I was Cyberpunked with Cyberflunks in “Cyberpunk 2077”

Lucy Samuels, Staff Writer

After two years of waiting and three delays, the highly anticipated video game “Cyberpunk 2077” was released on September 17, 2020, and it was a complete and utter disaster. Glitches ran rampant throughout and last-gen console players deemed the game “unplayable” on their older machines. Promises of impeccably intelligent AI and a rich NPC system to rival that of juggernaut action-adventure game “Red Dead Redemption 2” were broken as the company lost the trust of millions of excited gamers. What is a company to do to keep a delayed game relevant?

According to CDProjekt Red: hype it up to where they set themselves up for a massive failure. After backlash from gamers and being scolded by Sony to the point of removal from their online store, “Cyberpunk 2077” will always be the biggest disappointment in gaming history.

I patiently waited for this game for a whole two years while I scoured for bit after bit of “Cyberpunk” media, awaiting the arrival of the game of my dreams. “Blade Runner being one of my favorite movies, I was already obsessed with the cyberpunk aesthetic.

When I found out it was becoming a shoot ’em up RPG [Role-playing game] based off of cyberpunk to be developed from the brilliant minds behind “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” I was ecstatic, ready to become a freelance mercenary on the bright streets of “Cyberpunk”’s Night City— but boy was I let down. Don’t get me wrong, this game was still a pleasure to play and there are still parts that nailed it, but it just could’ve been so much better. 

Example of an ad seen around Night City. The poster is so incredibly crazy and gory just to catch people’s attention for a simple candy/energy bar. (Photo courtesy of Cyberpunk Guide 2077)

Starting with what I thought they did well: building the physical world itself. The atmosphere of Night City is impeccable, capturing the capitalist exploitation of the cyberpunk genre, smacking all sorts of crazy eye-catching ads all over the city. The local news plays in the background of all elevators and rooms, reminding the player of the absolute media-driven and exploitative society Night City is. Your character, V, is there to explore this city as a freelance mercenary, as you, the player, decide what kind of person you make V in the cutthroat and crazy city. 

The buildings are beautiful with illuminating neon lights that guide V through the darkness of his quest to become the most notorious merc in the city. “Cyberpunk 2077 is an absolutely beautiful-looking game, but that’s about it.

Everything else absolutely broke my heart and shattered my high expectations. I had high expectations for this game and thought it would be like a cyberpunk “Grand Theft Auto or “Red Dead Redemption.” I was expecting unique NPC’s all over the city and interactive buildings and shops to explore.

In “Red Dead,” literally every building on the map was accessible and had some sort of purpose or loot to find. Actual gameplay interaction was a key piece “Cyberpunklacked, especially being a roleplaying game. I just didn’t feel connected with the gameplay experience itself; it just wasn’t very immersive (besides the architecture and world-building). I felt in no way connected to the character of V, despite making him make decisions and actions I personally would. I was more connected to the side characters such as your net runner friend Judy, or partner in crime Jacky.

The story was fine and at most, somewhat enjoyable. It was fun enough to keep me playing for a couple of hours at a time, but it was nothing groundbreaking. I did appreciate the clever aspect of having a personified version of a virus that infects V’s “cybergear” at the beginning of the game. Johnny Silverhand, the virtual rocker boy in your head, offers some chuckle-worthy crude comments about your actions or the mission at hand, but that’s about it.

I did like the main conflict (the deadly virus killing V and he has to find a solution) that makes Jonny, by proxy, interact with the sleazy world of corporations, whom he absolutely despises. The use of corporations and gangs to present Night City was a nice touch, but worth nothing if you can’t interact with them.

A bright-lit building from the video game “Cyberpunk 2077.” (Photo courtesy of Wccftech)

It would be so cool if you could join a gang or corporation, furthering the quintessential RPG experience that “Cyberpunk 2077 devastatingly lacks. Remnants of an elaborate unfinished railroad system can also be found around the game, showing evidence of the rushed product CD Projekt Red hurried to get out into the hands of gamers. 

I am currently awaiting the DLC to come out in 2022, which I now have mixed expectations about. I want the DLC to redeem the game, but I have a strong feeling it will just be a lackluster story, involving a few new characters to drag you along the ground of the bloody streets of Night City once again.