Welcome To Night City: First Impressions On Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red’s newest video game Cyberpunk 2077 was the anticipated game on almost every gamer’s wish list. When it finally came out on December 10, 2020 it was revealed to be a buggy and nearly unplayable game for most players, especially if you were playing it on the last gen consoles and not the latest ones. As unexpectedly contentious as Cyberpunk 2077 has been since its release, I had the opportunity to play some of it during the holiday break I had in December on my Xbox One console. What I’ve experienced so far has been fun and enjoyable in spite of the game’s flaws.

[Credit: CD Projekt Red]
Upon starting the game you’re immediately launched into the character creation screen where you can spend as much time as you like designing the perfect V of your dreams, the main character you’ll be playing in Cyberpunk 2077. The customizable options are really extensive, maybe more than other character creation setups I’ve ever seen, which gives players plenty of room to tinker around with V’s face, body, and even…um…their private parts. Next up, after making my V as cyberpunky as I could get her, is choosing V’s life path story.

There are only three in the game, nomad, street kid, and corpo, each of them distinct enough to give players a different experience should they decide to explore the other life paths they didn’t choose the first time around. Reading up on the descriptions of all three I ultimately decided to go with the nomad life path. Once all the important parts have been settled it was time to start the game.

The story of my nomad V begins inside a garage, waiting for her car to get fixed. There are some light interactions with the mechanic and later a law enforcement official who, in not so subtle terms, tells you to move along. With V’s car fixed and souped up to go you drive through a desert landscape to meet Jackie Welles who has a job for you. You’re both assigned to drive into Night City to deliver a special package. Sounds simple enough, right? Except some thugs begin to tail you and try to run you off the road. After dealing with the surprise assault, you and Jackie continue on to Night City where the real fun and action begins.

The game’s prologue is relatively short before transitioning into Act One of the game. Like everything about Night City, Cyberpunk 2077’s main story moves quickly. It has been said in past interviews by CD Projekt Red that the main story will be much shorter compared to their Witcher games. In the case of Cyberpunk 2077 the main story has a total of two acts. If you’re in no rush to beat the game it’s in your best interest to do almost all of the side quests Cyberpunk has to offer for the game experience to be well worth your time.

I’ve read early reviews where some found the game mostly lackluster and the main story disappointing. Later reviews seem to indicate that doing the side quests will actually help players feel more invested in the story and V’s journey in Night City. However, playing through the main story in Act One is pretty much required, as side quests and areas you can freely roam around in are limited until you finish the first act. When Act Two begins Night City and additional available side quests will open up for you, giving you plenty to do before resuming the main story.

Before the end of Act One V will finally be able to meet deceased rock star Johnny Silverhand, who is voiced by Keanu Reeves. Ever since the announcement and trailers teased Keanu Reeves’ involvement in the game, both his likeness and his voice, many had wondered how big of a role Johnny Silverhand would play in the game and how exactly a dead character would be connected to V. Without going into too much detail Act One explains Silverhand’s link to V and shifts the narrative in intriguing ways, which will be a focal point for the second half of the game.

As of the writing of this post I’ve only dipped my toe in a handful of side quests and spent much of my time soaking in Night City. The world’s flashy, neon colored cityscape is as alluring as it is dangerous. I admit that the start of Cyberpunk 2077 for me was slow and lukewarm, even though I listed it as one of my highly anticipated games to play for 2020. Most of it had to do with the surmounting controversy the game found itself in, and the other being that Act One barred you from doing much in the beginning other than progressing through the main story. My expectations were greatly tempered at this point. By the time I finished the first part of the main story Cyberpunk 2077 managed to renew my interest in the video game.

I’m not saying the game is perfect or that it isn’t a glitchy mess, but it appears I’ve missed the worse of the game’s reported bugs on a previous gen console. With all the patch updates CD Projekt Red is continuing to release Cyberpunk 2077 has been mostly a smooth ride. I have encountered some texture bugs, the game freezing for a second before it unfreezes, and a minor glitch where I found an NPC levitating off the ground. Other than these it hasn’t detracted from my overall enjoyment of the game.

I find myself fully engaged with the combat, even though I’m mostly terrible at first-person shooters, found it easy to use motorcycles as my mode of transportation to get around Night City, though I still hate driving in video games, I’m always excited when I acquire better clothes to deck my V out in, and have discovered the joys of the game’s photo mode. Despite the rough release this game had and how poorly CD Projekt Red handled it there’s still a lot to like about Cyberpunk 2077, if people are willing to give it a chance.

A screen capture of my V in action in the game’s photo mode feature.

The jury is still out on whether I can call Cyberpunk 2077 one of the best video games I’ve ever played, but I’m ready to strap in for the rest of the wild and crazy ride Night City will bring me.

Have you played Cyberpunk 2077? What are your thoughts on the game so far? Let me know in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Welcome To Night City: First Impressions On Cyberpunk 2077

  1. I played all the way through Cyberpunk 2077, and I too was spared the worst of the bugs. I’m glad to see that you’ve been enjoying your time with the game and I agree that it’s definitely worth playing (though I’d say people should just wait on the official next-gen versions). That said, I found that Cyberpunk 2077 just isn’t as compelling as I’d hoped. Witcher 3 does a much better job of bringing me into its world and getting me to really think about the stories I’m involved in. It may just be a matter of personal taste of course, but I still think Witcher 3 would be stronger than a bug-free Cyberpunk. The depth just isn’t there in the latter case.

    1. As I continue to play Cyberpunk 2077, especially going through the side missions, the game is definitely fun but I think I’m leaning more towards your opinion of it. I still won’t make any final judgements on it until I’m totally done with my first playthrough, but I do feel like the deep connections to the characters and world isn’t quite there for me. I have yet to play Witcher 3, and I hope I’ll get around to playing it at some point, but even finishing Witcher 2 left me with a lot to think about and a bigger investment in Geralt and the world he inhabited.

      1. Cannot recommend Witcher 3 enough! The “Hearts of Stone” DLC especially. There’s so much deep stuff to mull over in that one. Stuff like “what does true evil look like?”

  2. I must say that this is one of the best detailed reviews about cyberpunk 2077 I have seen so far and even though, many players have something similar to say about the game, not many people went into the kind of details you provided in your review. I also played the game and it was also a disappointment for me at the start but things started to get better as the hotfixes started to rollout and when the first major patch released last month, the game is now running almost perfectly for me.

    1. Thanks! To avoid disappointment and the kind of backlash CDPR received, the game should have been really ready upon release with just some minor bugs to address in a later patch. The launch was a disaster but it didn’t stop me from playing it anyway. My experience with it at the beginning wasn’t all bad and the game did get better with the patches. I’m looking forward to finishing this game in the coming months.

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