Feature Article

Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay Looks Like Deus Ex, With Fluid Classes

Hope you like laser whips.

One of the biggest takeaways of the latest hands-off demo of Cyberpunk 2077 is that developer CD Projekt Red's next game takes a lot of influence from similar RPG-shooters--games like the Deus Ex series. The hour-long session focused extensively on gameplay, with a specific look at player choices and how they influence combat and story. It seems you'll have no want of options.

Cyberpunk's RPG underpinnings mostly come through in its "fluid class system," which allows you to pick abilities and perks from a variety of areas to develop your own version of V, the game's main character. That means you don't have to be a specialized Net Runner (read: hacker) or Strong Solo (read: super-strong brawler) in particular; you can mix and match your abilities to fit your desired play style. The abilities you choose will give you a variety of options for dealing with combat, working your way through areas and missions, and interacting with other characters--similar to games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

CD Projekt's E3 demo showed one such mission and the options available to two different variants on V. After seeking out a gang called the Voodoo Boys for help dealing with V's "biochip" (which seems to contain a "digital ghost" version of Keanu Reeves' character, Johnny Silverhand, who exists only in V's head), V gets contracted to do a job for the gang. It entails venturing to the Grand Imperial Mall in the district of Pacifica, where a rival gang called the Animals have taken up residence. V's job: infiltrate the building, figure out what the Animals are up to, and shut it down.

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One version of V sneaked in through the mall's loading dock, using cybernetic implants like an optical scanner to spot enemies and carefully move past them. Good thing, too--the Animals are known for bodybuilding and muscle-enhancement technology, and the weaker Netrunner V would have been handily pummeled if he'd been discovered. While you'll have a lot of firepower at your disposal, as we saw in last year's Cyberpunk demo, relying on stealth is an option as well.

A little further in, this version of V, who specialized as a Netrunner ran into a surveillance camera covering the hallway. A nearby network node offered an opportunity to hack in and take control of the camera by way of a quick hacking minigame--but slipping into the network offered its own problems.

Turns out, there's a Netrunner hiding out in the mall somewhere running counter-hacking on you, and that's no small thing. In Cyberpunk, hacking into people can be deadly; the only reason V survives this encounter is because of the help of the Voodoo Boys' Netrunner, Placid, who is linked to your character during the mission to provide tactical support. Despite the interference, being connected to the network gives you the opportunity to mess with a number of devices throughout the mall.

Still undiscovered, V continued into a gym area where a few Animals were distracted watching one of their pals with a robot in a boxing ring. V's "quick hack" skill allowed him to mess with the robot, ratcheting up its difficulty setting. That created a handy distraction as the bot brained his sparring partner, causing a handful of Animals to run over to see what was up. Just a little way further, the way was blocked by another Animal using a bench press station. Luckily, the Internet of Things is alive and well in the 2077--V quick-hacked the bench press to increase the weight, dispatching the poor enemy as the barbell choked him to death. That's why you don't lift without a spotter.

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The quick hack ability has a lot of uses. V was able to commandeer a gun turret and switch off its friendly fire function, for instance. Quick hack looks very reminiscent of the remote hacking capabilities players get in the Watch Dogs franchise, with a lot of similar applications. He also carried a "nano wire," a physical hacking cable he could throw at enemies at close range to jack into their brains, cooking them alive or causing them to attack their friends if you've purchased the right malicious software. Even cooler, though, was the fact the nano wire doubled as a laser whip--something borrowed directly from the cyberpunk movie Johnny Mnemonic (which also starred Reeves).

Switching speeds, CD Projekt showed the same mission with a female version of V who specialized in overwhelming force. Sporting cybernetic implants like gorilla strength, this V didn't have the option to hack her way past the surveillance camera; instead, she ran to a nearby door and used brute strength to force it open. That created an alternate path into an elevator shaft, completely bypassing the Animals in the gym. The move gave off a very Deus Ex vibe, with alternate paths through areas accessible depending on your abilities and your playstyle.

That same access to alternative situations was true in the next room, where V faced the turret and nearby Animals. Instead of taking over the turret, this V simply ripped it off its moorings, turning it into a massive minigun and ravaging enemies with it. She also didn't have the aversion to melee combat that her weaker Netrunner counterpart did and set about punching Animals to death, as well as stabbing them with broken bottles and other handy implements. You'll also be able to wield things like swords, or deal with unaware enemies with stealthy takedowns--including environmental ones. At one point, V sneaked up behind an adversary standing next to a garbage chute, grabbed him by the neck, and bounced his head off a nearby wall before tossing him in, taking him out and disposing of his body in one move.

As with its many story choices, Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't seem to be breaking new ground with its approach to gameplay choices and playstyle iterations. A lot of similar games in the genre offer a lot of similar variations. But Cyberpunk's balance of giving you lots of options that conform to your style, and making them all viable and interesting, makes it look pretty exciting. We only saw a small snapshot of what you'll be able to do in the game, it seems--you'll be able to play the whole game non-lethally, for instance, as well as mix and match a number of different abilities, too. All the different play styles and abilities look they're receiving equal love from CD Projekt, which should make playing Cyberpunk 2077 a pretty responsive and individual experience, regardless of how you want to tackle Night City.

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Now Playing: We Saw Even More Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay | E3 2019

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philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

GameSpot editor in Los Angeles, and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. Hoped the latter would help me get Han Solo hair, but so far, unsuccessful.

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nintendians

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in some gameplay it does reminds me of deus ex series.

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Naija

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Deus Ex with a little bit more?? Like what, the old joke about how many Poles does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: three. One to hold the bulb and two to turn the ladder.

Last year's demo was a joke. From a very early pre-alpha. This year's focuses more on the menus and their stupid obsession with character customization -- and conveniently forget that you can't see your character when playing first-person. Are they really that dumb??

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face76

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@naija: yes yes yes! So tired of people acting like this game in something never done before. I have read other articles saying this demo wasn’t anything that stood out. How many times have we’ve heard you can play non-lethal or mix and match abilities? Last Watch Dogs did this. After WD2 was released Ubisoft added an update to do go non lethal all the way through. Deus Ex last 2 games has had these options.

As for customizations, it’s a joke. Great I can change my eye color, hair, color, what I look like, and yet I will hardly ever see them unless it’s a cutscene. So most of the customizations will be unseen the majority of the game. The whole bullshit that first person perspective makes gameplay immersive. Pondsmith’s awfu, explanation was that if someone behind you said something being in third person you could see them but in first person you wouldn’t know where it came from. Lol

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UrbanMessiah

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Edited By UrbanMessiah

Apparently, CDPR didn't learn their lesson from last year. They did the behind closed door thing last year, the privileged media got to see it, gushed all over it for weeks, praising it as the best thing ever and when everyone else finally got to see it, what happened? It didn't meet the lofty expectations that so many people had built up in their heads because of all the hype and praise the media dumped on it and people started nitpicking it to death. I suspect we'll have a repeat of last year come this August...

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ganondorf77

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@UrbanMessiah: are you all serious? it met the expectations like any other game ever, and a lot more. keep up saying it didnt. and keep up bothering about how game designers want to create their game.

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face76

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@ganondorf77: yea no it didn’t. The problem is CDPR is starting to believe their own hype. A game that is suppose to come out in April of next year and doesn’t show the demo or have a hands on at the biggest gaming event. E3 is a week long commercial for games. CDPR either is drinking their own kool aid and thing this game won’t fail or at this point they want to get out no matter what the status of the game. Again with the whole we will show the demo in a few months. Why? Why wait so long? Why hide behind doors? Why act suspicious? Because they want the media to get all the hype they could get. This way when it’s released after a few months even if fans don’t like it the hype from the media will overshadow it.

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ganondorf77

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@face76: E3 is the crappiest of crap... Most good honest developers out there already realized that. Being cdpr one of them they will probably start they own convention and never come back to this event. But this is not my opinion. Despite being the most popular event, it's getting every year lot more hate, as it is full of lies, full of businessman talking bullshit and promoting the worse marketing methods on Earth today, just to trick you into believing things are going the way they go and people can't do anything.

Said this, I can't agree with you with what you say about cdpr at all. This game is already settled. They could delay it 3 years and it will still rock on and crush any other game no matter if it's even GTAVI, at least cp will pair with gta in popularity, sales and great reviews, no doubt.

They should wait and spend the time they need. Nothing more, no matter the mistakes, delays or hype. Any good developer should. we should encourage any other aaa developer to be like cdpr.

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GleenCross

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I appreciate the effort of such long description, but in this day and age this kind of thing is useless. Which is funny, considering the whole theme about near future stories is how tech will take over useless jobs. Saying that, I am more curious to watch a proper gameplay to see if cd projekt will at least develop a decent combat system. This was always their achilles heel, I am replaying the witcher 3 for the first time nowadays and yes... It's hard to give the combat a pass. It's just too simple. It does it's job tho, flashy sometimes, Geralt cussing around, lol I expect cyberpunk do be just like that, it does it's job and that's it. A real surprise if they develop a good combat system.

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Naija

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@gleencross : Apparently they're hoping the main selling point will be Keanu Reeves in the game. I like the guy, really I do, but I won't buy a damn game just because he's in it.

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ganondorf77

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Edited By ganondorf77

@naija: No. The game was already going to be an absolute success, even if you like it or not. Keanu is not necessary at all to sell better imho. But we will never know, because it's going to sell like no other and keanu is there.

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nintendians

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there some similar to it.

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attirex

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Fail. Next.

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aross2004

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@attirex: Said no one ever.

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gargungulunk

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@attirex: you /would/ say that

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lionheartssj1

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I really wish that car was real.

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streamline

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Just reading about it was tiring. Difficult to grasp the feel of something that obviously needs to be seen.

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xxmavr1kxx

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@streamline: THey just explained how the mission was approached with 2 different characters.

One was a hacker. They used hacking, and stealth to move through the mission area.

The other character was a brawler who got through the mission on brute strength, but didnt follow the same route the hacker took, since the brute strength allowed them to access a different route.

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Naija

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@xxmavr1kxx: Yeah and they essentially said all that to death last year. They've been rehashing the same BS over and over again while refusing to show any actual gameplay which should be worrisome to nearly anyone who's intersted in this game.

I can almost guarantee this game will not be released April 2020. They still have not finished the damn thing and you would need months to iron out the kinks which they are definitely not good at doing.

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