Everything we heard about the E3 and Gamescom trailers was true. Cyberpunk 2077 looks absolutely incredible.
Although it was a work-in-progress demo, CD Projekt Red unveiled the first official gameplay footage of Cyberpunk 2077 on their Twitch channel after an hours-long preamble of complete gibberish. The gameplay demo follows the game’s protagonist, V, as she goes on a mission to retrieve high-tech combat gear stolen from one of the game’s many factions.
The demo showed, in depth, how player choice lies at the center of Cyberpunk 2077. Players can approach missions from multiple directions, whether they use subterfuge or violence, choose to buy weapons or steal them, and choose to lie or tell the truth. Players will have multiple chances to change the course of each mission at specific junctions, but those choices come with consequences myriad consequences that not only affect specific missions, but the entire game world.
Choice Matters in a Fully Realized World
Set in the fictional Night City, North California, the world of Cyberpunk 2077 looks extremely realized and deep. The streets are urbane yet violent as the city’s multiple factions and corporations vie for control over the populace. Players can seemingly interact with much of the world around them, with NPCs and environmental objects shifting in real time to the changes in the world around them. The world is unbelievably unique, but also an homage to the pen and paper RPG of similar name, and from which CD Projekt Red’s development process took inspiration.
As the demo moved from an apartment to the streets below, it quickly became apparent that Cyberpunk 2077 is focused on world-building and seamless movement. Non-intrusive tutorials and events gave a sense of realism to the world, adding to the idea that customization and choice are primary gameplay mechanics.
The demo’s narrator said the game will not have any loading screens when it releases, and that the team has focused on creating a seamless interactive world. While that remains to be seen, that did appear to be somewhat true from what was shown in the demo. Moving from one section of the city to the other, through doors and elevators that didn’t go dark, it looks like much of Cyberpunk 2077 will accomplish that goal.
Finally, the dialogue system is purely gameplay driven according to CD Projekt Red. Not only do your choices appear to have real consequences on the world around you and the missions at hand, but players are presented with unique strategies when certain NPCs get involved. For example, enemies can hack into player cybernetic systems and bio-mods to subject players to lie detector tests, knowing whether players are, in fact, telling the truth or not.
From what was shown, this type of interaction deeply affects the gameplay and changes how you approach missions, completely locking paths and opening up others. These choices can even impact how factions and gangs interact with players in the world, requiring players to either be more cunning or resourceful.
Get Locked, Loaded, and Customized
Combat inCyberpunk 2077 is frenetic and violent. Bullets ricochet off walls and appendages fly in all directions. You’ll blast corporate thugs and gang members in alley ways, on bridges, and in dank, shadowy factories.
Since everything is organic in the game, upgrading your skills and weapons won’t be locked to menus or skill trees. When making V more powerful — or, if it’s your playstyle, more cunning — players can visit Ripper Docs, which are essentially NPCs that splice into V’s bio-mods to give her upgrades such as improved optical scanners and enhanced sub-dermal weapon grips.
For example, the former allows V to better see enemy weaknesses and in-world information. The latter allows her to be more efficient in combat, showing the ammo count for a player’s currently-equipped weapon or increasing a weapon’s base damage. It’s essentially a more interactive and engaging skill upgrade system found in many RPGs, but damn, if CD Projekt Red doesn’t make this system look fantastic when you jack-in. Some docs will even provide gear that others don’t, meaning the player won’t be able to just change things on the fly or in one specific location.
Moving on to combat itself, the first-person perspective (which is 99% of the gameplay, combat or not) looks absolutely great. Shooting everything from handguns to assault rifles and shotguns, aiming down the site, hip-firing, double-jumping, and wall-running look just as good here as they do in a pure-bred FPS like Doom, Wolfenstein, or Far Cry. There are also bullet-time, time-slowing mechanics that allow players to line up shots or take out multiple enemies at once.
Near the end of the demo, high-level abilities were unlocked to show the breadth of Cyberpunk‘s frenetic and violent gameplay. One of the cooler aspects shown during this section was the ability to hack into NPCs and wreak havoc on the larger group. Players can take-down enemies and jack into their specific neural networks to “deploy software that affects the whole squad” or implement “quick hacks”, which open new ways to complete missions or unlock certain abilities.
Players will also be able to drive “many” vehicles, according to the developer. During the demo, V was shown driving a car in both first- and third-person. Of course, there was the quintessential vehicle chase, shootout scene, where V let her compatriot drive the car while she shot a group of gang members while hanging out the window.
Again, it’s not something super special, but it looked damn good.
At the end of the day, Cyberpunk 2077 looked as different from other open-world first-person RPGs as it looked similar. There are a lot of things here we’ve seen before — or been promised before. But a lot of those things also looked incredibly awesome against the backdrop of a dystopic, cybernetic future that’s so incredibly realized.
Only time will tell, but from what we’ve seen from the demo and trailers, we’re more excited than ever to get on the streets of Night City — and into the boots of V. If you’re a fan of Bladerunner, this is a game you’re not going to want to miss.