This is how “Cyberpunk 2077” plays

Berlin (dpa / tmn) – “The next generation of the open-world adventure.” The Polish development studio CD Projekt Red has announced “Cyberpunk 2077”. And that is exactly what many fans expect who have been eagerly anticipating the new game from the makers of “The Witcher” for years. Can a game even meet such expectations?

The answer is: Probably not – at least not at the beginning. Because while many reviews from the trade press were rather positive, the social media were full of recordings of various gambling errors on the night of the release. Especially on the last generation of consoles, i.e. Playstation 4 and Xbox One, gamers report crashes and countless graphics errors.

Bugs reduce the fun of the game

And it’s not just the old consoles that have problems with the ambitious game. Also in the test on the PC there were always minor and major problems that diminish the experience. These include objects hanging in the air, characters running in circles, graphic stutterers or jobs that cannot be completed.

On the one hand, this is surprising because the publication has been postponed several times this year. A release for April was originally announced. On the other hand, the employees of CD Projekt Red recently had to work overtime – the result was another big discussion about working conditions in the gaming industry.

The current state of the game doesn’t really fit in with the developer announcement “We’ll publish when the game is finished” – all the greater the disappointment among many fans. However, it can be assumed that the bugs will be fixed with updates in the coming weeks and months. It was the same with “The Witcher 3”, the developers’ last big game, which was anything but error-free at the start.

Lots of small mistakes – and big ambitions

The technical state of this game can therefore be described with one word: what a shame. Because if you ignore the bugs, “Cyberpunk 2077” is a gigantic game that gives gamers enormous freedom and has huge ambitions.

It starts with character creation. The main character, simply called V, can be completely designed by yourself – starting with hair and skin color, facial features and visible cyber implants to the genitals. Whether V has a female or a male voice can be chosen independently. The voice – not the genitals – also determines whether V is addressed as male or female by other characters.

Various V properties can also be set. The players allocate points to five attributes such as intelligence or coolness, which later influence the course of the game. For example, those who are very cool can sneak well. Other talents are attached to it that make V’s life easier. This offers a lot of possibilities – but it can be overwhelming at the beginning.

Petty criminals in the underworld

The players are also really free to look for tasks. V is a kind of petty criminal who gets orders from so-called fixers. There is a main story about the rock star – and terrorist – Johnny Silverhand, played by Keanu Reeves (“Matrix”, “John Wick”) and an ominous biochip.

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But the game lives even more from its overwhelming number of mini-tasks and side quests, which are distributed all over the world. Even with a little jaunt by car or motorcycle, the map fills with small symbols that want to be visited.

This world, the city of Night City, is also the real star of “Cyberpunk 2077”. The metropolis looks lively and authentic on every corner. It’s full of neon lights and intrusive advertising, mega-corporations and street gangs, luxury hotels and underground clubs. And even when it’s Night City, the sun shines here during the day. Sometimes it also rains – maybe a little too often for California, where the city is located.

Ultra-capitalist parallel world

This can also be related to the fact that “Cyberpunk” takes place in a parallel universe that was developed in the 1980s. The Soviet Union still exists here, Japan has enormous economic and cultural influence and the world is in a kind of end-of-time capitalism in which everything is marketed and corporations take precedence over the state.

Some themes in the game therefore seem a bit old-fashioned. And maybe climate change is less of a problem than it is in our future. The rain – and the neon light that is reflected in its puddles – definitely goes well with the gloomy mood.

This brings you back to the technology: If “Cyberpunk” works, it looks fantastic, at least on a powerful PC. At the beginning there is a sequence that is similar to a film montage and shows the gangster career of V with her partner Jackie between night clubs and robberies – technically and in terms of content a small masterpiece. The sound design, the music, the speakers and the German translation, everything is of the highest quality.

Many ways to the goal

In terms of play, there are hardly any innovations, however, in terms of the flow of the game, “Cyberpunk” is somewhere between “Skyrim” and “Grand Theft Auto”, and the orders are reminiscent of “Deus Ex” and “Watch Dogs”. Often there are many ways to accomplish a mission: a camp full of opponents can be conquered and dismantled by hacking, secretly infiltrated or brutally blasted into the ground.

Positive: Often, apparently small decisions made by the end of the game have an impact later on, which can greatly influence the course of the game and even the end of the main story. This encourages you to not just play through “Cyberpunk” once. A single pass should take several dozen hours.

“Cyberpunk 2077” is not a real disappointment, even if the hype about it seems excessive. The gloomy criminal ballad is an intense experience that reaches the highest level, especially in the game world, but only delivers solid craftsmanship elsewhere. If you wait a little longer to play, you won’t miss anything – and your patience will hopefully be rewarded with a flawless gaming experience.


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