I’m trying to stay positive, since there is so much negative stuff already out there, and I am trying to be as spoiler free as possible.
I was very excited for this game, then majorly let down with the last delay. When reviews were iffy, I decided against playing it day 1 (even though I had digitally pre-ordered it). I honestly expected a day 2 patch, and it did get one. I didn’t start playing it until after that.
The nudity filter is appreciated. By the time I finished Act 1, it had saved me a lot of unwanted visuals.
My System of Choice
If I was playing on last gen consoles, it would be a different feeling, but on the Series X I get a rock solid 30fps at 4k and it looks very good. Saving is instant, and there is a quick save button that makes life so much easier. No load screens in the open world, either. Just when transitioning story scenes. I really can’t wait to see what they do with the next-gen upgrades.
But seriously, when it’s like, “go to this nightclub”, I am always expecting a door that leads to a loading screen, and yet it NEVER happens. It’s just, “hey, here’s a door, open it, and walk in”. I don’t know where they are hiding the loading (they even stated they aren’t doing that with the elevators in the game), but I am impressed.
I know a lot of people expected a GTA Witcher, and it is not that. You tend to have to be methodical in how you approach encounters, since you can go guns blazing, stealthy, or a mix. Like, you can’t even steal a car if you don’t put at least 1 point into the right stat.
It’s a lot more RPG-focused than what people were expecting, even though CDPR stated it was a heavy rpg many times over.
So running around the world? You can try and treat it like a first person action game, but you’re not gonna get the meat of the game from it.
Dialogue choices can be interesting. You can make certain statements or take certain actions only if you have a related stat high enough,. They also give you special choices depending on which of the 3 main backstories you selected could affect the conversation at all.
There are doors in the world that even have certain requirements from two different stats, like whether your body is strong enough to break down a door or if you are tech-savvy enough to bypass it. I was neither.
Stats and Perks
There are stats, and then there are perks. Stats are your main ability points, which all start at 3, and can go up to 20. Each experience level, you get an extra ability point to assign. That’s on top of the 7 you get at the start of the game to distribute. Perks are divided into sub-categories within the abilities, and that’s where you learn new skills, whether active or passive.
Using a bladed weapon, for instance, will earn you skill with blades, which generates skill-based experience, that unlocks certain perk-related benefits, whether it’s an extra perk point (which you can use on any perk, not just for what you got a skill level for), or something like “+10% faster attack speed with bladed weapons”.
Leveling and Street Cred
Then there’s the fact that there is experience level, and street cred level. The first one does what you think it does, the second one opens up more jobs on the map and is a requirement for certain guns and perks. Like the cybernetic double jump I want? I just hit street cred level 14 before I could even consider buying them, and I still needed another 5k cash.
Blow Your Mind
Now let me tell you about a feature I ran into last night that literally blew my mind: Brain Dances. It’s a game mechanic where you are viewing a recording, and have full audio, video and thermal layers you can view from a it, in a 3d space. It’s the dopest vcr I’ve ever seen. Ff, rw, pause, play, 3rd person environment, first person experience, etc. You can investigate the world that is recorded for clues, and it’s just so frikkin dope.
I wasn’t expecting to be impressed, and honestly, at first, I wasn’t. Then they dropped me into a recording someome took of a meeting with a company exec, and I could explore it all. It is very, very impressive.
They really did not need this feature in the game, could have cut it out, and just had characters explain situations and then you get into the environment and have to figure it all out. But they didn’t do that, they did this, and it is easily the the coolest implementation I could imagine. I don’t know how they could have made it any better.
Dealing with the Enemy
You can hack your enemies. You can lower resistances, see other people or nodes on the local network, or just straight up reboot their optics so they go blind, can’t see you, and you can sneak up behind them and just insta-kill or insta-knock-out. I’ve also found a hack that lets me disable an enemy’s weapon for a short period of time.
What About the Bugs?
As for bugginess, for me, It just has been a fair amount of visual glitches.
This Sounds Like Fallout
A little, but like, what if Fallout was fun? and set in an open world you actually feel the expansiveness and verticality of? and without a loading screen every time you want to enter a building? and with cybernetics?
They Should Have Delayed It Further
They definitely went for it with this game, and I’m glad I am enjoying it; I know there are people that aren’t. I still think they should have pushed back to end-of-fiscal year with the current versions, or Holiday 2021 with next-gen versions.
If back in September (before they delayed to November) they’d had pushed to 2021, it would have been the right call.
When we got to the day before scheduled release in November? It was too late. They still coulda pushed to early 2021, but not holiday 2021.
Current Thoughts on Game of the Year Status?
In a year where I have watched zero credits roll on a single game by my own hand, this is easily my Game of the Year.
I came to that conclusion after extensive conversations with friends, even though I’m still just starting Act 2.