Cyberpunk 2077 becomes true to Cyberpunk at its vertical limits

Early on in my presentation on CD Projekt Red’s 7/10 NFT screensaver, Cyberpunk 2077, I realized you can climb up the clotheslines.

I’m dealing with vertical, so I usually immediately try to figure out how high I can get, but after temporarily scaling a few floors, I decided to give the urgent main task the benefit of the doubt. An invisible wall would probably be disappointing anyway. I got off again and did my best to interact with the expensive scenes filled with the right actors. After 50 hours of humble Strange Days cues afterwards, I had most of the game under my belt and was ready to look for something more important – to try and find some actual cyberpunk in the recycled mood board. I set out to push Cyberpunk 2077 to the vertical limit.

There’s no denying that Night City itself is the game’s biggest strength, a sprawling chaos of the new brand clashing violently against the old. I wouldn’t have been able to drag myself through the campaign without the deteriorating prospect of wandering around in yet another disgusting but oddly comfortable electronic shovel. There’s also no denying that it’s the most amazingly sterile and artificial video game city since LA Noire. You can practically see the paths that the NPCs with the brains of the goldfish are connected to. It’s just a packing center with mini Far Cry-style missions to fill you in for another 30 hours. If there’s anything real to be found here, it’s as far from the game itself as possible.

So I quickly fly to the bridge market, hanging between the skyscrapers. I vaguely remember taking here at one point, another routine shooting background. It’s three in the morning and I’m sleep-deprived, but the first steps are easy, and deliberate stairs and corridors are laid that allow me to advance dozens of floors at a time. I have better legs than I did at first – robot legs that allow for double jumping. Perfect for impossibly reorienting yourself. I transform the V into a gravity-defying platform mascot, bouncing off parallel walls and past sections of mysterious parkour.

There comes a point in the ascent where the ambient sound suddenly cuts off, and the traffic noises and ad noises suddenly disappear as if the game just realized how louder it is than where I am now. Nothing replaces it. No wind whistling or birds. The market details below me are becoming less specific, and hardly ever displayed. Cyberpunk 2077 is clearly not interested in what I am doing at this height. She has no game waiting for me here.

The edges became narrower, the gaps widened. It takes increasingly longer to find hand grips to scramble hard. When progress comes, it’s quick, and I’ve gained two feet when I’ve been scaling floors simultaneously. I can’t get over the feeling that the open-world RPG Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t happy with me, as if it’s trying to convince me to go back to where all the content is. The war of attrition lasts for an hour, and there are countless abandoned examples of V littering the streets below as I mash them against every little bit of geography I can find, salvaging my way to the top of the massive structure. The 4 a.m. blasts off to 5 a.m., and my relationship with Cyberpunk 2077 is now completely hostile — a perceptible, malevolent force actively trying to keep me away from something.

I can’t get over the feeling that the open-world RPG Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t happy with me, as if it’s trying to convince me to go back to where all the content is.

I won of course. I am an elite professional. I’ve been playing this stuff since before I knew how to hit. I can feel when a corner can be cut through, when a small artifact can be dwarfed. There is a language somewhere in the depths of my mind that intuitively knows how these worlds work, what it feels like and how to break them. You hit some form of unknown height limit, trip false 1s and 0s and reality transformations. The game gives up. The roof I’m on has decided to become invisible and I can see through the rest of the building, all the way to the streets below and the endless black void on which the world rests precariously. Of course I have to throw a V at it. Maybe there is a way out there.

I threw V off the ledge, freezing time and she fell to make her stand in front of the camera as I fiddled with the exposure. After I got my picture, I let it fall. Watching her through her eyes as the city rushes to meet her, the details that had suddenly become distant became more and more clear. Because it comes into contact with the pavement at terminal speed. I load up my last of my quick savings and are back on edge, good as new and ready for another plunge into involuntary death in pursuit of art. If she has any objections to this, she doesn’t show it, and she flies and explodes through the air as I lock her into a rebirth loop. I lose count – at this point V is trapped in quantum superposition at the simulation boundary, rolling around like a toy with a higher power that you can’t grasp.

This was true for Cyberpunk, it happened to me. This was Neo’s arrival to touch a mirror and see it melt before his eyes. That part of the dark city where a brick wall collapses and reveals a sea of ​​stars. Remember 1999 also ran the thirteenth floor? When your man drives to the edge of town and finds a wireframe of green computer lines, revealing the nature of his reality as the playground of a sociopath in a layer above his own? You don’t remember the thirteenth floor, but it is. It’s the cyberpunk protagonist who finally sees the gaps in the world that have been set above their eyes, and begins a journey of self-realization as they fight for a life outside the fringes of the company’s stunt.

Cyberpunk has been here the whole time, hiding in the surroundings of Elon Musk’s $316 million power fantasy. Where else would he be hiding? They will certainly never be found within the constraints of market research for open-world video games – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything of value to be carved out of this bloated capitalist theme park.