Cyberpunk 2077: Closing In On The End

The end is nigh for Cyberpunk 2077, a video game I played since December of last year, and one of the most contentious games to ever be released in 2020. After spending about 117 hours with the video game I have experienced the game’s highs and lows and the in-between. While I’m not quite done with Night City just yet, there have been some things that stood out during the times I played.

[Credit: CD Projekt Red]

Bugs

Whenever anyone hears or talks about Cyberpunk 2077 it’s almost always about the bugs and glitches littered throughout the game. I have been fortunate enough not to experience the worst of the game’s bugs, even before the number of patches that have been released since launch, but I haven’t been entirely immune to them either.

Despite the patches not everything has been “fixed”. There have been instances where the game would behave oddly—text messages between V and another character are received in the wrong order, quests unlocking at the wrong time, or being blocked from starting a quest itself. The first two aren’t as annoying but more immersion breaking than anything else. The third nearly frustrated me to no end until I figured out a workaround to get the quest started.

There’s a side quest in Cyberpunk 2077 called The Beast in Me where a bartender from the Afterlife named Claire asks V to get behind the wheel for a number of races in Night City. By the time the final race arrived I traveled to the spot to begin the quest. But whenever I went anywhere near the area of the marker I would automatically be launched into combat mode, even though there were no enemies I was actively engaging in a fight with. This meant that I was blocked from calling Claire to let her know I was at the meeting point, which was required to get the race started. I tried doing other quests or skipping time, thinking this weird glitch would somehow resolve itself, but it didn’t. Accessing V’s phone was unavailable while I was “in combat”.

Eventually I figured out that if I walked a few paces away from the marker that became the designated “combat zone”, called Claire, and then ran back inside the “combat zone”, Claire would pick up and I could interact with the marker after she hung up to start the final race.

Bad bugs like these can really detract from your enjoyment of the game and it was one of the few times Cyberpunk 2077 really pissed me off.

Side Quests

There are plenty of side jobs and missions you can do if you’re interested in leveling up V or spending lots of time in Night City. Knowing that the main story itself is actually quite short I made up my mind to do every single side quest, minus buying up every ride for sale, before progressing the story.

Some side quests are memorable and others, like the NCPD Scanner Hustles, are purely for level grinding. The ones I enjoyed the most were the ones given to you by the supporting characters you encounter in the game, who also happen to be possible romances.

Among the ones I have completed so far are Panam Palmer and River Ward with Judy Alvarez still in progress. The only character I have yet to meet is Kerry Eurodyne, which I read meets V almost close to the end of the game. Some supporting characters are easy to miss, like River Ward, if you choose not to do certain side quests that could lead you to obtaining their contact later. Each character has their own distinct personality and an even interesting backstory as you get to know each one. Doing their side quests made all the time spent in Cyberpunk 2077 well worth the price of admission, and I wish the side quests focused more on the supporting characters and less on V cleaning up the streets of Night City.

Exploration

One of the game’s strengths and weaknesses is its open world. The map of Night City is sprawling with varying districts and areas V can either fast travel or drive their way through. I have opted to mainly travel from one quest to the next by bike, and have admired the detail that was put into making the game’s world feel like a real livable city. I often couldn’t resist switching into photo mode to take pictures of V or the other characters she’s currently with to capture the beauty, grime, and seediness of Night City. But once you uncover every bit of the world’s hidden secrets, the hollowness and emptiness hiding behind the shiny sheen gets pushed to the forefront more and more.

NPCs hanging out by a market stall or in a club start feeling more like well placed mannequins to fill up the background. Most of them barely move from the spot they’re in and interactions with them are stiff and unnatural. I think Mass Effect and Dragon Age had NPCs you could talk to, even if it was for a short conversation, and their background characters were constantly in motion. There were times when I was exploring Night City as V and it felt like she was the only person inhabiting it instead of being a city full of all sorts of people looking to change their luck and make something of themselves.

I have a few other thoughts about romances and the recurrent themes that seem to be saying something in the game, but I’ll hold further opinions until I finish the game. All in all I’ll be glad to soon mark this as done in the coming weeks or month.

Have you played Cyberpunk 2077? What parts of the game stood out to you most?


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