I have so many words for Cyberpunk 2077. I will keep it to the usual amount here, but I could go on endlessly about this game. Initially launching in December 2020 to what I’ll politely call negative press regarding the unfinished state of the product, the game so addled by bugs it was unplayable. I found it for $30 at the local game store about a year later, knowing two things: first, when the Xbox Series X edition would be released I would get a free upgrade, and second, getting a Series X was matter of time until I hunted one down. This game worked better on advanced consoles from the start, and a lot of work has been done on it since launch.
Well, about a week after my birthday, I finally got my brand new Xbox Series X home. I’ve been an Xbox gamer since year one, and I am immensely happy with my choice to save Cyberpunk for this special occasion. A marvelous game that deserved so much more than to be rushed out in time for the holidays. It has received a lot of attention since release, and there is a long road ahead for the game yet, according to Polish developers CD Projekt. The company is famous for their treatment of the Witcher series. Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person shooter/role-playing game blended in a package grand in scope, and ambition.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an unbelievably fascinating universe. People hacking their bodies with all kinds of technology; raising all kinds of questions about the sanctity of life, and the body. Rotten corporations control the world. People over-modified develop cyber-psychosis. And you, V, are just trying to make a name for yourself in a city of sharks. I absolutely will not ruin any plot points of this game for you, because I did a good job staying away from it myself so I could experience it fresh. A cinema quality experience in a setting you can totally geek out on.
My first session I played for eight riveting hours. The only thing that stopped me was the need for sleep. I played on Normal difficulty out of the four available, and it was fairly balanced. I would like to try a higher difficulty on another playthrough to see how it is different, and if it is more enjoyable. With the deep character creator, including choosing a background, as well as a vast array of endings and side activities, there is plenty to keep you coming back after the credits roll. The shooting is fun while challenging, and the RPG mechanics offer a wide variety of playing styles delivered in a fairly approachable manner.
This game looks stunning in 4k. Whether playing with ray-tracing effects on, or in graphical performance mode, Cyberpunk is awe-inspiring, rich with detail and vibrant color. The neon soaked sprawl of Night City, all the way out to the desert. I even took a picture of a pile of trash at one point that I thought looked neat. The artistic direction of everything from the fashion to the cars, to the environments, it all is so on point and immersive. Night City is a large open world, with tons of interesting pockets and treasures.
The soundtrack adds another valuable card to the deck. A library of fantastic original music on in-game radios and an original score, which all sets the tone brilliantly. Dialogue is a very important part of gameplay, and the voice actors stepped up to bat. Most notably, Keanu Reeves has a major role in the game. I’m happy to say it isn’t a phoned-in performance. Reeves being an excellent choice for the character, it is nice he clearly took the role seriously. The emotion in these actors voices is palpable. Audio design all around extremely solid.
Apart from multiple ways to beat the game, there are different ways to play each mission. The best option is usually to assess the situation while considering your character build. There a handful of gun types, which have subgroups of their own, and all kinds of individual models each with unique stats. You can equip mods and accessories to gun depending on their available slots. Melee combat is also a useful element, with its own techniques and subtleties. I often attempted the stealth route, but also built myself for combat should anything ever not go as planned.
I must say, I ran into my share of glitches along the way. Small things like my car spawning in an irretrievable place, to some more annoying problems. These technical issues hindered my enjoyment, the only reason I’m mentioning them again. Still, nothing happened that ever made me want to stop playing the game. Just some quirky issues. The positive outweighs the negative here so much, I almost feel guilty bringing it up. There are one or two other flawed aspects, such as the way cars behave.
Available words are becoming scarce to describe Cyberpunk, so here is one word: rare. Games like this don’t come along often, to me. So much thought, effort and passion went into this experience. The result is magnificent. It is a complete mind trip into outer space, full of guts and glory. Get ready to explore ideas beyond your imagination. The storytelling is master work. Even if an individual dialogue choice doesn’t throw a hurricane of chaos theory into the whole scheme of things, and turns out to be relatively inconsequential, it still enhances role play with thoughtful choices.
I’m sure to go back and keep playing after this review. There are story arcs I want to close, and alternative endings I want to see. I may start over fresh on a harder difficulty. So far, I have played over 25 hours. For $30, I could do a lot worse. Especially with the quality of experience, and shooters are never as long as some other RPGs. Find Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox, PlayStation and PC. If you look, you should be able to find a modest price. This game was hyped beyond belief during development, I can finally see for myself what all the excitement is about.
Credit: Cyberpunk 2077. Screenshots by me.