I spent a whole day trying to type a coherent review but I seem not to be able to convey what I have in mind. I wanted to write a review that shows that the game is not bad after reading many negative reviews and people talking how much trash this game is. The game itself is not bad if you are fine with following a linear main story and several side quests. In terms of a rating I'd give it a 7 out of 10 even though I enjoy the game way more than I expected. I was hooked from the beginning and after I changed my perspective about the game and not expect an RPG game but instead a story-driven immersion I enjoyed it even more. After 60 hours or so though the negatives started surfacing. What I just ignored at first started to be a nuisance. On the other hand you don't really need to put up much with the bad things - that can be a bad thing too because it is an indicator that these could have been created or balanced better. When nearing 100 hours though I started to enjoy all the bugs and could laugh when the game saved in a middle of a jump that would kill me no matter what.
At first I ran the game on a computer with slightly higher specs than the recommended ones. I had troubles even running the game. I downloaded it on a computer I use for VR which showed similar problems. After tweaking my Nvidia settings (using help of some rtx 2060 users complaining about not being able to run the game too) I managed to run it on both computers but stuck to the VR one that can run the game with ultra settings on.
The story is about V, a mercenary who for some unknown reason wants to become a legend in Night City. V by a series of misfortunes ends up with a biochip implanted in their head. It cannot be taken out and contains a copy of Johnny Silverhand's psyche which slowly eats V's psyche away. Johnny is a rockerboy who decided to fight against a megacorporation and blast it away 50 years ago.
V may come from different backgrounds (you choose at the beginning) but will still turn into the same person and personality. All you can do is stick with it and there is no way to deviate unless you commit a suicide along the way. Johnny is a total prick but if you befriend him, he'll gain more wisdom.
I enjoyed all the endings to some extent even though I felt pretty bad when going through some. I missed something in those endings though. I didn't feel like it had some kind of a meaning. Many games question humanity and what the future might be. You get to see what makes someone or something a human being and what the society can turn into. Here you are someone with predefined view on things and you can either just stay that way or betray your principle and join the 'bad guys'. And even if you'd logically chose this option deliberately, you probably wouldn't have chosen everything that comes with this outcome. This was a huge let down for me and I spent quite a while contemplating if this could have been done in a better way. I always liked cyberpunk settings but what I also liked about the dystopian future is that it showed where our culture and society can end up. In this kind of future though there were always people present that had still valued human values and virtue and tried to fight the megacorporations. Here gangs fight among each other and we don't see much of politics among the corporations, in fact there is only one megacorporation that is the center of this story - Arasaka.
What I think the game does well though is asking you how you value life and what makes you want to live and how and what would make you want to end your life and why. This is something people should give a thought and some of the decisions and what comes after will make the players think about this and that I find is a good thing as that will help the players understand other people's thought that might be either terminally ill or suicidal.
The Night City is a breathtaking world and I can't describe it with words. The lights, lighting and reflections are beautiful. Walking around and taking pictures is something I truly enjoyed. Exploring the city is great. If you want to do more than that though, you'll be disappointed. I expected to be able to talk to some NPCs but soon found out that it's totally useless to even try. They are pretty dumb, they have preset movements so they either walk their path, cover their head on the ground or run away from the scene disappearing after few meters into nothingness. Their clothes are mostly the same you can get yourself and it is often painful to look at them. You can have sex with a joytoy but the cutscene that follows could be better. I don't even mean in showing more of the actual sex but could be done in a way that makes you want to enjoy watching it.
Illegal activity is nothing to worry about. I expected that if you become wanted you'd be wanted for the rest of the game. NCPD just shows up next to you out of thin air when you do an illegal activity. Just go inside a building and it ends. They will also shoot you if you stand nearby without a reason.
One would also expect stealing would be a crime but no, you just loot anywhere under any NPC's nose and don't get noticed for it.
The game features vehicles you can acquire. You are forced to drive them sometimes. Driving a car seems bad to me. It is very easy to miss a turn since you can't even see it on the mini map in the upper right corner. The traffic is weird at best. If you get close to another car it will just stop. Even hitting a hydrant will stop you dead in your track. I tried my best but failed the driving jobs (not really but it was rather frustrating). Since you get so many vehicles at your disposal you could possibly customize them? It would be a nice feature. The cars you can purchase behave differently so you can find a car that will suit you.
There are series of jobs that affect how the the game will end. Those are long and they allow you to start a romance depending on the person's sexuality. I enjoyed these a lot, maybe even more than the main story. They are about forming a relationship be it a friendship or romance.
The combat is something I shouldn't omit since it is a big part of the game. You can finish most of the game by sneaking past enemies and hacking but the easiest way is to blast your way through. There are many ways how to fight. You can use your own fists, mantis blades (cyberware), melee weapons or ranged weapons. You have quite a choice from different groups of weapons and I stuck to tech precision rifles. The animations and sounds of the weapons and combat are nice and satisfying. Shooting is ok even without aiming, I didn't really aim at all at first until I started using a sniper rifle which needs more precision when shooting someone very far away.
The leveling system is nice but is rather boring. You have 5 attributes - Body, Reflexes, Tech, Calm and Intelligence. Each attribute might be doing something and getting you better stats but I didn't see much difference. Under each of these attributes you have several perk trees. They are mostly combat related with the exception of crafting and hacking. Crafting can be used to create anything if you have a blueprint and components for it. Both can be bought or looted (or created by crafting and disassembling). Quickhacking can be used to distract enemies, unhostile them, or make them explode. Can also be used to turn off cameras or turrets.
I put most points into tech which led me to having a character with 1399 armor and 400 DPS weapon since level 17 or so. Even on hard my character felt invincible and I did not even spend all my points. I look forward to leveling in games because of new abilities that are impactful. In this game though I'd finish the whole game without spending a point. Only once in the game that I felt that I either totally missed something (it was this) or my damage input had to be insane - when fighting Matilda, one of the bosses in the game. I dealt roughly 12k damage unloading one whole magazine into her head and this did not bring her down.
Cyberware mostly gives you higher stats. But there is cyberware that allows to slow down time which can help in combat. Berserk cyberware can also make you stronger in fight but you won't be able to hack. If you take a hacking route getting a good cyberdeck is needed. Augmenting legs is probably the only thing I felt was 'special' since you can jump higher or double jump.
The game is full of bugs. I play VR games and I got used to clipping, other visual bugs and movement not working as intended. Falling through a floor is something that won't surprise me in a VR game but here it surprised me. These kind of things shouldn't be happening. Since everything is scripted in a way you shouldn't deviate from that and thus should avoid bugs. You just walk through the Night City to suddenly slip on a bag of trash flatlining. You headshot an enemy, their head exploding but the body still walks around and talks. NPCs t-posing. That's not all. While these are mostly 'visual' bugs and break the immersion there are also bugs that break the game in a way. I couldn't loot for quite some time and I couldn't see the location of the loots. When I finally could pick up items they were all above my level. My bought perks didn't work. There were jobs that I couldn't finish. I had to restart even the main story several times because either one of the NPCs got stuck or because the next step simply didn't trigger. Not only I lost some legendaries I got on my way, but I had to restart a relatively long job again.
Cyberpunk 2077 offers an immersive cyberpunk story and a great world - Night City - to explore. The story and characters are well written. They are well voiced and acted. The graphics is nice even though I wouldn't call it next gen, it would have been 8 years ago. Sound is great, both the music and sound effects. Many side missions that you can complete are really good, some are just fun and some are repetitive. The game play itself is good even though if you are more of a hardcore gamer you might find it lacking in many aspects since the game doesn't bring anything new and no matter what play style you will choose it will feel lacking. You might even question why there is the possibility to mod weapons when it practically does nothing? That goes to perks and leveling too. The game is buggy but many got fixed already. Still some bugs will make it impossible for you to proceed and you might need to replay, see if it lets you continue. The game seems to have performance issues. The recommended specs are more like minimum ones. It might be worth waiting till CDPR fixes all the issues and maybe even changes/adds some content. 7/10
S'Tsung (stsungjp @ Twitter)