Cyberpunk 2077 Beginner's Guide

Maybe you recently bought this little game called Cyberpunk 2077 and are keen to begin your adventure in the neon-drenched future, but aren't quite sure how to get started. What should players know before jumping into the thick of it? What are some tips that can improve a playthrough early on?

We've collected everything a newcomer needs to know when starting out in Cyberpunk 2077. Help V start off on the right foot!

What difficulty setting to choose?

Cyberpunk 2077 certainly won't be up there in the pantheon of particularly difficult games like From Software's output, but on the higher settings it will give players who aren't a big fan of FPS gameplay a tough time.

As is the usual fare for most of these narrative driven games, we suggest going for the Normal difficulty if you're here for the story and enjoy a power fantasy. The higher settings are good if you enjoy a deal of challenge - this will definitely make one of the endings even harder to unlock.

Character Creation

The various options available at character creation have varying degrees of influence over various elements in the game after you start.

Gender will affect V's physical appearance as well as some character interactions, such as restricting certain romance options.

Life Paths determine V's personal background, and while they do affect various conversation options, change the prologue completely and unlock certain dialogue options, their influence becomes minimal after the end of Act I.

Attributes have the most apparent and direct effects on gameplay, altering V's aptitude in some fields. Unless you have a very specific character build in mind, the best choices when starting out are pumping points into Body, the most versatile and general-use stat. Otherwise, you can also just distribute them more or less evenly.

How conversations work

Being a story-driven RPG, conversations are a major element of Cyberpunk 2077. When V talks to someone, you are often presented with multiple dialogue options to tailor the experience to your design and control the roleplaying. Dialogue options highlighted in yellow are the choices that advance the conversation to the next stage or denote a decision being made, while white options are "investigative" and give you more information without advancing the conversation.

Some choices throughout the game will be put on a time limit. Rule of thumb is that the shorter amount of time you have on a timed decision, the greater its impact, forcing you to make a fast decision. Occasionally, your life path, attributes and past decisions will affect a given conversation, making different choices available.

Improving skills

Skills in Cyberpunk 2077 are improved with use. If you've played any Bethesda RPG recently, the system will be familiar. This is incentive to do as many missions as you come across and to explore Night City, because the more you play, the more situations to use your skills arise. Make a habit of switching up your playstyle occasionally and don't neglect crafting.

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Scan often

By activating the scan overlay you'll see interactable objects highlighted, whether it's a clue for a mission, a lootable item or a hackable device, the overlay will handily point it out for you. As you put more and more hours into the game you'll start recognizing recurring patterns allowing you to find some of these objects without scanning, but it still pays off to use the overlay frequently.

Hack all the things!

Like other skills, hacking is also improved with usage, but being hack-happy has other benefits as well. Hacking everything you can will bring in some bonus Eurodollars, make missions easier and reveal minor tidbits about the game world and story.

This will also ensure that mandatory hacking sequences will be a breeze later on in the story.

Stealth it up

Your first approach to combat, when possible, should always be stealth. Pick off as many enemies in a given encounter as you can before the fight begins in earnest, giving you an edge and reducing the number of enemies you have to deal with at once.

When the battle begins though, don't shy away from heavy hitting weapons - shotguns and grenades are particularly powerful in Cyberpunk 2077, and the latter are plentiful enough and easy to craft, so don't bother hoarding them - just be careful where you throw them, as Night City is absolutely full of environmental explosive hazards that blow at the drop of a hat.

Hit gang hideouts

On your map, you'll find small areas with a blue marker indicating a gangster presence. If you stick to just doing story missions, you'll be short on Eurodollars and your equipment will quickly feel outclassed. Doing some side activities is necessary for earning enough money for better gear and upgrades, and killing gangsters is a quick way to make relatively high amounts of cash.

Character Level and Street Cred are not the same

Completing any objective or activity in Night City or the Badlands will generally reward V with XP that goes towards increasing your Character Level. This boosts your stats, allows you to increase your attributes, buy new perks and access better equipment. In essence, it is a purely functional stat.

Street Cred is increased by completing jobs around the game world and interacting with the various gangs that control the city. This is more of a reputation bar of sorts, indicating how well known - and feared - V is in Night City. Increasing your street cred doesn't really affect your stats, but it does have its own set of unlockables, and more importantly makes certain jobs available. Characters will also react to you differently based on your street cred.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing, editing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.