Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Cyberpunk 2077 is sensory overload for better or worse

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Night City is packed with intrigue and wonder from the moment you step inside. CD Projekt Red has created a dark, tech-obsessed world brimming with binge drinking and a jaded society that indulges in all facets of life. My curiosity never ceased to attract me, although I was often horrified by what I found. Whether it’s a person suffering from cyberpsychosis going from deep inside the planet or watching a married couple fight to give in to the sexual temptation engendered by this place, Night City revel in its sinister insanity. Much of Cyberpunk 2077 experiences this fascinating, overwhelmingly fast-paced futuristic world. Everything is vying for your attention at all times. It is a sensory overload that both helps and hinders play.

I will never complain about having too much to do in an open world game, but Cyberpunk 2077 has a way of constantly inundating you with side quests. Every time I complete a mission, the in-game cell phone alerts me to a handful more than I can do. There is no stopping just to seize the moment; I constantly remind myself that things are happening and that I am not living them. It’s distracting when I finally select a quest to focus on and my cell phone alert pops up while I’m in the middle of a dialogue, cutscene, or interacting with something, only for it to be. another character who tells me to call them. If I don’t have to hear about another car that’s on the market, I’ll be happy.

But at the same time, it would be unfair not to recognize how this contributes to storytelling and world-building. After all, as your street reputation grows and more and more people hear about your legendary talents, it only makes sense for your phone to explode and people want your attention and service. It also explains how you build relationships in this world, as people you have known will continue to ask you to take your budding friendship forward. However, just like in real life when we’re busy, there should be a way to silence your phone. We are in the future, after all; the technology must be there to prevent people from reaching you 24/7 (although judging by this interface, cell phones must have taken a huge step back in the future). These constant interruptions add up to all the systems and upgrades you can handle, adding to the feeling of always having something that needs your attention. I think I spent as much time in menus and cell phone conversations as I did in the gaming world.

At the heart of Cyberpunk 2077 are themes of over-indulgence and self-interest. The world reflects this beautifully, but sometimes it feels like the game is trying everything in its power to keep you from enjoying and learning more about Night City. Bright lights, crowd chatter, and excessive crime are inevitable. Your only respite from the hustle and bustle of the city is to head to the desolate Badlands, which presents the opposite end of the spectrum: wide open, empty spaces and deafening silence. The Badlands become a refreshing break from the chaos – even if there isn’t much to focus on. That being said, each location captures loneliness in different ways; one in its emptiness, the other in its streets crowded with disenchantment and strangers in difficulty.

To examine Night City and its unique neighborhoods, you must avoid distractions. You need to restrict your focus, even when everything in the game tells you otherwise. When I took the time to muffle the constant noise, I came across the best and worst parts of this weird world. The gratitude of a homeless person when I saved my change would be followed by a drunken woman vomiting and a man supporting her shouting, “Why aren’t you controlling yourself?” You’ll see jaw-dropping neon lights and stunning city architecture atop the buildings, but walking the streets shows the ugliness of Night City with warring gangs and people docked in broad daylight as you walk through the streets. others ignore it and walk around doing nothing.

Maybe you need constant distractions so you don’t focus too much on the dark parts, but I also think this is meant to hide how robotic this world feels at times. You will have tons of NPCs speaking similar lines when you talk to them. Many even take the same looped AI paths, like the Drunk Woman mentioned above, stretching to the artificial moments. This is something that I hope CD Projekt Red will improve on in its future worlds. It’s impossible to have a unique dialogue for every NPC, but there is sometimes something very unnatural about the inhabitants of Cyberpunk 2077. It says something that their robotic nature stands out more in a world where people can replace. their body parts by synthetic parts at will.


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