Before we get started watch this and then come back to me:
Okay… done? Good. Now shall we begin?
Cyberpunk 2077 is upon us. Well, not exactly, but a good chunk of footage is and that’s almost as good as the game dropping into our laps. We were treated to forty-eight minutes to be precise. A strange number and I must admit I tried to dissect if there was any significance in that particular number but I couldn’t find any. If there is please shout out in the comments below.
So where to begin with what we saw? My initial reaction was stunned silence. Not from the gameplay itself, that looked very good, but it was the living, breathing city that CD Projekt allowed us a glimpse into that was impressive. This was one of the first games I have seen where I could believe this was a real city street somewhere in the future. It was thriving with people from all different walks of life. Mindless chatter happened in the background as we walked past. People said things to us, people went about their business with not a care in the world. Businesses were open, and some of these businesses looked like they had been in business for quite some time.
As explained in the tech demo, every part of this world has been designed to be believable and have function. There’s nothing just purely for aesthetics. CDP want us to believe that this game is a living world we are walking around in, from our fashion choices that affect our street cred, to our choices of legal or illegal implants. As the narrator could not stress enough that this game at its core is an RPG. I liked how you have different options with how you approach a situation, whether it’s one of conflict, negotiation or a mix of both. I can’t wait to see just how true this dynamic dialogue is. As they explained that each situation responds with dialogue that fits the scene. No more asking ridiculous questions in tense standoffs. These characters respond to you just as you respond to them.
The game promises that it doesn’t have any loading screens. One of the most show-stopping moments in games are when the game is paused by an intrusive loading screen. Every game needs to load though, so if CDP has worked out a way to be able to seamlessly load a game with no pause then this is going to be epic. I can’t wait to be able to explore this world that so much love has gone into. When you think that every touch in a game of this magnitude has a person or team behind it creating content, from the street signs to the stores, to the gameplay mechanics, to the voice acting, then it is a team effort on a massive scale. Even the character creation screen was exceptionally detailed. I lose myself for hours creating a character’s look. It’s very important to me that my representative in a virtual world is something I have put much time and effort in. The more options the better in my opinion.
The upgrade parts of the whole game give you the option, as mentioned before, to go legal or illegal for parts. Whereas a lot of games have opted for seamless integration, Cyberpunk 2077 goes for the cannibalised look of mechanical components jammed into a human body. Visually this is much more interesting. I want to see a universe that has grime. That has been used and lived in, not clean sweeping streets where everything is perfect. George Lucas took the same approach when creating the Star Wars universe, he wanted everything to look like it’s not come from the design table but straight out of the heart of something that’s usable and had been worn and aged.
We’ve not even talked about the gameplay. The mission in the game was to acquire a Flathead, essentially a battle drone, from a high level gang who sell the parts. After selecting how we’re going to approach the situation, we are presented with a stronghold of cyber-enhanced criminals that all have state-of-the-art tech and are suspicious of your intentions. When a leader joins the fray we end up having a gun jammed in our faces and the deal goes sour causing us to have to shoot our way out of the situation.
What was great here was the rag doll reactions when we shot people. The ability to customise and modulate weapons to perk them up, and how we had to cautiously plan our shootout and couldn’t go in all guns blazing. What was damn amazing in this sequence was when we hacked into the network and were able to shut down people by accessing their functions. A different approach, but when you have humans merged with machines then anything goes.
The other remark made was over the branching storylines in-game. All are interconnected and not doing one quest, but doing another can have a knock-on effect on another quest. We’ve seen the cause and effect before in such games as Heavy Rain and the Telltale series, but the scale they are planning to do this on could be a game-changer. Could very well be.
We didn’t really see anything that was revolutionary, we were told repeatedly that this was not the final product, and if we just get a decent game I will be happy. Because that’s all we really want. Decent stories told in believable worlds. Video games are the storybooks of tomorrow, and if this is a story needing to be told on this console cycle or the next, then you can count me in.