Cyberpunk 2077 Preview: By announcing a new two-month postponement for its long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt knew that it was going to collect the ire of the most impatient.
To ease the tensions and undoubtedly satisfy the players’ appetite for information, the Polish studio chose to organize remote preview sessions for the media around the world, which gave us, lucky guys that we are, the possibility of diving into the heart of Night City for 4 hours.
Cyberpunk 2077 Preview— Night City Wire: Episode 1
4 hours of time, this is the time it took us to try our hand at the long prologue of Cyberpunk 2077, to navigate a little in its open world and to test more of its mechanics only glimpsed for the moment through demonstrations millimeters by the developers.
Note that you will not find here a lot of information relating to the deep history of the game, our test session having especially allowed us to see certain characters already crossed in the successive presentations of the game, so much so that on this specific point, we did not have the feeling to see a lot of news on the course of the story. But whatever, the handling alone is worth talking about it as many details hitherto kept secret and that we could see at work.
AN ULTRA COMPLETE CHARACTER CREATION
Our session started with the creation of our V, whose gender and appearance we can choose with great flexibility since, apart from sex, it is possible to create the most eccentric as well as the most charismatic of characters. To say that the degree of personalization of the avatar is fairly free is euphemistic as CD Projekt allows everyone to create the character that best suits them, with a philosophy of inclusiveness perfectly suited to the letter and the spirit of the Cyberpunk universe.
Once the character has been shaped and a few points divided into the general attributes (intelligence, body, cool, techno …), which condition your fluency with strength, handling of weapons, infiltration, or degree of criticism, it is your path which must then be selected. Nomad, Street Kid, or Corpo are all backgrounds that will shape your character, part of his story as well as certain lines of dialogue.
Having for example followed the path of the Streed Kid during our session, we saw the beginnings of the life of V, freshly landed in Night City and charged with recovering the debt of his friend barman in the place of perdition he has used to patronize. To do so, he will be responsible for stealing a luxury vehicle, but the matter will quickly turn over with the intervention of Jackie, who will become after a 6-month ellipse your crime partner, and that of the police cutting short your activities.
The Street Kid option also allowed us, in the course of a dialogue, to identify a drug that we were offered, to know its effects in advance, and to improve a little the perception that our interlocutor had of us.
CORRECT SHOOT SENSATIONS WITHOUT BEING STUNNING
The time had then quickly come, before embarking on a first mission, to approach the tutorial of Cyberpunk, which aims to lay the foundations on which the action sequences of the game will rest. On the brute force side, you can choose the arsenal of your choice, including melee. Rather solid and despite the fact that exercising CtoC in the first-person view is always a delicate exercise, Cyberpunk is doing quite well with its powerful, fast shots, which consume more or less stamina (like your sprint) as well as with its counter-perfect system based on a good sense of observation and timing.
If, for the moment, it seemed complicated to us, given the configuration of certain confrontations, to specialize in close combat, know that functionality is there and rather pleasant to handle. Side guns, if there is a certain heaviness in the handling of some of them, as it has already appeared during some presentations of the game, the sensations of shoot are for some weapons rather pleasant, give off real power that translates very visually on the screen, as evidenced by the many destructible elements of the environment or the indication of the amount of damage you inflict on the opponent.
It should be recalled that despite its first-person view, Cyberpunk is an RPG before being an FPS, also the sensations of the shoot cannot decently be those which one would find in a multiplayer shooter game whose mechanics is above all articulated around weapons. Here, and as we have seen in real combat situations, the energy of the confrontations is there and if it will take some adjustments to make all the gunfights a little more nervous controller in hand, the promise of pleasant shooting moments, it is there, even if for the moment, the fighting sequences are good, but not stunning.
INFILTRATION: THE PROSPECT OF GREAT FREEDOM OF ACTION
It is on the side of infiltration that Cyberpunk 2077 intends to be less traditional. In a world where everything is connected, it is more than logical to find multiple interactions with the universe or even the implants grafted under the skin of opponents.
This is what seems to want to propose the title of CD Projekt which, in the situations that we were given to see, always left the choice to the player the care to plan his approach. If it would seem that infiltration is sometimes more twisted than the frontal approach, as it is often the case in this type of game, the tools made available are however rich enough to vary the pleasures.
By taking the time to scan your environment, you will certainly be able to mark your targets, in a fairly conventional manner, but also access a rapid hacking system, whose options are more or less costly in resources depending on their effect and whose the number can also be increased depending on the distribution of some of your talent points, which we will come back to below.
Taking control of a camera, hacking an electrical device, turning on a TV or radio to deflect the attention of a guard, or even burn his implant or trigger one of his grenades from a distance are all possibilities that you will be offered if you want to heal your stealthy progression.
Note that in the case of the takedown, the lethal solution is not mandatory, you can just stun and stash the body of the opponent, thus suggesting that the peaceful route will also be taken into account in the game. If we have not yet been able to judge the full depth of the infiltration or the diversity of the interactive elements to clear a discreet path to an objective, we have however been able to note a great coherence in the construction of the game world, who seems to refuse to place a ventilation duct or a huge explosive barrel in a somewhat too convenient way where there is no need to have one.
If we do not know if this promise will be kept in the long term, in this game which seems in many respects disproportionate, we have been able to glimpse mechanics offering a wide range of possibilities and this prospect is still as tempting. However, on some points, the game does not depart from a certain classicism with what it includes guard patrols and detection gauge which fills up when you enter the field of vision of an opponent, and overall, artificial intelligence can sometimes be easily faulted.
Anyway, if CD Projekt manages to vary the situations and the interactions, the infiltration part of the game could be a frank success, and the freedom of approach become the keyword of the game experience, which also happens by a particularly complete personalization of your character skills
RPG ABOVE ALL
As you complete quests, defeat opponents, or complete objectives, you earn experience points, naturally allowing you to level up, giving you attribute points and perk points. The former is used to increase your general characteristics, defined during character creation. Maximizing your constitution will allow you to steal cars if you have allocated enough points while focusing on the technological branch that will trigger dialogues associated with this skill or the possibility of repairing or interacting with objects inaccessible without a minimum of specialization.
But the most surprising is that each of these 5 attributes gives access to one or more perk trees directly linked to their general category. Thus, in these different trees, quite impressive in density, you can easily perfect your V and adapt its skills according to the way you play. Damage with rifles, heavy weapons, propensity to move quickly and discreetly, regeneration of life, new options for rapid hacking.
The options seemed rather overwhelming and even if, in 4 hours, we had not had the opportunity to evolve a lot in the trees in question, the simple possibility of browsing them showed us the extent of the degree of personalization of the character through his skills.
The evolution of the character does not stop there, since who says cyberpunk says transhumanism and who says transhumanism says cybernetic implants. This is a function that you will quickly have access to in the game.
As you could see if you watched the first 45 minutes of gameplay unveiled some time ago, your character can be placed implants intended to greatly boost his abilities. Eye, arm, leg, brain … each part of the body has one or more locations in which you can apply modifications and improvements. However, you will not be able to do anything, the procedure is expensive and the most powerful implants are backed by your Street Cred level, understand the level of your character.
However, the little that we saw in the intro also suggests real flexibility in the development of the avatar, reminding, if it was still necessary, that the DNA of Cyberpunk 2077 comes from the RPG above all. Note of course that your staff can be improved (jackets, chest, outfit, etc.) and that the weapons can accommodate different mods that you will glean over the course of your quests.
We will simply deplore in the immediate management of the loot a little too transparent for the player, who struggles to know if he has just recovered a powerful item or a scrap after a fight. So, if he does not have the reflex to go through the inventory to find out precisely what he has in his bags, he will probably forget to equip himself with the opportunity is also found to evoke the interface, in which one can quickly get lost and which sometimes lacks a bit of readability. If the aesthetic bias, very retrofuturistic is fully justified, there are still concerns of clarity so that the navigation is perfectly intuitive.
AN ULTRA IMMERSIVE UNIVERSE THAT WILL BENEFIT FROM BEING REFINED
So we just saw it for a long time, on the RPG plan, Cyberpunk 2077 seems very solid, complete and complex, rich in possibility and it is a very good thing. But what about his universe which won the jaw to an entire audience during its first reveal at E3? Well, our session blew hot and cold.
If it is not necessarily obvious to determine the reasons for the small technical shortcomings that we have been able to perceive (remember that we were playing the game from Paris in streaming from the PCs of CD Projekt premises), Night City did not appear to us as resplendent as in trailers.
Indeed, from a strictly technical point of view, the exteriors lacked finesse, offering a rendering sometimes blurred, sometimes dull, which did not do justice to the impeccable work done on the overall artistic direction of the game. If the interiors are very beautiful, thin, and beautifully lit, the exteriors do not always have the “wow” effect that we would have expected when we were able to grab our vehicle and navigate freely in the streets of the city.
People live their lives, get sick, talk to each other, stop for a bite to eat … we felt the same feeling of life that could animate Novigrad in The Witcher 3, but in a more sustained way. Note also, and this is what should also constitute one of the strengths of the game, that very special efforts seem to have been made in favor of an environmental narrative of a rare density. Wherever you look, the environment has something to tell.
At the end of an alley, PJ discusses, free to you to approach and listen to their dialogues, which, for the most part, are not limited to a few lines, but to a complete conversation that can be interesting to listen to. The same goes for the different screens in the city, which sometimes broadcast television programs which are themselves fully dubbed and staged and which you can, or not, choose to watch in full.
The universe is full of interesting details, giving Night City the feeling of a city that lives independently. Note also that the density of the population varies according to an environment, and inevitably, a city center will be more active than the lowlands of the city, each district that we crossed enjoying a very particular atmosphere. Immersion should in any case be one of the great strengths of Cyberpunk 2077.
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