I've played almost 50h of the game right now and focused mainly in grinding money/level/sc, having finished very few parts of main quest. I got to level 35 and maxed out SC (50) and here's what I felt so far:
- Ambientation is incredible. A lot of colorful and varied random NPCs walk the streets and the plethora of buildings, cars and bizarre, yet perfectly fit advertisement make every corner of the city feel unique, even after completing several (I mean SEVERAL) reported crimes/side gig incidents.
- The freedom of choice you have to traverse the city or even tackle a quest is incredible. I once climbed the outside of a 32-story building just to get into an apartment for a gig (the usual way going through the inside of the building was available).
- The quality of the animation in many scenes is outstanding (disregarding the bugs), considering the approach of in-engine rendered cinematics.
- Side quests feel real. They have lore, they have a story, it isn't just a random errand. They sometimes present us with very meaningful, difficult and morally questionable choices, having as much impact in our path as V as the main quests. This is to me the most impressive aspect so far.
- Combat triggering and disengaging is a mess. There are often times when I conclude a gig and leave the area, moving several meters away before I realize combat mode is still ongoing because I left an enemy alive in a corner room way back at the gig's site. Don't know if it's a bug or intended. I'm aware that simply disengaging combat by distance would not be a good solution, since there are large areas where this can be abused with snipers. Maybe a combination of losing line of sight and distance would be good.
- Aiming is sometimes very iffy. I play on PC with mouse and keyboard, and there are some times a mid-range scoped shot with a revolver with the crosshair on the head of an unsuspecting enemy will not hit, for no apparent good reason. The same shot then hits in another similar occasion.
- Monowire is a joke. I have 18 reflexes and 15 cool and acquired the monowire as soon as I could, as I was using a mainly stealth build, so I wanted a tool to execute enemies quicker. It never worked. It somehow alerts close enemies even when not in direct line of sight. For that, it's way better to use a blade combined with the extra crit chance from the stealth tree+crit chance/damage from Reflexes+Cool, even in lower levels.
- Knife throwing is also a joke, as pointed out in another thread in this forum. You lose the knife you throw, and you have to manually equip the next knife every single time... No point in using this.
- Blades' tree level 16 ability "Deathbolt" is very unclear. As it's written, it should trigger whenever you defeat an enemy while wielding a blade, but I've confirmed this is DEFINITELY not happening. I've seen some situations where I'm in a 1v1 with an enemy and recover health after the kill, but before combat disengages, and I've seen it only trigger after combat has ended, with 3 enemies dead on the floor. I'm yet to see it triggering with a robot kill. In any case, it is WAY worse than it initially seems.
- Despite the incredible visual variety of the random NPCs, their behavior is a mess. Several times have I had a shoot-out inside a closed space during a gig, and most if not all the civilians would crouch and remain static for the rest of the scene, even after combat, even after there are no weapons out, and some times so clumped up that they BLOCK the only exit they should have fled through in the first place. I had, I kid you not, to JUMP OVER them to get through in some situations. Meanwhile, while driving, any small bump on a wall, lamp post or whatever inanimate piece of scenario you want to name, everyone in the streets starts panicking and screaming for a savior, but I'm walking down the street and draw my sniper rifle in plain daylight, no one has any complaints.
- Cops, for that matter, are even worse. There were some few ocasions where I would unintentionally get into combat with them from meters away without doing anything in particular (as if I had approached them too much). I believe this is a bug. What is not a bug is their decade old GTA-like behavior. I was once literally having a massacre inside a building where a small patrol was parked just outside. Nothing too bad here, the game's lore states that they rarely intervene in closed spaces. I then left the building to the middle of the avenue, chased by the last surviving enemy of the gig. I positioned myself behind the cops just to test this. The guy LITERALLY shot THROUGH the group of cops to hit me, and nothing happened. I then proceeded to draw my smart weapon and hit ONE SINGLE BULLET in the head of the enemy, which was NOT a civilian. The cops INSTANTLY started chasing me. There is no reasonable explanation for why situations like this should happen in this game.
- The freedom of movement comes with a price. The clipping is real. I've encountered a few situations where I would be moving through a very unorthodox route to get to a point, when I would get stuck inside some random piece of the scenario's geometry, having to reload the game to get unstuck. Other times I would just run through a wall and fall into the floor to nothingness, while the game would auto-reload 3 times to get me somewhere stable. I once did this with a car. I've also encountered a few times where I would drop a body on a corner, only to have it detected by someone who was behind the wall and could see a part of it piercing it.
- Last, but not least, the sexual content feels... Bland. Don't get me wrong, I know this is no erotic game/visual novel/whatever, but it is an ADULT game. And it seemed clear during development that this part of the adult definition would be very much present, just like the violence, because this is the tone of Night City (and to some extent adult life as a merc overall). The violence is easily available, you just have to walk around a corner with your katana in hand and chop up the first group of thugs you encounter with vivid details and no consequences. The sex and nudity, on the other hand, seem like they were put in the game to keep the promise of it as an obligation, especially when you have the option to censor it in the settings. Despite being constantly reminded of its existence and how liberal Night City seems to be with the whole sexual theme by the abundant and diverse amount of sex-related advertisement present in the game, it seems we the players can only experiment a fraction of it. There are 2 spots where you could actually engage in a sexual activity (1 male and 1 female) and very few deep romance choices (seems there are 2 female and 2 male real long-lasting romanceable characters, and they all have specific preferences, meaning you could end up with only one choice depending on how you roll). The many bars and night clubs present serve only as a mild exhibition, as although it was announced during development, there seems to be no way of engaging in one-night stands or anything else in between.