CD Projekt Red had nowhere to go but up with Cyberpunk 2077’s police. At launch, the NCPD was the laughing stock of videogame law enforcement—officers would utterly fail to give chase if V hopped into a car, hilariously spawn behind perpetrators as soon as a crime was committed, and open fire for simple trespassing (hm, perhaps that was realistic). Launch Cyberpunk did not have a true police “system,” just an illusion of one. The Update 2.0 patch, releasing September 21, finally aims to remedy this.
I spent the weekend with Update 2.0 and the revamped NCPD, and I’m happy to report they are a lot better at their jobs these days. They’re still scumbags, but not magically spawning ones.
The major change in the patch is the introduction of police chases. Pick a fight on foot or on the road and the NCPD will respond more or less like you’d expect from a GTA game: cops will arrive in cars (not via teleportation), get out, and start blasting. If V drives off, more units will arrive to meet them on the highway.
Cop chases go hand-in-hand with another 2.0 feature: vehicle combat. The NCPD is not shy about riddling V’s bumper with lead while speeding down a busy street, and they can fight back with pistols or SMGs in either first-person or third. I typically prefer to drive in third-person in Cyberpunk, and it’s undeniably easier to aim guns this way as well, but I’ve been switching to first-person for car combat simply because it feels cool—freely aiming with my right hand while my left is still on the wheel is a fun, immersive perk of first-person games that I usually have to fire up Far Cry to find.
The 5-star notoriety system from launch is still there, but now the stars actually mean something. Rack up a few stars and the NCPD will set up roadblocks. Escalate further and Max-Tac agents with beefy armor and top-notch cyberware show up. Break line-of-sight and cop cars will patrol the surrounding streets. Like in GTA, I could reliably duck into an alley or find an enclosed building to hide—as long as I stayed out of the cop vision cones visible on the minimap, my stars eventually cleared.
I noticed more cops on patrol the more stars I had, and once police drones entered the mix, escaping with car stealth was a lot harder.
Protect and swerve
The Night City government has clearly upped the NCPD’s budget, too, in the process making the city a more believable place in a dystopian corpo-state sorta way. Beat cops now dynamically patrol the streets in cars and on foot, and they can even initiate chases with gang vehicles—all of which blends nicely with the stationary points of interest that Cyberpunk has had since launch, like cordoned off crime scenes and scripted gang fights.
So yes, the new and improved NCPD is finally an adequate adversary for a good old-fashioned open world rampage, though they’re still kinda janky.
Cops are a lot dumber once you reach the badlands outside Night City—they won’t follow you offroad, so escaping a chase is as simple as cutting across a dirt embankment. They also still do technically teleport in, but only in the sense that they’ll drive in from off-screen if you go on a murdering spree in the middle of nowhere. To be honest, fighting cops or egging them on with open world hijinks has never been my idea of fun in a game like Cyberpunk 2077. I tend to stick to missions in Cyberpunk and RPGs like it, so the old NCPD never bothered me much.
Still, it’s nice that they don’t suck anymore, if only so that the game has a somewhat realistic response when I accidentally splatter a sidewalk’s worth of civilians on my way to buy some pants. Even if most players are like me and rarely pick a fight with Cyberpunk’s cops anyways, it was still worth it for CD Projekt to rework them. The studio has spent three years rightfully eating crow for making promises it couldn’t keep at launch, and I can’t think of a better symbol of Cyberpunk’s “expectations vs. reality” backlash than its bewildering teleporting cops.
Update 2.0 is CD Projekt’s final make-good for selling a game that wasn’t ready. After spending a few days with the new perk trees, cyberware rework, and vehicle combat, it feels like I’m finally playing the game CDPR wanted to make. Better late than never, I suppose.