At E3 2019, I was lucky enough to be invited by CD Projekt Red to check out their behind closed doors demo of Cyberpunk 2077 and to see what had changed from the demo I saw the year before. It is sad that I did not get to go hands on myself, but leaving the controlling to one of the developers, meant that I could just enjoy the game.
The demo started out, with V, this time a male version, with last year’s being the female one, being given instructions to head to a nearby church to meet up with a contact who would give them more information on meeting with a local gang. The reason for this, is that gang could introduce V to someone he was looking for, so with that in mind, and after a quick check of the stats for the character, it was time to step out into the world and what a world.
This year, the demo focused on a location that was set to be a massive tourist sector, but when the economy turned, all the investors pulled out, leaving half-finished hotels and malls, ready for those without money to move in to. The largest group of those that moved in were the Haitians, including a gang, made up of mostly members of that community, after speaking to your contact, in a church, you head to the butcher shop, where the boss was working away. In the world of Cyberpunk, real meat is considered a real luxury item, so most of the meat the people eat, is synthetic, and this nugget of information was dropped on me, right as the boss lopped the head of a chicken. It is a stark reminder that the world of Cyberpunk is quite different to those we have seen before and I welcome it.
After following the boss around the area, we finally made it to his office, where we got the information on what was going on, it seems another gang has moved into an abandoned mall nearby and they want them gone. Sounds like an easy mission, we discover what they are doing and get rid of them and the boss man will grant us an audience with the lady that we sought. There was just the small matter of getting over to the mall, now the developers have promised that you can fast travel, something they used later in the demo, but for now, it was a time to jump on the motorbike that was found outside and drive over.
Driving up to the front of the mall, provided two options, the first is that we could shoot our way in the front, an option, but not a smart one; or we could sneak in from the rear and that is what we did. There were a host of enemies lurking around, taking them on in a fight that early would not end well for our mission, plus as they were all massive folks, they had abilities that our guy, who was adept at hacking and stealth could not meet head on. As they were sneaking around, the team demoing the game wanted to highlight a door that was near a camera, it showcased two different ways to get through that part of the game.
Those who have the strength can bust open the door and go through that way, giving you a different path, but as our character did not have the skill for that, we hacked the camera, which allowed us to move through undetected. There was also the option to shoot the camera out, but that could bring guys running and that was still something we wanted to avoid. Eventually we got into the main room of the mall, where the bulk of the enemy forces were, including their boss and we got to see her demand more money from someone, the person that they were working for. Though, before we could go and sort them out, with some aggressive negotiations, the team swapped the game back to the character from last year’s demo, who had strength to spare and took us back to where that door and camera combination were location.
The reason for this is that they wanted to showcase just what options were available to you, from guns blazing to stealth, the game lets you play however you deem fit, there was even the mention of being able to complete the game, without firing a single shot, if someone wanted to. But playing as the strength focused V gave some different options in combat, so it was time to test them out, with a path clear to the vehicle, V got as close as she could, before the nearby turret started to take shots at her. Rather than blow it up, V was able to rip the gun out of its mount and then use it in combat herself, something that the hacking V could not do, speaking of, once the combat was done, they swapped back to the original V and replayed the same section, this time trying to be stealthy, but rather than destroy the turret, they hacked it, letting it do the hard work for us.
After checking the strange vehicle, more information about what was going on and things were not what we were told by the gang boss, but we needed that meeting, so it was time to suck it up and push forward. Eventually, we got to the source of the trouble, a government agent, who was attempting to map the entire area, using hijacked waves, in order to remove the gang from around there. After getting a list of choices, they decided to honor the contact that we had made, but once we had taken the agent out, we were betrayed and left for dead, as they believed us to be a Ranyon, someone that they could just use and throw away, well as we were not, a quick fast travel back, in the interest of time and it was now time for some revenge and answers. I won’t spoil what happens next, though if you have watched the E3 trailer, you should have a fair idea, as Johnny Silverhand makes another appearance and then things get weird.
I left the Cyberpunk 2077 E3 demo a little let down on the game, what I saw last year and that they released in August, was so amazing, that showcasing stealth this time, seemed to be the complete opposite. Thinking back on it now, I can see why they did that, as there are gamers who are going to play in a variety for ways, giving everyone a taste of the amount of choice in both playstyle and in game options was smart. When the game is released next year, I know for one that I will be stepping into the world, eager to see what mischief I can achieve as the story sounds promising, the gameplay looks a treat and the world, well breathtaking.