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Everything we saw during the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay preview

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The last time we saw anything significant from CD Projekt Red when it came to Cyberpunk 2077 was THAT teaser trailer 5 years ago. Since then the CDPR team has been silent on anything regarding Cyberpunk, so when the gaming industry came to the realisation that Cyberpunk 2077 would likely be at E3 in 2018, there was a sense of anticipation in the air before the show even started.

The surprise announcement and new trailer at the end of the Xbox conference sent the entire industry into an uproar as we all realised that a lucky few among the tens of thousands of journalists attending E3 every year would get to see the game in the flesh.

We were one of those lucky few.

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Those that didn’t already have an appointment with CDPR rushed to see if they had any spots available, and the queues outside their private meeting room every day (they were not on the show floor) were indicative of the hype this game has generated.

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Was it all worth it, however? There was some controversy as it emerged that the game is played in First Person Perspective for example - people were expecting a Witcher style third-person game, so this was undoubtedly a surprise.

I can honestly say (look at my Twitter) that my first reaction to Cyberpunk 2077 was, “OMFG! I must play it!”

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I knew the instant I saw it, that no matter how many amazing games I saw at E3 2018 (and there were some real winners), that Cyberpunk was my best of show. In many ways, I can see the similarities between The Witcher 3 and this new franchise. We saw approximately 45 minutes of gameplay, and CDPR showed us many of the weapons, character choices, enhancements and other features of the game as it currently stands.

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Much like the potions you use in The Witcher, you make use of enhancements as you go into battle in order to give you better reflexes, coupled with tech enhancements to improve your guns, your ability to analyse your targets and so on. We all knew this would be a futuristic RPG, but the deep character customisation (complete with backstory creator) and (what looks complex at this stage) skills tree, seems to ensure that all the good elements of The Witcher 3 have been carried over to this franchise all the while adding new and improved features.

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You play as V - a character that can pretty much be anything you want them to be - living in Night City. There are different character classes you can play as - Netrunner, Techie, Solo, or a combination of all them - you’re not restricted to a single class.

Like any RPG, there is obviously the main story arc, but in this case, you’re limited to interacting with some key characters. Your partner (or at least for the time being anyway), Jackie Welles - is an ambitious gunslinger type character, prompting you to take bigger risks to climb higher up the crime syndicate ladder. You also meet and interact with various characters who give you missions to complete - in this case a fixer called Dexter Deshawn, and a nasty, egomaniac, corporate executive named Meredith Stout. Another important character is your local “ripperdoc” Victor - a medical technician who provides you with upgrades to your tech.  

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Speaking of tech… weapon upgrades! Sure there are the standard futuristic looking guns, but there are also guns that fire bullets that seek out and follow your enemies meaning you can fire from behind cover and still hit your targets. Would you rather take a more hands-on approach? How about a blunderbuss that dismembers your enemies in a couple of shots? Not interested in guns? Melee weapons like the mantis claws are knives that come out of your arms and allow you to drop down and impale your enemies.

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You can explore the city on foot or by car/motorcycle. Vehicular combat is also something that features in the game as you do battle with enemies (in the demo this was a disgruntled gang). As was explained right at the beginning of the demo, a key part of the exploration is vertical - V’s apartment is located in a megabuilding with multiple floors - all of which contain NPCs, side quests and secrets for you to discover. 

I think it was this particular scenario that first gave me a sense of how truly massive this world is, and why the developers have taken so long to reach this point. Why? They’re in the process of creating a seamlessly open world with no loading screens. Given the amount of content, assets, possible missions and so on I could see from the demo alone, I instantly became an uncharacteristically patient person because I know the end result will be sensational if the demo is anything to go by.

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For all those people worried about the game being in first-person? Unless you’re one of the unlucky who gets motion sickness, this isn’t something you must worry will impair your experience in any way. In this context of the game, which focuses on hacking into people’s Bioware to find their weaknesses, sending information via chips placed in your head and so on, it makes complete sense. 

The nature of an FPS game is that it is immersive, and if the concept of the game is focused on tech integration with the primary protagonist, then does it not make sense to embrace an immersive format? Controversy? Yeah maybe, but I really feel it’s unwarranted.

This game had me on the edge of my seat for the entire 45-minute presentation - literally. The action is fast-paced and in your face. The feel of it is visceral, bold, colourful and utterly intoxicating.

Are you itching to play Cyberpunk 2077 yet?

Be patient. We have no doubt it will be worth it.

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