Cyberpunk 2077’s Afterlife Bar Vs. Mass Effect 2’s, The Comparison We Had To Make

Cyberpunk 2077’s Afterlife Bar Vs. Mass Effect 2’s, The Comparison We Had To Make
Screenshot: CDPR / BioWare / Kotaku

In the future, if some of the most popular science-fiction games are to be believed, we’ll all be drinking in a bar called Afterlife.

Cyberpunk 2077, an open-world shooter set in 2077 but released in 2020 (well, technically), is back in the zeitgeist thanks to a recent next-gen respray. Integral to its plot is a dusty basement dive called Afterlife. A watering hole by the same name is a similarly vital location in BioWare’s 2183-set space opera, Mass Effect 2, which itself experienced a bit of a recent revival thanks to last year’s Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Obviously, comparisons abound.

Neighbourhood

In Cyberpunk, you’ll find Afterlife in the southern strip of Night City’s Watson district. It lurks at the bottom of a stairwell under a building next to a parking lot. Mass Effect’s Afterlife, on the other hand, is located in the central atrium of Omega, a lawless, jellyfish-shaped interstellar waystation carved into the remains of a shattered asteroid.

Point: Mass Effect 2

Vibe

Omega’s Afterlife is the sort of airy, open space most often frequented by performatively cocaine-hungry finance bros. Passé flame motifs dance up the walls. A velvet rope blocks the door, as does a massive bodyguard. Inside, you’ll find a semi-circular bar — great for getting a bartender’s attention, but not exactly for hanging out — flanked by several dance floors and a haughty VIP section.

Night City's Afterlife is spacious without being sparse. (Screenshot: CDPR / Kotaku)Night City’s Afterlife is spacious without being sparse. (Screenshot: CDPR / Kotaku)

Head to Night City’s Afterlife, though, and you’ll find something much more down to earth (literally). Patrons line up at the bar or in smoky booths to down cheap beer and well shots. Low lighting and lower ceilings give it a palpable sense of intimacy. In the back, you’ll find a booze-stained billiards table. If anyone’s looking for blow here, they’re not making a big deal out of it.

Point: Cyberpunk 2077

Music

Hanging out at Omega’s Afterlife means subjecting yourself to the ill-advised future-chic soundtrack of a mid-’90s Bottega Veneta runway show. At Night City’s, you get crunchy guitars, heartbeat drums, and belted lyrics — a delicious mixtape that would, for the era, be the equivalent of a bar on your block putting on a playlist from the 1920s. Everyone loves a good throwback!

Omega. (Screenshot: BioWare / Kotaku)Omega. (Screenshot: BioWare / Kotaku)

Point: Cyberpunk 2077

Booze

Night City’s Afterlife offers up everything you’d expect to find at your local haunt, from stouts to scotches to wines with lengthy French labels. As part of Cyberpunk 2077’s massive update, developer CD Projekt Red even added a cocktail named after Jackie Welles — your character’s longtime friend — to the menu, which unequivocally rules. I haven’t the faintest clue what you get to drink at Omega’s Afterlife. (When you order, a turian pours you a double shot from an unmarked white vial.) But the curiosity alone…

Point: Mass Effect 2

Price

Drinks in Night City cost anywhere from $US120 ($167) (tallboy of Spunky Monkey) to $US720 ($1,000) (finger of a top-shelf liquor called Ab-Synth) Eurodollars. Drinks in Omega cost one click of the “order a drink” dialogue prompt, which in all currencies exchanges to precisely $US0 ($0).

Point: Mass Effect 2

You won't find Shep's iconic dancing in Night City. (Gif: BioWare / Kotaku)You won’t find Shep’s iconic dancing in Night City. (Gif: BioWare / Kotaku)

Clientele

In Night City, Afterlife is the de facto destination of fixers and mercenaries. In Omega, Afterlife is ostensibly frequented by the same crowd, but the mere existence of its VIP section implies there’s no shortage of folks there only to flash cash and cosplay for an evening as a person who’s actually cool.

Point: Cyberpunk 2077

Amount Of Being In Space

Come on, now.

Point: Mass Effect 2

Night City's cosy backroom booths are meant to hide away in for hours. (Screenshot: CDPR / Kotaku)Night City’s cosy backroom booths are meant to hide away in for hours. (Screenshot: CDPR / Kotaku)

By our (extremely scientific) metric, Mass Effect 2 ekes out a win over Cyberpunk 2077. And to be sure, it has a lot of factors — like being in space, and also being in space — going for it. But if you asked me which Afterlife I’d rather hang out in, it’s Night City’s by a mile. All the bells and whistles in the galaxy can’t compare to the one selling point of a bar that matters most: the company you keep. And few of my friends would put themselves through the rigour of an astronaut’s training regimen just to nab a free…whatever drink that turian bartender pours.

Plus I bet Night City gives you free hot dogs if you drink too much.

 

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