TL;DR – A fascinating game full of interesting places, solid mechanics, and many bugs
Warning – Contains scenes that have been reported to induce seizures
Cyberpunk 2077 First Look –
It took longer to get to us than anyone including the developer planned, but today the world finally got their hands on CD PROJEKT RED latest work Cyberpunk 2077. I must admit I came into this game with a little hesitation, a lot of people had recommended to me The Witcher 3, and well I bounced off that game as if it was Henry Cavil’s torso. But given this was a new franchise and new genre for the company, it was the perfect place to get it a second try.
Now before we dive in, we need to make a couple of clarifications. The first of which is that this is a ‘first look’ not a full review. I have spent a couple of hours with the game and enough time to get a sense of the world and the mechanics but not a deep dive into the story which will come in our full review. Also, I am playing this game on PC, so your experience may vary depending on your console or the rig you are playing this on.
So to set the scene, on the outskirts of Night City, we meet V (Gavin Drea) as his car is being put together. He is a nomad but without a clan or family anymore and is just trying to get ahead. One uppity sheriff later and he is on the way to meet his contact Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower). All V has to do is smuggle this little crate into the city, and he will have enough money to set himself up. There is just one border crossing between him and freedom … what could go wrong.
The first thing that needs to be said about this game is that it is just beautiful … well beautiful is a broken damaged falling apart kind of way. Now my PC is fine, but it is no beast, and even without all that ray-shading, it is a fascinating game to watch, let alone play. Where you will first see this is in the character creation, which was expansive if also limiting. Unlike other similar games that use sliders, everything here is prebuilt models that you can swap out. There is a number to choose from, but I found myself blowing through the creation page much quicker than I have done in the past. Though I will say, this is the first game that has given me genitalia options, which might have been the oddest thing to happen in the game so far. This makes a good setting for a story, which is there but has yet to get its hooks into me. Which is likely because everyone bar Jackie has just been shouting exposition at me rather than characterisation, something I am sure will shift as you progress through the game.
When it comes to the gameplay, I found it a little clunky at the start. I’m using a mouse and keyboard, and the key bindings are not the most intuitive design, but I am sure that will just be a learning curve. The combat is all tight. It feels like if GTA5 and Mass Effect had a baby that was next-gen compatible. The game has a lot of stealth options, but in my time with the game, I tended to ignore them for the more direct route which involved a smart-tech sniper rifle. Though I will say that so far all the driving scenes (the ones that were not on rails) the car handles like a lumbering elephant, but that might just be because I picked the Nomads and you get better car options with one of the other two starts.
Now, the one thing that has held back my enjoyment of the game has been the bugs, and in my short time with the game, I have encountered several of them. There are those annoying immersion-breaking moments like a character’s head clipping through a wall of someone jumping from one side of the screen to the next in an instant. But they are just cosmetic, and while I don’t expect to see them in a game of this calibre, they are not deal-breakers. However, I have also come across bugs where a quest icon refuses to update, forcing me to re-load a save and play through the sequence again, one of these times was in the actual tutorial, also guns not working during a car chase sequence. I have also come across hard crashes to windows. All of these are honestly disappointing.
In the end, do we recommend Cyberpunk 2077? Well, no, not just yet. While the visuals and worldbuilding are impressive, and the action is concrete, the story has yet to grab me, and the bugs are really becoming frustrating. However, of those latter two, I am sure the narrative will engage me once the game reveals its hand that it looks like it is holding back, and also I hope most of those bugs will get patched out soon.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the staff of Cyberpunk 2077
Game Direction – Adam Badowski & Konrad Tomaszkiewicz
Game Design – Grzrgorz Mocarski & Matqusk Kanik
Game Story Director – Marcin Blacha
Lead Writer – Tomasz Marchewka
Voice Actors – Cherami Leigh, Gavin Drea, Keanu Reeves, Emily Woo Zeller, Carla Tassara, Robbie Daymond, Jason Hightower, Rome Kanda, Matt Yang King, Jane Perry, Martin McDougall, Diarmaid Murtagh, Alpha Takahashi, Erica Lindbeck, Samuel Barnett, Alix Wilton Regan, Michae; Gregory, Alec Newman, Michael Leon Wooley, Kari Wahlgren, Hideo Kimura, Grimes & Masane Tsukayama
Developer – CD PROJEKT RED
Publisher – CD PROJEKT RED