Night City is a dangerous place, and you can’t simply walk through the neon-drenched streets and steal from people and expect to get away without a fight. You need some sharp reflexes, a canny mind and brute strength to survive on the mean streets in Cyberpunk 2077. The game’s combat mechanics may seem a little intense when you first pick them up, but a little bit of practice and some key tips will turn you from a walking rube into one of the most deadly people on the streets.
Sure, it’s possible to have a fully non-lethal playthrough of the world, but even if you plan on being the most pacifist version of V you can be, you’re still going to need to know how to defend yourself and take on all comers. To that end, we’ve assembled a suite of essential combat tips that’ll help you stay alive – against all odds.
Play the extra tutorial
Play the extra tutorial. Even if you think you’re the best gamer in the world that’ll just pick up the flow of combat as it comes, you’re going to benefit from playing the extra tutorial that’s offered to you near that start of the game. Sure, it may take a bit of extra time, and sure, it may be a tad patronising, but hey – it’s free practice and good knowledge to absorb early.
Even if you don’t pick up on some of the more advanced techniques and multi-input battle notifications the tutorial serves you, you’re going to get a more visceral reward in the form of XP. It’s a good investment in terms of character progression and individual skill, then.
Don’t stick to one offensive method
Combat in Night City is going to come in many different flavours: sometimes you’re going to be backed into the corner of a small room and expected to fend off hulking machines of men, and other times you’re going to need to eliminate slinky targets that love to duck and weave away from you.
So stay limber, and know when to use what attacks. Hitting Y/Triangle on your pad will draw the last weapon you used in the game, and hitting the same button again will cycle through them. Three ranged weapons (the offensive tools you’ll be using the most) can be stored at any one time – just press and hold Y/Triangle to scrub between them. Double-tap the same button to put away the weapon – being armed in certain locations will bring down some heat on you.
When it comes to melee, you’re going to want to ensure that you’ve always got at least one close-range weapon on you. You’re also going to want to familiarise yourself with the key melee abilities: Fast Attack, Strong Attack, Block, Counter (you’ll need decent timing), and Defensive Attack are probably the most valuable.
This one may feel counter-intuitive if you’re going into a mission trying to be stealthy and fly under the radar, but trust us: it’s worthwhile. If you come up against bosses at the end of the longer story missions or side quests, you’re going to want to chip away at their health and then use takedowns once the prompt appears.
Doing this will often net you larger rewards and unique items. Avoiding enemies or taking the non-lethal route may feel better for your own headcanon or from the role-playing side of things, but generally speaking finishing off enemies and taking advantage of their private stash is better for the game.
Use your weapon mods and attachments
Whenever you pick up a fancy new weapon, you’d do well to head to the menu and start fiddling about with it. Figure out what mods and attachments you can add to your fancy new toy and optimise it. Sometimes you’ll be able to make the weapon wholly non-lethal (which is a massive help in certain side missions and gigs) and sometimes you’ll be able to significantly increase the weapons overall power.
There are a lot of moments in the game where you may think you’re underpowered or set up for a bad engagement in a mission. If you feel stuck like this, it may be beneficial to swap around weapons and mods and see if the puzzle pieces you’ve got in your inventory can be better put together to respond to a certain challenge. Not all weapons can have mods, of course, but the ones that can may work very differently once you’ve tinkered with them!
The best offence is a good defence
Armour in Cyberpunk 2077 is tied to your clothing and your gear: every item of clothing has an armour value attached to it, and some items are more enduring than others. As such, every time you loot some new apparel, it’s worth checking it against the duds you’ve currently got on.
Sure, you may end up walking around the place looking like a full-on fashion disaster, but at least you’ll be well-protected. It’s also worth checking out what perks each bit of armour has and how they line up with what you’ve got installed on your favourite weapons – you never know, there may be a build that combines nice clothes with good weapons. Just be aware that mods cannot be retrieved once they’re installed into clothing items and will be destroyed if replaced.