Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Breathes New Life into Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 (with 1.6 Patch
- Edgerunners Update)
Reviewed On
PlayStation 5
Available For

Cyberpunk 2077 has already quashed most of the bugs and performance issues from its disastrous launch. And now, developer CD Projekt RED is doubling down and adding a few new missions, content and features, some of which are a direct tie-in to the excellently received Edgerunners anime series.

Here we are again covering Cyberpunk 2077, a game that has had a lot of highs and lows since its launch. We all know that the launch was initially bad, so there is little reason to rehash that here. You can check out our December 2020 review if you want to relive those problems, although depending on what platform you were playing on, Cyberpunk was at least a playable game, if not a good one, when it launched – again, depending on your platform.

Since that time, CD Projekt RED has put a ton of effort into fixing the worst flaws, and even most of the game’s minor problems and annoyances. We looked at Cyberpunk again after the recent 1.5 patch upgraded the game for next generation consoles and found a really rewarding experience for those who enjoy open world, cyberpunk type gameplay. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that the developers finally found a way to make the game work even on so-called last generation consoles. Our review found that it ran well on Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s following the 1.5 patch. Our reviewer Vincent Mahoney said it best when he mused that “if the version of Cyberpunk 2077 that exists today was the one that released in December of 2020, it’s difficult to understate how different the reaction to this title would have been.

Vincent nailed that assessment. So, what has changed now? In a word, Edgerunners. This is another one of those surprising stories in the game industry that makes perfect sense, yet is almost hard to believe. The story is that an excellent anime series called Edgerunners  was created with ten episodes and was based on the Cyberpunk 2077 title.  The series began running on Netflix in September. With Netflix being one of the few streaming platforms that lets people watch an entire run of a show at once without having to wait for a new episode each week, and because of the show being really amazing, people tended to binge the whole thing pretty quickly. I personally did not do it in one sitting but did blaze through all the episodes in about three or four days.

Edgerunners is great because it really draws from the game, more so than most shows ever do. Major locations from Cyberpunk 2077 are prominently featured, and even some of the smaller locations, like the little strip mall where the team of edgerunners hang out was probably recognizable to many players like me who have tried to explore every square inch of Night City. Even the game’s interface was reproduced. Phone calls in the show use the same ringtone from the game. And the same HUD pops up in the show that you see when hacking cameras or trying to drop a quickhack into an enemy’s cyberwear in the game. Plus, the show revolves around a low-level runner and their climb to the top, which is very similar to the main plot of Cyberpunk 2077, minus the engram.

In short, a lot of people who watched the series got a hankering to play Cyberpunk2077 again.  And, of course, the anime series also acted as a fascinating introduction to Cyberpunk 2077’s world for many new players. CD Projekt RED reported that since the Edgerunners show debuted, that they are consistently seeing over a million simultaneous players across all platforms for the game. And that is not bad at all for a game that is almost two years old at this point. In addition to that, the developer smartly added some unique content to the game simultaneously with the show’s launch, with some of it directly tied to the Edgerunners show.

Before I jump into the new content in the game, I did want to briefly comment on the show itself. It has been a while since I enjoyed an anime or even a cartoon series, but I really liked Edgerunners. The characters were all believable (from a Cyberpunk 2077 perspective anyway) and also well developed to the point where they felt like actual people. Plus, I really enjoyed the tight integration with Cyberpunk 2077’s world that did in fact entice me to play it all over again.

I only have two minor criticisms of the show. First, I found the beginning parts of Edgerunners to be far more enjoyable than the endings. The first eight episodes outshine the last two by quite a bit. It was a lot more fun and relatable when the main character, David, was just a nobody runner trying to claw his way up the ranks, like we all did in the game. But once he becomes an almost invincible superhero, effortlessly smashing entire armies of tanks, cops, corporate security vehicles, drones and pretty much everything else in his path, the show kind of drifts into something that is not-quite Cyberpunk 2077. Perhaps if there were more episodes, a longer journey to reaching that superhero status might have made more sense, but with only ten, the story seemed kind of compressed.

Editor’s note: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched the series yet and are planning to, then you may want to skip this next paragraph.

Secondly, I really disliked the ending, which pretty much killed any chance of a sequel, at least with this same team of runners. Very few people lived to the end of the show, and while I can understand having a main character die every now and then along the way to add to the drama, near the end it just seemed like the show’s developers were checking boxes to kill characters off for no reason. Rebecca especially deserved a better ending, or at least a heroic last stand. Hell, Tasha Yar from Star Trek: TNG died more heroically than our favorite, scrappy little runner. Maybe Studio Trigger will give her a secret platinum Trauma contract and find a way to bring her back if they ever make a sequel.

So now, on to the Cyberpunk 2077 game. The Edgerunners update, also known as the 1.6 patch, adds quite a few goodies to the game. Yes, there are some new bug fixes and a rebalancing of certain weapons, with sniper rifles in general getting a big nerf. But the real fun stuff is in the new content and features.

The 1.6 patch adds three new fixer missions to the game, with one each given out by Regina, El Capitan and Rouge. In my current playthrough, I am trying to clear the entire game of missions (you can earn trophies for completing fixer missions or NCPD missions in each section of the city) so I was out of fixer-provided content. It was great to see new missions pop up and get to interact with the colorful fixers of Night City once more. The gig types are nothing unique. It’s an SOS, a thievery, and a search and recover mission, but they are all pretty fun.

There are also some new weapons and equipment that were added. We already have so many guns and outfits in the game that these might get overlooked, although a few, like a chain sword, are kind of hard to miss. There are also some items from Edgerunners hidden in the game now, so if you really want David’s yellow jacket or Rebecca’s shotgun, you can find them.

Lots of attention has also been given to cosmetics. You can now change your face and hair at ripper doc if you want. And there are a ton of new hairstyles to choose from, including a few from the Edgerunners show.

But one of the most interesting features is the new wardrobe in your apartment or apartments. You can now use that to save and project (via hologram apparently) a handful of outfit looks without changing your actual gear’s stats. So, if you’ve ever bought a really cool hat or looted a jacket that looked amazing, but was only gray or green in quality, now you can still look like you are wearing your fashionable outfit while keeping your great stats on whatever real and protective clothing you have pieced together. Anything that you ever bought or looted will be added to your wardrobe’s memory for possible projection, so if you are like me, you may go on a spending spree across town in every single clothing shop to load up on holographic outfit choices.

None of the updates in the 1.6 patch really change the Cyberpunk 2077 game. But with the only announced DLC, which will hopefully have a meaty story, not coming out until next year, I guess we will take whatever we can get in the meantime. The new 1.6 patch is a good deal of fun, and it gives players a nice excuse to jump back into Night City once more, and doubly so if they have recently enjoyed watching Edgerunners – which, need I mention it again, is pretty awesome.

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