Guide for Cyberpunk 2077 – Beginners Guide
This guide is designed to help you get off on the right foot as you enter the world of Cyberpunk 2077. It is written to be spoiler-free and offer general guidance on game mechanics, leveling, getting around in the world, and earning eddies. I have no desire to reiterate the game’s tutorial content, so a basic understanding of the game’s mechanics is expected. Even if you are a seasoned gamer and suffer from incredible impatience, I strongly suggest completing the game’s tutorial. As this is a brand new game, I will be updating, appending, and editing information as I continue through the game to ensure the contents of this guide are accurate and offer the best methods and information.
Ghost in the Shell — Building your V
Once you have chosen your character’s physical appearance, you can distribute attributes points among five categories: Body, Reflexes, Technical Ability, Intelligence, and Cool. My advice is to have a rough idea of how you think you might want to play the game and distribute your points into the two or three categories that contribute to your desired play style. The body is all about physical strength and is essential for pugilist builds and those who wish to wield shotguns effectively and light machine guns. Reflexes are all about finesse, making handguns, rifles, and blades more potent. The technical ability helps your character craft and makes explosives more effective. Intelligence is all about hacking, and cool governs how stealthy your character can be.
Unless you are worried about min/max builds, you can easily change your leveling approach early on and adjust your playstyle without a ma*sive penalty. In fact, my advice is as you play through the first few hours of Cyberpunk 2077, bank your attribute and perk points, experiment with play styles, explore the world and then determine what kind of build would make the game most enjoyable to you. It’s also worth noting that certain options and dialog in the game world are subject to an attribute check; you may need a certain technical skill level or body level to open certain doors or a certain cool level to use certain dialog options. You can open the character menu at a time, even in the middle of the dialog menu, and spend those attribute points if you wish to use those options.
Before starting the game, you will have the opportunity to choose a life path: Nomad, Street Kid, or Corpo. So far as I can tell, this has little impact on the game; each life path gives you a different short introduction to the game before putting you on the same critical path. Periodically, the game does also present dialog options particular to your life path. Still, thus far, none of these have impacted how I was able to progress through quests or provided any additional bonuses. If you are an achievement hunter, I would suggest exploring these special dialog options.
Earlier I mentioned perk points; these are specific skills that enhance and define a user’s preferred play style. Perks open up more crafting options, make hacking more potent, buff your stats, and generally make you a more deadly character. Like Skyrim, using specific skills in the game world levels them up, ultimately yielding perk points for you to spend. For this reason, it’s important to try to build as many skills as possible—even ones you are not planning on making use of with your desired character build—to have a healthy pool of perk points to distribute early on. I will get into some small habits you can use to help level these skills without making it a grind in a bit.
So far, I have only encountered one skill that I would NOT purchase: Scrapper, which is located under the crafting skill tree. This skill atomically disa*sembles your scrap, turning it into raw components for crafting. Most junk isn’t valuable or useful (it’s junk for a reason), but a few items are worth a nice chunk of eddies. Gold and silver jewelry is often worth at least 750 eddies, and early in the game, that is crucial to building your coffers.
Burning Chrome — Combat in Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk will pit your character against heavily augmented chromers, crazed melee attackers, sneaky netrunners, grenade lobbing gang members, and robotic nightmares. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to tackle your foes: stealth, hacking, melee weapons, explosives, augmentations, and firearms are all on the table. Mercifully you don’t have to invest heavily into each skill to make use of them in basic ways; much like The Witcher, Cyberpunk makes it possible to use all of the skills available in a limited capacity but using perk points to obtain new skills and abilities greatly enhances a particular skill’s usefulness.
Since skills are leveled by using said skill, I highly recommend using as many skills as possible, at least for the early portion of the game. Doing so will help you quickly acquire skill points which can be concentrated into the skills most compatible with your play style. I recommend equipping two different firearm types (i.e., shotgun and handgun or handgun and rifle) and one melee weapon. While there is a lot to criticize about Cyberpunk’s melee combat that makes a pure melee build seem like an undesirable prospect, melee skills are useful in a pinch when you are stuck having to reload while a tweaked out chromer wails on you with a sword or a club. I also recommend trying to get one or two kills with stealth during each encounter. It’s generally pretty easy to accomplish this by using the “distract enemy” quickhack and isolating one enemy, sneaking up on them, and using a grab to kill or incapacitate them. Doing this effortlessly levels both your quickhacking skill and stealth, thinning out the mob you face and making the rest of the encounter easier.
Even though this is an RPG and enemies tend to be bullet sponges, headshots still the best way to deliver damage. Find cover and take the time to aim when you are not being pressured. You can use the scan mode to slow time and a*sess the situation during combat as well. Know where your enemies are and don’t get too comfortable hiding behind a corner or low wall; enemies have a habit of circling (or being alerted from who knows where—this is especially annoying during encounters on the street where gang members hang out in clusters) and flanking you. While sprinting, you can hit the crouch key and slide, which is a helpful evasive maneuver when you wish to dive into cover. Enemies will also toss grenades to flush you out, so make sure you have another place to run during a firefight.
As you progress through the game, you will start to encounter enemy Netrunners; these little bastards will make encounters a nightmare if you let them. If you get a warning on your HUD alerting you that you are being hacked, immediately open the scanner and try to locate the source of the hack. Netrunners tend to hide, crouched behind walls or off in corners. The I Spy perk will allow you to spot the location from where you are being hacked and might be a worthy investment. You can counterhack the Netrunner to put a stop to their shenanigans quickly, or you can rush them with melee or a firearm—whatever you do, do it quickly because having your health sapped by being overheated and taking fire from other enemies will drop you quickly. Since Netrunners like to hide, grenades are also helpful for flushing them out so that they can be mulched.
Enemies in mech suits appear in an early mission, and they are best handled by taking out their weapons. Concentrate fire on their left or right weapon; it shouldn’t take too much effort to destroy, then switch your focus to the other side. This will cut down on the damage they can dish out, which gives you a fighting chance. Quickhacks are also handy, of course.
Strange Days — Building Street Cred and Padding your Wallet
As if two leveling systems weren’t enough, Cyberpunk has a third leveling system: Street Cred. Street Cred is earned by completing missions/quests, and the higher your street cred, the more access you have to augmentations from Ripper Docs, better items from vendors, and more missions/quests from fixers. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to build cred through normal gameplay; the game world is populated with opportunities to earn cred ranging from simple crime-busting errands for the Night City Police Department to taking on more intricate missions from fixers.
My first recommendation is that you get around on foot for the first several hours while playing through Cyberpunk. Let’s be honest, the driving in this game sucks, and there are a few small perks to getting around the city by sprinting and hurdling over barriers. The first perk is that this will help you level athletics, so channel your inner Usain Bolt and smash that sprint button and follow the dotted line on the mini-map to your objective. The second is that there is plenty of loot found on the street, especially down random alleyways and in nooks and alcoves just off the major streets. Most of this loot is junk, but I have found rare and legendary items in random chests, including a pair of legendary pants with double the armor of anything available at my level. Picking up junk early on isn’t bad either; you can disa*semble it for crafting components and level your crafting skill in no time. Use your scan ability often, as it will highlight loot that you may not have noticed otherwise. Also, the loot icon’s color indicates the quality of the loot, so if you are not concerned with mopping up everything, you can focus on picking up high-quality loot instead of going to the trouble of searching the world with a fine-tooth comb only to find dil*os and ashtrays. The third perk is that you can level your breach hack and quickhack ability by easily locating terminals to jack into and spamming quickhacks on vending machines, coffee makers, derelict cars, speakers, and cameras throughout the city.
Breech Protocols can be confusing for some players, so allow me to explain how the breach protocol mini-game works: there are rows and columns of two-character values. The idea is to choose values in a sequence that corresponds to the predetermined sequences on the screen’s right-hand side, which lists the rewards for completing each sequence. You have one opportunity to complete the hack before a lengthy cool-down period, and it’s possible to complete multiple sequences and earn multiple rewards with one hack. As for the game itself, you start by selecting one value from the top row (horizontal); the value you select allows you to choose a value in the column (vertical) that corresponds to your first selection. Your next selection allows you to choose a value in the row of the value you selected and so on until you have run out of time or selections. Basically, you get to choose a horizontal value, then a vertical value, a horizontal value, etc. I hope that makes sense…
Anyway, the timer doesn’t start until you make your first selection, so the first order of business should be to look at the sequences and rewards on the right-hand side of the screen and then map out a path that will unlock as many rewards as possible, preferably all of the rewards. Spend as much time as you like mapping out a path, and then when you are ready, start punching the sequence in and collect your rewards and increase your breech protocol experience.
Opening up the map will, of course, show you various landmarks and points of interest around the city; if you want, you can start exploring these. As you get around the city, you will unlock fast travel points, and for the reasons mentioned above, I encourage you to avoid fast traveling for at least the first several hours of the game. Cyberpunk’s world isn’t expansive and sprawling. Instead, there is a focus on vertical space. Even without perks, you can jump and climb your way up buildings finding loot and items of interest. Of course, some perks can enhance your ability to scale buildings if you choose to take advantage of them. This vertical space is also important during missions/quests. If you take the time to look around the environment, there are often ways to reach your objective more cunningly. An early quest provided by a fixer involves locating a character who resides in a building, which will cost you a chunk of eddies to enter through the front door. By looking around the environment and using all of the AC units and ledges that happen to stick out of the buildings in the game, there is a way to get inside without emptying your wallet. Keeping an eye out for alternate paths is also important for players who want to rely on stealth since you can easily stay out of sight by staying above your enemies and out of their line of sight.
Life in Night City can be quite expensive. There are cars to buy, and new chrome from your local Ripper Doc doesn’t come cheap. So far, the fastest way to earn money seems to be working for The Man by cracking skulls and stopping crime. On your map, there will be blue icons marking missions for the NCPD. These usually just combat encounters with a gang of miscreants that you have to dispatch and can be knocked out in a few minutes, earning you street cred, experience, eddies for completing the job, and loot to disa*semble or sell. It’s usually worth the time to take a short detour to complete these menial tasks while en route to a bigger mission. The loot from these tasks can also help you save credits since it keeps a steady stream of new gear flowing into your backpack. I do not recommend buying gear from vendors unless it is legendary. You will constantly find the common gear that is a few points better than what you have, so wasting money on vendor trash for a slight stat bump doesn’t make sense.
However, you can upgrade gear in the crafting menu, which should be used to extend the life of items with special stat buffs or enhancement slots. You can find the upgrade tab under the crafting menu. Your level limits your ability to upgrade your gear. It can suck up many resources, which is why it’s important to disa*semble gear and junk that isn’t particularly valuable when sold to a vendor. Once you start acquiring rare and legendary items, start leaning on upgrading them and store them if you feel the need to use a common or uncommon gun to bridge the gap while you level up, allowing further upgrades. Speaking of storage, V’s car allows you to store gear in the trunk. Anytime you want to drop items off for safekeeping, summon your car and dump your valuables in the trunk. You can also store items in V’s apartment too if you wish.
Snowcrash — The Importance of Hacking in Cyberpunk 2077
Even if you don’t want to spec into being a full-blown Netrunner, hacking in Cyberpunk 2077 is really a skill worth developing. The biggest upgrade you can make, and I encourage any player, regardless of character build, to do this, is to buy a new Operating System from a Ripper Doc. Your Operating System dictates how much RAM you have (think of RAM as “mana” or “magic points” in a standard RPG and quickhacks as “spells”) and how many quickhacks you can equip at any given time. Pretty much any area you enter in Cyberpunk is filled with items that can be hacked. Simple quickhacks like being able to freeze an enemy or temporarily disable their weapon come in handy often; also, don’t overlook the ability to distract an enemy for a short period of time. Getting a stealthy insta-kill on a distracted enemy is a great way to start any encounter. Pop into vendors that sell quickhacks as you earn street cred and see what’s new.
Hardwired — Conclusion
Thank you for reading my beginner’s guide to Cyberpunk 2077, and I hope you found it helpful. Please leave a comment if you would like to suggest additions to this guide. If you would like to translate this guide into another language, I would be happy to do so; please let me know and give credit where it is due. I plan to make additions and changes to this guide as I progress through the game (which I will be slow going between work and family engagements), so please check back for new additions or provide feedback on new additions!
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