Cyberpunk 2077 is a huge game in nearly every aspect. This highly anticipated title mixes visual elements from movie franchises such as Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and Robocop and mashes them all up in a vast futuristic hellscape of a city packed with Grand Theft Auto-like quests, thefts and murders. It’s a game that’s been in the works for nearly a decade. It had some eight million preorders, and within twelve hours of its release was said to have a million concurrent players on the PC-gaming site Steam alone.
So, what will you find here if you pick it up for your favorite gaming console or PC?
The action takes place in a world that has seen the collapse of global superpowers and the domineering rise of Megacorporations. More specifically, things are set in a place called Night City: a pulsating, sprawling metropolis filled with everything from squalid shantytowns and grungy alleyways to spotless corporate monoliths and megastructures. And it’s all tied together by throbbing lights, building-sized billboard ads and neon displays offering the potential highs of robotic sex and legalized drugs.
In this nasty human hive, gamers play as V, a cybernetically enhanced street hustler who’s willing to do pretty much anything to make a name for his- or herself. And there are plenty of deadly jobs to find while maneuvering the sweaty clutch of the city’s criminal underworld. One of those quests, however, involves V stealing an über-valuable experimental biochip from a powerful Japanese corporation. In the midst of fulfilling that request, everything goes sideways.
V is forced to jam that biochip into his own noggin. After almost dying, he finds himself mentally infected with the personality construct of a decades-dead terrorist named Johnny Silverhand (voiced and represented by the motion-captured image of actor Keanu Reeves). He’s a former rocker and anarchist, and if V can’t get his “ghost” out of his brain, they’ll both be permanently erased.
From there, the game becomes a race against a ticking clock. To succeed V, must break into penthouses and corporate offices, find help from shady cyber surgeons and robotic sex workers, and blast his way through any heavily armed obstacle in his path.
That plot summary might suggest that this single-player RPG will play out like a full-blown action movie. And in many ways, it does. But it’s not just some Blade Runner action-flick joyride. You play in a dank, dirty world filled with dark depressing things. The gameplay itself can at times make you feel as if you’re walking around with a wet, fetid blanket on your shoulders.
The trigger-pulling gunplay—augmented by an arsenal of futuristic blasters—is massively gory. And quests range from bullet-to-the-brain assassinations to drive-by shootings to taking a hammer and nails to someone’s extremities. The profusely profane language—running heavy and hot throughout with f-and s-words and many other crudities—only paints these scenes with an even darker hue.
Drugs are taken in the midst of the central storyline, too, and can be procured for recreation as well. And you can wander into a bar and get as thoroughly wasted (with fuzzy visuals and staggering movements) as you please.
On top of all that, this title is likely the most heavily sexualized RPG to date. You start out customizing your male or female character down to the smallest details. And that includes determining the size and shape of the character’s fully exposed breasts and genitals. You can even create female characters with male genitals, and vice versa. And there are plenty of opportunities to put those fully detailed bodies into action.
A number of the central characters can be romanced, for instance, and then taken to bed. Night City also has an entire street designated to the sex trade. It offers gamers access to robotic and virtual sex clubs, shops filled with sexual toys and streetwalking prostitutes. And the central storyline takes you through some of those clubs even if you would otherwise choose to avoid them.
The sexual encounters involve full frontal nudity (unless you purposely choose to mask it), and there’s physical caressing along with the realistic movements and sounds of intercourse. The most intimate aspects of these encounters are kept just out of sight, but there are numerous perspectives and positions (involving male, female, or same-sex partners) to choose from.
Without question, Cyberpunk 2077 pushes its M-rated boundaries at every turn. That makes this huge game an equally foul one. And when you spend scores and scores of hours as V, with his corrosively chipped brain, you can’t help but end up feeling just a little corrosively chipped yourself.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.