River has the potential to be one of the most interesting romance options in Cyberpunk 2077, but the hard-boiled detective is sadly underutilized in-game. CD Projekt Red’s sci-fi RPG introduces players to a colorful cast of characters as they explore the seedy streets of Night City, and many of these characters can be romanced by protagonist V. Many of these potential significant others, like Judy and Panam, are considered the most iconic characters in the whole game. While players can romance River in Cyberpunk 2077, the character is sadly shortchanged and underwritten compared to other romances.
While Cyberpunk 2077 presents various opportunities for romance, regardless of the player’s chosen gender, these digital relationships were widely criticized when the game launched. Upon release, the romance system proved to be disappointingly shallow, with players simply completing a character’s questline to make them fall in love with V. There was also little interaction once the player character was actually dating someone, outside an appearance in the game’s final mission and ending. Thankfully this criticism was addressed in the Cyberpunk 2077 1.5 update, which expanded in-game romances to be far more realistic. Players now receive texts from their significant others, engage in additional dialogue with them, and even wake up beside them in the morning. The Cyberpunk 2077 romance update made particular improvements to Judy, arguably Night City’s most popular romance, but River was sadly left largely unchanged.
First encountered during the side job “I Fought the Law,” River Ward is a Night City detective who digs into the suspicious death of Mayor Lucius Rhyne. This investigation leads to River and V crossing paths, and the player can later initiate a romance with him if they are playing with a feminine body type. Unfortunately, once V has romanced River there is very little interaction between the two. Players can visit River’s new apartment in the Red Peaks trailer park, but even after the 1.5 update the interactions between the two lovers sadly remain shallow. This disappointing relationship is made worse by the fact that some Cyberpunk 2077 players can’t romance River at all if they make the wrong decision in a side job.
How Cyberpunk 2077’s “The Hunt” Side Job Affects River
River is sadly underutilized as a Cyberpunk 2077 romance, despite his interesting profession, and the fact that he can permanently die makes his mistreatment even worse. A side job called “The Hunt” sees V and River investigate the disappearance of River’s nephew Randy, who was kidnaped and left in an unknown location by a serial killer. The duo can save Randy if they work together, but if players choose to abandon the search early River will continue to look for Randy alone and unceremoniously die. This scenario makes River the only romance choice in Cyberpunk 2077 that can permanently die, which is a disservice to the kindly NCPD detective.
As an officer of the law, River had the potential to be a very interesting romantic partner for any version of V. Lawful Cyberpunk 2077 players could work with him to clean the streets, while engaging in criminal acts could risk jeopardizing the relationship. Unfortunately, River fails to play a major role in the story once players romance him, and his untimely death can even end his story before it reaches a romantic climax. Despite his potential, Cyberpunk 2077 fails to give River the love story he deserves.
Next: Every Cyberpunk 2077 Romance, Ranked Worst To Best
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- PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One
- CD Projekt