I Can’t Tell If I Love Or Hate Cyberpunk 2077’s Fast Travel

There aren’t a lot of unique things about

Cyberpunk 2077
. Taking into account my time with Phantom Liberty, I have spent over 150 hours in the game now, so I can’t say I don’t enjoy it. However, unlike some Cyberpunk 2077 fans, I am painfully aware that many parts of it are reductive versions of what we have seen in other games and a lot of smoke and mirrors to make you think the world is more expansive and impressive than it actually is. But the fast travel system is a little fresher, and after all this time I still can’t tell if I love it or hate it.

In most games, how fast travel works is you open the map, click the point you want to go to, and suddenly appear there. Sometimes this is given flavour with city gates or subway stations, but often it’s just random points or a menu filled with a list of places you’ve been to before. Cyberpunk 2077 has travel terminals, and I’ve never really been sure if you’re basically getting the bus or if this is a teleportation device. Neither answer really matters when it comes to my annoyance with the system.


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Related: Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty – Review

In order to fast travel in Cyberpunk 2077, you can’t just click the spot you want to go to. Instead, you must travel by foot or car to the nearest fast travel point, and then select which other fast travel point you want to zip to. The function unlocks after the prologue and is limited to fast travel points you have walked or driven past previously (over the course of the game you’ll unlock most without trying), and never upgrades throughout the game. Each time, you need to get yourself to the nearest one and then make your way from there. It’s a pretty flawed way of doing things.

Cyberpunk 2077 Waitress at Hansen's party

The first ‘con’ of this system is easy – it’s not necessarily that fast to fast travel if you need to make your way to another unrelated point on the map first. In the middle of Pacifica that’s not too much of a problem, but when you’re out in the Badlands with Panam, it can be a pain. The ‘pro’ of the system is fairly straightforward too – it makes the world feel more lived in. Whenever you’re in an elevator in Cyberpunk 2077, the only button you can press (the only button that exists) is the one heading to the floor you’re going to. If you don’t expressly need to enter a building or door for a mission, it remains forever closed.

Every interaction with Cyberpunk 2077’s world reminds you that you are playing a video game, and a video game forced to cut corners to contain its overambitious scope at that. But fast travel feels like a mechanic of a world that is alive beyond your current objective. That’s why I can’t bring myself to ever truly hate it, even on the many occasions it has annoyed me. However, in returning to the game for the latest update, I have been reminded of another annoyance, and how Cyberpunk 2077 cannot help but get in its own way.

In Cyberpunk 2077, you can have two directional lines on the map at any one time – a yellow one leading to whatever mission or side story you are working on, and a white line that can be put anywhere. You can use this line to guide you to a store, a NCPD shootout, a random spot on the map you want to see in photo mode, or a fast travel marker. But this presents a problem.

I wanted to try out the new quake attack, but had no hammer. I wandered to the nearest melee store (no fast travel needed) but they only sold knives. So I looked on the map and selected the next melee store and made my way to the closest fast travel point. However, I couldn’t mark this fast travel point on my map – doing so would mean unmarking the store I was heading to, and with so few melee stores and me so unfamiliar with them (all of my weapons were looted), I was left to stumble around for this fast travel point, and then to do the same again twice more as these melee stores refused to stock hammers.

Cyberpunk 2077 V firing an assault rifle where the bullet casing lines up with her goggles

It’s perhaps a symptom of the modern gamer to be so entitled as to be unable to either remember a simple map location for a minute of travel time, or figure out without hand-holding directions where a spot on a map two blocks away is. I accept that. But fast travel itself is for modern gamers who just want to go here then here then here, and nuts to your immersive world. Once more, the fast travel idea is a solid slice of world-building from Cyberpunk 2077 that is undone by the game’s own execution. I enjoyed my time back in Night City for 2.0 and Phantom Liberty, but by the end of it, I just wanted to fast travel away to somewhere slightly less frustrating.

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