Cyberpunk 2077: A three-year journey
1,054,388 concurrent players on Steam: Never was a single-player game launched more successfully than Cyberpunk 2077 on December 10, 2020. The hype around CD Projekt’s next big brand after The Witcher was gigantic and the studio’s reputation excellent until then. However, it quickly revealed an ugly face that you thought the studio had long since discarded – Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t ready.
Mind you, on all platforms, even if the conversions for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One resembled an absolute disaster in technical terms, which should never have been released like this under any circumstances. But even on the PC, which was still the cleanest version in comparison, you weren’t protected from enormous graphics bugs, quest aborts and other problems.
However, Cyberpunk 2077 was not only a disappointment in technical terms, but also in terms of gameplay and content. A half-baked skill system, a police wanted system that only existed on paper, a game world littered with useless items, stupid AI opponents, a missing transmogrification system (in a cyberpunk game!) and so much more.
Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t a diamond in the rough at the time of its release, which just needed a bit of polishing, but rather a piece of work in many respects, carried by an incredibly dense atmosphere, a fantastic world representation, as well as exciting and complex characters.
That was the status three years ago. CD Projekt Red didn’t give up after that, but worked for months to improve the mix of first-person shooter and role-playing game piece by piece.
Civilians now react to spontaneous excesses of violence in a comprehensible way, cars avoid obstacles, accidents occur, and there is hustle and bustle on the optically smooth, but never free of residual waste streets of Night City at almost every corner. The skill system was reworked before it was now completely turned upside down again with update 2.0. You can remodel V’s apartment, put together proper outfits and wear them over your actual clothes.
The artificial intelligence also behaves smarter in battles since a few updates, although enemies still have the urge to get stuck on smaller corners. Nevertheless, a lot has been done and changed for the better in Cyberpunk 2077, which has led to increased sales and player numbers.
Curtain up for Dogtown
The grand finale is now Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, the big and only DLC, which lets me slip into the role of V one last time. However, the expansion is not a continuation of the main storyline, nor does it tell a prequel, but all events take place parallel to the events of the original game. This means that the DLC can be tackled at any time, as soon as the “Transmission” mission has been completed. If you don’t have a suitable save at hand and don’t want to start all over again, you can also just play the DLC.
Regardless of what you decide, Phantom Liberty starts with a call from the netrunner Songbird, or So Mi. Together with the president of the New United States, she is on board the modern
Dogtown is a visual treat and delivers another gritty chapter of Night City.
Air Force One, but it was hacked just in the flight room over Night City and is now plummeting towards Dog Town – a hitherto cordoned-off area within the city, ruled by the war-scarred and dark-path-walking Kurt Hansen and his grouping Barghest.
Logically, the president should not linger too long in such a place, which is why Songbird intensely and explicitly asks me to come to the rescue. In return, she promises me a solution to the little Silverhand problem in my head. Well, that’s been promised by quite a few others, but without giving too much away: She has some really good points on her side.
So off we go in the car and to Dogtown, although there is a small problem at the beginning: You can’t just drive into the district as you please. Defensive guns, tanks and lots of well-armed soldiers protect the entrance, which is why an alternative route has to be found.
No problem for my experienced V though, which is why I end up at a black market just a few minutes later. Which is a curiosity in itself, considering that Dogtown gets by without any major laws. Hansen rules with iron fists and hard bandages, but there are no real rules, as long as you don’t pee in the cereal of the military fanatic.