After a second attempt at an ending (misread one of the choices and it was depressing), I’ve finished Cyberpunk 2077. Well, the main story arc, and it closes the chapter of a very satisfying conclusion, at least to my tastes.
If you’ve clicked the link to this review, you can read my thoughts about gaming politics with my Cyberpunk 2077 first impressions. If you can’t be arsed, let me summarise.
This game has been a revelation. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every moment in Night City, despite hating city environments. The Nomad in me in, both in the game and my idealistic aspirations couldn’t wait to skip corpo life, but for the most part, Cyberpunk 2077 was fantastic.
Cyberpunk 2077 PC Review
If you aren’t a regular reader of this site, you won’t be familiar with my frequent justification posts and disclaimers for when I criticise a game, of ‘making it ok’ should I give a game a 10/10. How dare I!
Cyberpunk 2077 has been plagued by negativity on an unprecedented scale. This review has nothing to do with the ethics of the company that created the game, nor addressing the consoles issues. It’s evidently an issue, but as this is based on the PC review (purchased through GOG), the problems I encountered with the game are mostly non-existent in my experience. Ignorance is bliss, eh?
Let’s cut all this crap and get on with it. Character creation is always a highlight of a game, even if it should only take 1%, if less, of your time. My version of V took around 30 minutes, and I settled on a bearded baldie with an average-sized noodle. Why the hell was this an option?
City life never appealed to me, but opting for the Nomad ‘class’, I jumped through the hoops, delivering iguana contraband to the highest bidder, thus the initiation into the city life with the aspirations of becoming a living legend.
Escape To The City To Escape From The City
Maybe it was mentioned in the first impressions piece, but Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t break new ground. I’m not entirely sure what the consensus was with this game and if the gaming community was seeking a saviour in CD Projekt Red that would shape the future of games, find a cure for cancer or even a distraction to this COVID-19 malarky.
From my perspective, my expectations were escapism. A narrative where I could get lost without having to learn the lore or pronunciations of a race or how to behave. Other than coming to grips with what a gonk or joytoy was, of course. On that basis, it delivered.
CD Projekt Red has a reputation of creating diverse worlds and are masters in the world of side quests. In this respect, Cyberpunk 2077 fires on all cylinders. The main story arcs in the game aren’t overly strong and in some respects, a little generic, but indulging by going off on a side quest was often rewarded with the appropriate street cred, new gear and general experience.
There shouldn’t be a definitive time scale for completing a game as it’s all relative to the player. At the time of writing, I’ve clocked in 44 hours, finishing the story twice and gaining a street reputation of 50 in the process. You could finish the story much faster, or over a more extended period, depending on the time you have and your investment in it. For me, completing the second time was immensely satisfying, and I’m happy to leave it there. The story, that is.
For The Completionists
Once you finish the game, like the GTA series, which Cyberpunk 2077 shares so many traits with, you can return to your last checkpoint thus reliving all the gigs and sidequests, aiming for an elusive 100% completion. It’s not wholly redundant doing this, as once you complete an ending, you’re aptly rewarded with new gear, not losing your progress.
In short, I misinterpreted my options for an ending, and it was incredibly disappointing and over in five minutes worth of cutscenes. Returning to a save point, I was a little more meticulous in my approach (without any spoilers, this relates to the Nomad arc) and the game opened up another hour or so of story-related gameplay. The outcome was brilliant, and I had gone full circle in my own tale of V.
Returning to the streets of Night City post ending was as exciting as how I had begun. Returning to levels deemed low or moderate weren’t fish in a barrel, but the completionist in me wanted to lap up every possible experience. I’m not one for DLC, but when and if it’s an option, I’ll be camping outside with my sleeping bag.
Initially, I hadn’t thought the visuals were up-to-speed, seeing The Outer Worlds as better. However, that shifted up and down and overall, I preferred Cyberpunk 2077 due to the storylines not being overly convoluted and within the scope of a merc with free reign of a city.
Look Long Enough Into The Abyss…
Depending on how long you play the game, it always feels as if you aren’t scratching the surface. Though you can’t enter every single building or interact with every person within sight, the city feels lived in. Unless you’re here for a critique of how good the reflections of puddles are, it’s a sublime experience.
Go outside in real life and look at your reflection in a storefront window or how the light reflects off a surface – unless it’s blatantly in your face, you prolly won’t care, so why break it down in a game if walking in V’s shoes feels so real? Real if you’re a merc of course.
In short, if I forget I’m playing a game, reading a book or watching a film, the creators have down a grand job. Even with the PC version, it’s not without its glitches, with graphical flaws here and there, dialogue cutting off, the streets randomly exploding or NPCs that could walk through solid seemingly solid objects.
Not once did I restart the game due to a glitch and for me, that’s not game-breaking. Yes, having to hover around a corpse and move the crosshair in the hope that it would acknowledge that elusive epic component so clearly on the floor, but not pocketing was annoying. There were far too many times I had to leave something behind as I couldn’t pick it up, and nothing to do with over encumberment.
He Was Breathtaking
But the aftertaste is so good that I want to go back. Not just because I’m a completionist, but it’s about unlocking another lavish hat that makes me look like a bell end but has 0.5% better protection. Perhaps flipping the camera around while riding a hog listening to heavy metal, or switching to the photo mode and positioning myself in a pose that would result in being locked up, and rightly so. The experience was immersive.
The introduction of Johnny Silverhand was one the pinnacle, blasting through a gang of suits, picking them off one by one with an OP pistol picking up only the most trivial of flesh wounds. Keanu Reeves, John Wick, Ted Theodore Logan can’t put a foot wrong in the world of cult cinema, and he delivered here too with his dialogue frequently omitting a pronoun.
I’m big on consequences, so when that means something in a game, that makes me incredibly happy. To this day, I’m pissed off that CD Projekt Red wouldn’t allow me to Woo both Yennefer and Triss, and it broke the game for me. You don’t play The Witcher 3 for dating tips, but it was so seductive in going the path of Cassanova, that when I realised I’d ballsed it up, I was more or less done with the game.
Thankfully there are frequent saves available in Cyberpunk 2077, outside of combat, and I highly recommend you milk them to experiment with so many different paths. Do you go with Panam or Judy? Stick with Johnny or mute him? Are the corps really that bad? It’s genuinely worth following every path but like I said, and without spoilers, I’m very happy with my conclusion.
Glitches Get Fixe(r)s
I’m an advocate of glitches being fixed with patches, so seldom would knock a game unless it was catastrophic. Cyberpunk 2077 has so many drawbacks on console. It’s a shame that some have a bitter taste, but pushing that aside, the fundamental stories and gameplay are so good, I sincerely hope the devs can fix these issues so others can play.
Looking at the most recent patches notes, some of the corrections are gigs or side missions I hadn’t completed at the time so may have encountered the same problems as others. For the bulk of it, I didn’t see the same issues of Jackie disappearing or Takemura not calling. Maybe the GOG version wasn’t as broke? Conspiracy…
It’s not for everyone, and as mentioned before, if you’re expecting a cure or revolution, address your attention elsewhere. If you’re after escapism, pure bona fide first-person exploration and multiple paths, Cyberpunk 2077 has been worth the wait in every way. I’m neither a CD Projekt Red fanboy, nor that big on cyberpunk other than William Gibson, Blade Runner and the typical mainstream stuff.
When you don’t have expectations, there’s no real room for disappointment, and you’re more likely to be dismissive or thrilled. I had zero eggs to place in my basket, and if the game proved to be a turkey, I’d have been gutted I spent full price on it and may have been tempted to follow the refund route – if glitch related. I’ve never returned a game regardless. However, as mentioned before, I personally didn’t encounter anything game-breaking. If there were anything I didn’t have liked, it would have been storytelling and other than a tortoise related side-mission, I was satisfied throughout.
Cyberpunk 2077 Review Summary
It doesn’t matter what I say. You’ve made your opinion already and have either have bought the game and loved it or had issues and sought a refund. If you haven’t experienced it yet, while I can’t vouch for the console versions, the PC experience was one of the best I’ve had, and I thoroughly recommend it. As always, compile a list of resources with integrity then make your own assessment. For what it’s worth, it’s almost perfect, with the exception of the well-documented glitches.