There are not a lot of games that faced as much backlash upon release as Cyberpunk 2077 (except maybe No Man’s Sky). A lot of people argued that the team simply didn’t deliver on the promises made in early gameplay trailers, while others complained about numerous bugs (some of which were game-breaking). Not only that, but the game release was postponed several times, and everyone expected that, due to this, it would be released in a more polished state.
Moreover, everyone was coming off the Witcher III: Wild Hunt hype and believed that CDPR could do no wrong. This further added to their frustration, since the No.1 reason for disappointment was always having too high expectations, to start with.
Now, due to this frustration and disappointment, a lot of people have started harshly criticizing the game. While some of this criticism was completely valid, there were a lot of people who went really out there with wild accusations. One of the most ridiculous accusations is one that the game is not even actually an RPG but a looter-shooter instead.
Here are the top five reasons why this is definitely not the case.
- The acronym RPG
RPG stands for “role-playing game.” It’s a game in which you have a far more immersive experience and play the role of a world that you were cast in. You’re not just completing missions; you’re a living-breathing person in a living-breathing world.
It simply stands for playing a role in a world.
To show you just how absurd these claims go, we should mention that some people accuse games that have a pre-set character (not one you can customize) of being “not real RPGs.” The irony lies in the fact that, if anything, they’re more RPGs than those with customizable protagonists. Are they a bit harder for immersion? Sure, but this doesn’t make them not RPGs. After all, like a theater actor, you’ve got a role that you have to play assigned to you.
In other words, even if it didn’t have stats, skill trees, and multiple-choice dialogs that affect events of the game, Cyberpunk 2077 would still be an RPG in the source sense of the word.
- Lived-in world
There’s nothing that screams RPG louder than a world that feels like it’s lived in.
Cyberpunk gets that right. Sure, the traffic and pedestrian crowds may not be great, but enter any club, and you’ll get a feeling of this lived-in world fairly accurately. The place feels like a real nightclub, a place where people actually go to have a good time. The same goes for every store and venue in the game. Even a basketball court seems somehow life-like. In other words, it’s not that hard to imagine living there.
Sure, there are not as many activities as some people expected, but then again, this is more up to their expectations than anything else. You have races, arcades, and even a rollercoaster that you can ride. BDs are a real-life-like VR experience. Combined with all the other activities in Night City, it’s quite easy for one to imagine what their life would be like if they lived in that world.
Even the currency (eurodollars – eddies) feels real and it embodies all the most convenient traits of both fiat and crypto money. Alebiet, with so many currencies in the world and the emergence of the newest cryptocurrencies on a regular basis, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a world with just one global currency anytime soon.
- Your choices matter
Just because the game doesn’t have a dialog tree like BG3 (or its predecessors like DA:O and KOTOR) doesn’t mean that your choices don’t matter.
This is the easiest to notice during the main quest, especially during choices of whether you’ll give Brigitte access to the chip or if you’ll work with Netwatch to stop Woodo Boys. The fact that conversations about this are still so heated, years after the game was released, just goes further to prove that the game was truly immersive. It’s the same as with the Stormcloaks vs. Imperials argument in Skyrim.
The endings and even conversations with all the characters show that even some of the minor choices made an impact on the world. Sure, some of the calls and voice messages were gut-wrenching, but this just illustrates our point further.
Most importantly, the world changes based on your actions. When you clear out the bad guy hotspot, it’s not uncommon that the area turns into a crime scene, or that the normal life restores to the area.
- Every build is immersive
Dialog is not the only way to get immersed in a video game world. It’s about feeling like you’re an in-game character. This game does an excellent job of letting you feel every build.
Going full mele bild with sandevistan and mantis blades will allow you to slice through your enemy like a ghost. Then again, you can take the brawler path and hurl people around with your gorilla arms.
There are not many games that do ballistics as well as Cyberpunk 2077 (In fact, we would argue that there’s not a single one out there). Every gun has a unique sound, recoil, damage, and overall feel to it. This means that even if you do two playthroughs with the same build (let’s say, gunslinger) if you change your main weapon (Nue, Archangel, or Comrade’s Hammer), you’ll feel like it’s a completely different build.
As a hacker, you’ll feel like a demi-god, triggering grenades of your adversaries, making their weapons glitch, and even making their cyberware overheat without ever raising your weapon. The moment the enemy netrunner starts tracking your location, you’ll feel the adrenaline rushing.
- The lore is there; you just have to dig for it
The same group of people who praise the Dark Souls series for hiding its lore will complain about Cyberpunk doing the exact same thing. Sure, when you have to read the codex and notes in Dark Souls, this is an elegant solution to the problem, but when you have to read shards in Cyberpunk, it’s better to just give up and complain that the world is empty.
There are so many conversations, notes, and subtle changes that you’ll only notice on your second or third playthrough.
Just keep in mind that the world of Cyberpunk is so rich and goes beyond Cyberpunk 2077. There are tons of lore out there, in tabletop books, YouTube videos, and even other forms of media. You have comic books, Edgerunners on Netflix, and more. Keep in mind that all of this is canon, and if you don’t think that’s fair, remember that no one complained when Dragon Age and Mass Effect did the same thing.
Can you understand the game without it? Of course, but if you want to get deeper into the world, make an effort to learn more. This will further enhance your immersion and help you recognize all the little things the game did right.
There’s not a single compelling argument for Cyberpunk 2077 not being an RPG
Diablo II is an RPG game. You can look it up. So, what’s more RPG about Diablo II (a game that no one ever disputed was an RPG) than with Cyberpunk 2077? We understand that some people didn’t get the game they wanted and even that there’s plenty of room for criticism. However, Cyberpunk 2077 not being an RPG will never be a valid complaint.