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Cyberpunk 2077: Everything You Need To Know About Non-Lethal Combat

Non-lethal combat in Cyberpunk 2077 is an underexplained mechanic that has a lot more to it than people might expect. However, this is both a positive and a negative for the game in different ways.

It’s obvious this system was leftover from a previous build of the game where it was a lot more important, but it still works in the final build — for the most part. That said, there are many aspects to it that people aren’t even aware of, so let’s go over some of those now.

7 It Can Be Turned On And Off

That’s right, turning non-lethal on or off is as easy as equipping/un-equipping the right mod or using a specific weapon. An example of some non-lethal options and how they work are:

  • Target Analysis is the primary method of turning lethality on & off, equipping it on the Optics Cyberware slot turns all of V’s weapons non-lethal
  • Pax is another mod players can use to make a specific weapon non-lethal, which they can then use to knock Cyberpsychos out while killing all the grunts around them.
  • Once turned on, bullets still cause blood to fly and blades to still slash, but enemies don’t die and body parts don’t get sliced off.
  • This even applies to Elemental Damage such as burning, though it is a bit buggy, and enemies might still die anyway at random.
  • Even the Arm Cyberware has non-lethal options, such as how the Projectile Launch System has Tranquilizer Rounds. 

6 Certain Weapons Are Default Non-Lethal

Just because players are able to turn their guns non-lethal doesn’t mean every weapon in the game is deadly by default. For example, all blunt weapons are non-lethal, chemical damage is non-lethal, and even V’s fists are non-lethal, though they have a higher chance to hit an enemy again after they’ve been knocked out since they swing so quickly, and that could accidentally finish them off.

5 Once Enemies Are Unconscious, They Don’t Wake Up

Unconsciousness and how it works varies from game-to-game, and Cyberpunk falls under the category of an “on-off” system. In some games, enemies that the player knocks out can wake up seconds or even minutes later, but in Cyberpunk, enemies never wake up again.

Once an enemy hits the floor and is either asleep or knocked out, V can feel safe knowing they won’t wake up. And no matter how strong the enemy is, once they’re on the ground, all it takes is one hit/shot to finish them off, even with a non-lethal weapon.

4 Non-Lethal Stops Long Kill Animations From Triggering

There is a variety of animations that play out during melee combat depending on what weapons V is using or if they manage to cut off a limb. Mantis Blades, in particular, have a Kill Animation associated with them that annoyed many players, as it happened almost every time, and didn’t make V invincible while it played out. Thankfully, by using Target Analysis, these animations, for the most part, are completely turned off since most of them involve V slicing/beating people into a bloody mess.

3 It’s Not Well Implemented

One reason many people feel like the non-lethal system isn’t exactly fully realized or is a system from a previous build is that it’s so uniquely buggy (though new bugs for Cyberpunk are constantly popping up in every aspect). For example:

  • Double EXP: Many players report that enemies will sometimes give their EXP/Street Cred again once they’re finished off after being knocked out, which breaks the game balance.
  • Un-Tested Scenarios: Sometimes the game just straight up pretends important people died when they were only knocked out. A perfect example is Nash from Panam’s quest, who can be simply knocked unconscious, but Panam and the game itself pretend that he died instead. 
  • Suddenly Important: Then, suddenly, the game pretends like this system is working perfectly and V is some awful person for murdering someone they could’ve just incapacitated. Once again, a great example from another amazing romance option is Maiko from Judy Alvarez’s Quest, where V’s treatment of Maiko directly impacts V’s relationship with Judy. 
  • It’s Very Buggy: Enemies constantly collide with terrain and die from being put down, bodies glitch through the world, and stacking bodies sometimes creates a clipping nightmare. It’s just so odd seeing these bugs and then seeing how amazingly detailed V’s motorcycle animations are in contrast. 

2 There’s A Lot Of Cut Content Involving Unconcious Enemies

Not only does the non-lethal system feel unfinished/out-of-place, but there’s also plenty of proof that this system was supposed to be more complex than it turned out to be:

  • In one of the gameplay trailers, V could knock out an enemy without grabbing them first, a mechanic that is gone from the final product. 
  • There was an incentive not to kill people, as in the same trailer, V knocked out someone then plugged into them in order to get some extra info. This is again gone from the final product. 
  • Many of the perks in the Athletics tree specify benefits for V while they’re carrying bodies, yet there’s no easy way to grab people outside of stealth. Obviously, this system used to be more complex but was trimmed down at some point. 

1 How To Tell If Someone Is Unconcious?

Lastly, let’s inform players exactly how to tell if someone is unconscious because sometimes it actually matters! There are a couple of ways, such as literally seeing them move around or breathe, but the most obvious way to tell is to simply pull out a weapon and hover the reticle over them. If the reticle turns red, they’re still alive, if not, they must’ve died on contact with the asphalt. The last method, which is best for when V needs to knock out someone from afar, is to simply scan them with V’s optics, as they’ll specify whether the target is currently alive or dead.

NEXT: Cyberpunk 2077: The 10 Best Skills To Get In Annihilation

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