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Game review: Cyberpunk 2077

FYI, this story is more than a year old
Intro/performance comments

I'm gonna start this by saying I have a decent PC with an RTX 2070 super. So with this setup, I've been lucky enough to enjoy my first playthrough with next to no major performance issues, yep there were glitches here and there, but all pretty minor stuff that I expect from any launch day purchase. 

That being said, I am aware my experience is not that of the community as a whole, CDPR definitely should have delayed the console releases and set more realistic expectations for performance on lower-tier systems. Instead, they opted to just show the game running on top tier PCs during their review/marketing cycle. Bad CDPR, go to the naughty corner (0/10). Cool, now that my view on the launch debacle is out of the way, here's what I thought of the game.

The story, side quests, and worldbuilding (8.5/10) 

Damn, this game shines when it comes to narrative. The main questline is great if a bit short for my taste (around 10 - 14hrs if you just focus on the main quests). Though in my opinion, this game shines in some of its side content, every now and then a side job will land on Vs desk. Some of these are short and snappy, others lead to long quest chains. The longer quests really flesh out the world, some of them even having major implications for the game's end. One quest, in particular, made me feel as if I was playing out an entry in of my favourite sci-fi Altered Carbon and I loved every second of the intrigue. 

When it comes to player choice, I'd say side jobs are where this element shines as well, often how you handle the situation will directly be reflected in how certain NPCs will react to you, and your choices will directly impact the fate of other characters, sometimes the 'right' choice might lead to more harm down the track. 

These morally grey choices are some of the most memorable in my first playthrough. Now, the main quest is a bit more on the rails until the end, you often only really have one choice to progress conversations. CDPR is trying to tell a story here and personally, I think it works, but once again I think they gave players the wrong expectation when it comes to player agency in the main questline as really there aren't many choices. 

Overall for narrative, I'd rate it 8/10 - it's really damn good. I really enjoyed the main quest and viewed quite a few side jobs as simply being part of the main questline, since that's where player agency shines and they have a direct impact on the conclusion of your Cyberpunk experience. 

Gameplay (7/10) 

There's a lot to go through here so I'll try and keep it short. 

Character customisation (7/10). Nothing really revolutionary except for the gender system and you're locked in once you start the game. Still, you have enough choice to make a pretty unique looking V.

Driving (5/10). Some cars handle better than others, too bad they cost 100,000 eurodollars. For the most part, you're gonna be stuck driving a clunky mess that may or may not constantly slam into pedestrians despite your best efforts. Could always try keeping to the speed limit? 

Gunplay (8/10). This is CDPRs first go at gunplay so I'll give them a bit of slack here, it's fun. Not as in-depth as other first-person shooters but hell some of the weapons feel so good to use. I recommend finding skippy as soon as you can, he's great. 

Melee (7/10). It really depends on the weapon here, some are more fun to use than others. Mantis blades are by far the most satisfying in my opinion, and no you don't have to pay to get them, there is a legendary set you can get from open-world questing. The same goes for the nanowire, slightly less impactful than the mantis blades but hell if you like Akame ga Kill this is the weapon for you.     

Hacking (7/10). Not much to say here. Hacking can be really satisfying if you build your deck right. Though sadly it can take a while to figure out how to do this and new Daemons can be pricey.

Crafting (4/10). This system is very clucky, it works but often isn't worth it when you're picking up better weapons every 3 seconds. 

Overall I'd say the gameplay is decent, 7/10, not bad for CDPR's first foray into the realm of FPS. I'd like to see more dynamic mechanics in the future (like being able to shoot out tires GTA style) but overall the gameplay feels smooth and interesting enough to keep me entertained while exploring the stories of Night City. 

Conclusion (8/10) 

Overall my Cyberpunk experience has been far more good than bad, I really enjoyed the story, characters, and worldbuilding. The gameplay was good enough to keep me entertained and in the end game, my weapons and abilities made me feel like a Cyber Demi-God. I'd rate my experience at a solid 8/10. If you have a high-end PC I think you'll have a good time.

Now, all that being said, if you're running on an older PC, PS4, or Xbox One, I'd wait a couple of months for more updates before buying this game because you won't be getting the same experience.

Though I would also say to temper your expectations a bit even then, I'm sure the biggest bugs will be fixed but visually there is only so much that can be done and it definitely won't be running at 60fps, 4K, epic settings on older hardware. It definitely needed a bit more time in the oven, though, there's no denying that.

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