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News video games 20 November 2020, 17:18

author: Bart Swiatek

Cyberpunk 2077 Impressions After 16 Hours of Hands-on Experience

Journalists from several websites had the opportunity to play Cyberpunk 2077 for 16 hours. The work of CD Projekt RED delighted them, particularly its script, quests, characters, or appearance and atmosphere of the metropolis where the game takes place.

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. After 16 hours with Cyberpunk 2077, the press is delighted with the game;
  2. Among the biggest advantages, the editors list the script (both the main plot and side tasks), Night City, atmosphere, player choices and an intuitive, immersive dialogue system;
  3. The game is said to be full of content and it is very easy to lose yourself in it for hours;
  4. According to one person, the combat is just good, although it gives a lot of satisfaction after unlocking skills and finding interesting weapons;
  5. PC Gamer's editor strongly praised melee combat (an element criticised by experts in the past);
  6. Among the problems are bugs and issues related to the interface - mainly the quest log.

Some journalists were given the opportunity to spend 16 hours with CD Projekt RED's upcoming title, i.e. Cyberpunk 2077. From their opinions emerges a picture of a very good game, which - although it has its drawbacks, as well as pros and cons - provides a huge dose of great fun and impresses with complexity.

Cyberpunk 2077 - choices and interesting personalities

GameSpot's editor was most impressed by the characters and the way the world reacts to the player's choices - something that was difficult to judge with the latest announcements.

"Like any big game of this type, not every dialog option or snarky comment makes for a massive branch in Cyberpunk's narrative, but sometimes, your moves--like whether you leave an incapacitated opponent alive, or who you decide to trust--can create serious ripples.

When I finished my 16 hours with the game, I'd amassed a huge slate of side-missions, taking me all over the city. All of them concerned fascinating characters, from Judy, Johnny, and Panam, to River, a NCPD detective investigating the death of Night City's former mayor, and Padre, a Valentino's fixer who appreciated V's attitude of getting the job done by any means. The best part of Cyberpunk 2077 is feeling like a small part of the huge world of Night City, and I'm eager to continue learning about the people who inhabit it," reads the text.

Cyberpunk 2077 Impressions After 16 Hours of Hands-on Experience - picture #1
The characters are one of the strongest elements of Cyberpunk 2077.

GameStar's editor notes that the developers at CD Projekt RED have managed to weave decisions and their consequences into story so effectively that the player may not even notice that the situation may have turned out differently. This makes the game seem linear, although it is absolutely not.

"Cyberpunk 2077 manages to weave decisions and consequences into the narrative in such an organic way that I often don't even realize that I could have done something different. This can be a problem because it makes the game seem more "linear" than it really is. If you play Cyberpunk normally (i.e. you don't repeat anything to try an alternative), you won't be able to appreciate what the creators have done," we read.

Amazingly natural interactions with characters, great script and quests

According to the editor of GamesRadar, the game deserves separate praise for how naturally we interact with other characters.

"Cyberpunk 2077 offers the most organic gameplay I've possibly ever experienced, the closest to real human interaction. If you want to talk to someone, just go up to them. Gone is the "Press X to Interact" prompt for the residents of NC; instead you're just given options for your openers and then you're in. It's very limited in terms of cutscenes too, instead focusing on offering up interactive conversations that you can still freely control, opting to pick up on something happening elsewhere in the room mid-conversation if you so wish.

One particular moment has stuck with me too, so simple but also just another element of the organic dialogue in the game. I'd spent some time talking to the aforementioned Judy – currently among my top tier of favourites in the game – and when the conversation had wrapped up I turned to leave the room. I was halfway out the door when she called me back with a simple "Hey, V". I wasn't pulled back into narrative choices, I could have chosen to carry on walking up the stairs and into the cool air of Night City's neon-soaked streets. Of course, I didn't, I turned back to find out more and the rest will go down in V's history," we read.

The attention of PC Gamer's journalist was drawn by the quality of the script. He emphasizes that some of the stories can easily go up against the best parts of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

"I wish I could go into more detail about the story, because some of the places you visit, characters you meet, and jobs you pull off are incredibly thrilling and memorable. There's stuff in here to rival The Witcher 3's best quests, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much of an emotional punch the story packs. The game's marketing has, understandably, focused on the louder, more aggressive side of the game, which has painted a somewhat inaccurate picture of it. Cyberpunk 2077 isn't all noise, future slang, extreme violence, and fluorescent yellow; it has quiet, touching moments of warmth too," we read.

The main storyline, which, according to the journalists, is very good, and makes it virtually impossible to drop the game.

"It wasn’t until the end of that prologue (and a phenomenal spoilery sequence right after) that Cyberpunk 2077 really sank its hooks into me. It’s a slow walk to get there, but all that setup makes the scenario you are eventually thrust into that much more riveting, and after that it didn’t take long at all to get me fully invested in its larger story," writes IGN's editor.

GamesRadar emphasizes how many ways you can approach the quests - it's worth paying attention to "additional" goals, because they can strongly influence the further course of the mission.

"An optional objective in a mission may involve setting up an alternative meeting, or simply involve calling another character to check-in, but all of these have the potential to send objectives spinning in a widely different direction or uncover a hidden subplot that could influence your future choices. And it's here, deep in the grey between, that the real intrigue into Cyberpunk 2077's branching narrative gets into your psyche like the biochips that fuel these cybernetically-enhanced individuals," we read.

CP2077 - Night City delights

Cyberpunk 2077 Impressions After 16 Hours of Hands-on Experience - picture #2
Night City may be one of the best things in CP2077.

Also Tom Marx, the editor of IGN, liked Night City very much. He also points out that in one way CD Projekt RED's game differs from other RPGs.

"Simply put, Night City is stunning, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen another video game city even close to it in scope or style. It’s gorgeous, rich in detail, and with a verticality and scale that’s genuinely amazing, all while still feeling like it could be a real place. No, you can’t just enter any building or go through every single floor of the ones you can – that’s not the unrealistically high bar it’s trying to hit. But there is still so much to see here, and so many different places for missions to send you. Districts can also be impressively varied visually, and even though a fast travel system is available I honestly felt like I was missing out by using it. We’ll see how long that lasts in the grand scheme of things, but this compact (but still very large) map layout works to Cyberpunk 2077’s advantage when a fast travel load screen might be only somewhat shorter than a drive anyway, and with a far worse view.

If there’s perhaps one thing I want you to take away from this preview, it’s how different Cyberpunk 2077 feels to play than many of the games it can be compared to. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, an RPG – and despite the FPS combat full of fancy weapons, its pace is otherwise slow and deliberate.

But even then, it’s not like other open world RPGs like Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3 thanks to one extremely important difference: combat is not an inherent part of travel. (...) Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in a city. A violent, dystopian nightmare of a city, sure, but still a city, meaning travel itself feels closer to something like GTA despite the structure around it feeling more like Fallout. As a result, I could sometimes go hours at a time without ever drawing a weapon, completing missions just by having conversations and sneaking around a bit. Fights can be found around almost any corner, with bounties to collect or gangs to attack at the drop of a hat, but you sort of have to go looking for trouble between big quest encounters if you want it instead of it coming to you naturally. It’s a crucial difference in the feel of this world, and one that feeds into how much its focus is truly on both story and player choice," we read.

Combat can be a lot of fun, although it's not as good as the rest of the game

The previews also included opinions on combat. The aforementioned editor of IGN points out that in comparison with the rest of the game, it is just good, although he admits that with time it started to give him a lot of fun - especially when he found some interesting weapons and the corresponding style of play.

"Combat itself is probably one of Cyberpunk 2077’s weaker points. It’s certainly not bad, but if you’re playing this like a straight FPS then you’ll probably be disappointed. The most jarring thing about it is that enemies have a surprising amount of health, often acting as bullet sponges that can take multiple point blank shots to the head before going down for good. This led me to prefer sneaky takedowns where I could manage them, but stealth on its own doesn’t have a ton of depth beyond finding the right moment to crouch walk up behind someone – though using Quickhacks to scout out enemies and set up those opportunities was a lot of fun.

Combat didn’t really start impressing me until midway through my second day, once I had unlocked a few more abilities and found a strategy I enjoyed. By the end of my playtime, I had a powerful rifle that could charge up shots and shoot through walls, as well as a legendary katana – I would sneak into a room, use a hack to reveal enemy positions, then get behind a wall and pick them off based on their hologram outlines alone, and if any ran at me I would swap to my sword and cut off their head. The spongy health bars were still there, but this strategy felt fantastic to me (and goodness gracious does the mid-fight music push the pace to even more exciting levels)," we read.

Cyberpunk 2077 Impressions After 16 Hours of Hands-on Experience - picture #3
Some people also like melee combat.

Interestingly, PC Gamer's editor liked melee combat, a gameplay mechanic quite commonly criticized during the previous previews from June this year.

"A quality sword like the Black Unicorn, combined with these perks, makes wielding a blade in Cyberpunk 2077 incredibly satisfying and super effective. If you're careful, and use the environment to your advantage, you can clear out an entire facility of heavily armed soldiers without firing a shot. Throw hacking into the mix, disabling security cameras and rebooting optical implants to temporarily blind enemies, and you end up with more compelling reasons to keep your gun holstered and your sword unsheathed.

Of course, this is just one of countless ways to play Cyberpunk 2077. This is a deep RPG, and through perks, gear, and increasing your stats when you level up, you can tailor your V's build to fit around how you want to interact with Night City. If you prefer to shoot your way out of trouble, there's a whole suite of perks dedicated to that too. But while the shooting is great—the guns feel nicely weighty and powerful—once I'd sliced my way through a group of oblivious Maelstrom scavs with the Black Unicorn, it was swords all the way for me," we read.

Cyberpunk 2077 has some problems...

IGN draws attention to the poorly designed interface and in particular the task log. Unfortunately, there were also bugs in the tested version.

"Cyberpunk 2077’s quest log is a big messy list, and figuring out which of your many quests to pursue next is a hassle for a few reasons: there’s no indication of the XP, money, items, or Street Cred a quest will reward; no sense of how difficult a quest will be beyond a vague “Danger” descriptor like “Moderate,” “High,” or “Very High,” when an actual level number would have let me decide if I should try to punch slightly above my weight or not; and there's little convenient way to tell what’s near you beyond tracking a quest and then tabbing over to the incredibly busy map to see if the waypoint is close by. Generally whatever I picked was enjoyable, but if it’s going to give me this many things to do then I wish there were better tools to inform my decisions about the order to do them," we read.

Cyberpunk 2077 Impressions After 16 Hours of Hands-on Experience - picture #4
One of the things criticized is shooting during car chases.

PC Gamer also criticizes several other elements of the game, most of them really small - as the editor himself admits.

"I have a few criticisms. The on-rails shooting sections, usually involving someone driving a car and V hanging out of the window, firing at pursuing bikes, cars, and drones, feel clumsy and outdated, like a hangover from the previous generation. The number of jobs you have forced into your quest log, even if you didn't actively seek them out, can feel overwhelming. As someone who likes to keep a quest log pruned and manageable, I foresee a lot of headaches here. And the constant chatter—text messages, phone calls, and other audio distractions constantly competing for your attention—can be mentally exhausting. But honestly, that's about the worst I can say about Cyberpunk 2077 at this point," we read.

GameStar, on the other hand, points out that the CP2077 makes one mistake typical of open-world games.

"Let's be clear about one thing: Cyberpunk 2077 makes a mistake typical of open-world games - it suggests an urgency that doesn't actually exist. Yes, I should do this and quickly so that something very bad does not happen "soon". But I can still do side tasks or swim through Pacifica at Pimpmobile. Or do more side tasks to afford the Pimpmobill in the first place," we read.

...but the overall impression is stunning

Actually, all the editors mentioned in this text emphasize that after 16 hours spent with the game they were disappointed that it was over and they would gladly stay in Night City much longer. Their opinions and impressions are extremely enthusiastic. The summary of GamesRadar's editor of his time spent with the game is most striking.

"After spending 16 hours with the game, I've only just hit Act 2, and only just started writing V's story, but the journey so far has been intoxicating. Anyone worried that Cyberpunk 2077 may be disappointing shouldn't be; this is a game that will surely surpass expectations," we read.

PC Gamer's editor is almost equally enthusiastic, who stresses that the time spent with the game has made him want to get his hands on the full version more than ever before.

"I did Akira slides on motorcycles, hacked peoples' brains, stole more cool-looking futuristic cars than I can count, and ate synthmeat yakitori. I met dozens of eccentric characters, played factions against each other, drove beyond the city walls into the desert, made a few powerful enemies, and hung out with Keanu Reeves. A few things didn't quite land for me (more on that later), but after all this my desire to play the finished game is more powerful than ever," we read.

IGN's editor is not hiding his excitement either. Tom Marx admits that despite some issues he encountered, he completely lost himself in Night City.

"I came away from my 16 hours with Cyberpunk 2077 hungry for more, and with the sense that it had certainly had more to feed that hunger. It’s rad as hell, a gorgeous world that you could get absolutely lost inside of in precisely the manner you choose to do so. It’s certainly not without its rough edges, especially when it comes to its menus, but those blemishes didn’t do much to stop what it does well from shining brightly. Even after two full days I feel like I’ve only barely started to see what’s here, and it only got more exciting the deeper I went," we read.

GameStar's editor summarizes his fifteen hours with the game by comparing it to one of the classics. In his opinion, the CD Projekt RED studio's work is closest to Deus Ex - except that it's more ambitious and much more extensive in almost every area.

"If you were to force me to make some comparison with the past, I would say: Cyberpunk 2077 is closest to Deus Ex. It's only bigger, better staged, has even more branched stories, more details, more RPG elements and a more open world. This is the Deus Ex we always wanted. And because for some people (also for me) Deus Ex is one of the best games of all time, that's a big complimen, Michael Graf writes at the end of his preview.

  1. Cyberpunk 2077 Hands-on Preview. After Four Hours, I'm as Happy as Concerned
  2. Cyberpunk 2077 - official website
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