As distant as any kind of optimism may seem for this year, players had plenty of reasons to be excited about 2020.
Not only because Microsoft and Sony are launching next-gen consoles, but there was also a set of upcoming games with a tremendous ad rollout behind them. Of all these titles, three stand out above the rest: Final Fantasy 7 Remake, The last of us part 2 and Cyberpunk 2077.
Two down, one to go.
Living up to the prodigious hype is never easy, but Cyberpunk 2077 The developer CD Projekt Red has it particularly difficult. The game was announced in 2012, with a mysterious teaser in early 2013. It was at E3 five years later in 2018 the next time we see the game. In between, The Witcher 3 became a box office hit that dramatically raised the studio’s prestige and Cyberpunk’s excitement with it.
And that was it before Keanu Reeves joined the project.
“Not, you are amazing.”
Cyberpunk 2077 was originally released on April 16, but was delayed until September 17. At the time, CD Projekt Red said the game was complete, but that he needed more time to polish what he hoped would be his “greatest achievement for this.” Generation.”
That same reasoning was behind another delay, announced earlier this week. The new and definitive release date for Cyberpunk 2077 is November 19.
After playing the first five hours of the game earlier this week, CD Projekt Red’s desire to tweak is understandable. I played a fraction of the game, but saw enough to know that Cyberpunk 2077 is a colossus.
It’s a crazy world
In many ways, my session with Cyberpunk 2077 reminded me of Horizon Zero Dawn. I’m predicting that, like that game, the world of Cyberpunk will end up being its most fascinating component.
It takes place in Night City, a dystopia that fuses technological progress (almost all Night City residents are mechanized to some degree) with profound social inequality. Neon lights and hostility are ubiquitous.
You play as V, a mercenary. It is difficult to describe V as more than that, because you will decide most of what is V. This is visually true, as the game opens with an impressively wide character creation screen where you can decide to play as a man or a woman (or a man who is known as a woman, or vice versa) and alter every aspect of her body. , including voice, tiny facial features, and, yes, genitalia.
You will also have a choice of three different stories for V: Street Kid, Nomad or Corporate.
This is where I got a hint of concern.
“Life is not easy, but it is an incredible journey,” reads part of the Street Kid’s backstory description, a hint that Cyberpunk’s writings will have all the subtlety of a Fast and Furious movie. This anxiety was compounded when I heard V speak: he plays a tough, commercial guy, but he sounded eerily similar to Mike Prison.
(Note that the voice performance changes depending on whether you choose to have a female or male voice, so the female voice V performance may be more compelling.)
Which brings us back to Horizon Zero Dawn. That game mainly had cardboard and dialogue characters stunted by the wheels of conversation, but that was more than made up for by the inspired 31st-century world that caught on. Cyberpunk 2077, from my time with it, gives me similar vibes.
My session ended just before the Keanu Reeve character flinches and it is certainly possible, maybe even probable, that I will lift the narrative. But I am concerned that it is filled with two-dimensional characters and wooden dialogues, with a sneaking suspicion that V’s personal story will be much less absorbing than his surrounding world.
Night City vibrates with the sinister luminescence of a metropolis that is a dream for some, but a nightmare for most. It also has what appears to be a detailed history, highlighted by wars (The 4th Corporate War, the Unification War), technological progress, and even schools of art and architecture. It is segmented into six parts, each with its own character and culture. The city is divided between seven gangs and three mega-corporations, each of which wields power in its own way.
There are many promising things about Cyberpunk, but exploring and understanding Night City is the reason I’m most excited for November 17.
Tutorial sections in video games are like a puppy’s paws. In the same way that big paws predict a big dog, a sizable tutorial section means long, deep, and extensive play. So when I say that the first five hours of Cyberpunk 2077 felt like a thick tutorial, I mean that in a good way.
Take the fight. There is a lot to combat
There are shots, which I can happily report that feels more satisfying than many RPGs (largely because it’s first-person). But there is also a hacking element, where it will override the surrounding technology, like cameras, speakers, or some weapons, to distract, confuse, and kill opponents. Additionally, there is a separate stealth element. You can tag enemies to see them through walls, sneak around, incapacitate them, and dispose of them in nearby refrigerators or dumpsters. AND There is also a complete system for close combat, which includes weapons like katanas.
Oh, and all of these combat items have their own skill trees (Corps, Intelligence, Reflex, Technical Ability, and my favorite, Great, which focuses on stealth and critical strikes) where you’ll unlock upgrades through the acquisition of experience. And these skill trees, from what I saw, are vast.
Combat works like a beefed-up version of Batman: Arkham games, where you have a room full of opponents and the freedom to decide how, or if, you will stack the bodies. In Batman games, your choice is brute force or stealth. Cyberpunk adds the additional layers of hacking, plus separate shooting games and melee combat systems.
Like The Witcher 3, how combat scenarios unfold also depends on the story decisions you make. I found out, after my session was over, that one of my actions meant that I completely avoided a boss fight and missed the rewards that would come with it. I also opted not to have a meeting with a member of Miltech, one of the three megacorporations. If I had that meeting, Miltech forces would have helped me during one of the key shootings in the prologue.
However, combat mechanic training was not the only tutorial in the prologue. He also introduced the braindance edition. Braindances are human memories that you or anyone else can re-experience through an earpiece. VR based on real memories, basically. It is the most popular form of entertainment in Night City, but you will use it to explore the braindance editing suite. It will analyze memories, with the ability to move forward, backward, pause, evaluate heat signals, sounds and more, to decipher various cases. It seems to add a sufficiently dystopian puzzle solving element to this epic.
After almost five hours, Cyberpunk 2077 remains a mystery to me. This is partly because the game is very complex. Both his game and myth are so rich in detail that the session I played was an information overload, but in a promising way.
Of the blockbuster games of 2020, I can safely guess that Cyberpunk 2077 will be the most ambitious. If V’s story is better than I think it will be and Night City is as fascinating as I hope it will be, Cyberpunk 2077 may also be the best.