Much like any good RPG, the game's strength lies in how much agency and control it allows the player to have.
Cyberpunk 2077, being one of the most anticipated RPGs of the last decade, was expected to have much in the way of being able to "build" the player character for specific playstyles.
Essentially, "builds" refer to skills and points being allocated in a very particular set of attributes and abilities to be able to play a certain way. Cyberpunk 2077 has an impressive and extensive skill tree that has a lot in the way of customizing V in terms of gameplay.
In the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, there are predominantly two types of operatives or mercenaries: Netrunner and Solo. There are further breakdowns of these two builds into sub-categories and variations, but we'll be looking only at those two for now.
Netrunner and Solo in Cyberpunk 2077
First, we must clear the air of confusion surrounding the many terms and descriptions thrown around in Cyberpunk 2077.
From the start of the game, the player will be bombarded with all sorts of technical jargon that will not make much sense lest the player spends a lot of time reading Data Shards in the game.
Netrunner is essentially a build that focuses on Hacking and Stealth as a way to complete objectives in the game. A Netrunner is the pinnacle of efficiency in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe as masters of their craft when it comes to technology.
A great Netrunner can get through entire floors of enemies without so much as firing a single bullet. For the player to have a Netrunner build in Cyberpunk, there are a couple of key areas to focus on:
- Technical Ability (optional, but preferred)
Intelligence skill tree focuses on the player's ability to hack into the environment and even enemies and take control of the situation from relatively far away. From being able to distract enemies, shut down cameras, or even Overheat, there are tonnes of possibilities in Cyberpunk 2077.
Allocating points in the Intelligence branch will allow players to increase their Cyberdeck RAM, which is essential for carrying out elaborate hacks.
If the player is going for a Netrunner build, then investing in a better OS and equipping the correct Quickhacks according to the player's style would be beneficial.
The Cool branch in the skill tree will improve the player's performance when it comes to Stealth. The player will be able to maneuver quickly around the area and allow V to take down enemies and be undetected for longer.
Investing in the Cool branch complements Intelligence greatly as a Netrunner's best tools are Stealth and Hacking.
Although not always necessary, Technical Ability is a great way to make sure that no physical obstacle lies in the player's way. Opening certain doors and windows requires a specific level of Technical Ability. Hence, it is quite useful to discover alternate pathways through the area.
Solo is the ultimate tool of brunt force in Cyberpunk 2077. If the Netrunner is the scalpel, then the Solo is the hammer. A Solo build focuses on letting the player take a whole lot of punishment while also being able to deal out exponentially more.
In the Cyberpunk 2077 world, Solos rely on their brutal efficiency in combat and approach each situation with ruthless dominance. A Solo build requires the player to invest in the following branches of the Skill Tree:
- Technical Ability (optional)
Body is the single most important stat for Solo builds as it increases the amount of damage the player can dish out as well as absorb. The player can also perform additional activities such as being able to take control of Cars from NPCs and tear down doors that are otherwise locked.
If the player has the proclivity to get into a lot of fistfights (usually to neutralize Cyberpsychos), then the Street Brawler branch comes into use.
Reflexes allow the player to decrease Cooldown for certain abilities and boost stats for Handguns and Blades.
Which build should the player go for when starting a new game?
For players new to RPGs and fresh out of a Call of Duty or GTA experience, the Netrunner build might seem too foreign and complicated. Therefore, the Solo build seems far more appealing.
However, it isn't too complex to get the hang of it after the initial tutorial, which makes Hacking extremely easy to understand. The basic things to keep in mind are Cyberdeck RAM and the Breach Protocol mini-game.
It certainly doesn't take too long for the player to get used to the Netrunner build in Cyberpunk 2077 only after the first couple of runs through the area. However, if the player is confident in their FPS skills, then the Solo build is just as viable.
But soon enough, the player will run into the Netrunner enemy type, which will frustrate them to no end. Rival Netrunners will hack into the player's systems and cause them to Overheat. Therefore, trying to look for an enemy Netrunner while also being in the middle of a frantic firefight is extremely difficult.
Overheating will cause the player to take continuous damage in Cyberpunk 2077, making life extremely difficult. This is why the Netrunner build seems to fare better for new players, as enemy Netrunners make it extremely difficult to survive a firefight in Cyberpunk 2077.
Enemy Netrunners tend to hide quite well, making them extremely annoying as all they need to cause V to Overheat is a sightline, which they can get through Cameras as well.
Therefore, new players should give the Netrunner build a try in their first playthrough to get the hang of Cyberpunk 2077's various systems.