Cyberpunk 2077 Hands-Off Preview: Future Game of the Year Material
This should come as no surprise, but it is starting to look like CD Projekt Red may have another future game of the year contender in Cyberpunk 2077, which so far at E3 has been the most impressive new IP I’ve seen. Be it the trailer shown off at Microsoft’s presentation, or the closed doors demo I got to witness, no other game at this year’s E3 has left as strong of an impression on me as CD’s next open world masterpiece. Yes, I’m already making Cyberpunk 2077 a game-of-the-year contender for whatever year it releases in. It looks that damn good already, and CD Projekt Red hasn’t let us down yet, so I have no doubt that it will be in those types of conversations when it releases, hopefully sometime in 2019.
As mentioned I was lucky enough to witness a near hour long hands-off demo, which featured the game’s opening mission while at E3, and it provided plenty of amazement for all of us in attendance. Cyberpunk 2077 is a narrative driven first person action RPG that offers plenty of player choice in how each and every one of its missions are handled.
Players take control of V, who is a cyberpunk out to make a name for his or herself (players can choose sex and multiple other aspects of their character during creation) in the seedy Night City, which has a Blade Runner feel with a much brighter color palette. Players will have a direct role in how the game’s narrative plays out, as each and every action committed will have rippling effects throughout the entire campaign. Let’s just say that everyone who plays Cyberpunk 2077 should have a unique experience, because thanks to the dialogue system there are so many branching paths that it’ll be very unlikely that two gamers make the exact same choices that will define their narrative experience. It’s a very ambitious approach, but one that I have full confidence in after watching the excellent E3 demo.
The demo itself started at the beginning of the game and featured two early missions, which really provided great insights into how V will interact with the other denizens of Night City. If you haven’t guessed by the name, people in Cyberpunk can equip themselves with cybernetic enhancements, so if you wanted a seven word description of what the game looks and feels like, I’d tell you Blade Runner with hints of Deus Ex. By no means am I trying to pigeon hole this very ambitious title as a clone of either of these franchises, but the design of Night City is very similar to the world of Blade Runner, albeit without all of the pollution doom and gloom, and the use of cybernetics and what humans have been implanting in themselves felt very Deus Ex.
The opening mission provided a great glimpse into Cyberpunk’s combat, as well as the dialogue system, which again will serve as your Director of sorts as you forge your own unique path through its extensive narrative. The combat features traditional FPS tropes, so shooter fans will feel very comfortable with the controls. Thanks to the cybernetic enhancements V can do just more than point and shoot a gun though. I saw elements of bullet time come into play while watching the demo, as well as brutal melee moves, and even a bit of Bulletstorm’s slide and shoot maneuver. The combat seems very cinematic, so every gunfight I witnessed felt like I was watching an action flick play out in front of my eyes.
You can also engage enemies in a stealthier way by hacking into their implants with a cable that comes out of V’s arm. For example, in the demo, instead of going into a gang’s hideout guns blazing, V hacked into a the enemies and made their guns jam so she could easily take them out without a fight. You can get hacked too, at least during narrative moments, so the cybernetic aspect of Cyberpunk 2077 will lead to interesting gameplay and storytelling. The implants will also dictate the abilities you obtain, so throughout the campaign you will visit Ripper Docs to get new upgrades such as a vision implant that can allow V to scan areas for recon, or zoom in on a distant object as if she had built-in binoculars.
I also got to see how V will mostly get around Night City, which is massive by the way, featuring six distinct districts, and no loading times. Anyway, V will have the use of a car to get around town, and during the demo, driving can get a bit hairy depending on what mission you may be on, or how you handled a previous mission. In the demo I saw V got ambushed while en route to a mission by the gang she and her partner Jackie messed with during the opening of the game. So driving won’t just be to get around, it will get chaotic at times and play into the structure of a mission, which just makes the whole experience seem very dynamic and engaging.
Cyberpunk 2077’s gameplay looks highly intriguing, and should pack in a ton of exciting moments, but I think the game’s characters and world will be its true start. For starters, it looks visually stunning. Everything about Night City feels alive from the masses of NPCs you can interact with, to the overall design of the city itself. The graphics have a very life-like feel to them, and during some of the more mature demo moments featuring a bit of nudity, the lines between video game visuals and reality become a bit blurred. Let’s just say that CD Projekt Red has crafted some of the most realistic looking naked video game characters I’ve ever seen. Even more so than Geralt sitting nude in a tub.
Speaking of being mature, Cyberpunk 2077 would easily earn itself an R-rating if it were a movie. I’m talking the good old 80’s and 90’s action movies too, so you can expect plenty of vulgar language, nudity, and over-the-top violence to ensue during your playthrough. In just 50-minutes of gameplay I heard multiple F-bombs, other cusses, and even the “cunt” word, so this isn’t a game meant for young impressionable minds.
If you couldn’t tell by the tone I’ve taken in this write up, I am already in love with Cyberpunk 2077, and I haven’t even played it myself yet. That should speak volumes on the awesome potential that this game showed me during a hands-off demo. While CD Projekt Red may always be known as The Witcher studio, I do think their new IP could one day even eclipse the accomplishments of that franchise, so if you’re a fan of the studio and its prior work, like me you will want to get your hands on Cyberpunk 2077 the moment it releases. Mark my words, this will be a contender for game of the year, hopefully in 2019 if it releases, and if I were a betting man I’d go all in on it actually winning the coveted title in whatever year it releases. Be prepared to be highly enthralled is all I can say.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”