Cyberpunk 2077 might greatly resemble Grand Theft Auto when you’re tooling around the streets of Night City, but it’s a full-blown role-playing game at heart. You know what that means: numbers, stats, and character builds!
If you want help understanding the character attributes of Body, Reflexes, Technical Ability, Intelligence, and Cool, hit that link for a full explanation of them. On this page, we want to give you some tips on how to figure out the best build for you.
Rather than give you a list of recommended builds direct from us, we want to encourage you to play Cyberpunk the right way. The truth is, there is no absolute ‘best build’ in Cyberpunk 2077 – the game gives you a wealth of options to play with, and that can lead to many completely valid ways of playing.
However, we do have some tips for you to consider, based on a combined hundred-plus hours of play across multiple characters and builds. Here’s those tips:
Don’t sweat your early purchases too much
Early on in the game, and even in the character creator after you’ve picked your Lifepath, it’s easy to get paralysed with choice – first by the attributes you can pump points into, and then by the perks you can purchase within each category. But try not to panic.
There’s over two hundred perks total, and over the course of the game, you’re going to accrue an absolute tonne of points with which to buy them. In an average play-through, you can expect to level up around 30 times, so you’ll get plenty of attribute points to buy, too.
It is true that you’ll eventually want to specialize and target specific areas. But initially, consider keeping things balanced. For our money, the best initial categories to focus on are Body and Intelligence – these unlock lots related to strength and hacking, two pillars of Cyberpunk. But ultimately, you do you – until you figure out how you want to specialize.
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If you want to use Stealth, get a Nervous System upgrade fast
To be completely honest with y’all, stealth is probably the weakest part of the video-gamey elements of Cyberpunk 2077. But it does get better if you buy a few specific upgrades.
While there’s a whole bunch of stealth-related perks under the ‘Cool’ attribute – stealth gets its own tab, even – what you actually need is a Nervous System upgrade, available from any of the Ripperdocs around the city. Remember, each Ripperdoc has unique stock which changes over time, so if you can’t find what you need right away, revisit later on.
Anyway, what you want for stealth is a “Synaptic Accelerator”. It sort of looks like a traffic light with two yellow lights.
The Synaptic Accelerator basically slows down time whenever you’re about to be spotted in stealth – which helps you to both know you’re about to be seen and gives you more time to react. This is genuinely life-changing for stealth.
Exactly how much of a slowdown you get, and for how long, will depend on the rarity and quality of the item. You can upgrade this throughout the game, but basic ones are available from as early as the prologue.
Body, Intelligence, and Technical Ability stats will open up new story options more frequently
You’ll notice quite early on that some stats will open up more options within dialogue trees and also around quests. For example, a character with a high Body stat might be able to rip open certain closed doors with sheer force, or might be able to more successfully intimidate and threaten NPCs in dialogue, which might help you avoid a fight or two.
All of the stats can be used this way – like Cool often unlocks new conversation options – but the three that can most commonly be used to open things up are Body, Technical Ability, and Intelligence.
Intelligence relates to hacking and the like, so you’ll be able to converse about tech whiz issues more smoothly with that stat high, as well as perform certain hacks to access different areas in story missions and so on. Technical Ability relates to crafting for the most part, but in dialogue and story prompts can impact your ability to take things apart or understand how things work. If you want the most options possible, these three stats are important.
However you spec, you have to be ready for a fight
It’s important to make one thing clear – no matter how you spec your character, you’ll need to be ready for a fight. Depending on which quests you undertake, and even during the main story, there will sometimes be boss battles that you cannot avoid. There’s no option to use stealth against these bosses, and hacking will only get you so far, so you should always be equipped for a full-on fight.
Luckily this is less of a concern in Cyberpunk than in something like the recent Deus Ex games, as Cyberpunk is a loot game at heart, meaning it’s constantly feeding you a huge number of new weapons of varying power. Always carry a few good guns on you – you’ll have plenty of room – but also consider looking into some of the perk upgrades for fighting.
At a base, we’d recommend carrying an assault rifle and picking up just a few Rifles Perks from the Reflexes category to increase damage and make aiming down sights faster and smoother. Reflexes is a great category for beefing up your offensive output in general, in fact, as you can also power up handguns and blades. For bosses you’ll want a high-output weapon; my favourite ended up being tech assault rifles, which can be charged to deliver devastating shots even through cover or fired rapidly from the hip.
If you’re a stealth build, for instance, a silenced handgun with a lot of power-boosting perks can also be a very useful stealth option, able to take enemies out with a headshot when spotted before they can alert their buddies.
Even if you’re a soldier build, upgrade Intelligence and Quickhacks
One of the great things about Cyberpunk 2077 is just how good the shooting feels. It’s way better than pretty much every other shooter/RPG hybrid going, which means some of you will be inclined to lean into guns and just keep blasting. However, don’t ignore the intelligence section and your quickhacks.
Quickhacks can be used any time during combat, and you can even pause time while selecting them. They can turn the tide in any battle, no matter your chosen weapons otherwise – so be sure to put some points into it, pick up some good ones as loot or through stores, and equip them and make liberal use of them. Often, they can balance out any weaknesses of a build – such as jamming the weapons of powerful enemies if you’re a glass cannon sort of character with little health, and so on.
Arm and Leg Cyberware is a game changer – don’t ignore it
Speaking of the above – don’t let how good moment-to-moment gunplay feels distract you from some of Cyberpunk 2077’s classic augmentations. They’re excellent.
I ended up settling on Gorilla Arms and a Double Jump, but these skills can seriously change both traversal and combat throughout Night City. These are expensive investments, but regardless, we recommend that you pay up sooner rather than later to enjoy these unique skills, which fit into an otherwise empty slot but expand your ability set significantly.
The Street Brawler and Blade perk trees include useful general survival skills
Cyberpunk knows that some players might want to for a pure physical build using your fists or blunt and bladed weapons. However, the skill trees in the perks section around these elements of combat are actually useful across the board.
In the Blades category, for instance, there are skills that’ll make dodging successfully recover stamina, or give you extra armor while on the move. Even if you only occasionally use blades, these skills are useful in general.
If uncertain of where to spend perks, hit up Athletics
The Athletics tab of the Body perks is one that no matter the build will be useful to V, so if you have perk points that you’re desperate to spend and you’re trying to figure out what to do, hit up that tab.
There, you’ll find a bunch of useful general-purpose skills – including things like boosting your stamina, health, and carrying capacity. It’s a great way to power up your V and make them more survivable.
You can reset your Perks, but not your Attribute Points – and it’s expensive
If you feel like you’ve gone somewhat down the wrong path and want to respec, you can do this – but it’s an expensive proposition. It’ll set you back 100,000 Eddies. To respec, go to any ripperdoc and head to their ‘trade’ screen. There you’ll find the Tabula E-Rasa legendary item.
Buy and use this item and all of your perks will be removed and the points refunded – you can them redistribute them as you see fit.