some characters. Depending on what you choose, how you speak, how you act, everything changes. Personally, if I get the chance to pull out the iron and shoot some lead, I certainly won't back down.
Share close combat you have surely heard of it: yes, not really the best. With the fists it seems to give caresses, you do not feel the impact of the blow at all. Already with sidearms such as katanas or hammers the situation improves even if they are totally unbalanced given the enormous damage output they have. The gunplay of the various types of weapons instead is very well done, with heavy shots, well-differentiated weapons and spectacular shootings. Enemy AI is less dumb than I expected - they go into cover, try to track you down with grenades, and hack very often. Even if you choose the “normal” difficulty, getting into a gunfight doesn't have to be a light decision, as dying is easier than you might imagine. If you want to get a taste of the very high mortality rate that characterizes the original RPG, try setting Cyberpunk 2077 to maximum difficulty. The evolution of the character follows what is the concept of the Elder Scrolls series: the more you use a type of weapon or a certain skill, the more you grow in that particular branch. This is accompanied by a real one level increase of the character that gives us a characteristic point, obtainable only in this way, e one skill point. The game features a fluid class system that is perfectly suited to each person's play style. The possibilities of evolution are truly vast: spend many points in reflexes and coldness to become a ruthless ninja; bet everything on intelligence to try the path of the netrunner; go with strength and reflexes to devastate everything in full Solitaire style.
Added to this are the additional possibilities given away by cybernetic systems, which can be installed at the scalpels scattered around Night City. Unfortunately, not all the mechanics relating to humanity and cyberpsychosis have been implementedprobably for gaming purposes. It also doesn't change anything to install certain implants from different scalpels although the game often tells you that this is very dangerous. The various systems allow us to further refine the V we control. Be prepared to spend a lot of Eurodollars if you want to achieve perfection. Fortunately, the latter are not very difficult to collect.
One of the things I liked the most about the game is the extreme density of the map, full of side missions and events at every turn and to get around on foot, by car or motorbike. As already mentioned, I have almost always preferred to walk around, without even using the rapid movement. Every single corner and lane of Night City is cared for and full of small details that make the city credible and dirty, with views that make us regret the absence of the free camera in photo mode. Driving is a bit shaky, with a physics that leaves something to be desired and an unpleasant soap effect. Fortunately, after a while you get used to it. As soon as you have earned some change, you are ready to spend it at the various retailers scattered throughout. In case you don't want to waste time trading, there is always the possibility of being scavengers, killing the members of the various gangs and thus stealing all the equipment possible. The loot is divided according to the classic colors, from white for the common stuff to purple / orange for epic / unique items.
Personally I consider the game one of the most interesting and engaging experiences of the year if not of the whole WRPG panorama. Clearly I haven't looked at the old gen console versions, as I don't own them anymore, but by now I really think you know in what condition Cyberpunk 2077 was released on hardware seven years ago. If you have nothing else, wait or get it for Stadia if you have a good connection. In this regard, CD Projekt RED has promised the release of two big patches, in January and February, which should solve the problems. All that remains is to see what will happen, but the game, despite the fact that in the end it is a truly excellent product and that it succeeds very well in its main objectives, it gave me the impression of being "out of hand". CD Projekt RED certainly had in mind many other mechanics to insert, but unfortunately, for reasons unknown to us, something during the development must have gone wrong, leading to revise the plans while they were now in the race and also bringing, inexorably, to the technical problems we see today.
With The Witcher 3 they proved one thing, obvious: I am able to make expansions of the titles with all the trappings and I very much hope that the development plan for Cyberpunk 2077 will not suffer further setbacks and that they can then proceed serenely to work, improving the game and expanding it more and more. As far as I'm concerned, I can only be satisfied with what I had in my hands: I finally wanted to enter Night City and live it. It was like playing a campaign with Pondsmith himself as the master. And in this regard, if you want to immerse yourself even more inside Night City, and if you have purchased the game for any platform, you can download the Cyberpunk 2020 digital manual from GOG. Just log in to GOG.com, go to the list of games, select Cyberpunk and in the list that appears, on the right, select Cyberpunk 2077 Sourcebook. I highly recommend reading it since, in addition to the various game mechanics, there is also a good part of the abnormal lore created by Pondsmith for his world and which continues to expand into all the other existing manuals. Unfortunately, to date, they are no longer recoverable due to the absence of reprints. All the screens you see in the gallery below were taken on a PC.