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This is the first game review I've written for the site. It hadn't occurred to me to write reviews for anything other than the books I was reading, but I've always enjoyed gaming and Cyberpunk 2077 is definitely worth talking about.

"This is a masterful work of art direction and design"

Cyberpunk 2077

  • Developer: CD Projekt RED
  • Release Date: December 10, 2020
  • Review Platform: PC (Steam version)
  • Genre: Action RPG

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Game Cover

Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure story set in Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour and body modification. You play as V, a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality.

You can customize your character’s cyberware, skillset and playstyle, and explore a vast city where the choices you make shape the story and the world around you.

Now, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the game's troubled launch, but there are plenty of reviews already discussing that and I'd prefer to focus on something the game got right. Namely it's art direction.

Rocky Ridge, outside of Night City

I'm actually a big fan of the cyberpunk subgenre but hadn't heard of the original tabletop RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, before the release of this game. I understand a lot of the worldbuilding, everything from Rockerboys and Netrunners, to Trauma Team and Cyberpsychosis, is taken directly from the tabletop RPG.

The visual design though, has been thoroughly modernised. There's a wonderful mashup of influences. The obvious inspiration is there without looking too hard: The rain-soaked, neon-lit districts straight out of Bladerunner, or the Late Modernist architecture so prevalent in films like The Matrix or Robocop. But it's the more subtle influences I found myself drawn to.

Driving around Night City is an assault on the senses, but everything dies down once you leave the city boundaries. The barren Rocky Ridge District can be a haunting place, especially on some of the back roads.

Rocky Ridge, outside of Night City

But I got the eerie feeling I'd been here before. Sure, it's a little 'Mad Max', but that wasn't it. It took me a while to put my finger on why it all felt oddly familiar.

Highway Patrol. Early 2016 artwork from the development of The Electric State.

Simon Stålenhag.