Category Archives: Non-RPG

Cyberpunk 2077 – Is it Worth It?

Usually I don’t write about video games here on Stargazer’s World. But Cyberpunk 2077 is an exceptional game and I am sure it might appeal to many fans of tabletop roleplaying games like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020 (which Cyberpunk 2077 is based on). CD Projekt Red which is mostly known for The Witcher 3 turned Mike Pondsmith’s rich setting into a compelling video game, which unfortunately has also its slew of problems. By the way, all the screenshots included with this post have been taken by me using Photo Mode. This is also NOT a review and I highly recommend that you check out one of the many reviews which are available online.

Let’s start by getting a few things out of the way. Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 is extremely buggy and unpolished at this point. The number of glitches I experienced in my about 30 hours of playtime so far was staggering. Luckily most of the bugs are pretty minor like graphical issues and a few UI bugs. Things are especially bad on last-gen consoles. A friend of mine plays on PS4 and even though he loves a lot about the game, he almost quit several times because of how bad it looks and runs on the console. I am playing on PC. I have a pretty old i7-4790k CPU, 32 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a RTX 3070 GPU which I acquired recently. To my surprise the game runs actually pretty well on a 5120×1440 resolution on Ultra (Raytracing) settings. I get some slowdowns especially at the beginning and shortly after cinematic dialogues, but aside from that things have been running rather smoothly so far.

Night City by night

So, what kind of game is Cyberpunk 2077? From the trailer videos you might get the impression that its some kind of GTA V-like game set in a cyberpunk future. But it’s actually a full-blown roleplaying game with stats, skill trees, meaningful choices, and a – at times – pretty slow-burning story. If you think you get non-stop action, this might not the game for you. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent quite some time of my 30 hours playing this game so far, and shooting people, hacking their cyberware, sneaking around them, or cutting them to pieces using my katana are pretty common occurences. But talking to characters (on the phone or face-to-face) and exploring the city are definitely equally important.

This car might be trash but it’s MY trash

The highlight of Cyberpunk 2077 is its stories. The main story quests so far have been excellently written and very enjoyable to play. Most if not all of the side missions are equally compelling, sometimes even more so. Characters are not just flat and clichéd cardboard cutouts but often feel like real people, you quickly begin to care for.

Overall there’s a lot to do in this game. Even though you can rush through the main story in about 20 to 25 hours, this would mean missing a lot of what Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer. Doing side missions not just helps you to make money and getting street cred, but sometimes even opens up new options for the main story. Aside from the main and side missions there are also countless “gigs” which include simpler activities like fighting against a cyberpsycho or a group of gangers. Sometimes even these small gigs manage to tell interesting stories which help to add more depth to the world.

Yes, I am playing a blue-haired woman.

Personally I love the game and even when I am not playing I am thinking about it. Even though it has a lot of bug and some questionable design decisions it is still a very enjoyable experience, if you enjoy roleplaying games on console or PC. But I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a last-gen console or a PC with an older GPU yet. I am confident that CD Projekt Red will get the game into proper working order in the future, but at the moment it just doesn’t run that great on these systems.

By the way, if you haven’t had the chance to check out Cyberpunk 2020 yet, each copy of the game comes with several digital extras including a PDF copy of the tabletop roleplaying game from the 1990s. Hopefully a lot of people who are now playing Cyperpunk 2077 will check it out and eventually get into the tabletop roleplaying hobby!

Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand, famous rockerboy and terrorist

What are your thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077 so far? Have you already purchased and played it or are you waiting for further patches? Please share your comments below.

We interrupt this blog for… #RPGaDay2020!

Like the Spanish Inquisition in a Monty Python sketch, nobody expects a post by Sunglar! If you search for my last post, it was August 5th last year, the supposed first post in a series for #RPGaDay2019, and after that nothing. The post before that was September 1st, 2018, the last post in #RPGaDay2018. See a pattern? I still say I’m a contributor to this blog, so I better fess up and write my yearly post!

If you want to avoid the sappy recap, jump ahead three paragraphs! Look for the #RPGaDay2020 image below.

I’ve been participating in #RPGaDay since 2015, five years! So much has changed. I’m a dad, I have a fantastic job, but one that requires a lot from me, when the baby is asleep I don’t want to do any writing or recording, I just want to rest. Hey, that does not mean I’ve given up on RPGs. I still play my weekly game, currently paying my 33-year-old homebrew campaign using Castles & Crusades by Troll Lord Games. I’m still active with Puerto Rico Role Players, and if we are friends on Facebook or you follow me on Twitter (@Sunglar), you’ll see me talking about RPGs and other subjects.

Continue reading We interrupt this blog for… #RPGaDay2020!

Happy New Year

The new year is now about a week old and I’m enjoying the last days of my winter vacation. I used the last weeks to relax and recuperate. Basically at the last minute my wife and I decided to stay at home over New Year’s Eve since fighting against depression has really drained our batteries lately. Overall things have been much, much better than in the years before, but at the end of the year I felt like “butter scraped over too much bread”. So I played a lot of video games, watched several movies, had great food, and spent a lot of time on my couch.

I hope you don’t mind me writing a bit about non-RPG stuff today. There are a couple of things I really want to share and this blog is the best way to do so. I want to begin with my thoughts on a movie I watched recently on Netflix: Ready Player One. When I first heard about the book, I was pretty excited, so I eventually picked up the audio book. But – oh boy – I couldn’t even listen to the first thirty minutes of it. The book was read by one of my favorite narrators, so it was probably Ernest Cline’s writing. Regardless of what was the cause, I really wasn’t interested in watching the movie after that. When it was recently released on Netflix I thought: “What the heck, why not give it a try?”. I have to admit I was very positively surprised since I enjoyed the movie very much. It was a fun, nostalgic romp littered with pop-culture references. I had a great time watching it and immediately afterwards I ordered the Bluray disc to add it to my collection.

Ready Player One also got me interested in VR again. I’ve tried VR several times, and most of the time I was suffering from severe motion sickness. I don’t know what changed, but this time I basically had no motion sickness at all. Since I don’t own a “real” VR headset I used a Google Cardboard headset, my Samsung Galaxy S9+ smartphone and a software called VRidge/Riftcat which basically streams the VR images from a PC to a mobile device. To my surprise this worked better than expected. Sure, you don’t get full six degrees of freedom like with more expensive solutions, but it worked fine for me. As soon as I get a more comfortable replacement for the Cardboard headset, I’ll definitely play some more Elite: Dangerous and Star Trek Bridge Crew among other things.

I’ve already done some research into what VR headset to get. Both the HTC Vive and Valve Index are too expensive for my tastes, so the three candidates on my short list were the Playstation 4 VR, the Oculus Rift S, and last but not least the Oculus Quest. Since I don’t own a PS4 the PS4 VR turned out to be the most expensive solution. To my surprise the Oculus Quest came up on top. It is wireless and standalone, so you can play VR games even without a PC. There are already countless impressive games available for the Quest and more are on the way. In addition to that Oculus Link allows it to stream games from the PC to the Quest. Sure, it’s not the same thing as using a dedicated PC VR headset, but from what I’ve read the experience is very, very close. I also like that the Quest doesn’t need external sensors. Recently they also made hand tracking available for it by a firmware update, which could be extremely cool. Overall the Oculus Quest looks like it could be the perfect VR solution for me.

When it comes to tabletop roleplaying things have been pretty quiet lately. I think I already mentioned that I distanced myself from a few people. Since I did a lot of gaming with those people, I haven’t really played that much in the last few months. I also developed anxiety related to GMing. Sometimes even the thought of running a game can cause acute symptoms. This sucks! Luckily playing is fine and I joined a new gaming group recently. But I really hope I’ll able to get into GMing again in 2020. But I don’t think I’ll try to rush things. We’ll see how it goes.

Last but not least I want to give a recommendation to people looking for a really good computer roleplaying game. Over the holidays I picked up a copy of Disco Elysium and it’s as good as everyone says. It’s pretty quirky and surreal at times, but it’s so much fun to play. I’m far from having finished it, but so far I enjoyed every minute of it.

So, what have you been up to lately? Feel free to share your thoughts below. And if you have any questions regarding the things I was writing about today, feel free to ask away.