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    Cyberpunk 2077 review on PC: on a tightrope

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    Who I am
    Philippe Gloaguen
    @philippegloaguen

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    Let's make one thing clear right away: if you have been attracted by the promise of an open world with a reactive world that actively responds to your actions and you think you are faced with a title like those of Rockstar Games, the risk of being disappointed is behind the 'corner. Do not expect passers-by who respond, except in an absolutely elementary and crude way to your actions or a system of karma that affects their perception of the protagonist.


    Cyberpunk 2077 is something very different, which draws on the imagery created by Gibson, Philip K. Dick, Walter J. Williams and in this regard I recommend that you read the following in-depth study in a preliminary manner. In this dystopian future, everyone lives in their own bubble, separated from the others by watertight behaviors and each has its own story to tell and discover. All this as long as you want to take the time to collect and read the hundreds of shards, USB sticks of the future, that you meet during missions or to overhear the conversations of others, perhaps hidden behind a desk or while walking down the street.


    The city is a gigantic leviathan, unable to notice anything as small as V's dramas, his existence or his fate. As long as you just observe and enjoy what Night City has to offer, the graphics engine will give you glimpses of rare beauty, from the endless farms of solar panels to the neon reflections on the floor of a nightclub, the wilderness of the Badlands and the degradation of the landfill or the poor suburbs adjacent to the luxury skyscrapers of the corporations.

    Before starting with the actual review, we remind you that the following text refers only to the game on PC, which we have tested with great care and attention. As for the console version, we refer you to the dedicated videogamingallday.com podcast.



    Attitude is everything

    Dwelling on the technical aspects, one cannot help but notice how much the title of CD Projekt Red is expensive in terms of resources, with DLSS set to Performance and Ray Tracing disabled I managed to keep 60 frames per second at 4k resolution, barring sporadic but visible dips during some cutscenes. Compared to the witcher saga, this time the Polish developer provides a wide choice to the player to customize their virtual alter ego: you can choose male or female external appearance, genitals and voices, in any combination, with choices that affect relationships romantic available to V. Another noteworthy aspect during the character creation process is the choice between three different personal stories: Nomad, Street Life (Street Kid), o Corporate. (Body), which modify our introduction to Night City with three different missions depending on the chosen path and intertwine throughout the narrative and gameplay experience with additional dialogue options that can reveal more information about what is happening happening or even provide alternative solutions to complete the ongoing mission in a more or less peaceful way, for example by leveraging one's knowledge of the way corporations operate, or the elements of organized crime in the city.

    Nomad, Street Life or Corporate: the choice is yours!

    The game structure opens completely once you have completed a prologue that keeps the player busy for the first hours of the game, varying according to the chosen difficulty setting and how long you choose to take to read the shards found along the way or to immortalize the first glimpses of Night City via photo mode. Since its constituent core, Cyberpunk is meant to be an RPG, necessarily different and more limited than the paper one written by Pondsmith, providing the player with all the tools to enter the world of 2077 and to choose the best approach to bring completed the current task. The violent approach and weapons in hand is always available but there is never a shortage of opportunities to move silently and take advantage of hacking to distract, blind or deafen enemies and continue undisturbed and without victims on the conscience; or the one that allows you to unlock shortcuts and secondary paths as long as you have sufficiently high attributes, strength to break through a door, technical skills to pick an electronic lock or the intelligence to bypass a security protocol. By accumulating experience, a new point can be assigned at each level to five attributes of V.



    These in turn are linked to the different skills and determine the maximum level that can be reached in that specific branch, with a progression system that is somewhat reminiscent of Ultima Online; for example, if you want to improve your skills with pistols and revolvers, you will need to neutralize an increasing number of enemies using that type of weapon, with the experience points necessary to reach the next level following an exponential growth. At each level increase, up to the maximum of fifty and with the growth of your skills, you will also unlock talent points, to be spent in the different talent trees (Perk in English), to further specialize and expand the arsenal of skills of the protagonist, with the possibility of resetting them in case of regrets or simply to change the way you play.

    Style matters more than substance

    Here I want to underline some ed evident criticalities in the character development system, with branches clearly unbalanced and stronger than others: in particular I am referring to Creation, capable of transforming V into an unstoppable terminator, and to the one relating to rapid hacking, which will make you finish the clashes with your opponents even before having started them. Unlike the previously mentioned balance problems, some Talents are instead a waste of points or real curses: I am referring in particular to the ability to throw knives, to discover that once the knives are thrown they are no longer recoverable and lost for always or the one that automatically dismantles the garbage, destroying a precious object that could be sold to a shopkeeper for thousands of euro-dollars and which is transformed into components for the creation of little value.

    At Night City, style is key!

    V customization and development doesn't end there, clothing items to change your look, weapons of all kinds, accessories and cyberware they can be obtained throughout the game experience as loot from enemies, rewards for services performed, through the creation menu or by purchasing them directly in the various shops, as long as you meet the necessary reputation requirements. Since each object has its own level, not directly viewable, which determines its statistics exclusively together with its type, sometimes paradoxical results are obtained, such as a hat that offers more armor than a military helmet. Lastly, we note the absence of the possibility to modify the vehicles owned, although the variety and care of the models available will not make us regret this choice, without forgetting the presence of transport terminals that allow rapid travel to all the destinations already visited. greatly simplifying the exploration of Night City.



    Clashes and conflict resolution in Cyberpunk, in the case of a frontal approach to the problem with weapons or blades drawn, are not particularly difficult, thanks to the possibility of slowing down time to unleash your arsenal of quick hacks on enemies leaving them on the ground in prey to electric shock or with synapses on fire. A pure netrunner could even choose to take on enemies using cameras as attack points and surveillance towers against their rightful owners, without ever being seen directly. Gibson lovers will remain disappointed by the treatment cyberspace receives, almost always in the background, with the hacking of enemies and fixed devices that always boils down to the same minigame to complete. If the enemies are not of too high a level compared to V, you can also decide to use a stealth approach, and once taken behind you decide whether to put them to sleep or kill them, in both cases neutralizing them definitively, but being careful to hide. the bodies that could alert their comrades.

    What difficulty is it best to play?

    Given these premises, therefore, if you want to feel a sense of challenge, it is recommended to play hard, which is the third of the four difficulty levels available, if only to make the rare boss encounters in the game experience more satisfying. I will not go into detail describing the individual weapons but the arsenal available to V is absolutely varied and diversified even within the same category: pistols, revolvers, machine guns, shotguns, assault or precision rifles, grenades, katanas, knives, hammers and baseball bats, to meet the needs of every mercenary ... even the most particular. While the feeling with the firearms is good, the same cannot be said of hand-to-hand combat which, thanks to the first-person view, struggles to return a satisfactory response from slashes and parries. As already seen since the first trailer of 2013, there is no lack of the possibility of having a whole series of grafts added, including the iconic mantis blades, improved optics, reinforced muscles and organs, synaptic accelerators, processors and operating systems.

    Living on a tightrope

    The game interface allows you to keep track of all the fundamental resources: RAM for hacking, health points, stamina points for hand-to-hand combat and movement, ammunition and quick consumables, with some specific cyberware modifications that add further functionality, such as automatically highlighting targets or the range of explosives. All menus are conveniently navigable either using mouse and keyboard or via gamepad; the only drawback was the descriptions of certain talents or effects which I expected to be more exhaustive. There is also some error in their visualization and in the overall summary of the characteristics which, especially at high levels, does not reflect the real potential of one's equipment, not taking into account permanent or temporary bonuses that however are actually present and are correctly applied in reality of game.

    As for the main plot, it can be completed in about twenty hours or a little more, choosing to ignore all the secondary activities and job offers that will be proposed to us by the fixers who divide the different areas of the city. Although it is a viable path, I obviously don't feel like recommending it. It is the same structure of the main missions that invites us to give ourselves the time necessary to deepen the different subplots that, in a natural way, will meet during the stay in Night City, even if the choice ultimately belongs to the player. Taking the time to complete the secondary tasks of V's acquaintances will give you the opportunity to deepen the story, in situations that are never repetitive and without running the risk of getting bored.

    For those who want to go all the way into the maze of Night City, there are then a whole series of contract assignments and calls from the law enforcement agencies, which always share the same general structure, but are essential for accumulating money and reputation and then to shop at the many merchants in the game. Personally I have chosen to close almost all the possible activities before completing the ending, getting to score on GOG one hundred hours of gameplay.

    USEFUL INFO

    I bought and played Cyberpunk 2077 for over a hundred hours on a PC with the following specs: Ryzen 5 3600X @ 3.8 GHz, 32 GB DDR4 Corsair Vengeance @ 3200 MHz, Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Super, and Samsung SSD 860 QVO 1TB on Windows 10 64bit .

    Duration
    • I played for over a hundred hours, completing almost every possible activity
    Structure
    • Single player campaign
    • Multiplayer Mode (Coming Soon)
    Game Card
    • Game Name: cyberpunk 2077
    • Release date: December 10 2020
    • Platforms: Google Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
    • Dubbing language: Italian
    • Texts language: Italian

    The game has been tested in both Italian and English since the localization is complete with audio, subtitles and interface, which can be selected independently from each other from the main menu before loading a save. Playing in English you can see that most of the names of main and secondary positions are references to famous songs, in Italian some titles have been translated literally, losing some of their charm. The soundtrack, which bears the signature of PT Adamczyk and Marcin Przybyłowicz, helps to create the right sound environment, to immerse yourself in the corrupt and hopeless future dominated by corporations and the most unbridled individualism, with the REFUSED special guests that give voice and music to Johnny Silverhand's legendary SAMURAI.

    Cyberpunk 2077 is like Night City, vast, full of contradictions, intimately imperfect and really difficult to leave.

    Review by Claudio Fabbri
    Graphics

    Cyberpunk 2077 marks a new benchmark for video game graphics, the visual rendering with Ray Tracing is exceptional, too bad for the hardware resources necessary to maintain acceptable fluidity

    95
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    The sound sector is spot on and enveloping, electronic and dark. Good dubbing in Italian even if for those who chew English the original audio is recommended.

    90
    GAMEPLAY

    The variety is never lacking, with an abundance of options to deal with every situation, too bad for the quality of the hand-to-hand combat and for certain paths of character development that are too unbalanced compared to the rest.

    80
    Total Rating scale
    88
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