The writer had a most anticipated event of the one with CDProjekt on this issue 2019 the E3 of Los Angeles. Cyberpunk 2077 there had definitely hit its reveal last year, but we just couldn’t say they were completely satisfied with what is shown. Some of the items there they were fully convinced and the radical change of style, of the camera and of the mechanics of combat, there had been doubts about the possibility of meeting again in the hands of a new masterpiece. But the 45-minute presentation for the press seen this year have simply wiped out any doubts or uncertainty: Cyberpunk 2077 has already reached a state of maturity, very advanced, and the density of the world recreated in the game, the credibility of the environments shown, the action that took place in front of our eyes, made us think for a moment, a long moment, that the next generation will be much closer than we can imagine. And we’re not talking about hardware, but a new generation gaming: what we have seen of the next work CDProjekt has really left speechless.
A protagonist’s personal
The demo shown took place around the mid-point of the final game. V has already reached an advanced level and has many points invested in the skill. The long mission of this E3 2019, we saw follow the directions of Johnny Silverhand, the character played by Keanu Reeves, for making contact with a prominent member of the Voodoo Boys, a clan of outlaws from the sensitive soul who inhabit the district of the Pacific, to meet their demands and investigate the origin of a technology van of surveillance installed in a huge shopping centre, long abandoned and now the home of a violent criminal group called the De Animals. This, in short, is the summary of the narrative arc shown behind closed doors; nothing particularly original or sensational, but it was obviously around the outline to allow ourselves to be petrified.
Innnzitutto CDProjekt has finally decided to let us see something of the more specific step of creating a character who, outside of pure aesthetic customization, start to be enriched by elements ruolistici. In the very short initial step, the developer has shown the beginning of the creation of your own avatar, where you have to set your own path in life, choosing between Nomad, Street Kid and Corporate. This value will serve as a background narrative and a variable that can determine the empathy of V in the comparisons of the characters with whom you will talk along his adventure. The first concrete consequence are some additional choices in the dialogues that we have seen in action during the demo and that is precisely depended on the degree of affinity between our protagonist and his partner. Outside of this Life Path, Cyberpunk 2077 offers the ability to customize aesthetically, the face and the body of the avatar with a degree of detail which appeared to us already very high, to work a minimum on the clothing and then set some attributes already seen during the presentation of last year: the body, the intelligence, reflexes, technical and cool.
Back in the game, is once again thesetting to hit us in the face like a punch. From this point of view the guys of CDProjekt continue to prove to be really able to interpret the universe of Cyberpunk 2077, but, more generally, the whole idea of the aesthetic of cyberpunk. It is a matter of color, of the population which crowds the streets, as the district extends to the view of the eye, of the continuous alternation between external and internal without any apparent solution of continuity in a way that was extremely believable. Cross the road, go under an overpass, climb the stairs to find yourself in a moment in a narrow alley with neon lights, a light mist raised up in the air, and then myriads of microscopic shops where it is possible to enter without any limitation; everything is in the right place. It doesn’t matter that, once again, the Night Life is shown by day, with the sun shining on the horizon: the imaginary of the future chock-full of grafts, inhabitants desperate and underprivileged of the city filled and full of events and activities, and alleys in which to lose, is really credible and we’ve been particularly captivated for the entire duration of the presentation.
This time the demo took place in Pacifica, one of the six districts of Night Life, tourist, the one where all the corporations, and the government had decided to invest their money to set up a district full of luxury and entertainment. A scenario which, at a glance, has made us think of Miami, but also to the west coast of America, with skyscrapers under construction, the breathtaking visuals, and a huge shopping centre on the away enriched and even an amusement park. However, the economic collapse and the social disaster they have never allowed the completion of this district that, from one moment to the other, he saw the corporations and the government run away leaving the area unfinished and in complete surrender. A desolation that lasted a very short they saw that Peaceful soon established a community of creole and an unknown number of organizations and clans, making the district a mix between the slums of the apartheid era and a war zone with buildings gutted and streets devastated.
Dialogues really multiple
There has impressed even the ability to CDProjekt to maintain exactly the promises made last year, when we had been told that the system of the dialogues would have respected the wishes of the players to have a system that is even more deep and versatile than what was seen in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we did not believe that the software house could go up at this point. In the long demo we have in fact noted that not only do we have multiple options for carrying forward the conversation, but also be able to opt for a whole series of choices that is contextual and related to the timing of the player. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, in fact, every time that we start a dialogue, it is always very obvious which the answers allow us to deepen a specific theme and which carry out the mission or the main story through a system of colours. There are then a series of additional options related to the life path chosen during character creation that, at the level of certain skills and that act as a “check” to help us lead the conversation towards certain outcomes or anyway to force their hand. Have a certain level of hacking or force can, for example, we can persuade or force our partner to respond in a certain way, or to lower her defenses.
But even here, in spite of the enormous care of CDProjekt in make the situations always consistent, there is nothing really new, and we will necessarily wait for the final product to understand up to which level of depth and variety-driven the software house to provide the player with lore and characterization, profound and meaningful. Where, however, we perceived the innovation is in the possibility to study the surrounding environment in order to have additional responses, and even a certain degree of timing required to intervene in some situations so as to avoid attempts to break through our defences or our heating elements during a dialogue. For example, in two different conversations with a character key to the mission of the demo, the Calm, the superintendent of the Voodoo Boys, we could note the attempt to link our engagement to his computer tirandoci literally by the arm. At that point, a bar has quickly started to empty, and only the immediate intervention of the developer has allowed that V ritraesse the limb to prevent the hacking of a surprise.
In reality, in the demo we were then forced, however, to offer our jack to Calm to allow him to get in literally in our head, but it will be possible in many occasions to resolve this sort of quick time event to avoid interventions against our will. At another juncture in the demonstration, instead, looking with care in an exchange of words between the same Calm, a boy of his clan, during our dialogue with him, we discovered that something was not going right in the next room and at that point we were given the opportunity to suggest a pause in the dialogue to allow a character to go see what was happening, allowing us then to follow him and eventually to solve in another way to the mission. All assumptions and ideas that we have not been able to see fleshed out, but we have pointed out, for the umpteenth time, as the freedom of action and the usual mantra of the choices and consequences typical of cd projekt, is here pushed to an even higher level.
We have not yet entered into the heart of the demo, but we continue to note the elements on the elements that denote the component ruolistica of Cyberpunk 2077. The developer has shown us so many little clues in the course of the demo so we could catch a glimpse of the menu of the equipment that will allow us to choose between 6 different slots for dress up V, two for the lower part of the body, 2 that relate to t-shirts and jackets and other 2, which, we suppose, be related to the head and face. Apparently there are also two additional screens, which we noticed only through entries on the screen, and that should allow us to choose specifically the grafts (cyberware), and handle the crafting. But it’s too late to delve into the everything and the mission begins to take a important is action.
Hacking, stealth, brute force
Once you have reached the shopping centre I mentioned earlier, the Great Imperial Mall, we notice how the open world and sandbox, giving the player a huge freedom of action in choosing the approach to tackle the quest. Stealth, exploration, attack, head low, analysis of the people involved, every single element of the scenario fits perfectly to the features of V that we decided to play the role and to highlight this variability, the demo continued to switch between two different setup of the protagonist: one with stats and skills are closely linked to the stealth andhacking, all other unbalanced on the brute strength and skill in arms. Just the hacking seems to play, as was expected, a crucial role in Cyberpunk 2077. In practice, we will be able to start the forcing of any computer interfacciandoci with a terminal. At that point we will have to manage a mini-game that will force us to make choices: we can not completely resolve the problem of hacking as if it were a simple switch, but we will have to choose what to violate in choosing between the various elements and systems. Once you have completed the mini-game and be infiltrated into the network of the building, it then becomes possible to activate a sort of constant interaction with all the elements of the scenario. During the progression of the mission for example, we have seen the developer to control the distance a robot training to alter her routine yet and let him kill the clan member who was training with him, so as to create a diversion. Or we have seen violate a bench and weights automated so as to precipitate the handlebar on the neck of another, belonging to the De Animals. Or again, we have the altered a kind of slot machine for them to declare the jackpot so as to distract other guards. Also in this case there seems to be versatility amazing and we are very curious to see where you have gone to the guys of CDProjekt.
It seems to lack even the ability to hide the bodies of the enemies, if you decide to take them to the shoulders, using them as human shields and then download them into a geek, or any other nook and cranny not visible, of course, after they are stunned or stifled. But there is even more: using, for example, that sort of whip, laser and glimpsed in the trailer we will be able to do the hacking from the distance even of enemies. Also in this case, the mini-game, if completed, will give us access to the entire neural network of the clan, allowing us to breach the defences neural opponents are all connected to the same web. So we will be able to force enemies to commit suicide in a variety of ways simply by forcing their arms to carry out actions masochiste with grenades that explode between your legs, or gun shots fired into the head. Don’t seem to really be limited and, even when the game gives to the action thrillers, this is no longer just shoot and crouch but to interact consistently with the environment and with the opponents to make the most of what the scenario can offer. The release of the “physics” of V, which we saw in action could open any port using arms strengthened, could detach the machine gun from the turrets positioned around the shopping centre for use as devastating weapons, to massacre your opponents to the punch and all this without ever removing your finger from the trigger, passing from submachine guns to an impressive number of weapons melee, including throwing knives and swords.
And in all this we have not even mentioned the enemies. In the demo we have noted the composition of the opponents belonging to the same clan: armored soldiers, striking from a distance alternate with some enemies with a tonnage very impressive able to take towards us with a sort of short distance teleportation, thus be extremely difficult to hit with projectiles. In this demonstration, there was a sort of final boss, powered by the same juice that makes the Animals practically unstoppable, armed with a huge hammer and can innestarci in the head a kind of virus which made it less clear in the interface, and the vision with the passage of time, by returning a sense of urgency tempered only by the pattern of attack very repetitive. Perhaps this is a weak variety that seems to afflict opponents, combined with that feeling of the arms that still does not convince us completely, but that we will necessarily want to test in first person to be able to express a definite judgement, are one of the few negative elements of a title that seems to have very few smudges. In addition to the component of shooting, we criticise only the driving phases. In this demo V could jump on board a Yaiba Kusanagi, the bike that you also see in the trailer, to reach the place of the fulfilment of the mission and also this time, exactly like at E3 a year ago, we were again left in doubt the physicality of the vehicle, the bend in the curve, and the way he held the road. Also on this front, we are very curious to try it, pad in hand, how you react to the means of locomotion to our commands, but as seen on screen there is absolutely transmitted to the delight.
Skill and neural networks
The continuous switch between the two versions of V, has allowed us a couple of times to throw an eye also to the management of the skills system and progression of Cyberpunk 2077. These are elements that we will certainly have to deepen, but which are already very interesting in function of the class system, hybrid and completely fluid. As said in many occasions, the new work of CDProjekt will not, in fact, a division between the classes, perhaps to choose at the beginning of the game, but you will leave completely free the player to invest his points in any skill you want, thus creating a character perfectly suited to his style of play. From what we have been able to understand, the system is based on three different elements: on the one hand we have the classic level that increases with the growth of our experience. Level unlock points skills that we can invest in the various perk that determine the ability of actual V. To grow in concrete these skills we will have to, however, use them in the game, a bit like in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for instance). The amount of points assigned to the skill determines the maximum value that can be achieved as we continue to use these skill on the field. It therefore becomes essential to follow a specific style of game because it is not enough to simply put some point on a new perk for us to meet immediately competent in that skill: we will first use it for a long time. Then there is one last element: the Cred. Consider it a kind of notoriety: as our V is popular in the streets of Night City. This additional layer will grow as we carry out secondary activities in the world of Cyberpunk 2077 and its growth will allow us to have access to the vendors is always the best, a ripperdoc with grafts that are more and more sophisticated and also be contacted by your fixer with assignments at a higher level.
We have deliberately tried to avoid any element relative to the history of the mission that the developer showed us behind closed doors, but we can not do less than try to convey how the end of the demo we did see an additional side of Cyberpunk 2077 which leaves a lot of hope on the quality and depth of the creative imaginary of CDProjekt. This is not only to have Johnny “Keanu Reeves” Silverhand at our side, always ready to appear in his version of the holographic because of the engagement that we have planted in the neck, and that probably will be the narrative arc of the game, but to finally see what the Polish team has designed to give us the idea of going into cyberspace. In that ideal of cyberspace thought in the ’80s, and you tried to imagine almost 100 years away. See V soak in a tub full of ice cubes, be connected to the network by a group of netrunner and watching the hands and the surrounding world disappear and then reappear in the form of colored dots has really excited. At least as much as the epilogue of the demo that left hope for the characters credible and full of mystery that probably revolt constantly with our beliefs and convictions for all the rest of the game.
In short, Cyberpunk 2077, despite being away for 10 more months from its output, at the time scheduled for the 16 April 2020 on the PC (with the newly announced support for the ray tracing on NVIDIA GeForce RTX), PS4 and Xbox One, has already presented excellent in this new demo. Management of light, detail of the environments, artistic competence in external care in the animations and models all seem to be pushed to a level of quality very high and, even if he’s not missing many burrs, it seems that CDProjekt is again a candidate to move up the technological bar of the open world and action RPG. We still have to wait for quite a bit of time, but I tell you this already, can’t wait for is August for be in Cologne and be able to see again, this is a demo version that will inevitably protagonist of Gamescom this year.