If Cyberpunk 2077‘s Night City needs a samurai, then you might as well be a well-informed one.
Cyberpunk 2077, no bones about it, is a big game. There is a lot to see, a lot to do, and a lot of interlocking mechanics, characters and stories to weave up. Even over the course of the first ten or twenty hours — barely half the game, and that’s if you’re rushing through things — you’ll be bombarded with decisions. Decisions for what to do in the middle of a fight. How you tackle the fight. Dialogue choices. Constant options in terms of your character build. Perks. And then more perks, because the perks system takes cues from Skyrim, and eventually you’ll start unlocking more things.
And then you’ll have choices about where to go and what to do. So to help deal with just how relentlessly overwhelming CD Projekt Red’s long-awaited sci-fi world is, here’s a primer to help budding samurais like yourself.
This isn’t something you’ll necessarily want to do for future playthroughs, but for your first Cyberpunk 2077 experience, I can’t recommend it enough. Each of the game’s base stats will feed into the choices you can make in any given scenario, and within the first 20 hours, a lot of simple choices will be tied down to whether your attributes are high enough.
For instance, you’ll come across doors that you can either “hack” through, or force open, if your body and technical stats are high enough. If your cool stat is high enough, you’ll get extra dialogue options in major and minor plot scenes. Having a higher intelligence value early on, for instance, can help you avoid sticky situations with people who are trying to hand you malware.
I haven’t come across too many instances where the game didn’t give you an alternate path if your stat wasn’t high enough, though. So don’t be worried if you want to deliberately leave one or two stats low. I found there was little need for the main body stat, because the initial health and stamina perks offer enough of an improvement to help you get by. Which is a great segue to…
Out of all the stats — and yes, you can see a potential sixth stat there! — the one that’s the least necessary, even on harder difficulties, is the Body stat. There’s a few reasons why. From the off, you can put perk points into Invincible, which adds 30% to your max health. Regeneration is obvious, but not that necessary given how generous the game is with healing items (and how easy they are to craft). You can boost you carrying capacity as well from the off, and I’ve never hit the carrying limit after equipping a single perk point into that.
It’s worth remembering you will also get extra carrying capacity, armour, health boosts and the like from your cyberware, depending on what you buy/find/craft in the world.
Critically, a lot of the other attributes get very crucial perks once you hit 7 points, 9 points and 11 points. If you’re going to be using a lot of pistols/rifles/sniper rifles, for instance, you’ll need 11 points in reflexes. This unlocks Nerves of Steel, which boosts your headshot damage with sniper rifles and precision rifles by 20% just for one perk point. You can max that out to 40%, and it pairs up with any previous headshot and crit bonuses you might have applied to your character via cyberware, to your guns directly via mods, or just through other perks. (Your critical damage is also tied to your cool stat.)
Anyone wanting to go a pure netrunner build will also need to invest heavily into intelligence, since a lot of the best daemons can only be unlocked with a heavy investment in attribute points, followed by perk points. Guns, on the other hand, can be equipped immediately once you hit a certain level of player level / street cred.
Don’t automatically throw bodies into dumpsters/bins/lockers.
During the original mission you’ll be told that you can kill or takedown an enemy, and hide their body in the same motion. What the game doesn‘t tell you is that if you do so, you won’t be able to loot them afterwards.
I don’t know if this is intended behaviour, but to be safe, always takedown/kill first, loot the body, then hide them in the dumpster/locker/whatever body receptacle the level has laying around.
Get the motorbike as soon as you can.
I’m not going to talk about the specifics around how you get the bike, but there are two opportunities that come up within the first 10 or 15 hours, depending on how you play and what missions you end up doing.
One of them is a side mission, and the other mission that marks your first return — or experience — with Panam in the Badlands. Panam’s mission is a key part of the story, so it’s unmissable, whereas the other is technically optional.
Either way, once you get on the bike you’ll see how awesome it is. The way the dashboard lights up and stays in focus, especially at higher resolutions, is one of the most visually satisfying things all year. Trust me.
Go see Wakako Okada straight away.
This is something you can do immediately in the first chapter. Wakako is the fixer around Jig Jig Street, Night City’s red light district, and she’s also responsible for giving you the game’s very first mission.
You don’t have to go and see her straight away — I didn’t collect until the game’s second act had begun, in fact. But you should absolutely see her as soon as V gets access to a car. Why? It’s because as payment for your job, Wakako will send you to a nearby ripperdoc, who will give you a free cyberware implant.
The implant is a tiger claw tattoo that goes onto your hand, with one very special ability: it feeds visual information into your guns. That basically means you get a mini-wallhack when aiming down the sights of your pistols, rifles, shotguns and such, which absolutely turns the tide of every single firefight you’re in.
Having the ability to just knock people off at will means you don’t have to overinvest in your guns or perks, either. All you need is access to a good gun or rifle, unless you’re doing a specific melee/hacker build or something like that.
Also, it’s worth seeing Wakako anyway: the Jig Jig Street area is one of the prettiest areas in the game, particularly if you’re playing on PC and turning all the ray traced reflections and lighting up to max. It’s also where you can get down, if that’s your thing.