Cyberpunk 2077 has my favorite RPG systems design

Read more about Cyberpunk 2077➜

0:00 – Introduction
1:39 – RPG systems design
4:05 – Most RPG systems are terrible
8:13 – The Cyberpunk 2077 way
10:00 – Character creation
10:55 – Attributes
12:40 – Skills
14:57 – Perks
16:22 – More specifics
19:40 – Additional systems
20:51 – Limitations and problems
24:05 – Conclusion


28 thoughts on “Cyberpunk 2077 has my favorite RPG systems design”

  1. I love this quick analysis of system design, I am convinced of all of your points 🙂 when they fix all the bugs and problems the only thing that I am slightly underwhelmed with in CP77 is that quite a lot of the perks feel quite underwhelming. Similar to skyrim, fallout and PoE. The power comes more from the items/spells you use alongside the passive stat modifiers rather than unlocking really interesting stuff. Like you hit level 6 in league and you get an ultimate ability (for the most part), RPGs are really missing out on like once you hit a certain levels on different skills you unlock the skill to do something really next level cool. Kind of like the borderlands action skills but maybe further into progression or something idk. Also felt like there wasnt a super satisfying evil bastard corporate route, felt I was stuck in the logic of "you were betrayed by these people you should take them down with crime" sort of path. idk why i commented this.

  2. Thank you for showing this game some love. There have been so many distractions with all the bad PR it's gotten and it really is an enjoyable game.

  3. I think this video is a great example of how an rpg should be fun when you think about it logically, but actually ends up being bland and boring. I am not sure if it's because the implementation and execution was bad even though the rational behind these system was well thought out. Or because you can't equate fun with logic. But personally I thought the game systems were boring and a lot of the options did not seem to have any added value.

  4. What do you think of the system in Divinity Original Sin 2 where your party members can have any build you like and you always have the option to respec your character?

  5. Love this video and love to hear someone talk positive about the game and not just shit on it like everyone else. Few problems I had with it (LOVED the game by the way and replaying it now)
    1. There was no true dialogue choices. I couldn't really smooth talk my way out of things. Just added a little flavor i felt
    2. No faction system with the gangs. They essentially were just the bosses of that region. Factions with the gangs would've been so much better

  6. The reason you love Cyperpunk 2077, is about exactly the same reason why I love Diablo 3. You went wizard, but you wanna go a heavy blumt weapon build? No problems you can switch your skills and items into exact that.

  7. A problem that you did not really mention.

    The game doesn't "force" you to play a playstyle even in the hardest difficulty. That's a problem. I beat the game dumping all skills at getting more money and crafting without ever crafting or buying new gear.

    That's a HUGE problem because yes the game "believes" you are who you are but it doesn't matter, at all. You can literally be rando nobody for the same result. That breaks the immersion in a HUGE way for a RPG.

    To the point i feel the game is barely a RPG, instead i think it's Farcry 2077

  8. I agree with on what makes an rbg system great, but in cyberpunk in particular the perks and bounses you get are very underwhelming which didn't really motivate me to grind any of it

  9. This really highlights one of the number one reason I think I end up not being able to finish games lately. I go in making my character and spending a long time really trying to flesh out how I want to play and really end up just making a best guess as how I would make that. It's not until mid game that you understand what really matters and how systems work that you realize you fundamentally screwed up your design so you "have" to start over. After doing that so many times because you find flaws in the next start you kinda get burnt out and just never want to finish.

  10. Not being able to try all the styles of late game builds kinda sucks when you need 20 body for something but stopped at 6 and now I'm capped at level 50 with no more attributes to unlock

  11. So can you give this presentation to ghostcrawler and co when they make the new riot mmo? Hope they do something similar to this, and also agree that skills increasing due to being used, is definitely the best.

  12. This was amazing. Thanks so much for your insight. I hadn't really sat with and analyzed these details before but I agree with your findings, very thoughtfully put forth! I'd love to see more game design (deep) dives and critiques like this!

  13. Great video, I agree I did enjoy the actual system of level up and point allocation it did feel a lot more open and intelligible. Plus any game that let's me read about every skill in the game before I start dumping points are always my favorite, like the borderlands series

  14. The big problem with the RPG design is sticking to MMO RPG design – leveling, arbitrary points to assign to arbitrary things, etc. Especially when they have the two best systems for a single player RPG already in place (then underutilized). Skill advancement when you use the skill (improve by doing) and cybernetic enhancements. Both should have completely replaced leveling, attribute bumps, etc. And leveling of enemies to your character is just… meh. Far better to have more of a Morrowind system where the enemies are what they are. If you want to take on a tougher challenge then you need to train you skills, acquire the cybernetics, and get the gear. That super cyber ninja I face should not magically becomes stronger or weaker because I've acquired random XP points.

  15. Hey Phreak, great video and thanks for making it. I find it sad and troubling that coverage of CP77 is overwhelmingly negative and most of that noise is coming from people dunking on the game without having actually played the game. I have about 525 hours in the game (some amount of that was spent afk, sure, but the point still stands). I haven’t been this engrossed and captivated by an RPG game ever. I think the issues and controversies around the game have just made it so people refuse to try the game and will argue with you and levy personal attacks at you if you try to defend the game. Thanks again Phreak for another great video, and I’m happy that you enjoy the game too.

  16. I don't mind the RPG system, but its clear that about half of the perks in any given skill tree are underwhelming. This means in effect there are actually relatively few engaging choices for perks each time an attribute is levelled.

    My biggest gripe about systems in Cyberpunk 2077 is that gameplay balance only feels right if players stick to the main questline and narratively important side questlines. Should players engage in much open-world content (side jobs from fixers or NCPD scanner jobs), they very quickly overlevel and combat becomes trivial on highest difficulty. This is especially true with the interaction of the RPG system and gear bonuses for stealth or netrunner focused builds. It wouldn't be the first game that didn't consider the interactions of player level and gear in game balance, and its common in many RPGs that one can overlevel by "minmaxing", but it feels more egregious in settings closer to our current reality.

  17. Very interesting take Phreak. I'd like to add that another way of solving the problem of breaking your character during character creation, is to simply have a good respec mechanic. Cyberpunk has a good overall system for dealing with this, but I think no game in recent memory does it better than Divinity: Original Sin 2. In that game, you can completely respec at pretty much any point during the game for no cost whatsoever. Allowing for virtually endless experimentation, until you settle on what works for you. D:OS 2 is an amazing game and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys RPGs.

  18. I agree with a lot of your analysis, but the big thing that bugs me is that the armor stat is completely opaque and durability / combat balance seems way off.

    I've got almost 2000 armor with my tech/stealth/hacking build, after investing pretty heavily into crafting legendary armor and armor mods, but I felt forced down the stealth tree because even with all the investment in durability I still get 1 shot by a shotgun from across the street held by a green npc. I tried hand to hand and blades but could never use them in practice because I have always died in a second or less after combat starts.

    Maybe my game is just bugged, or maybe I didn't put enough time into blades early enough or enough points into body to get durability, or maybe I just shouldn't have played on hard, but that's my point – it's completely a black box with meaningless numbers exposed to me. Weirdly move speed seems to be a MUCH better defensive stat than armor or health because it seems to affect npcs aim which at least gives you SOME survivability

  19. There is a body requirement on sniper rifles and lmgs. Lots of cyberware has body or reflex requirements.
    Athletics is a pain. But you can put on a melee weapon and attack a wall to level it up pretty quickly. Having enough body to rip off turrets and kick people out of cars levels it up pretty quickly.

  20. Did you even played any games that arent LoL? I mean really played? You have NO idea what are you talking about and contradict yourself SEVERAL TIMES during the video.
    -Choices matter
    They dont in cyberpunk. No quest solutions, no different combat. Everyone can use legendary hacks, HMGs, parry with blades etc.
    -Informed decisions
    The cyberpunk gives 0 cyberfucks about information. MANY descriptions are false: example, increased poison duration does not work with hacking, heal with bleeding works only once per enemy, all description on berserks are fucked etc. etc. MANY information is hidden: what is resistance, what is armor, what is range?
    Plus they throw at you attributes before even telling you what they do, for example if you skill 6 in tech thinking it will help you hack you'd be dead wrong and thats -3 points. Roll new character.
    -Fun progression
    The progression in Cyberpunk IS fun, except for the skill grinding.

    4:20 exactly one character? What? Do you even know what replayability is? RPGs are not supposed to be one playthrough only.
    4:50 so exactly like cyberpunk?
    4:55 wow, to be a good sniper you have to have good sniper abilities, who knew. So unintuitive.
    5:18 while that is true for fallout 1&2, it isnt true for 3,4 and new vegas at all. You can remake/reassign your special after intro so you WILL know what you need without opening the wiki and can safety alter your character.
    6:00 What are you talking about… Did you make up some game? Even in JRPGs, you can be energy weapon character with energy weapon companion and play that efficiently. Whole situation is stupidly made up.
    11:09 What game are you talking about? Intimidate the bouncer? Smooth talk through reflexes? What on earth are you talking about. 98% of attribute checks are door/hacking checks and in dialog they are fluff checks. They do not matter through the game(with exception of body 4 needed for one quest).
    12:25 No, the game wont care. 3 tech is same as 20 tech for all purposes except opening the doors and having 8.5% more armor.
    13:24 quick FYI recoil and melee attack speed increases dont actually work at the current 1.1 patch.
    18:19 your argument doesn't work for INT or TECH attribute. If you spend 20 points in int/tech and want to use lmg you're fucked: no attribute respecting either.
    19:13 if one attribute covers EVERYTHING then it covers NOTHING. Thats the point of RPGs, your character has to be bad at something.
    19:48 False. Not only they are locked by the level required which is AWFUL for RPG, some have body requirement. Which is logical, you shouldn't be able to use HMG if you are a dork or use smart weapons if you are a chad.
    20:33 only for to unlock lvl 20 perk by using your beloved skill system. Seriously, do you have any idea how long it takes to get to lvl 20 athletics legit?
    24:30 again, in roleplaying aspect, game does not care. You will HACK when game tolds you to even with 3 int.
    24:53 you HAVE TO though. For lvl 20 perks.

    Biggest redflag that you are talking out of your ass is not knowing about attack speed (it caps at 5 and most katanas have 5 base as, so perk giving you +25% as does NOTHING).
    Go back to LoL please. Out of all games you picked the worst one.

  21. This was actually really interesting! I felt this when playing the game but didn't put it together in a communicable way. Its a pity the world is not more immersive or this really would've been a fantastic game.

  22. Phreak's ideal rpg is is an immersive sim. Prey does all this stuff exactly as he wants it. You learn what repair and hacking are needed for before you even get your first skill point, weapons get individually upgraded allowing you to specialize in exactly the ones you want.
    Dishonored and System Shock 2 have a lot of these design philosophies as well, I'm sure other games in the genre would too.


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