top of page

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: Complicated, Deep, Perception, Reality

Through the terrible power of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 has gone from capping off the last generation to being one of the first huge games of the next – as if the expectations weren’t high enough already.

Between delays and a hype cycle that’s lasted the best part of a decade at this point, CD Projekt Red has the impossible task of making good on all the blanks filled in by 8 years of eager imaginations. The scale of Cyberpunk 2077 and Night City is vast, as is its level of detail. But at the same time, it’s definitely not what I expected.

Corporate Warfare

Personally, I didn’t appreciate just how much of a shooter it was going to be. Outside of the crackling chit-chat, it’s all-action, all the time.

Throughout the main quest lines and side stories, you’re always busting into some dive bar, seedy basement, darkened alleyway or the like to steal a laptop, rescue a corpo’s prisoner, or take out a cybernetically-enhanced gangster who’s pushed their luck a little too far.

And while you can opt for a quieter approach, the at times finicky stealth – where you can sidle right up behind a goon and not have the prompt to grab them appear properly – makes it much easier to barge in with a foghorn and pick up the pieces later.

In fact, stealth is the weakest part of Cyberpunk’s action, and doesn’t feel that viable until you purchase a couple of specific and entirely optional upgrades which allow you to throw knives and slow down time when you’re about to be spotted.

But while stealth takedowns and kills have just a couple of animations, shooting is mercifully much better – tight and twitchy right out of the gate, of a quality and speed which is rarely on offer in games with a role-playing focus.

The way Cyberpunk’s systems are built means a lot of its variety comes from the constant loot carousel. You’ll be pawing through granular stats to switch to something with 0.3 more DPS after nearly every fight. So while you’re facing similar targets a lot, you’re doing it with a different toolkit each time. Once you find something that works for you, crafting skills can be used to upgrade a favourite gun or craft a familiar replacement.

All the weapon types you’d expect from a first-person action game are here. There’s shotguns, automatic pistols, revolvers, sniper rifles, SMGs and so on. There’s also lethal bladed and non-lethal blunt melee weapons, plus some functionality-based subdivisions within guns like ricocheting Power, auto-locking Smart, and charge-up Tech firearms – each with multiple brands and skews of equipment within them.

All of this is said while neglecting the universe-defining netrunning Quickhacks, and top-end Cyberware like forearm mounted Mantis Blades. Through expensive augmentations you can make yourself a weapon, able to jump higher or chop people to mincemeat with just your bare hands. So there’s genuinely a huge amount of choice, and practically every weapon at your disposal feels well-designed in terms of booming sound, futuristic look, and weighted heft.

With the mountains of attributes to deliberate between, perks to sift through, and buffs to frown over, Cyberpunk 2077 is full of these complicated systems. Dark screens dense with tiny text and percentages – much like the Mutagens in The Witcher 3 – that can feel overwhelming until you just give in and spend your points willy nilly.

In this sense, Cyberpunk might be a game that’s enhanced in replays, when a knowledge of the skills available will allow you to push towards a more specific build. Late-game skill resets are possible, but are costly.

So although they’re not the best explained, there’s a lot of experimentation to be found in feeling your way forward.

James Billcliffe (2020, December 7)

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: Complicated, Deep, Perception, Reality. Retrieved from


bottom of page