March marks a whole year since this pandemic started. At this point almost everyone is feeling fatigued and frustrated with being stuck at home in an effort to curb the virus. Even self-proclaimed introverts and homebodies are longing for those days when we can gather with our friends and family, or simply enjoy a meal at a restaurant without fretting about following COVID-19 guidelines.
What I miss the most is traveling. Though the vaccines are slowly rolling out in countries all over the world, we’re currently no where near done with this pandemic just yet. What can a person who has serious wanderlust do? Fortunately, there’s video games and Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of the ones that has made me appreciate the art of savoring the places you’re in.
Ignoring all the never-ending woes CD Projekt Red and the game are tangled up in, I doggedly continue my journey through Night City. I’m about 50 hours into the game and playing a lot of the side quests that are available. Between the NCPD side quests and the gigs given by fixers, not including the side missions tied to the main story, there’s a lot of ground to cover. I’ve done so many NCPD side quests and gigs that I’ve already maxed out my Street Cred level, but continue to level up my V.
In my pursuit for easy eddies and to make my V the baddest bitch to ever walk Night City, I find myself traveling from one job to the next by hopping on my bike and speeding down the highways.
There are plenty of fast travel terminals you can walk up to as V to transport you at or near the area you want to go to start your next mission or quest. In other games I’ve played I’m practically combing the maps for a fast travel point to get me to my destination as quickly as possible. What I discovered while playing Cyberpunk 2077 is I actually want to take the scenic route to my next location.
As horrible as I’ll always be at driving to places in video games, the motorcycles in Cyberpunk 2077 has made it super easy to control the vehicle and get around Night City and beyond without wanting to use the fast travel terminals. Whether I’m cruising through the swanky Westbrook district of Night City or speeding down the dusty, desert landscapes of the Badlands, each area of Cyberpunk 2077 is more distinct than the last place you rode through.
Taking the longer way to get to my next mission has allowed me to appreciate every detail that went into building the world of Cyberpunk 2077, from the flashing neon signs to the graffiti walls tucked inside the back alleys of the city. I would have missed all of this if I opted to fast travel my way through Night City.
I know taking the scenic route means it’ll be several months, maybe a year, before I’ll be done with this game. The longer it takes me to get V to her next destination, the longer it’ll take me to complete the missions that matter to me. And yet, it doesn’t bother me at all. Being largely travel deprived at the moment has quenched my thirst for exploring new and unfamiliar places.
When I was able to hop on a plane to go to London or Seattle I always took in every sight, sound, smell, and taste of the city or country I was in. I wanted to soak everything in because I was never sure if I would get the chance to revisit these places again. My mom taught me to slow down and really enjoy where you were because each moment could be your only chance.
It’s kind of like how I’ve been approaching my playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077. Not that I can’t revisit Night City whenever I want. It’s not like I need to get on a plane to get there. It’s more like I want to enjoy the world in the same way I would appreciate my visit to Tokyo or Honolulu. Every city and country in the world will have differences and similarities, and nothing beats the thrill you get when you step onto a place for the very first time.
The joy of travel is discovery, and Cyberpunk 2077 has reminded me to cherish that feeling. I can’t wait until I’m able to explore a real place and not a fictional one again. Until then, I’ll hop on my bike as V and ride like the wind.
Are you a gamer who happens to love to travel? Which open world games have helped you cope during the pandemic until it’s safe and possible to travel once more?