Cyberpunk 2077 Working to Avoid Bullet Sponge Enemies

Even with plates of armor grafted on their skin, it seems that enemies in Cyberpunk 2077 won’t be true bullet sponges

Yesterday’s Night City Wire event gave us our first real look at the various armaments of Cyberpunk 2077. This is new territory for developer CD Projekt Red, which has kept mostly to the world of melee combat for its titles. Naturally, there are lots of questions that go past the guns in the game and into some of the issues that shooters can experience, namely bullet sponge enemies.

Speaking to VG247 about Cyberpunk 2077‘s combat systems, CD Projekt Red veteran and senior gameplay designer Pawel Kapala shed some light on what we can expect when smart-bullet meets enemy. And to answer that first question about enemies that can shrug off loads of buckshot with no worry – much like enemies in games like The Division or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Kapala stresses that players won’t have that kind of experience.

When asked how Cyberpunk 2077 will tow that ever-thin line between frustrating and challenging enemies in regards to their health bars, Kapala responded referencing the game’s apparently low time-to-kill. According to him, the normal goons and wastoids V encounters in Night City will be “quite fast to kill, quite fast to engage. However, they’re quite deadly as well, so you will need to basically use cover, and move around a lot.”

Of course, enemies in Cyberpunk won’t stop at being overly-aggressive. The bigger baddies will come armed to the teeth (maybe quite literally) with cybernetic enhancements that elevate them to the realm of super-human. So, what are players to expect when they’re facing against a 7-foot tall gangster that replaced their torso with a tank? Apparently, it won’t be that bad. Kapala says that avoiding the issue of bullet sponges is as simple as making enemies react. “We basically ensure that hit reactions on our NPCs are always played. This is a big problem in most of the games that I played that have bullet sponges – that basically you don’t see any type of reaction on the NPC as you’re hitting him.”

Kapala has a point here, one of the worst parts of fighting against bullet sponge enemies is that there isn’t anything visual showing that they’ve been hurt. Sure, you may be able to watch that health bar slowly whittle away clip after clip, but it’s simply not as satisfying. I’m still hopeful that Cyberpunk 2077 introduces other mechanics that help avoid the monotony that comes with shooting one dude for five minutes. In fact, I hope that scenario doesn’t carry out in the game at all. But so far, it seems like the folks working behind the scenes to make CD Projekt Red’s first title with shooting mechanics satisfying are holding up the studio’s exceedingly high standards.

Cyberpunk 2077 is set to launch on November 19 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, with Xbox Series X and PS5 releases coming later.

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