I absolutely loved playing this. It was a risky purchase but it has paid off in time and enjoyment spent in the general Night City area. And I got a great deal on a gorgeous looking steelbook version as well!
Now, I’m not a First Person perspective guy normally so this game and this style is a step outside my comfort zone to begin with and, I’m not going to lie, I really struggled through the first couple of hours coming to terms with the controls and the alien (to me) perspective (I died within the first few minutes of playing, falling off the top of the antenna tower. Yep, that’s how good I was/am at this FP shit!). But, once I started down the road of missions, side missions, interactions, quickhacks, combat and just generally travelling around, I was hooked. And I was able to control what I was doing as well. Yeah, OK, so I did use the 3rd person view for the vehicle movement, don’t shoot me! Or quickhack me and my cyberware so I burst into flames.
The traversal of Night City and its boroughs was an early highlight. Jumping on a bike or in a car and hooning off down a road, hemmed in on both sides by huge structures or exploding out into the Badlands, I was in the zone. Narrow misses, or an expertly taken corner gave me an instant boost and, occasionally, I’d arrive at my desired location with everything still in one piece. I didn’t really bother about picking up the “vehicles for sale”, instead sticking to my trust Aldecaldo motorbike or the (free) superpowered Rayfield Caliburn but there’s only one of these I had a decent enough amount of control over and it wasn’t the supercar!
Scoping out a mission, crime or just about any other job became a huge part of my experience of Cyberpunk 2077. Arrive, tag ’em, plot my route, attack from distance to clear some way and make my entrance, MonoWire in hand (yes, I was seduced by the idea of having an awesome weapon without the downsides to reloading/running out of ammo!), ready to slice and dice. This only really became possible after levelling up a bit, picking up additional cyberware and upgrading components, but when it is done, man can it destroy! And it was this dual attack mode of quickhacks and melee that whet my appetite for more combat, trying to do my best to maintain my stealthy entrance (to boost my MonoWire impact) and keeping on the down-low.
That didn’t always happen and I was still happy enough switching to a ranged weapon or two (Nekomata to start with, WindowMaker or Overwatch, not to forget the Malorian when it was picked up – don’t you just love the reload animation for that gun?). And they are all similarly satisfying, unloading a clip into an enemy or picking off someone at distance for an awesome headshot. Man! The variety of options here kept things interesting for me, choosing my poison depending on the location and the numbers. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, and I’m sure that on my next play through there will be things that I’ll do differently, different routes that I’ll take, different skill paths, different life……
Visually, this is a stunning game (I was playing on PS5). The amount of work that has gone into creating this world is truly breathtaking at times. The level of detail on any kind of item that you have or clothes that you wear is crazy. Yes, I did also come across plenty of rogue elements hanging in mid-air, NPC’s clipping through constructs and other stuff that was just plain weird. OK, so there are plenty of problems and I hit numerous snags, one mission that I cannot finish as it is broken, and one issue that needed some investigation before I was able to return to playing properly. BUT as a gaming experience, for me and my rookie FPS experience, it was superb. It drew me in, got me invested in the characters and the various strands and didn’t let go. I also really liked the dialogue option mechanic and watching those choices play out.
I managed to finish off the main story after a while (and did so again after a bit more levelling up, just to experience a different ending), and there is still a good deal of missions/side-missions/gigs to complete but the excitement has worn off a little and it is beginning to feel a little bit like a box-ticking exercise as I try to complete everything. But, I loved the story being told or that which I/V was living out in. This was what drove me to continue, to reload after each crash, to carry on regardless of the person half stuck out of something or an invisible item detracting from the experience slightly. To get to find out how V’s life is going to end, or not. Whether Johnny Silverhand gets his/my body or is consigned to the digital afterlife with his Alt-God? Who knows which path it’ll be?
And the whole thing has rekindled my desire to experience more cyberpunk books, films, comics and games. I’m just hoping that this one hasn’t set a ridiculously high bar that cannot be matched. We shall see. Any recommendations in the cyberpunk genre will be gratefully received. The final good thing about my Cyberpunk 2077 experience is that FP games aren’t things to be dismissed any more, it just proves that there are some out there that I might just be able to play and enjoy. Now, where did I put my wallet?