I am still playing through The Witcher 3. It's a big game with a lot to do and unfortunately, living my life as well as playing other games has meant that it's taken me a while to get through it.
Long enough, in fact, that its developer CD Projekt Red has started showcasing its next game at E3 2018. After seeing it, not only do I think I'm going to have to give up my real life for a while to get through every aspect of it, I'm going to have to become a monogamous gamer.
No flitting around between platforms and genres as my changing tastes dictate. It's Cyberpunk 2077, forsaking all others.
Given this huge and detailed world has absolutely no loading screens, I get the feeling I could spend time in it as easily as my own life.
That said, as easy as it would be to make Cyberpunk your life, whether you'll want to is another matter.
This is a dark game intended for a mature audience and as it turns out, Night City is a pretty grim place to live. CD Projekt called it “visceral” and that’s definitely one word for it. In the hour I spent with Cyberpunk 2077 there was swearing, full frontal nudity, serious violence and some body modification that made me say ‘eew.’ There are noodles in the game, though, so it's not all bad really. Oh, and print media still exists, which I think may have been the most optimistic thing I saw for the whole hour.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person RPG and shooter that allows you to create your own character called V. The character creation system looks extremely comprehensive and it seems like you’ll be able to truly craft the cyberpunk you always dreamed you would be. You can choose your gender, a life path, adjust your appearance, hair, tattoos and select from a range of skills and attributes.
This is a game world in which you can truly live - you get your own apartment and you can interact with pretty much everything in it, you can forge your own path taking on quests as and when you want and you can interact with people and pursue relationships.
Night City is a world of incredible detail and from what I've seen so far it looks truly alive. As is the cyberpunk way, the city is run by corporations and crime. Technology, inequality and violence are everywhere and every day is a struggle to survive.
The streets are bustling, things are happening around you in a way that makes you feel as if they’d be happening whether you were there to initiate them or not. The city is split into six districts and we’ve only seen one of them so far. It’s pretty huge and driving will definitely be a necessity for traversal.
While the viewpoint is in the first person for shooting and moving around, driving can be done in first or third person.
Speaking of shooting, the combat is one of the coolest things about what we saw of Cyberpunk 2077. There are some genuinely creative weapons here - there are bullets that bounce off walls and allow you to hit enemies under cover. Smart guns can fire into a general area and its bullets will find your enemies for you. V can scale walls using Mantis Blades to get a new vantage point (or use them to carve up your enemies like the turkeys they are). You can also mod weapons and, by using drugs, augment yourself.
The most truly cyberpunk aspect of combat, though, is the ability to hack into your enemies. We saw this for ourselves when V disabled an enemy and hacked into the network through him. By doing this it was then possible to send out a virus that would do things like jam their weapons and make it easy for you to gain the upper hand in a given situation.
CD Projekt isn’t known for having uninteresting side quests, let’s face it, but in Cyberpunk, embarking on them has the added incentive of allowing you to gain street cred to unlock new social opportunities and items.
This is a game with branching narratives and your choices really seem to matter. Our group was told the mission we watched could have gone a variety of ways depending on a range of choices we made throughout it. That's a common sentiment at E3, but I'm optimistic that this game can pull it off.
The thing that makes me most want to leave the meat space (a cyberpunk term for the 'real world') for Cyberpunk 2077 though, it's a huge open world game that's a closed single-player experience at a time when it feels like almost every large game is throwing us into always online space.
It's kind of funny that a game that revolves around a world that's connecting to a network is letting you disconnect from one. Then again, going against the grain to do what works for you is the most cyberpunk thing of all.
We don't know when Cyberpunk 2077 will release, but we do know that it's coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC. It has the potential to be a magnificent swan song for this generation.
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