Cyberpunk 2077 Review. Don't Sleep, Samurai! The Storm Over the City Is Just Beginning!

The sprawling cityscape of Night City

Night City. A dangerous, deadly, hopeless city that swallows and digests anyone who steps beyond its borders.

You, that is V (that’s the name) – a hero or heroine, born in this city, a street kid, a former corporate or a nomad wanderer. The past, however, doesn’t matter, and the future is not something they think about here. From now on, V is forever a cog in the dirty, screeching urban machine. V, along with their partner and friend Jackie, carries out the usual mercenary work, intimidating those, shooting these, getting paid not much, but enough for food and a little apartment… But, as usual, one day everything goes wrong. Very wrong, to the point that V takes a bullet to the forehead, survives only by a miracle, and acquires a friendly (not really) ghost as an additional burden on their already tormented brain. The ghost’s name is Johnny Silverhand, a rocker and terrorist who disappeared fifty years ago. When you are accompanied everywhere by an outdated criminal from half a century ago, who has an opinion on everything valuable to you, and you are the only one who can see and hear him – it won’t be long before you go crazy! And believe me, that’s the least of V’s problems at the moment… Plot, camera, action – let’s go!

A futuristic city filled with neon lights

City of fairy tales, city of dreams…

At first, in Cyberpunk 2077, you inevitably get lost. A huge map (although limited to one part of the city under quarantine in Act 1), filled with unfamiliar symbols: where to go? what to do? who are all these people and non-people?.. A bunch of side quests, stairs, floors, whole mini-cities crammed into tiny spaces. Chinese, Japanese, and other districts, markets, homeless camps with their tents and mattresses, narrow highways, high-rise buildings, behind whose roofs the sky is sometimes not visible – but you can hear how aerotaxis fly high above with a roar, accessible only to the most affluent. Unceasing voices of robo-traffic lights, advertising lights, shootouts somewhere in the distance, broadcasts of well-groomed announcers from giant TV screens. This is Night City. What to do, how to be, there is too much here, aaah! Don’t worry, after a couple (dozens) of hours, you will settle in and feel at home.

However, why – how? This is it, your home, or rather, V’s home, our hero or heroine. A city rotten to the core, dividing people into the poor and the rich, full of garbage and street gangs – and damn beautiful with its own special beauty, cornered like a cyber-rat, shimmering with neon eyes. It is impossible to leave Night City. I already have over forty hours of gameplay, and I have a feeling it will be twice or three times as much. Of course, you can swiftly go through just the main storyline – but why? You will miss out on a lot of interesting things.

A cyberpunk city in the dark of night

This is what the map looks like in Cyberpunk 2077. Panic! Don’t worry, soon you will be racing through these streets like a local.

Because the side quests here are magnificent. Funny, sad, atmospheric, creepy, memorable. When you have Johnny Silverhand as your constant companion, he even comments on almost every random assignment in his unique way, damn it… oh, you have to hear it.

The city feels alive, the developers didn’t lie about that. It’s full of people (sometimes, I would say, overly full – in overcrowded areas, you have to naturally push through the crowd on your way from point A to point B). However, 99.99% of these people won’t talk to you about life, death, and problems – they will either tell you to go to hell or throw a couple of random phrases at you. In principle, it’s realistic – if you go out on the street and try to say “hello, how are you?” to a certain number of random passers-by, they won’t engage in a long quest dialogue with you either, right? But each of these guys has a name (it’s visible if you scan the character with an optical implant), there are records in the police archive (clean before the law or not, if not – you can safely attack them, just don’t harm the innocent in the process), in general, they are not just dummies, although they are not eager to communicate with you. At night, more members of local gangs crawl out onto the streets, and you can intervene in their fights with impunity. Sometimes, the NCPD (local cops) even ask for help with particularly aggressive criminals.

Characters in a tense firefight

The photo mode (N button) allows you to take impressive screenshots.

A question that interests many: is there variability in the game, like in Fallout’s “three u’s: kill, steal, persuade”? It depends on what you want. There is definitely no option to “persuade”: Night City is a tough place, sometimes you can insert the right line into a dialogue at the right moment (depending on your leveled-up parameter or background), but that’s it, playing a weak character with charisma at a conditional 20 won’t work, they eat those for breakfast here. Besides that, there are options. You can play as a stealthy ninja, sneaking up from behind, killing instantly and silently. You can constantly scan enemies and hack their implants: disable their vision, overheat them (a deadly thing if amplified), temporarily disable their ability to move or use weapons. You can shoot from a powerful sniper rifle from a distance, or take a heavy machine gun, or insert Mantis Blades into your hands and go hand-to-hand like Wolverine. Even in any quest location, there are usually several ways to infiltrate: when I needed to get into a closed TV studio, and the heavily barricaded doors only opened by using force (which I clearly lacked), I sadly wandered around, then – on a whim – climbed on garbage bins, then on the studio roof and discovered that the roof hatch was open. Great, I can just jump in from above! And no force is needed.

An action-packed moment in the game

Judy is one of the most adorable characters in the game, no doubt.

Due to this variability, it is tempting to download a million things at once. Crafting – because it greatly simplifies life, allowing you to upgrade your favorite gear instead of wearing a set of clothes like “found in a landfill, picked up in a ditch, inherited from a beloved great-grandmother.” And of course, it’s convenient to make your own ammo and medkits. Intelligence – because every third vending machine for drinks becomes a cash dispenser if you know how to hack it correctly, and many “head” implants are only available at a certain level of intelligence. Reflexes, because without a katana, pistol, rifle, shotgun, and sniper rifle (or at least one of them) – you’re going nowhere. And everything else, because everywhere, there are useful perks and skills!

(And, of course, don’t forget to visit the ripperdoc, the local specialist in upgrading human bodies, and get some more expensive and practical implants here, there, and here. The most useful implants, like legs that allow you to jump three meters high, cost as much as a car! No, as much as two cars.)

A character with cybernetic enhancements

Leveling system. Hacking and fast hack depend on intelligence, plus intelligence unlocks some additional useful options.

The atmosphere here is overflowing and more. Night City is the Babylon of the 21st century, a mix of languages, races, and faces. You will be spoken to in Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and Russian (your implant will translate all unfamiliar languages, though with subtitles, so you will hear the original voices). The voice acting is superb, capturing the essence perfectly. It’s particularly nice that the Russians speak without an accent. Fashion has turned into “everyone expresses themselves as they can,” so you can see anything on the streets, but strangely enough, it looks natural. And the city itself – relatively clean streets if you get close to corporate buildings, with trash and gangs on the outskirts, and if you drive out to the ring road – endless construction on one side and an equally endless dump on the other. And the radio announcer talking about personal orbital stations… someone’s, to whom we will never reach in terms of status… about flooded Venice, about Korea, which is dangerous to approach due to deadly levels of radiation, about the USSR, which never fell apart but produces the best weapons on the planet. This is not a story about saving the world, no, this world cannot be saved. It’s a story about survival when it seems like there is no chance of surviving. About the pain hidden deep in an enhanced implant heart, about loneliness, about what keeps you in this moment from disappearing like tears in the rain – black humor, memory, a drop of love, a drop of hope in a hopeless universe. This plot captivates and holds on tightly – you can’t shake it off.

A thrilling chase in a futuristic world

A reference that is easy to miss if you’re not familiar with the corners: Kojima, sitting in a bar and discussing game plots.

You can compare the story of Cyberpunk 2077 to “Blade Runner”, to “Johnny Mnemonic”, to Deus Ex, with many representatives of the genre classics (fortunately, there are many references there – the creators knew what they were doing, the game is very self-aware). But why? I think that the story of V, Jackie, Johnny Silverhand, and the others deserves to take its place on the shelf. Its own, unique place.

Here, there are AIs searching for the meaning of their existence. Here, there are former loyal dogs of megacorporations who realized that their employers will throw them away as soon as the opportunity arises. Here, there are virtual worlds where you can get everything, and even more and better, than in reality. Here, there are people who have fundamentally refused implants – and those who steal them to insert these implants, just for fun. Here, there are mafiosos and prostitutes who adhere to strict moral principles – and billionaires who don’t know the word “morality”. Here, there are those who will help you, and those who will betray you, and sometimes it is impossible to distinguish one from the other at first glance. Because in Night City, everyone wears masks. Without them, you won’t survive.

A cute and animated feline companion

These masks too.

(Figuratively speaking. Although our list of colorful and different-sized clothes will include gas masks, snarling half-masks in Japanese style, and respirators… Something for every taste.)

A separate feature is the wonderful character customization system, meticulously developed. Face, hair, eyes – plus many options for non-standard iris lenses, tattoos, scars, cybernetics. And, of course, it’s 18+ – that length… well, you get it. For male characters, or for female characters with unique functions (yes, that’s also available). If you want it. If you don’t, you can just stay in your underwear. The whole game is strictly 18+, with a lot of profanity (in the Russian translation, which I glanced at with one eye, for some reason, it’s twice as much as in the English version), a lot of nudity, prostitution, sex shops, and much more. Simple “and the head exploded into a million pieces, and the brain splattered on the asphalt, splat!” apparently doesn’t scare today’s children, so heavy ammunition has to be used. In any case, I wouldn’t recommend it as a gift for minors.

A cyberpunk city under neon lights

Even the color of nail polish can be chosen!

The battle here is in real-time, without pauses, some time slowdown is provided by the use of an optical scanner, which allows for quickly hacking enemies, sniper enthusiasts can have fun shooting enemies from the neighboring roof. However, there is no turn-based mode or full stop of time here, enemies jump out from around the corner and emerge from every crevice, and you have to react in a timely manner. Advice: at least for me, the implant that slows down time for two seconds when enemies notice you proved to be very useful: it’s priceless in stealth. I don’t like stealth, but some missions give a bonus if you complete them in “the stealthy tiger, lurking cyberdemon” mode, while also strangling enemies and hiding their bodies in trash bins. And some are just full of dangerous enemies, which it’s better to carefully bypass for now if you don’t want to end up as a corpse in a cozy bin.

There are also plenty of beautiful cars here! Just like in GTA. In principle, you can steal any abandoned one (for example, one left after a gang fight), but it will disappear after a reboot – or if you move away from the parking spot for a long time. You can break into someone else’s car, throwing out the driver (again, like in GTA), and drive off into the sunset – but you’ll have the same problem. Therefore, if you’re interested in collecting vehicles, it’s worth investing in their official purchase. You can buy not just a dozen motorcycles and four-wheeled beasts of different caliber and size. Your “own” car is equipped with a kind of GPS analog crossed with autopilot, and it comes at a whistle, or rather, by pressing the V key, to any point where you are and there is some kind of road, and it’s very convenient. Although it’s glitchy: my car has autonomously knocked down traffic lights and street lamps in this way. Once – it knocked me down too.

Characters in a futuristic metropolis

In the game, there is a detailed encyclopedia of everything: cars, weapons, characters…

If we’re going to start talking about glitches and bugs… But is it worth starting? Surely everyone has already heard about them. Yes, they exist, yes, they are scattered here and there. I haven’t encountered any game-breaking bugs. I’ve come across T-posing NPCs, the inability to pick up loot (minor and non-critical), clothing display bugs for V, floating objects, and some other issues that can be fixed by reloading or loading an earlier save. I have no complaints about performance, stable 30-35 FPS with medium settings and some features disabled.

My configuration is an SSD, 16 GB RAM, Intel Core i5-3570K CPU 3.40GHz, Radeon RX 480. The machine is not super powerful, but Cyberpunk 2077 runs, and it runs decently overall – for such a huge game. The developers really tried to meet the end-of-year deadline (to bring us more goodness in 2020, at least in the gaming sphere – a noble goal). According to reviews, there are much stronger performance issues on consoles, but I believe in CD Projekt Red and hotfixes. After all, the version is already 1.04, and it hasn’t even been a week.

A dynamic and action-packed scene

One of the minor visual bugs: do you see extra chopsticks in Jackie’s noodles?

Therefore, my disapproval goes to those console owners (and maybe even PC owners too) who give the game ones and twos on Metacritic. Yes, there are problems, but they are solvable – and they don’t prevent you from immersing yourself in the world of Night City. I entered just to spend ten minutes looting and taking screenshots – I woke up, it was six in the morning, madness in my eyes and the reflection of flickering billboards, a light-noise grenade in my teeth, a synthetic hot dog in one hand, and a self-guided smart pistol in the other. It’s a fun pink color. Huh? What? Where am I?.. I don’t remember the last time I immersed myself in a game, forgetting about everything else. And that’s the main thing.

And you can also get a domestic cat here. A Sphynx. Johnny Silverhand approves!

A playful cybernetic feline companion

Cyberpunk 2077
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, RPG
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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