Cyberpunk 2077 has received its fair share of criticism since launch, and for good reason. The promises made for years by CD Projekt Red that weren’t fulfilled and the poor optimization on all platforms caused glitches that made the game practically unplayable. Everyone has given their thoughts on the negative aspects of the game, but hardly anyone talks about the positives. Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t all bad, and I would know: I played the game on the base PlayStation 4. The one that was so broken that Sony took it off their store shortly after launch and still hasn’t put it back up? Yeah, that one.
And I did everything, too. All the markers? Done. All the vehicles? Bought. All the endings? Played. It added up to a 100+ hour playthrough and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I counted four dozen crashes during that time. That’s a crash every two hours. So, trust me, I know the worst Cyberpunk had to offer. But between the crashes, there were plenty of things to enjoy.
1. Night City’s Design
Cyberpunk 2077’s design and art style is a treat. Night City looks real: skyscrapers with lights rising to the stars and sexual innuendo advertisements on every surface. Poorer neighborhoods have trash crowding the sidewalk while the rich areas are almost perfectly clean. Driving around gives you a sense of its verticality and being on top of a building lets you have a real understanding of the scale. Night City is gorgeous whether you’re watching the giant holographic koi fish in City Center or having shootouts in the dingy back alleys of Pacifica.
Now admittedly, the city looked dead because there just weren’t enough people. Night City is supposed to be a huge metropolis governed by corporations, there should be hundreds of people on the sidewalk. What we saw in the early reveal trailers is what it should have been, but you’ll be lucky to see three NPCs who aren’t identical walking around. It takes away from the experience of the setting and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
2. Character Design
Good character design means that you can tell what the person is like without knowing about them. Let’s take Dexter DeShawn as an example, with the chill body language, gold-plated arm, and puffing on a cigar. Dex gives off the impression that he knows exactly what he’s doing. That he has other people do the dirty work for him and he’s proud of it. That is, until things go sideways later.
Then there’s Panam Palmer, whose appearance just screams that she wants to be out on dirt roads instead of city streets. Does Misty not look like she’d be the type of person that’s into tarot cards and chakras? Even Judy Alvarez’s tattoos have meaning to her, like the firetruck on her collarbone, which she got arrested for stealing one as a teenager, but it was a false arrest. The design team did an excellent job with making these characters stand out.
When CD Projekt Red announced that some of the songs playing on the radio would be original songs specifically made for the game, I was excited to hear them, and they did not disappoint. The music bounces from pop to hip-hop to metal, with nearly all of them having an electronic undertone to fit in with the world of Cyberpunk 2077. Some songs weren’t made for the game but already known songs that got a huge boost to popularity with their inclusion. With over ten radio stations to choose from, you won’t be bored driving to your next mission.
CDPR even got a few big names to work on it and produce music videos, like Run the Jewels and Grimes, who also plays metallic pop idol Lizzy Wizzy in the game. Even Johnny Silverhand’s band, Samurai, got their songs from the tabletop made for the game, portrayed by Swedish punk band, Refused, with Dennis Lyxzen as the singing voice for Johnny.
Here’s a fun fact: if you listen to Morro Rock Radio, you’ll occasionally hear the DJ talk between songs. It’s actually Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the tabletop games, and he’s discussing conspiracy theories of the world he created. How interesting…
Braindances are an interesting mechanic. They’re essentially just interactive cutscenes where you discover exactly what was going on in the moment of a recorded memory. Braindances are used in the game for mostly finding someone or something, which makes sense since all you do in a braindance is play a game of I Spy, which does get repetitive when you have to do multiple ones for a mission.
CDPR has stated that they have downloadable content on the way, so I’m certain braindances will come up again. It’d be fun if CDPR can find a more interesting process than floating around looking for glowing items, but braindances still give you an extra chance to immerse yourself in the world.
One thing that makes the combat a little tough to enjoy is that you’re limited in the beginning. You always have access to all weapon types but what makes combat truly fun is modding yourself. Unfortunately, all the fun ones are locked behind your street cred level, so until you get to that point, you have to deal with the reality that you just aren’t cool enough.
When you are a high enough level, you rush to the ripperdoc to have insane modifications put inside you, like the Mantis Blades which are my personal favorite – slicing enemies to shreds is delightful. If you build V a certain way, you can have them raise their speed with every kill and you just become a nightmare to fight. You’ll cut an enemy’s head off before they get a chance to shoot you. There’s also the Projectile Launch System, Gorilla Arms, Monowire, or even the more passive implants which give extra buffs.
Even if you prefer guns over those, combat will be so much better once your V has all their implants.
6. Side Missions
Some of the missions in Cyberpunk are fairly standard: Go here, kill enemies, come back, get reward. The usual. The best ones are the character-based missions that expand the world further.
There’s Judy’s final mission, Pyramid Song, in which you go scuba diving with the techie into her old, flooded neighborhood. While there, you find out that one of the game’s many corporations bought out the dam to use it as a reservoir, displacing an entire suburb of people, some of whom had nowhere else to go.
Or there’s River Ward’s The Hunt mission, where the two of you are searching for his young nephew who was kidnapped by a serial killer. You have to use clues to figure out which farm he is being held at and if you got it wrong, he will die because he is being force fed drugs. Then once you’re there, you have to avoid the turrets and dozens of landmines surrounding the place. And if you try to leave? River will stay to help his nephew and they will both die.
I wanted more missions like these, but the silly ones are great too, like Burning Desire where you come across a guy you need to rush to a doctor because a very important implant in his crotch has malfunctioned.
Cyberpunk 2077 opens up with you picking a lifepath for your V. You can begin as a Corpo, where you work as a counter-intelligence agent for Arasaka and are forced to take a job that leads to an abrupt end to your career. Or return to your hometown from Atlanta as a Street Kid, where you make a deal to help a friend that nearly gets you arrested. Or you could play as a Nomad who has just left their clan. You’re looking for bigger and better things in Night City and it starts by getting into a car chase for smuggling a live iguana.
No matter your beginnings, the game has a movie-like quality to its story. From the buildup to the heist, stealing the Relic, running from security, watching your best friend die in the backseat of a taxi, and then getting shot in the head and dying. I only wish that CD Projekt Red hadn’t spoiled all that in a trailer because it did lose some of its impact.
But then you meet Johnny Silverhand and he also tries to kill you.
8. Johnny Silverhand
Johnny Silverhand: rockerboy, terrorist, Night City legend. When you think of Cyberpunk 2077, he is the character that comes to mind. Not only because he’s voiced by the impeccable Keanu Reeves, but because he’s a cynical, cybernetic brain parasite who is quickly and unwillingly killing you. You may agree with his viewpoints or disavow his actions from fifty years ago and his constant snark can be amusing or grating, but he’s always by your side whether you like it or not.
You’ll either love or hate Johnny. It’s something that the musician is very familiar with and something he seems to regret. You can tell that dying has given him a new perspective on life and himself, which will make your choice at the end a difficult one. No matter your feelings on Silverhand, he is an icon in Night City and gaming pop culture.
9. The Endings
Like any good RPG, Cyberpunk 2077 has multiple endings. Your choices up to that point don’t particularly matter, other than some dialogue being added or changed — it’s your final choice that matters.
You’ll be standing on a rooftop with Johnny and that’s where you decide how this ends: go with Hanako to work with Arasaka or take them down and reach Mikoshi. If you decide to attack, you’ve got another choice: work with Panam and the Nomads or with Rogue like Johnny suggests. Again, this choice doesn’t particularly matter in the grand scheme of things, you’ll reach Mikoshi and insert Alt Cunningham’s AI into it.
Once you and Alt are in cyberspace, she will separate you and Johnny. Great, you think but not so fast, there’s one more choice. Either Johnny can take your body and have another shot at life or you can keep your body, but die in about six months. There is no definitive “good” ending for Cyberpunk 2077 — it’s all bittersweet at best. The good news is that the endings where V keeps their body is open ended and a little bit of a sequel bait. If Johnny stays in the body, he leaves Night City, feeling like he doesn’t belong.
There are more endings I haven’t mentioned. There’s the bad ending where V decides to commit suicide, killing both themselves and Johnny, and the secret ending called (Don’t) Fear The Reaper. To get this, your previous choices actually do matter as you had to complete Johnny Silverhand’s missions and correctly respond to him while visiting his grave. Then once you get to the rooftop and wait five minutes in the dialogue menu, Johnny will give you an alternate plan: take down Arasaka in a full-frontal assault alone. Just you, your skill, and your talking brain parasite. It’s not easy either because if you die, the game will set you back to the beginning as there are no checkpoints. But if you manage it, you are undeniably a Night City legend.
10. Nibbles the Cat
Okay, this one is a bit silly, but who doesn’t love having a pet in a video game? If you didn’t know, you can adopt Nibbles after the Arasaka heist by leaving him some cat food.
Afterwards, he just chills at your apartment. You don’t even have to worry about the litterbox. You’ll find him in some odd spots too, like your closet or the shower. The game doesn’t give you much reason to return to your apartment, but his cute meows will have you coming back.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.