Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A street kid fights to survive in a technology and body modification-obsessed city of the future. Having everything to lose, he chooses to stay alive by becoming an Edgerunner, a mercenary outlaw also known as a Cyberpunk.
Review: So a little bit of backstory for those who may not know. CD Projekt Red is the company behind The Witcher video games, a series that is widely considered fantastic by both players and critics alike which led to the Netflix series creation (and a bunch of spin-offs in the works). Because of this CD Prjoekt Red fans were foaming at the mouth for their newest game Cyberpunk 2077, which took almost a decade to come out and when it finally did ended up being a full of bugs and glitches in what is considered one of the biggest blunders in modern gaming history!
Yes it was a mess the beloved gaming studio is still recovering from but that didn’t stop them from working with Netflix to produce the animated series based on the game, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. And while the game may have its issues (most of which have been addressed) I’m happy to report the series has fared much better.
Now if you’re not a video game aficionado or you’ve never heard of Cyberpunk 2077 don’t worry, you don’t have to be familiar with the game to follow the story. While there are characters here that show up in the game the main protagonist, Diego Martinez (Zach Aguilar), and his adventures in Night City is a standalone tale. Young Diego lives with his single mother as they struggle to make ends meet in this futuristic but brutal city (think Dredd meets Blade Runner) where people, mostly the criminally inclined, enhance their body with tech that makes them faster, stronger et cetera. These people are known as edgerunners and after Diego’s mom dies in a car accident he comes across a military grade enhancement that he pays a Ripperdoc (illegal surgeons who perform the procedures) to attach to his body, allowing him to move at speeds you can’t see with the naked eye. He eventually meets a woman named Lucy (Emi Lo) who teaches him how to use it to rob people and eventually introduces him to a gang of edgerunners led by the gruff but loyal Maine (William C. Stephens). Of course, things get complicated when the company that created the military grade tech discover who has it and Diego is forced to go deeper into this world of blood and brutality as he fights for survival.
As adaptations go, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is one of the better ones I’ve seen. Netflix’s choice to dive into the world of anime and animation has yielded some stellar results with shows like Castlevania, DOTA and Arcane pleasing fans and newcomers alike. And now Edgerunners, while flawed, still delivers with stunning visuals and a fantastic score that totally sucks you into this dystopian world. I watched this English dubbed which to some people is a no-no when it comes to anime, but in this case the voice cast does a great job of bringing these characters to life, so I don’t think the quality suffers in any way.
Now I’m sure some people may be offended by the level of violence and sexuality found here but I also didn’t have a problem with it. The world of Cyberpunk is a violent one so I’m not sure what they were expecting. But if you grew up watching movies like RoboCop or enjoying anime movies from the 90s (which were a lot darker than most of their modern counterparts) this is just par for the course.
Diego is a solid protagonist, a young man who has lost everything good in his life and who has only known poverty and discrimination. This neon-soaked world might be fantasy, but Diego’s story is sadly a very real one and like a lot of young men in his position, he ends up in a gang that for better or worse, becomes his pseudo family. Heavy stuff yes, but never fear, the story is easy to follow and fantasy or not, it’s all quite relatable.
There’s nothing left to say than Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is definitely worth your time. An engaging story with gorgeous animation, high-octane energy and impressive action sequences. It’s so good I wouldn’t be surprised to see sales of the game improve with newcomers and old fans alike pressing play to have their very own adventures in Night City, cyberpunk-style.
Score: 8 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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