A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Strong themes of identity, transhumanism, freedom, and anti-capitalism run throughout story, which explores the benefits and pitfalls of rapidly advancing technology on human culture and biology. Various plot threads also study friendship, love, hatred, and revenge. Note, as well, that play glamorizes guns, violence, sex, and controlled substances.
Positive Role Models
Players can fully customize their characters -- including their genitalia -- prior to beginning play. The behavior of the main character, V, is erratic. They're meant to be an antihero, a likeable person who carries out a mix of morally praiseworthy and dubious acts, many of which involve violence, sex, and substance abuse. Little of what they do, from body modification to dangerous missions, makes for a very good role model.
Ease of Play
Complicated mechanics, a busy user interface, and an hours-long learning curve could make this game intimidating for some. Players can lower difficulty as needed, but they'll still have a hard time if they take on highly dangerous missions before they're ready.
Violence & Scariness
Players use guns, grenades, and blunt and bladed weapons to kill countless enemies in fast-paced and intense combat. Blood, gore -- such as heads exploding in geysers of red -- and screams of pain accompany most attacks. Bodies remain where they fall, often writhing in pain. Players can attack innocents, though with the risk of police retaliation. Bodies -- sometimes mutilated -- can be found lying in alleyways and crime scenes. Narrative sequences depict the emotional deaths of several major characters, sometimes in gruesome fashion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full frontal nudity (various combinations of male and female genitalia) can be seen during character creation as well as within the game during scenes depicting sexual intercourse from a first-person perspective. Some scenes are set in sex clubs and include prostitutes called "joytoys." Sex toys -- a surprisingly wide variety of dildos and false vaginas, as well as a penis-shaped club that can be used as a weapon -- appear frequently throughout the environment. Nudity can be switched off in the settings, but sexually-charged dialogue with words like "c--t" remains.
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Very strong language appears in both text and spoken dialogue, including the words "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and many others.
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Products & Purchases
This game is based on the Cyberpunk role-playing game franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many characters smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use various fictional and real drugs. Players will see the main character smoking from a first-person perspective, getting drunk from beer and spirits (resulting in a screen blurring effect), and using performance enhancing inhalers, liquids, and foods.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person open-world action game for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Serieds X/S, Google Stadia, and Windows PCs. The game casts the player as a cybernetically enhanced mercenary in a futuristic dystopian city. Note that this game's clearly intended for mature audiences. The story dives into the ideas of identity – What makes you you? When are you no longer you? – and transhumanism (using technology to augment the human body and brain), with themes of friendship, loss, and revenge throughout. Action includes plenty of intense, bloody, and gory violence in which players use guns, grenades, knives, and blunt objects to viciously attack and kill human enemies. Innocents can be victims of crossfire or purposely targeted by the player. Full frontal nudity -- male, female, or a combination of gender traits -- occurs regularly throughout the game, including during character creation, sex scenes, and unintended "glitches" that can render characters without clothes or with their genitals protruding. Players will interact with prostitutes called "joytoys," encounter a wide variety of sex toys in shops, homes, and even on the street, and hear sexually-charged dialogue. Dialogue and text also includes frequent and strong profanity, including the F- and C-words. Many characters (including the player's) imbibe alcohol to excess, smoke cigarettes, and take performance-enhancing and state-altering substances via inhalers and edible products.
Is It Any Good?
Games don't get buggier than this, and the difference in graphics and performance on a tricked out PC versus console is stark, but there's a compelling story if you willing to deal with its issues. Cyberpunk 2077 is, simply put, a complete mess. There are glitches that made characters' clothing disappear, spots where the protagonist became stuck between floors and walls, non-player characters that jumped around the screen in strange poses, places where sound and lip-syncing suddenly disappeared, and more. Making matters worse, the visual presentation on consoles is rough, with blurry textures, dull character models, and occasionally laggy performance that can affect driving, combat, and even just walking down the street. It feels like a game that should still be in beta testing. Perhaps the most annoying problem is that if you become stuck during a mission, it can be hard to tell whether it's because you legitimately can't figure out what you need to do, or if it's due to some unknown glitch. On top of all of this, the interface feels clunky and busy, marred by text that's too small to read, strange placement of pop-up boxes and menu items, and an unintuitive/poorly explained hacking system that forces players to learn by clumsy experimentation.
This kind of shoddy experience would instantly sink most games. But Cyberpunk has enough fascinating ideas lurking below its blemished surface that some fans will begrudgingly weather all of the bad to get to the moments of good. The expansive world and carefully crafted lore, for example, should prove a treat for cyberpunk lovers. It tackles all sorts of fun and meaty questions, including what a world run by corporations would look like, how technology can change us individually and as a society, and what it would be like to record our physical and sensual experiences for others to playback and experience themselves. Plus, many of the side characters are surprisingly well developed and brought to life by talented performers, like the conflicted corporate bodyguard Takemura and the brilliant and plucky braindance editor Judy. The gravy comes in all of the loving homages to previous cyberpunk fictions (Strange Days, Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Neuromancer, to name just a few) and hidden Easter eggs for gamers -- a comedic mission with a loving reference to Portal is particularly delightful. It will likely be the story, though, that keeps most people playing. Filled with satisfying twists, meaningful player choices, and multiple endings, some players may find it worth persevering through all the glitches and technical issues just to learn what happens to V, her allies, and Night City. Cyberpunk 2077 clearly does not meet the lofty expectations millions of players had prior to its release, but there's still a satisfyingly sparkly gem here that can be uncovered if you dig deep enough.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.