Being one step closer to finishing a video game often brings a mix of emotions. There’s excitement at finally knowing how everything ends and what the fate of your character will be, but there’s also a little bit of sadness for that end of the journey.
Playing Cyberpunk 2077 for me means deferring all main story quests in favor of doing all of the side missions to stretch out the game a little longer. Now that I’m almost done playing the game this had some unintended consequences I hadn’t thought about.
Finishing every single side quest, with the exception of buying and collecting every vehicle in the game, isn’t an easy feat. For most other open world games I would largely focus on the character driven side quests, and maybe do some of the less meaningful ones to help level up my character.
I made the decision to scour Night City for every side job from fixers and doing the NCPD scanner quests after learning from reviewers, and those who beat the game soon after it came out, that the main story was short compared to CD Projekt Red’s behemoth Witcher series. Wanting to get the most out of a game with a rocky release date and reception, I dedicated all my time in Cyberpunk 2077 to working my way through the side missions.
Some have been fun, like the side jobs from the fixers, and others have been forgettable, namely the NCPD scanner hustles. The most interesting ones to play were any of the ones involving a side character you met, like Panam Palmer, Judy Alvarez, and River Ward to name a few. Getting side quests from them helped break up the monotony playing through the other ones often had.
By the time all these side quests were cleared out, leaving the main story mission left and a few late side character quests linked to Johnny Silverhand, the character voiced by Keanu Reeves, there was the awkwardness of not having a lot to do in the game.
Once I finished Act 2 and I moved onto Act 3, Nocturne Op55N1, I was warned by several game guides that this was the point of no return once I started this mission. Luckily, there was still a bit of side character driven story left involving Silverhand and the people that knew him, Rogue and Kerry Eurodyne. The only problem with some of these quests was that it required you to wait a day until you heard back from them before you could move forward with the rest of their side quests.
There’s an option to move forward a day by manipulating the time in the menu to trigger the quest to continue, but I often found it broke the immersive experience for me. I managed to wait for the days to transition naturally for other side missions because I was busy cleaning up Night City, or occasionally brought V back to her apartment to let her rest up. Without having anything left to do except play around with the game’s hours, just so I can get to the next part of a quest, took the enthusiasm out of playing the game sometimes.
I blame myself for my current predicament. I was overzealous and too focused on ticking everything on my to-do list for this game that I should have left a few side quests open by the time I reached Act 3. I thought I was getting ahead by clearing off all the unimportant, level grind type missions to leave room for just the main story and the few remaining side character quests. Instead it left me in a mesmerizing city with almost nothing to do. I never thought I would see the day when that would happen, and Cyberpunk 2077 has been the exception in all my years I have been gaming so far.
The right balance needs to be achieved for anyone looking to beat nearly everything a game has to offer, but it has been a learning experience for me knowing what that looks like and how to approach it next time.