Keanu Reeves is just about Cyberpunk 2077’s Cortana.
I simply received out of Cyberpunk 2077’s behind-closed-doors, hands-off demo at E3 2019, and it went into deep sufficient into a few of its unanswered questions that that is truly beginning to appear like an actual recreation. It was a formidable chunk of roughly 50 minutes of recent gameplay that began to point out among the extra nitty gritty parts of the way you’ll truly be enjoying this epic-scale RPG, even when it didn’t have fairly as a lot influence as final 12 months’s large reveal.
This vertical slice was completely new gameplay, with no overlap with what we noticed at E3 2018 (that demo finally went public after Gamescom), nevertheless it was additionally extremely comparable in construction and presentation: Set up V as the principle character, have them stroll round speaking to people a bit, assault a facility filled with baddies, finish with a giant story second.
That similarity isn’t a foul factor, nevertheless it meant it didn’t share that jaw-dropping “oh my god, I can’t consider we’re seeing this” feeling I had in 2018 – however I don’t suppose it wanted to. As a substitute, we simply received a take a look at one other angle of Cyberpunk. Extra concerning the story, extra particulars about leveling and ways, extra about customization and procuring, and extra of all the pieces.
Among the best components of that was a dwell character-swap the demo did twice. The demo began from the angle of a hacking, netrunner-focused model of V – hacking doorways to open them or merchandising machines to distract enemies – however at one level CD Projekt Crimson jumped again to an earlier part and replayed it as a way more aggressive, strength-focused character.
If each mission has the choice to go in loud or quiet that’s an enormous quantity of flexibility for a large-scale open-world RPG.
Whereas one was making stealth kills with a laser garrot known as a monowire, the opposite ripped a turret off its base and used it as a minigun in a bloody rampage. When it got here to stealth, the hacker route had them sneak up on an enemy coaching towards a boxing bot and hacking it to up the issue to knock them out chilly, whereas the energy route simply ripped a closed door open and prevented them completely. If each mission has the choice to go in loud or quiet (which is usually recommended by the truth that CDPR confirmed we’d be capable to do full non-lethal playthroughs) that’s an enormous quantity of flexibility for a large-scale open-world RPG.
We additionally noticed how leveling will work: it’s a system that’s cut up into attribute factors like Power and the infamous “Cool,” and perks for particular issues like handguns, shotguns, melee, and extra. CDPR tells me these perks get stronger by use (in addition to a perk level system), however they’re additionally bottlenecked by your attributes. For instance, in case your energy is just too low, you’ll finally hit a wall in your melee perk till you get extra, however you’ll be capable to respec attributes in some vogue, too.
In the meantime, the shock inclusion of Keanu Reeves seems to be much less of a fast cameo and extra like Cyberpunk’s model of Cortana. CDPR mentioned that sooner or later within the story you’ll primarily begin being haunted by the digital ghost of Johnny Silverhand, performed by Reeves. Silverhand shall be your fixed companion, chiming in with dialogue in your head and sometimes projecting himself out into the world to be seen, and CDPR tells me he’s a big a part of Cyberpunk 2077.
I’m not squeamish about profanity, however there’s an artwork to utilizing it effectively.
That mentioned, among the dialogue spoken by Reeves (and some others) felt a bit stiff and unusual at occasions. When the demo character completed customizing their hair and outfit in a mirror, Silverhand chimed in with “You actually suppose they provide a rat’s dick the way you look?” which felt paying homage to the unwieldy cussing current within the first demo. (I’m not squeamish about profanity, however there’s an artwork to utilizing it effectively.)
There was a cool dialogue bit in how Cyberpunk handles translation. V has a chip that may translate sure languages on the fly as you encounter them, and that occurs dwell on display screen as you watch the subtitles become English. CDPR tells me you’ll unlock extra languages as you progress somewhat than having to purchase them individually, primarily gating components of the world off with a literal language barrier.
We additionally received our first take a look at Cyberpunk 2077’s hacking minigame – due to course there’s a hacking minigame. It appears to be similar-ish to Fallout’s, with a grid of hex code characters (pairs of a quantity and a letter) that you must choose the right ones from. A base degree of success will get you entry to no matter system you might be hacking, whereas there are additionally non-obligatory goals that provide you with bonuses for doing effectively. It’s additionally vital to notice there may be such a factor as “fast hacking,” which helps you to immediately entry sure techniques, so that you received’t at all times should play that minigame.
As for the opposite components we’ve already seen, I’m nonetheless not but positive how I really feel concerning the gunfights and driving. The demo noticed a wide range of completely different weapons used and a journey scene the place V is using the pink motorbike seen in Cyberpunk 2077’s collector’s version statue, nevertheless it’s onerous to get a way of the load or really feel of both these actions with out going hands-on for myself. The fight not less than seems to have a number of choices to select from (we noticed all the pieces from machine weapons to damaged bottles used on this demo), however the driving nonetheless seemed pretty arcadey as of now.
However, as CDPR mentioned very clearly at first of the demo, that is all a piece in progress. CDPR advised me that it’s nonetheless determining how sure stuff will work, like how a lot you’ll be capable to change your look mid-game (it’s going to not less than enable issues like hair colour and elegance) or how typically you’ll be allowed to respec your attributes and the way costly it is going to be.
So whereas this demo didn’t ground me the best way final 12 months’s did, it actually received me excited to play Cyberpunk 2077 – principally as a result of now I can truly see myself enjoying Cyberpunk 2077. We’ve received an actual launch date – April 16, 2020 – and we’re beginning to fill within the blanks to among the specifics right here, and I can’t wait till I can dive into it for myself.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Opinions Editor and resident pie maker. You possibly can observe him on Twitter.