Revisiting Cyberpunk 2077: The Game That Defied Expectations – Is It CD Projekt Red’s Best Yet?

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| September 15, 2023

CD Projekt Red is considered by many to be one of the better video game developers around. Their work with The Witcher series earned them critical and financial success. They also gained the trust of the video game community by ensuring each of their games was of an excellent standard. Coming hot off The Witcher 3, CD Projekt Reds’ next endeavor wasn’t continuing their successful series but instead starting something new. This leads us to Cyberpunk 2077, which will go down as one of the most infamous game launches in history.

After years of delays and trailers, Cyberpunk 2077 was finally released on December 10, 2020, and people were surprised. The game launched, filled with bugs, glitches, and the occasional flying car. It was messy, and many people wrote the game off as CD Projekt Red’s first flop. But I disagree with that statement because it might be their best game yet. Despite its flaws, Cyberpunk has a gripping story with interesting characters, amazing gameplay, and a city that feels alive despite the bugs. And with the Phantom Liberty expansion launching on the 26th of September, there’s never been a better time to give Cyberpunk 2077 another look.

Losing Your Mind, Literally

Johnny Silverhand is looking down through his sunglasses with various buildings and advertisements in the background. It's a sunny day.
How can you say no to this face. (CD Projekt Red)

The story of Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the bigger mysteries leading up to its launch. What was this game even about? Are we the Cyberpunk? And why is Keanu Reeves here? When I finally got my hands on the game, it was nothing like I thought. The story is filled with corporate espionage, assassinations, terrorism, and sentient AI controlling everything (how topical). The story twists and turns throughout the game, with many major changes due to your decisions. Certain characters’ fates and how the story ends are all up to you, and that’s not to be overlooked. The story also gets extra points by having Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand be in your head the entire time.

The relationship between the player character V and Johnny is a highlight of the game. The constant bickering, jabs, and general distrust of one another have a charm that kept me hooked. And you can’t blame V for being hostile to Keanu (blasphemy, I know), but who wouldn’t be wary of an AI trying to take control of your body? Over time, their relationship develops into mutual respect, leading to some heartfelt moments. Playing your cards right can unlock a special ending if you become best buds. Blasting through Night City as these two wackjobs is never dull, and I’ve only talked about the main two characters. I haven’t even touched on all the romance options, interesting NPCs, and other major characters that will keep you invested in the stellar story. It also helps that the gameplay is just as good.

A Gun for You and a Sword for You

A shotgun is being aimed at a brightly coloured enemy with a visor. The enemy is prepearing to swing his sword while other enemies are in the background near some cars.
This is gonna leave a mark. (CD Projekt Red)

The gameplay in Cyberpunk 2077 was a bit of a departure from their previous projects. Until this point, CD Projekt Red has made 3rd person RPGs with primarily melee combat in a fantasy setting. Going from that to a futuristic setting with 1st person gameplay and guns was a leap. I was cautiously optimistic after a few trailers showed off the versatility in the combat. And when I played it for myself, I was overwhelmed by all the options. You can play this game in so many different ways; it’s astounding. You can go for a melee-focused build with swords and hammers, or maybe you want to become the best hacker Night City has ever seen. You could also spec yourself out with cyberware and be one step removed from a terminator. Or you can go guns blazing and shoot everything in sight; there are so many ways to play, and they all lead to a satisfying experience.

Unlike their other games, you can drive cars and motorbikes in Cyberpunk 2077. While the controls take a little time to get used to, you’ll be quickly zipping through the city once you understand them. The other traversal methods are just as fun; you’ll never be bored getting around. If you get the right cyberware, you can run across the rooftops like a cyborg Batman; it’s strangely liberating if you ask me. Speaking of cyberware, the amount of modifications you can make to V’s body is endless. Installing a second heart to give you a free revive once a fight is a must. There are so many combinations you’re sure to find one that works best with your playstyle. Once you pick your weapons, ride, and cyberware, it’s time to hit the city.

A Beautiful Glitchy City

Night City is lit up during night. Various buildings, roads, and the water are all visable.
From a distance, it really is pretty. (CD Projekt Red)

Before launch, Night City was advertised as a main character for the game. I thought it was just marketing nonsense designed to get you more interested in the game. But it wasn’t just marketing nonsense (maybe a little); Night City truly is another character. There are stories to be found down every street, and they all add to the city’s overall vibe. There are the automated taxis that share a singular hive mind and the underground fight ring you can participate in. Then there’s the city’s past, filled with mystery, tragedy, and a little terrorism. The city was only deepened with the arrival of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, a fantastic series that added so much to make Night City seem even more like a real place (you can read all about my thoughts on the series here). It’s a shame that the glitches ruined the city for some people.

You can’t talk about Cyberpunk 2077 without mentioning the glitches at least once. I’m not so blind as not to notice these admittedly massive flaws. I played the game on my base model PS4, and this game made it work hard. Whenever I booted up the game, my PS4 turned into a jet engine. But seeing as the console was old and I hadn’t dusted it in a while, it makes sense. The glitches were very noticeable in the game, but nothing overtly game-breaking. Sure, some textures took a while to load, and it chugged a bit, but I could still 100% the game. Although it was a little frustrating having my car randomly fly and explode, that only happened once or twice. Most of the time, the glitches gave me a quick chuckle before I continued playing. I can see why some people were turned off, but if you can push through these surface-level glitches, you’ll have a great time.

A car is driving down a street in the afternoon.
Travelling in style. (CD Projekt Red)

Cyberpunk 2077 is an amazing game. I can overlook all the glitches and mistakes because I had a blast every second I was playing in this world. The engaging story, varied gameplay, and Night City keep me coming back even after getting the platinum. With the new Phantom Liberty expansion releasing soon, there’s never been a better time to give Cyberpunk 2077 another go. I’m sure you’ll have a blast, choom.

Have you played Cyberpunk 2077? What did you think? Did the glitches stop you from playing? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about everything Cyberpunk.

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