NIGHT CITY CHANGES EVERYBODY Cyberpunk 2077, the long-awaited game by Witcher studio CD Projekt Red, is about a place known as Night City. However, in its version, the past isn’t far away. Cyberpunk 2077 was announced in 2012, and it’s based on a tabletop series that launched in 1988. after years of labor and reportedly months of brutal crunch time, CD Projekt Red has delivered on an unbelievably formidable vision: a massive virtual town with a fancy narrative and roleplaying system.
It’s done that by playing all those components extremely safe and straight. Cyberpunk 2077 is an often satisfying and typically impressive game, but despite its setting in the fast-moving future, it’s virtually never a surprising one.
Cyberpunk 2077 takes place within the eponymous year 2077 and the aforesaid Night City, a California urban area where interlocking freeways thread between skyscrapers and street markets. (Imagine Los Angeles with mile-high holo-billboards and pedestrian-friendly urban planning.) Following a factual breakup of America, this failing urban utopia has become an autonomous zone dominated by gangs and multinational corporations.
every street-level surface has been plastered with sexed-up ads and philosophy graffiti, while the ultra-rich have retreated into cavernous hotels and residences with a literally gilded servant class. Most locals are disposable, and all bodies are malleable, ripe for dramatic cybernetic modding that blends flesh with chrome.
Your protagonist is a mercenary named V, hailing from one among 3 possible backgrounds: 2077’s small corporate overclass, Night City’s teeming slums, or the nomade groups outside the city. My V was a neon-haired corporate raider, for instance, and got a brief origin-story mission about being dragged into a bloody division conflict. Just after this introduction, V becomes one of the innumerous freelancers drifting through Night City’s demimonde. Then they are part of a heist organized by a flinty femme fatale, and naturally, the task falls apart. V witnesses a cold-blooded crime by one of Night city’s biggest power players. in the succeeding chaos and coverup, they end up with a piece of dangerous experimental technology. They also resurrect the digital ghost of a night City legend: metal-armed punk rocker terrorist Johnny Silverhand, voiced by Keanu Reeves. while suffering Johnny’s cynical quips and pissed off outbursts, they have to work out who built the tech and how to prevent its deadly effects, appealing to criminals and corporate loyalists who will almost inevitably stab them in the back. This is simply one thread in a narrative that’s big even by the quality of most open-world games. I finished Cyberpunk 2077 in forty hours, which coated most of the key facet missions and a good quantity of cruising around Night City, however left plenty of smaller tasks undone. each neighborhood is filled with jobs to discover, conversations to overhear, and random crimes to stop. As you get additional power, native fixers and crime bosses begin reaching out for help. (They conjointly keep making an attempt to sell you secondhand cars, which, frankly, appears like one thing a good head ought to delegate.) on the far side of the divergent gap missions, you’ll notice a handful of major endgame story branches, counting on where you place your loyalties. Looking at Cyberpunk 2077’s map is a fantastic experience, with waypoint icons packed therefore tight that choosing any given item needs zooming in. however the game does a great job of spinning extended facet arcs from many-core missions. when it’s a fatal initial act, you’re given multiple leads which will advance the main goal. trailing them down requires cutting deals with new characters and contacting the heist’s different participants. These partners ask for help with their own problems, which could continue a subplot from the main story or open the door to a fresh Night city subculture. You’ll notice plenty of fast one-off gigs, but also many optional sections that feel the key to V and Johnny’s heroic tale.
Unfortunately, a lot of this saga feels extraordinarily rote. within the manner that Dungeons & Dragons codified Tolkienesque fantasy, Cyberpunk 2077 distills the foremost recognizable components from important fiction like Blade Runner and Neuromancer. The loosely defined cyberpunk genre began as a grounded alternative to space operas and post-apocalyptic wastelands, heavily influenced by hardboiled fiction. in the decades since, it’s so completely perforate science fiction that its innovations became cliches.
Today, “cyberpunk” has 2 contradictory meanings: tech-heavy futuristic media that feels organically grownup from present-day social conditions, ANd a particular set of the 1980s and ‘90s-influenced retro-future noir conventions. Cyberpunk 2077 is a version of the latter.Cyberpunk sits in an alternate timeline where the land still exists, Japan is a cultural and economic superpower, and massive cities are chaotic warzones. the game is set many decades when the original tabletop release, and CD Projekt Red tones down its retro aesthetic enough to avoid ostentatious anachronism. however, there are periodic flashbacks to an earlier era, making an extraordinarily hilarious setup where 2077 appearance kind of like real-world 2020, and also the fictional 2020s were actually the sci-fi 1980s, right down to vinyl records and eye-mounted camcorders.
Modern fantasy stories, including CD Projekt Red’s Witcher games and also the novels on that they’re based, have distinguished themselves by subverting older genre tropes. That’s often meant manufacturing grittier stories with additional realistic social dynamics. however ice-cold, swaggering grittiness was cyberpunk’s stereotypical beginning point, and Cyberpunk 2077 almost never deconstructs, examines, or builds on its basics. company executives are masters of cold-blooded power games. Fixers do business from smoke-filled bars. cybernetic escorts haunt the streets. Artists are comfy sellouts or sociopathic geniuses, including one played by soundtrack contributor Grimes. Despite being well-worn, lots of cyberpunk tropes have survived because they ring true. Cyberpunk 2077 depicts a hyper-stratified society that rewards cruelty exploits the vulnerability, and commercializes fully everything, something that resonates the maximum amount today as it may need decades ago. the sport’s conventions sometimes appear to help it avoid facile current-event references whereas still feeling contemporary.
But Cyberpunk 2077 also falls into irritating caricature. V’s partner, Jackie, could be a well-developed mix of street smart cynicism and deeply buried hopefulness, except that his dialogue is overloaded with random and awkward Spanish asides. The game squarely reproduces ‘80s cyberpunk’s surface-level fascination with Japan and China, arming Japanese gangsters with katanas and building Japanese characters around archetypes just like the honor-bound samurai. This encounter never really goes anywhere, though Samurai plays a major role within the story. however, it’s an extraordinarily conscious moment for a game engineered on capturing a bygone era’s cool factor. instead of attempting to drop players in a prototypal cyberpunk setting, CD Projekt Red might have pushed the concept further, imagining however an alternate retro-future might evolve — and it’d have clothed a lot of fascinating than Cyberpunk 2077’s chain-smoking gangsters and console cowboys. however, perhaps this night city was too big to get actually weird.
Cyberpunk 2077 will be released December 10th on PC, Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X.