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**Disclaimer** - I’m a long time role-player. Almost 30 years of experience. Examples and references below are based on my personal experiences and average responses of the people I’ve played with. This review assumes you have familiarized yourself with the publicly available information about the material discussed. (i.e. Advertised descriptions, RPGG game information entry, Possible publicly available rules, etc.) If you’re concerned about spoilers do not read this review. I try to limit details in my reviews, but some things have to be mentioned to give readers an idea of what is being discussed.
RPG ITEM: Cyberpunk v3.0 Core Rules
Overall Quality: -
The Product - So after a decent run in the early nineties with Cyberpunk 2020. (C2020), R. Talsorian Games, Inc. decided, in 2005, to release a new version of the dark future RPG. This time around they decided to use the Fuzion system as it was partially spawned from the Interlock system used in the C2020 version. I’m not reviewing the Fuzion system here and will simply say the Fuzion system has the ability to create a great foundation for an RPG. And, potentially, could work very well for Cyberpunk. You might have noticed the word ‘potentially’ there. Well I used it intentionally as I don’t think the system was used to its potential in the creation of this product. But that is for the review on the RPG as a whole. Right now I’m dealing with the Core Rule book.
The first thing that must be noted is the art. This is probably the first thing anyone will notice when first flipping through the book. The art is abysmal. How can I say that? If I’m objective, how can I claim art, which is subjective, is bad or good? Shouldn’t I simply comment on the style and general appearance? I’ll tell you why I can say the art is terrible. Because it isn’t art. It is apparent that someone in R. Talsorian Games did not want to spend any money on art and simply half assed the project. Most of the images are pictures of 80’s and 90’s toy action figurines with modifications trying to make them look futuristic. The work put into the modifications are amateur at best and even the photography is sub standard. Normally art does very little to me as far as my satisfaction with a product other than occasionally I’ll see a piece I like in particular and think, ’oooh that’s nice.’ In this case I was actually insulted by the art, that someone could think the attempt at filling in space in the book with this crap was even acceptable.
Next I’ll discuss the content. The amount of errata and blatant errors in the rules and quality of writing was a disappointment. I understand with most RPG products released now that errata is an accepted evil, but the amount and type in this product exceeds acceptable standards.
I can say that the materials used in crafting the book are standard for a soft cover 300 page book.
Layout – The book follows a typical layout for the current model of RPG books. (Character stuff towards the front, game information towards the back etc.) I can’t say the layout causes any particular issue, nor will I say the layout makes things very smooth. But I can say the layout will feel familiar to those experienced with RPGs.
Mechanics: – CORE RULES, so yes there are plenty of rules for people looking for it. This RPG, as mentioned, uses the Fuzion system. But what I found to be a let down is that the Fuzion rules had few customizations made to it in order to make Cyberpunk v3.0 its own game. The Fuzion rules were taken and only given a minimum of adjustments to make it fit. At least that’s how it feels. I mean it is possible the Fuzion rules were designed with a future release of Cyberpunk in mind, but I’m not convinced this is the case.
Also, the errata in the rules are such that several things can be confusing. References to stats and other core mechanics can be off or just wrong. This isn’t just Typo type mistakes but what appears to be cut and pasting of things and then failure to go in and make changes were necessary.
Fluff – Cyberpunk has a rich and deep story behind it built up though three previous RPG releases, (2013, 2020, CyberGen), and a large number of supplements. Building upon this should be relatively easy and well received by the fans. I’m not sure this is the case though.
It appears as if the creators wanted to start with a new slate. Much of what had been established had been destroyed or removed. Instead of multicultural mixed mega cities. It appears that everything has been segregated into like minded groupings. Sure there are still cities where things are mixed together, but there is also a clear separation between types of runners, or lifestyles, or beliefs or whatever. Several locations are designed similar to medieval fantasy city states. XYZ City is where you’ll find THOSE people and ABC Commune is where all THOSE people live. For me this gets away from core of what Cyberpunk is all about, the clashing of cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles in an ever increasing blend of all those things.
Also, the Net is gone as it was known. Now Netrunners are reduced to running micro-nets which service only one city, city block or even one building. The ability to run through wildspace and hack mega corps from space, was replaced with the ability to control machines. In essence it appears Netrunners were designed to be a pet class.
Character Offerings – Everything a player needs to create a character is included in this Core Book. Cyberpunk v3.0 is a single Core Book RPG. No need to purchase a player’s book separate from a GM’s book.
Though if you’re a Cyberpunk fan and expect to jump in an make a character similar to the Interlock type, be prepared to have to relearn character generation for Fuzion.
Behind the Screen Use – Though I have experience with the Fuzion system and am a very experienced GM. I actually did get a headache trying to set up my first game of v3.0. Some of the errata left me asking WTH and having to do additional research to figure things out.
Campaign / Adventure Offerings – The new world in which Cyberpunk v3.0 has plenty of material to inspire and fuel lots of in-depth and creative campaigns. Though the world is stylistically different from the previous Cyberpunk releases, a creative GM could easily sink their teeth into the offerings of v3.0.
Roadblocks – The errata was bad enough to qualify as an obstacle, though maybe not a full roadblock.
For me, I found the changes to the setting for v3.0 were too different from what I wanted from a dystopia future cyberpunk game. I was unable to really get behind the setting enough to ‘bring home’ the campaign.
On a personal level, Cyberpunk v3.0 was a let down on every level. The art, rules, setting, even the system wasn’t used to its full potential in my opinion. The more I experienced the RPG the less I liked it. It just felt like someone had slapped this together in hopes of profiting from the franchise's previous success. I was so disappointed in this product I have yet to buy anything else published by R. Talsorian Games.
Not to say this item couldn’t be enjoyed by someone. I just think if you are looking for a continuation of the previous Cyberpunk RPGs, I would recommend you look elsewhere. If you want to buy this product, do so understanding it is its own animal and shouldn’t be related to previous Cyberpunk versions.
Thank you for reading my review. It makes the effort worthwhile.
- Last edited Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:38 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:13 pm
On a personal level, Cyberpunk v3.0 was a let down an every level. The art, rules, setting, even the system wasn’t used to its full potential in my opinion. The more I experienced the RPG the less I liked it. It just felt like someone had slapped this together in hopes of profiting from the franchises previous success. I was so disappointed in this product I have yet to buy anything else published by R. Talsorian Games.
I completely agree with you. I was very disappointed with v3.0 and have not purchased anything from R. Talsorian since they released it (not that I wouldn't). It would have been nice to see an updated 2020 setting, but the changes were to great and to many, they lost the feel of Cyberpunk IMHO. I will continue to play the old 2020, its a classic even though its a bit outdated.
Thanks for your review!
Nothing about the Datakrash which makes the entire setting go, nothing about the altcults and the post-human wars, nothing about money being replaced with a subjective measure of social status (not to mention what that implies about governments and the megacorps now that money is passe), nothing about the system for people who don't know what Fuzion is, no information about the typical editing errors in the system endemic to Fuzion and R. Talsorian RPGs, no word as to whether or not they actually created new stats for the Fuzion system or whether they copied Interlock statistics over directly, no details about the 'blatant errors'...
I object to "thorough."
If you notice this notice you wil notice that this notice was not worth noticing
Nice review. I was actually thinking of running a Cyberpunk V3 game recently. I've had the game for years and never run it. I ran the 2020 version a few times and always had a good time with it. I looked on RPG Geek to see what info I could find about V3 and it's page was very sparse! Between the rating comments that were on the page and your review I think I'll give running this a miss!
You don't know how close I was to picking this up a couple of days ago. My FLGS had it for 50% off. I have 2020 and remember loving it. I figured V3 must be better... right? I put it down because I already had a box of Battletech in my hands and thought I would come back at another time. I'm glad I did.
Thanks for the review.
I loved Cyberpunk 2020. I ran it quite a bit back in the 90s and it was very popular with quite a few groups at the Windsor Gaming Society.
A few years ago I was in Toronto at the Hairy Tarantula when I saw V3.0 on sale and snatched it up. When I got home this ended up on my RPG shelf for a while as other things took precidence. Eventually I grabbed the book and sat down to read it. I think I got to page 6 or so before it went back on the shelf.
I probably should take it off that shelf again and give it a real go. This review seems to confirm what I found in just those first few pages. This is not an awesome new update to a game I love.
Years later and my friends still hiss and snarl when someone mentions this book.
I don't know who R. Talsorian thought they were writing this for, but I've never met a Cyberpunk 2020 fan who's even considered setting up a V3 campaign after reading it.
I've never burned a book in my life, but I had at least one friend urging me to purge it with cleansing flame, and I was very tempted. V3 felt like a personal insult.
Interesting to note that R. Talsorian still sells books for 2020 -- but all references to V3 seem to have vanished completely. The system isn't just dead, it's downright obliterated.
John "Omega" Williams
For those who wonder about the art. but have never seen it. Here is a small sampler of the art in CP v3.
No. We are not joking about the dolls.