Cyberpunk 2077 – First impressions

Welp, only one of my four most anticipated games for 2020 managed to actually launch. Considering what kind of year it’s been that’s the least of my worries though, obviously.

Anyway, Cyberpunk 2077 is finally here. Or is it? Depends on who you ask, really. As far as the majority of console players as well as some PC users are concerned the game isn’t even remotely close to being a finished, playable product.

I won’t rehash the stories about myriads of bugs, Microsoft and Sony offering full refunds and the latter even pulling the game from its store, corrupted save files and everything else that went wrong. Let’s just say that it ain’t pretty.

Like that guy on the right. Not pretty at all.

If I didn’t actively follow the gaming news I’d know nothing about all of this though, as my own experience with the game has been drastically different. A few graphical glitches here and some (unimportant) items that I wasn’t able to pick up there…that’s the whole extent of problems I’ve encountered during just shy of 30 hours played.

And I’m having a lot of fun, too. I’m not quite as enthralled as Jeromai and Belghast seem to be (at least not yet), but as a fan of the genre roaming around Night City is definitely a great experience.

I actually can’t tell you why I’m not totally in love with the game at this point, because I honestly don’t know. It has a lot going for it, that’s for sure.

This city feels more alive and real than any other place in any other game I’ve been. The atmosphere, already very good by day, cranks up to 11 at night. The contrast between rich and poor, people with power and those without, is palpable. Death lurks at every corner, it feels like – not for the player, mind you, but for normal people.

I didn’t really have a preconception of what the game world should look and feel like beforehand, but if I’d had one it probably wouldn’t be very far from what we’ve got.

The quests are pretty good too. Each and every one of them, even those of the shorter, optional variety, has a story to tell. You will find no kill ten rats quests here.

The tone is very bleak though, and while I’d expected as much going in some events still managed to get to me pretty good.

[Spoiler] For example, one side quest asked me to retrieve some stolen meds. Once I’d made my way into the culprit’s hideout I could’ve just killed him and called it a day of course. Instead I managed to talk him into just handing the meds over peacefully. He turned out to be a former soldier with PTSD who just wanted the stuff to make the pain go away.

Satisfied with myself for not killing the poor guy I turned around to leave the place, when a gunshot cracked. I immediately knew what had happened, and sure enough there he was, his head blown off by his own shotgun. For a minute I just stood there, feeling numb. Then I just left without giving the place or anything in it another look. I didn’t take his gun to sell or dismantle either, although that’s what the game teaches you to do all the time from the get-go…but I just didn’t feel like it. For some people there just isn’t a happy ending in the cards in this world. [End spoiler]

The gameplay of shooting, slashing, sneaking and driving works well enough, although nothing feels quite as smooth and polished as a Call of Duty title or a racing game, respectively, but I guess that’s kinda expected when a game has everything and the kitchen sink thrown in.

Variety comes in the form of hacking, which is unfortunately nothing more than a little, non-complex mini game, and the braindance, which is to relive a recorded segment of someone’s experiences, including everything they’ve seen, heard and even felt. It’s basically an advanced version of the SQUID clips from Strange Days. The kicker here is that you can switch to ‘editor mode’ and analyze the scene thoroughly to catch every little detail, even if the recorded person perceived something only subconciously.

Despite the overall dark tone the game isn’t completely without humour, thankfully. Some conversations, and especially the dialogue options my character is given, are hilarious, and there are many little details strewn all over the game world that made me laugh.

He doesn’t know how to use the three sea shells, he he ho ha he…

What I really don’t get is how we don’t have a proper wardrobe system. I mean, this is an RPG, right? One that even lets us freely choose any combination of male and female looks, voice and genitals (not kidding!). When the ability to define who and what exactly my character is is so damn important, why the hell can’t I wear the clothes that I want to wear without compromising my defensive stats?

I mean, seriously, look at the shit I’ve worn so far:

Stop laughing, this is NOT funny!

I’ve been doing all kinds of serious stuff, even given a speech at a friend’s funeral, while looking like this…I can’t think of much that kills immersion quicker and more thoroughly than that.

Maybe that’s why I’m not completely enthralled by the game despite liking a lot about it – it kinda doesn’t feel like it’s my adventure. This character, V, is doing all that shit, and I’m just along for the ride.

Quite literally…

This is definitely complaining about first world problems though, because the game is, in my opinion and on my hardware, really good. If you like this kind of game and own a decent PC I can absolutely recommend giving it a shot.

And now I wish you all a good and healthy start into the new year. May it be better than this one. Not too much to ask for, is it?

What I’m looking forward to in 2020

Despite all moaning and groaning, in my opinion there has never been a better time to be a fan of video games in general and the MMORPG genre in particular. There’s an abundance of great games to play, old and new, huge and small, many even at very low or even no cost to boot. If I had the whole year off I still wouldn’t be able to play everything I’d like to and do each title justice.

Thus I don’t actually need any new games to look forward to. You know, technically speaking.

Most people really like to stare longingly at the horizon though, waiting for that one (or yet another) game so great that it changes their lives or heralds a new age of video gaming, and I’m no different. So here’s a selection of games I have high hopes for, that will or at least might come out in 2020.

Lost Ark

Lost Ark
Borrowed this from Time to Loot‘s Naithin

It’s not exactly news that I’m very keen on getting my hands on this one. By now the Russian version is out – or at least in a no-wipe beta, I’m not sure which it is – so it actually can be played without a Korean account. There’s an English language patch available for this version too.

When I first tried Black Desert Online the situation was exactly the same though, and my experience wasn’t that great. Also, it looks like we might see at least the announcement of a western release sooner rather than later. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t. Sure, the Asian market is huge, but the EU and Americas combined are nothing to sneeze at either. Not releasing the game here would mean leaving huge piles of cash on the table.

I guess we’ll know soon enough. Until then I’m watching this from the sidelines.

New World


This one I’m mostly curious about, I don’t know nearly enough about it to actually have high hopes of any kind. I’m not really a fan of survival games, so possibly it’ll turn out to not be my cup of tea at all, depending on how pronounced that gameplay aspect is in the end.

One thing’s for sure though: Amazon definitely has the resources to let the dev team get this right. I highly doubt they’ll release a sub-par product just to get it out the door. In fact they’ve already proven that they’ll rather shut a project down than do that.

If they in fact do pull off something great I think it’ll be a boon to the whole industry. ActiBlizz and EA desperately need another big player to light a fire under their butts, and we all need a sign that western publishers are actually capable of more than rehashing the same old ideas over and over.

Current release date: May 26th.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 Screenshot Night City

Not an MMORPG, obviously, but this is by far my most highly anticipated game ever since its first announcement.

I played the Pen & Paper RPG Shadowrun back in the day. It made me absolutely fall in love with that kind of setting, and for quite some time I soaked up pretty much anything even marginally related. Novels, movies and of course games.

There have been some very good cyberpunk games, too, the first Deus Ex still being my favourite. I have really high hopes that 2077 will trump them all though, the reason being that it’s developed by CD Project Red.

I’ve actually only played the first Witcher game myself (yeah, I know, shame on me), but the reputation those guys and girls have built since then is nothing short of amazing. Hence many a cyberpunk-fan’s mindset: if anyone can pull this off, it’s them!

Release is slated for April 16th. Can’t wait.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2


This game’s predecessor is one of my favourite games of all time. I find it hard to describe why exactly – which is why my long-planned Greatest Games Of All Times-post about it still hasn’t materialized – but I still play through it every two years or so. Not bad for a game released in 2004.

Every time I replay it I wonder what might have happened had it been less buggy and more successful at the time. Story expansions, more locations, more playable clans. How great that would have been.

To be honest, as of yet I haven’t seen much to convince me that this sequel will actually be good. I’m hopeful though, if only because I want it to be good. It’s ought to release at some point in 2020.

And…that’s it. I mean, of course there are some more games in the pipeline that I’m not completely uninterested in, but I’m not actively anticipating any of those.

Pretty bleak, isn’t it? Nah, not really. As I said in the beginning, I have already too many great games at my disposal that I don’t have enough time for. If these four titles do release in 2020 and manage to fulfill my expectations I’ll be a very happy camper indeed.