Right gamers, let’s breakdown Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay reveal. I’m not going to cover everything because let’s be honest, there’s a lot. Straight off the bat though, this game looks unique.
The first thing we’re greeted with is our character’s customisation. A staple for any traditional RPG. It looks extensive, and the footage doesn’t even go in to all the detail. You’ve got all your basics; physique, appearance (tattoos, make up, the usual…), skill distribution (constitution, tech, intelligence, cool, strength and reflexes), a fluid class system and finally, a backstory that will have in game effects later down the line.
Then we dive in to “near the beginning of the game”. We follow our character named ‘V’, a friend called Jackie and a ‘Netrunner’ named T-Bug. They are tracking down a missing girl whose implant went dark. The graphics look very smooth for a demo, and fans of The Witcher will already be feeling a sense familiarity. Which makes sense, given that Cyberpunk will be ran on REDengine 4, the latest of CDPR’s engines. The first 10 minutes give us a real good look at the ‘immersive FPS’ vibe that CDPR assured fans would pay off. It looks gorgeous and clean. The level of detail as immense. Oh, and there’s nudity, of course. This is CDPR, after all. Anyway… back to specifics.
Soon in to the demo, we get a good look at ‘combat enhancers’ which come in the form of a glowing inhaler. The first one we see provides the Kereznikov ability which slows down time for the player, allowing them to take control of the hectic battleground. On that note, the FPS action looks fluid and fast. Mind you, it’s not so fast that strategy is useless. Finding cover and positioning yourself looks fundamental to combat. Not bad for a team of developers who’re more used to polishing swords than oiling guns.
We pick up our target and, as it turns out, she has premium medical insurance. Our player drops her off to an armed medical insurance team (ahh, dystopian capitalism) before bugging out. Some cutscenes ensue and I begin to feel at ease with the customisation aspect of this FPS RPG. Some fans were concerned about seeing their customised character in an FPS environment but at the moment, I’m honestly not too worried.
The next 10 minutes give us a deeper look at the beautiful and expansive Night City (which is a sprawling metropolis on the coast of ‘the Free State of North Carolina’). We see ‘V’ chill about her glorious looking apartment for a while, before receiving a phone call from our friend at the beginning of their demo. We’re off out, but first, we get a bit of insight on clothing and stats. Our jackets work like standard armour in other games, they offer protective stats and ‘street cred’ which unlock certain features of the game, such as vendors and content. Street cred will also be acquired by completing side missions. I’ll mention the music at this point as well, a grungy beat plays in the background, which really helps the immersion of the game.
Now we’re out and about, we really get to see the intricately detailed and spontaneously interactive world that CDPR is promising. In the commentators own words, they are working to build Night City in to a ‘seamless open world with no loading screens’. As we follow ‘V’ through the streets of Night City, the environment really stands out. It’s stunning, feels alive and the immersion is overwhelming at times. If you hate crowds like I do, you might be feeling a bit anxious because there are so, so many NPC’s just walking about. It’s honestly one of the most accurate representations of a busy city that I’ve seen in a game.
V is given a mission by a man named Dex DeShawn. A high profile ‘fixer’. Basically a guy who sorts out problems, cleans up messes. You know the sort. After this, we get our first look at the ‘Ripperdoc’. A vendor who can fix and upgrade our character’s cyberware (after all, this is a world where people have computers built in to their heads.). The player can pay for all this, and everything else in the game, with ‘eddies’ (euro dollars). Pretty straightforward really.
Courtesy of the Ripperdoc, we now have a new retinal scanner which allows V to zoom in and gather details about NPC’s. We also get a weapon enhancer built in to V’s hand. This allows the player to view ammo count, fire modes and increases damage on all connected weapons. So even though these upgrades are optional, they are seemingly extremely important to the player’s gameplay experience.
The next major feature we’re introduced to is driving, and if the world is as big as promised, we’re going to need a vehicle. The player will be able to use cars, motorbikes and ‘other vehicles’. Both first person and third person cameras are used, and to be honest, it looks like standard RPG driving, nothing too complex. That being said, the driving combat looks intense. The camera frantically skits around as V tries to shoot some scavengers. Corners and speed make it difficult to get clear shots. It looks like spray and pray, folks (at first anyway. I’m sure there’s a learning curve.)
The rest of the demo revolves around the mission V picked up from DeShawn. Earlier on, the player contacted a member of a military corporation who has a vested interest in our mission. This actually allows the player to approach the mission with a non-violent method. Missions will have gameplay choices; do you jump in and gun everyone down? Or do you play it more diplomatically? In this demo, ‘V’ takes a more diplomatic approach. Even then, how you respond to questions will affect the mission. For example, during V’s interactions, the player can choose to end negotiations by grabbing the gun pointed at her. Well, for this reveal, the player shows restraint and works with the NPC. In turn, this gives ‘V’ the option to infiltrate a base without firing off a shot. We don’t see it, but the commentary implies that you are absolutely able to just run and gun. There isn’t a ‘right’ way or a ‘wrong’ way. This is one of those RPG’s that allows you to play exactly how you’d like.
This mission gives us some insight on the factions at play in Cyberpunk 2077. ‘V’ and her friend are looking to purchase a stolen military bot from a gang named as ‘Maelstrom’. This particular gang adds extensive tech to their own bodies in ways that seem extreme even in this tech obsessed society.
Surprise, surprise, the meeting ends in bloodshed and we get an in depth look at Cyberpunk’s combat. There’s a lot to cover but the extended skirmish shows off melee kills, double jumps, wall climbing, destructible environments, combat upgrades and new weapons. Energy weapons such as the tech shotgun can penetrate walls and be charged to deal more damage. Weapon upgrades can be added quickly and give the player abilities such as seeing enemies through walls. Other combat features include hacking in to enemies’ implants. This allows the player to download building plans and take away weaponry. Blood and gore is aplenty. Shooting someone point black in the legs with a shotgun sends them screaming in agony, limbs flying everywhere.
Finally, we have the ‘boss’ battle. Luckily ‘V’ picks up a ‘Corpo’ weapon which deals a lot more damage than the other weapons we’ve seen. Add that to the upgrade the player received from the Ripperdoc, and ‘V’ can dismantle the boss’ shield armour through a weakness. With that, the combat is over. The commentary reminds us that this was just one possible path in the mission, what if the player didn’t contact the corporate rep? What if ‘V’ decided to just keep the bot for herself? These are all ways to complete the quest and every decision will have a lasting impact on the world around you. A true RPG. (I hope…)
God damn, i’m excited. This demo looked lovely, in my opinion. The closest comparable I have is Deus Ex and even then, the combat looks a lot more fluid. There was a lot of information and in this respect, it’s a damn fine reveal. It showcases enough of Cyberpunk to get people excited. Which is good, because no release date has been given yet, though it’s hoped to be in the first half of 2019.