I should preface this by saying that I remember being apart of the burgeoning community when this game was announced back in 2012. Back then, the forums were mainly consisting of a small community, a lot of fans of the table top and RPGs in general, and I remember there were many threads discussing about our hopes for the game and the things we didn't want to see from it. Now I understand that we aren't the ones making the game, it wasn't crowdfunded, and as a company you already had your own vision of what you wanted to be. I've spent 75 hours with the game now, took a break, processed some things, reflected, and it has to be said. The thing that surprises me most about this game is that you basically took everything that the older community said they didn't want in the game and put it in, and everything we did want is just not present. I get it. You guys are big time now, you got to appeal to the general audience and get them on board. It's where the money is. I have been playing and enjoying your games since the first Witcher game, so it's not the easiest thing in the world for me to honestly say I think this is the worst game you've made yet. It's not bad. In fact it's quite good, it does a lot of things right. First and foremost, the city. The city is probably, from a visual design standpoint, \the best city ever crafted in any video game. The architecture, the layered, textured feel of the world. The people, of all walks of life, walking past. The sense that you are a small and insignificant part in this massive eco system. Nailed it. It's great. Now god forbid you actually try to touch the world because the illusion cracks, but I digress. The LOOK has been achieved.
But what MASSIVELY disappoints me, and what I can't get over is that the RPG systems, particularly the character progression, is severely lacking. Not only that, while you may have taken the names of the stats from the tabletop, the way they are implemented, what they actually mean in the context of the world is baffling in it's inconsistency. I remember when you had the blog, cited inspirations for the game were Fallout 2, System Shock, Deus Ex,etc. I can kind of feel the Deus Ex, but these other games did not have any influence on the design of this product. Firstly, the checks in this game refer only to the attributes and not the skills, which I imagine is because of skills only increasing through use and you didn't want to gate people by making them grind that way. That's fine, I get that. What I don't get, is that the dialogue options that are given via these attributes are inconsistent as hell, and frankly bizarre. For instance, Body, skills listed under it are Athletics, Annihilation, and Street Brawling. Body checks are used to intimidate at times, this makes sense. Other times Body checks give V dialogue options as if he's a grizzled war veteran who just got back from deployment. It's a stat used to connect with a depressed police officer who's friend just died, to calm and ease a shellshocked, PTSD addled psycho soldier, to display knowledge to s 6th Streeter that he is familiar with his extremely rare military issue sniper rifle. What? Why? What the hell does body have to do with any of that? The skills under Body don't even reflect having such knowledge, because rifles, handguns, and stealth are under Cool and Reflex respectively. Speaking of Reflex checks have absolutely nothing to do with your characters reflexes at all, it's just them reacting quickly to unusual statements or events. Cool checks have very little to do with your characters composure, and seemingly only grant quippy or self confident options, barring the one time where you talk to Judy where I think it was used well in that your characters demeanor immediately assuages her suspicions, that was a good implementation.
Then there is the skills themselves as they are used in combat, the vast majority of Perks are just percentage increases to damage under certain scenarios and don't change how you play at all, barring making combat more spammy as you get increased crits and status effects with absolutely no change in animation. The decision to make Cyberware gated by attributes is utterly bizarre, as is the decision to change attributes limits to a base 1-20 instead of 1-10 with cyberware being the only way to past the threshold. I don't even know where to begin for most of this stuff, but I can remember having long conversations years ago about not wanting this exact system you have in place. I don't need to mention crafting being utterly broken and useless. The weapons having this very looter shooter progression to them rather than having the weapons be distinguished by function and modular customization. Like I said, I could go on,, but I'm not very happy with this and I doubt it will change because they are the very fundamentals upon which the game is built. Cyberware is very limited, the arm cyberware in particular amounts to nothing but new melee weapons and it seems all the secondary functions have been cut from them. Not to mention you cannot really customize yourself with any fashionware (Chrome skin, etc) or what have you but I digress.
Last but definitely not least, the technical state of this game is atrocious, even on PC. I bought the Witcher 3 on launch and this game is by far worse off than that game was. At least in The Witcher 3 character didn't merge into walls during the most emotional parts of their quest, completely lose their facial animations or their audio, etc. I gotta say I don't think the whole "interactive cutscene" concept was worth it guys, I don't think anything significant was gained from it. In fact you lost quite a bit. The cinematography in Witcher 3 was excellent, and due to the perspective in Cyberpunk, it's far more limited. None of the scenes you've done really go beyond what has been done for other first person games. I understand the vision, but I don't think it was worth it. Yes, looking up at the skyscrapers in Night City is cool. The first couple of times. Maybe less so when you look up and see a random car stuck in a wall some where on the horizon. I also think we lose the effect of seeing our character in the world. We are not V. V will never be me. I feel like it's a wasted opportunity in RPGs to indulge int he exercise of being someone else. Thinking like them, stepping out of yourself and considering other perspectives. V has far too much presence to be a self insert. I don't think the concept of "You are V" works at all.
Anyway, I'm rambling.
I haven't finished the game, honestly I'm struggling to find the will too, I think my time is better spent elsewhere at the end of the day.I just gotta say, I don't think what you released is the game you wanted. It's the game you thought other people wanted. I think in the process of developing this game you;ve become something else as a company compared to where you started when it was announced. That's a shame because have been fans of you guys for a while. The most important promise you made regarding this game was that it would only release "when it was ready". Well it's here, and it damn sure wasn't ready. You knew that. The fact that you were so evasive about it cements you as the same as every other triple A developer sadly. I wish things were different, but we are where we are.