Of all the games released in 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 may have been the most highly anticipated. A project nearly a decade in the making, Cyberpunk 2077 promised fans a living city to explore, complete with a cast of rich characters and innovations that would redefine RPGs. After spending dozens of hours exploring what Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer, it's clear many of those promises were empty.
The game puts players in the shoes of V, whose origin is dependant on which of three lifepaths the player chooses. Those lifepaths change how the game opens and offers special dialogue options throughout the story, typically a nod to information the other lifepaths wouldn't know. While they don't dramatically change gameplay, it's an interesting way for players to establish who V is, laying the groundwork for the character throughout the rest of the game. V's choices will impact how Cyberpunk 2077's story unfolds, too, which gives timed decisions a satisfying layer of urgency.
There's an extensive character customization menu, though players don't have the option to change their character's face or hairstyle later on. While that isn't a huge problem considering that the game locks players into first-person mode, Cyberpunk 2077 makes a point to have players look into mirrors regularly, so anyone unhappy with their previous decisions will be constantly reminded of them. It's a surprising omission for a game that puts such a heavy emphasis on character customization, which, when coupled with Cyberpunk 2077's lack of a transmog system, can result in an aesthetically unpleasing character running around in ridiculous garbs.
Most of the time, Cyberpunk 2077's combat is only a trivial challenge, with boss fights occasionally spiking up the difficulty. The gunplay itself is okay, but it has a tendency to feel stale as the hours press on, especially once players find their groove with specific types of weapons. Melee combat doesn't feel all that impactful, making bladed weapons feel like they're being swung at air, but it's also serviceable. There are also some standout weapons to try that spice things up, like the Mantis Blades and Skippy. Mantis Blades are an augment hidden away inside V's forearms that send limbs flying everywhere when used, and Skippy is a talking pistol meant to parody Microsoft's Clippy. Together, the make for some of the most entertaining weapons found in a modern RPG.
Where the game truly shines is storytelling. While not all of Cyberpunk 2077's missions are home runs, CD Projekt Red has effectively managed to keep both story missions and side quests from feeling generic, even with objectives that are repeated throughout the world. One such objective has players partake in a sort of fight club, with different bouts scattered around Night City. While it would be easy to have copy-pasted fights, there are some unique twists thrown in to keep things from feeling samey. For instance, one fight has players takedown "twins," though, in reality, it's one mind sharing two bodies. It's a small touch, but one that gives the world and characters and an extra helping of personality.
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