There is no doubt that Cyberpunk 2077 made huge waves in the gaming community when it was released in 2020. While the game has received mixed reviews, it is still one of those titles that many players are keeping an eye on.
Set in a futuristic open world, the story branches off into different paths depending on the choices you make and the alliances you forge. Outside of story elements, the game also has an expansive vehicle and weapon selection, designed to suit your individual play style and needs. There’s a whole universe of things to explore, so let’s get right into it.
Life Paths, Initial Builds and Progression
To kick things off, you start by selecting one out of three Life Paths. These determine your backstory as V, the game’s protagonist, and present you with different dialogue options as well as let you meet certain characters. However, they are mostly just there for the immersion and don’t have any direct effect on the leveling, perks, romance or attributes aspects of the game, much less the ending, so it’s best to keep that in mind when deciding which Life Path you want to go for.
That said, while it’s true that the Life Paths you pick don’t have a significant effect on the story and ending, we wouldn’t go writing it off completely. Aside from having an effect on your dialogue options as well as your encounters, each Life Path also grants you certain bonuses. For example, setting out as a Street Kid will start you off with a decent amount of Street Cred, a reputation stat that allows you to access certain side quests, as well as unique items on the black market.
When it comes to attributes and perks, these go into your character development and can open up new choices of interaction for you, among other neat little boons. For example, investing into Body Perks will allow you to force open doors and increase your health, while Technical Perks let you use Tech weapons and turrets, and adopt a more delicate approach to opening doors. Each of these attributes are subdivided into their respective skill trees, which you can then develop using your perk points. You can think of attributes as your character’s hard stats, while perks are the additional bonuses that go into the unique skills governed under each attribute.
Initially, the game will ask you to spend some of those attribute points into your starting character build. From personal experience, how you choose to distribute them at this point doesn’t really have as much of a bearing as you’d expect, so feel free to go ham if you want to. That being said, you will want to stock up on your attribute points if you can after this. Evidently, certain interactions will be locked without reaching the minimum stat requirement, and we strongly advise only spending your attribute points in instances such as this. And to do that, you will need to keep a healthy supply of points stocked.
Lastly, just a few tips before you hit that New Game button, remember to pace yourself. There is a ton of content in Cyberpunk, and they aren’t going anywhere. There will be a lot of side quests coming your way as you move around Night City, but don’t fret too hard about knocking them off immediately. Instead, just do them whenever it’s convenient for you. Saving yourself from burning out will allow you to enjoy the game better for longer.
While this next point may seem a bit contradictory to what we’ve just said, you also want to complete jobs as perfectly as you possibly can. Fulfilling optional objectives will have an impact on your story progression, so it’s a good idea to have them checked than not. And always, always, remember to save. The game has a notorious reputation when it comes to bugs, and you don’t want to be caught off guard when things are going smoothly.
As a gun-for-hire, you are arguably only as good as the guns you carry. In Cyberpunk 2077, there is a wide variety of deadly weaponry to choose from, and they can mostly be divided into 3 major categories: Power Weapons, Tech Weapons and Smart Weapons.
With Power Weapons, you get the more conventional type of guns. By conventional, we mean no fluff, no fuss. Bullets travel straight and true, and the guns themselves boast a high firing rate, but also come with an equally great recoil effect. Another special effect of the Power Weapon is its ability to ricochet bullets off surfaces, allowing players to hit targets behind cover with an almost pinball-esque trajectory. If you fancy yourself a more traditional type of firearm that you can just point and shoot with without having to think too hard, then a Power Weapon is the one for you.
Tech Weapons give players a quick taste of what futuristic firearms are capable of, utilizing rail gun technology to fire devastating shots with extremely high penetration and a long travel distance. They don’t fire as fast as Power Weapons do, but they are capable of travelling through armor, cover and even walls. For players going for that single-kill-on-target shot, you might want to consider picking up a Tech Weapon or two.
Finally, on the far end of the spectrum, we have Smart Weapons, the most technologically advanced type of weaponry Cyberpunk has to offer. Smart Weapons utilize gyrojet technology to alter the trajectory of its ammunition mid-flight, effectively allowing it to home in on the target with no player intervention necessary. Deadly and accurate is the best way to describe a Smart Weapon. If you like to go fully auto-pilot with your weapons, then get yourself a Smart Weapon. The catch is that Smart Weapons use up ammo at an astonishing rate, and typically do not have a lot to offer in the way of customization.
As we’ve mentioned before, there is quite the variety of weapons to choose from in Cyberpunk. When it comes to ranged weapons, you have your standard picks from most shooter games. Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, Submachine Guns, and so on. For close-quarters combat, you have the traditional Blunt Weapons and Blades, but also cyberware such as the Gorilla Arms, Mantis Blades and the Monowire. Besides that, you also have your throwable items, such as grenades.
You can also upgrade your weapons with various attachments and mods to increase their effectiveness. Attachments consist of the physical upgrades to a weapon, such as the installation of a scope, a larger magazine or barrel, a silencer, and the like. Mods, on the other hand, involve upgrading your weapon’s software to potentially create new effects, or directly give a boost to your weapon’s stats. For both attachments and mods, there are only a certain number of them you can apply to each individual weapon, as they all come with a particular number of slots to fit those enhancements. Some of them may even have none to begin with.
Lastly, each weapon also has a specific quality rating, ranging from common, uncommon, rare, epic, and legendary. The quality of a weapon is largely affected by the enhancements it has equipped, thus giving way to a plethora of weapons that vary differently in their mods and attachments, but come from the same base model. There is also a unique class of weapons called Iconic Weapons. These come with special abilities that no other weapon in the game possesses. However, Iconic Weapons typically have an owner already, so it is your choice whether or not you wish to take it from its existing wielder.
There is clearly much to explore in Cyberpunk 2077 in terms of content, and what better way to feed a player’s adventurous spirit than by giving them the tools to develop characters that they can truly call their own. In Cyberpunk 2077, there isn’t a distinct class system, and with its expansive character build tree, players are free to mold their avatars to fit the play style they like.
Firstly, there are 5 Core Attributes. These are divided into: Body, Technical, Cool, Reflexes, and Intelligence. You will gain more points via leveling up, which can be done in several manners ranging from defeating foes, completing quests, as well as world exploration.
The Body attribute focuses primarily on your overall physical fitness. You may liken this to the Strength attribute commonly found in other RPGs. Improving your Body attribute will not only boost your max health and stamina levels, it also allows you to do a few neat tricks, such as busting open locked doors with brute force, use dead bodies as meat shields to ward off bullets, and utilize heavy machine guns.
For those of you eyeing to be a Netrunner, you will want to invest heavily into your Intelligence stat. This governs your hacking abilities, and grants you a variety of different quirks to use in many situations, whether it’s infiltrating enemy territory, combat, or just day-to-day hacks.
Reflexes are attributed to your character’s movement abilities and general dexterity. Investing into this attribute will allow your character to be more light on their feet, letting them dodge incoming attacks. It will also have a direct effect on your attack speed if you were meleeing, and improve your proficiency with guns, effectively landing those critical hits more often the higher your Reflex attribute is.
The Technical attribute centers around your crafting capabilities. This in turn allows you to craft and mod your weapons, Cyberware, clothes, and just about everything else, to your liking. Aside from that, you will be able to operate complex machinery with ease, and spot alternative routes and hidden locations that you would not normally find.
The Cool attribute works as it sounds; not only will it be less likely for you to be discovered by enemies, it will also lessen the recoil you receive from firing guns. This is for the players who enjoy a more covert approach to achieving their objectives, solving problems with a cool head and a deadly rational train of thought.
Skills and Perks
Your Attributes can be further broken down into Skills, which each determine a certain aspect of your character within that attribute. Unlike Attributes, you can level up Skills just by performing the action associated with that Skill repeatedly. For example, using Handguns often will increase the damage you deal with that class of weaponry over time. However, your Skill level will never be higher than the Attribute level it is under, so you will still need to allocate points to a given Attribute if you want to progress with the Skill it oversees.
As you level up your Attributes, you will be able to access more and more Perks. Perks are bonuses that apply to each of the various Skills you have. Perks can modify and enhance your existing Skills by increasing their effectiveness as well as adding new abilities altogether, such as letting you better control the battlefield, improving your proficiency with weapons, and even opening up new options for you to escape particularly dicey situations. To gain Perk points, you will need to work on leveling up your Skills, not to mention increase your Street Cred and complete the different quests and missions offered by the various factions within Night City. Another reason you might want to level up your Skills to max is that you’ll be able to unlock an exclusive Perk for each Skill you master.
Combat Planning and Execution: Cyberware
While we do see the appeal of going in guns blazing and killing everything that moves, there’s no harm in seeing what you’re dealing with before you decide to go on a warpath. For that to happen, you’ll want to run a Breach Protocol and scan the area for enemies.
Breach Protocol is extremely handy because it essentially allows you to run your quickhacks at a lower RAM cost through the ICEpick daemon. This means that you’ll have more RAM to put into more combat-oriented quickhacks. When you’re running a Breach Protocol, you’ll have to complete a puzzle minigame and complete certain sequences to acquire the effects you want. Take a second before hitting the first sequence you see, as the moment you hit the first character, the timer starts immediately. Plan out your sequences beforehand in order to maximize the time you’re given. You can back out of the Breach Protocol if you want to, but be warned: if you go into the Breach Protocol again, your time will be reduced, but from personal experience, it doesn’t get lower than 6 seconds. Ample time if you’ve already mapped out your character sequences.
So back to the scenario; once you’re inside enemy territory, you can then run a Ping quickhack on a target, which will then highlight every other hostile entity in the area to you. Information is crucial in any situation, and you don’t want to be hit from a blind spot if you can help it. But let’s say you’re not keen on the frontal assault. With visibility on your enemies’ locations, you can take the time to snipe the more troublesome ones first using your Tech weapons. This will undoubtedly make it easier to clean up the rest when things go down.
For you to run Quickhacks and Breach Protocols, you’ll need to invest a bit of your attribute and perk points into Intelligence. This will give you a cocktail of different bonuses, from directly increasing the duration of your Quickhacks, boosting damage, revealing enemy netrunners who try to hack you, and allowing you to craft some rare quickhacks. Notably, increasing your Intelligence attribute also increases your RAM capacity, allowing you to run more Quickhacks. Another way to increase it outside of stat progression is by upgrading your Cyberdeck.
Tips and Tricks
Work on your Street Cred
Street Cred is another progression mechanic you’ll find, which you can increase by completing Gigs from the Fixers or bounties for the NCPD. Street Cred will grant you new options with merchants whenever you’re purchasing clothes, attachments and most importantly, Cyberware. That itself should be all the motivation you need to build up Street Cred.
There really isn’t a quick and easy way to earn Street Cred, but by completing as many bounties and Gigs you find. Fortunately enough, these tend to come in droves. You will often stumble across wanted enemies as you travel across the streets of Night City, and Gigs will tend to pop up at every corner you turn. What’s great is that you can choose to tackle these at your own pace, so if you don’t feel like completing it right away, go ahead and mark it down on your map and come back to it the next time you’re around and up for the task.
A little mercy goes a long way
We’re not trying to preach the moral high ground here, because let’s be honest, Cyberpunk isn’t that kind of game to begin with. That being said, you may want to go the non-lethal route sometimes. It doesn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, so long as you complete the mission, but sparing your enemies will sometimes give you better rewards in the end.
Scan, scan, scan
Cyberpunk is a big game, with plenty of little trinkets to pick up if you know where to look, and lots more if you don’t. Wherever you go, your first thought should always be to do a quick scan on the surrounding area to see what loot is there to pick up. You never know if you could be missing out on something rare, after all.
Hoard it like you mean it, but in moderation
As much as we hate to see a cluttered inventory (as is the case with a lot of the RPGs we get into), there is some method to the madness that is collecting every piece of junk and scrap you can find in Cyberpunk 2077. This rings even truer if you’re ever strapped for cash for that new gun or Cyberware, and want to consider crafting as an alternative. You can also sell your loot for a few quick bucks, but where’s the fun in that?
To do so, you will need a blueprint and — you guessed it — materials, which can be salvaged whenever you scrap a weapon or bought from Junk Shops if you’re really desperate. The blueprints themselves you could probably find off the streets like used candy wrappers, and can also be unlocked by investing in certain Perks under the Crafting Skill tree.
However, there was an issue previously with your save file becoming corrupt if you have too much stuff lying around. It’s been patched out now, but if you’d like to err on the side of caution, go ahead and just take what you need. Not to mention, you can get over encumbered if you’re carrying way too much load.
- 9.2Total Score
Possibly the most highly anticipated video game of the past few years, Cyberpunk 2077 will win you over with the expansiveness of its sidequests and immersive atmoshpere of its cyberpunk world.
- Technical Quality8.9
- Characters and Story9.6
- Engaging Quests9.6
- Addictive & Fun9.4
- THE GOOD
- Expansive side quests
- Quality visuals
- Immersive cyberpunk setting
- Good PC performance
- THE BAD
- Technical issues on consoles