Thursday, April 18, 2024

Cyberpunk 2077 EGX 2019: all your cyber fantasies come to life

It may have only been shown in video form, but CD Projekt Red’s forthcoming Cyberpunk 2077 was still one of the most impressive games of EGX 2019.

The short segment took place in Pacifica, an area of Night City originally intended as a place of pleasure with its hotels and shopping malls, but is now rundown and inhabited predominantly by the Haitian Voodoo Boys gang. To earn their trust, lead character V is employed to infiltrate the GIM shopping mall and rid it of the rival gang, the Animals.

Here are our impressions from our very own female and male V, Aimee and Ed.

Cyberpunk 2077 EGX 2019


“Welcome to Pacifica,” we were told during our showing of Cyberpunk 2077. I’d almost expected them to end the sentence with “a hive of scum and villainy” but I suppose that was implied. After all, Pacifica is described as a place that nobody wants to be by themselves. It has uncomfortable implications, considering that Pacifica is mostly made up of Haitian gangs.

In the footage shown, we’re on our way to get information about Brigitte. That means we have to do some dirty business for Placide, a member of one of the gangs called the Voodoo Boys. A neighboring gang called The Animals has rolled in, and it’s up to us to find them and clear them out.

But first? We need to get there.

The ride to the abandoned mall is beautiful, and shows off a city that lives and breathes in a way I’ve never seen in a video game before. It’s not that the city is alive in your presence, but it thrives regardless of if you’re there or not. You’re but a small blip in this world, and that makes the adventure of becoming someone greater feel that more exciting.

It’s not just who you are that intrigues me though, it’s the level of choice. While the gameplay showed to us didn’t go into much detail, I was pretty hyped to see that you could customize your character’s clothes from their trainers to their shirt. I just wished that we’d seen more about body customization, as CD Projekt Red have talked about them chucking the gender binary in the bin option an awful lot. There is also the possibility that this is an old build as this gameplay was shown at Gamescom 2019.

Outside of appearance, the choice of how to get into the mall to get rid of the Animals was one of my favourite parts. You can easily just ride your way into the mall, letting everyone know you’re there and probably making everything ten times harder maybe, but looking extra cool while doing so.

Or you can take the stealthy approach, going through the garage and, depending on your life path and stats, hack your way through the building until you find what you’re looking for. Personally, I’m more of a Solo Build, meaning that yanking a twenty-ton machine gun from the wall and using it to demolish enemies with is much more my style.

At the end of the demo, I see a glimpse of the world that awaits us when we finally get to play Cyberpunk 2077 and while I’m cautious, a part of me can’t help but want to dive in headfirst.

Cyberpunk 2077


I was initially disappointed that Cyberpunk 2077 would be a first-person game, especially with all the customisation options in the character creator – though when driving at least you can switch to third-person mode.

The payoff, though, is what looks to be one of the most immersive experiences in gaming. Night City, despite its name, is a bright and colourful metropolis of bustling exteriors in scorching sunlight and dark, seedy interiors. The amount of detail in the world is exceptional and with no jumps to cutscenes, you are truly living and breathing as V – this is role-playing at its most literal. The real-time day-night system, too, is simply gorgeous.

The demo gave us a taste of combat from two different character builds: a solo strength build for heavy weapon use and melee, and a Netrunner with hacking abilities. The latter took a methodical approach to infiltration, hacking cameras, and electronic equipment to turn against goons – even exploding their own implants. The former was able to skip entire sections by smashing through doors and mowing down enemies with a railgun ripped from a turret. For me, there was an almost Metroid Prime feel to it all, with its immersive HUD and surprising amount of agility in first-person, while the menus and customization options were pleasing Witcher-esque.

Both options seem equally viable and satisfying, truly delivering on the promise of personalised gameplay. Conversations also had plenty of branching opportunities depending on your character, with twists and turns in the narrative painting everyone in shades of grey. All in true CD Projekt Red fashion.

The demo ended with V entering cyberspace with a stunning effect. It was only a taste, but I cannot wait to get my mitts on this next year. You’ll find me causing havoc as a Netrunner, whipping away at foes with my laser wires.

For more Cyberpunk coverage, check out the official Twitter as well as Gayming Magazine for more hot takes!

Ed Nightingale

[He/Him] Ed is a London-based blogger and freelance writer, covering music, film, theatre, games and lifestyle. A lover of culture, he can usually be found in front of the silver screen or a laptop - if you can play it, watch it, or sing it then he’s probably got an opinion about it.