Cyberpunk 2077 has had its ups and downs, but in its current state after patch 1.5 – complete with some extra weight put behind its romance options – Judy Alvarez and Panam Palmer continue to be its two most appealing romance options. Cyberpunk 2077’s characters are one of its greatest strengths, whatever one may say about its story or technical shortcomings, and much like The Witcher 3 before it, some of its side content (such as the quests related to its characters) end up being the most memorable, emotional parts of an otherwise fairly straightforward tale about corporate control and the limits of the human mind and body. This makes choosing which Cyberpunk 2077 character protagonist V should romance all the more difficult.
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Cyberpunk 2077’s recent improvements have gotten many people back into the game after considerable time away, and not everyone will have explored the game’s different options for character romance. Some of the options are quick one-off encounters players can engage in purely for sport or character-building – short-term dalliances with side characters only meant to enrich the game’s world. However, for characters like Judy, Panam, Meredith, River, and Kerry, things are a little more robust, with more substantive options and some stories that tie into the romance.
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That said, there’s no denying that though in any sort of ranking of Cyberpunk 2077’s romance partners, Judy and Panam stand out as the two best by a Night City mile. Where some of the game’s other characters offer a few interesting moments or some fun banter, Judy and Panam are heads and tails above the rest in terms of the sheer level of emotional connection players can find with them. Given their gender preferences, however, it could be that the choice between Cyberpunk 2077’s Judy and Panam is ultimately decided by what gender options a player chooses for their version of V.
Why You Should Romance Panam In Cyberpunk 2077
Panam Palmer is easily one of Cyberpunk 2077’s most compelling characters, with a story that takes players into the badlands outside of the city. It’s an action-heavy affair in spots, with plenty of interesting story beats and an emotional rollercoaster of a storyline that engages in terms of both gameplay and some softer storytelling moments. Even Cyberpunk 2077 players who don’t romance Panam will find her to be a character that endears herself to players quickly, and will likely find themselves bonding after the stressful events of her story (which also intersects with the game’s main narrative). Panam’s story involves a complicated relationship with the Aldecaldos and their leader Saul, who is eventually thrown into peril that Panam and V have to extricate him from.
Panam’s story will likely appeal to a broad number of players, offering an ongoing relationship that’s strengthened by the events that she and V go through together. This makes the romance that can blossom all the more emotionally affecting, though the primary complication to this is the fact that Panam’s preferences require a partner with a masculine body type, meaning she won’t be an option for everyone. But for those who are able and willing to pursue a deeper relationship with Panam, recent updates to the game have made it even more compelling, with extended romance options in Cyberpunk 2077 1.5. The meaty update brought things like text messages and the ability to sleep next to and wake up with a romantic partner into the mix, allowing for more opportunities to bond.
Why You Should Romance Judy In Cyberpunk 2077
Panam’s ex-nomad lifestyle and aesthetic might not be for everyone, so Judy Alvarez offers something of a polar opposite – at least as far as the feminine characters of Cyberpunk 2077 go. Initially more brusque in manner, Judy is introduced to players fairly early in Cyberpunk 2077’s story as a savvy Braindance editor with highly desirable talents. With an introduction made by Evelyn Parker, who contracts DeShawn to orchestrate the Konpeki Plaza heist, Judy quickly shows her value as an ally. Future unfortunate circumstances related to Evelyn bring V and Judy closer together, and this thread quickly evolves into an emotional storyline that’s more than a little heartbreaking. It gives Judy more depth than probably any other Cyberpunk 2077 character.
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Thankfully for fans, Cyberpunk 2077’s 1.5 patch made romancing Judy even more compelling. Entering into the relationship now provides the same story and quest options as before, but with the added bonus of being able to send text messages (some of which can even include some mildly NSFW content attached). Being able to wake up to Judy after a solid night of rest is also a bonus for V, something that can’t fail to affect players emotionally given everything they’ll have been through with Judy up to that point. Just as with Panam, however, Judy’s preferences mean she’s got a particular type: Judy needs V to have a feminine body and voice for romance to be an option.
Why Judy Is Better Than Panam As A Cyberpunk 2077 Romance Option
Given the preferences of both Panam and Judy in Cyberpunk 2077, it may be that players really only have one or the other as a romance option based on how they created their character. But for any player that creates a character with a feminine body type and voice, Judy is just hands-down the best option in the game. No offense intended to Panam, who is a fantastic character with a great story – and few enough players will find anything to complain about if they develop a relationship with her – but from the outset of Judy’s nuanced, heartbreaking tale, which graduates into something larger as it goes, shows a depth of characterization that makes her easily the most compelling romance option in the game.
Ultimately, any player can choose a romantic partner in the game that appeals to them, but for those looking to experience some of the best content that Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer, in addition to one of its most endearing and compelling characters, Judy Alvarez is the best choice. That shouldn’t stop anyone from making another V and trying out other romance options, of course, and even if Judy wins out in the end, Panam Palmer is absolutely the clear runner-up in a fairly close race. Most of Cyberpunk 2077’s romance options just don’t quite hit the same, with either too little content, more of a gameplay than a story focus, or just not having enough of a chance to shine. It’s a shame that more couldn’t have been done with interesting masculine characters like River Ward or Kerry Eurodyne, who deserved a little more attention than they probably got, and there are plenty of Cyberpunk 2077 chararcters who should’ve been romance options. All the same, Judy and Panam represent the best of what Cyberpunk 2077 can be when its firing on all cylinders: a game with a lot of heart, an immersive world, and some truly memorable characters.
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About The Author
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Michael J. Riser is an author, freelance writer, and a gaming features editor at Screen Rant. His work has appeared in such varied publications as Goomba Stomp, IGN Pakistan, UNC Charlotte’s Sanskrit, and print anthologies from Despumation, Solarcide, and Pantheon Magazine. He has formerly been the managing editor of Alloutgames.com and the indie games editor at Goomba Stomp. An Asian Studies and Religious Studies graduate of CSU Chico, he has lived in Japan, hunting through the narrow aisles of game stores from Osaka to Tokyo, and has lived in the cloisters of a Buddhist monastery in Ningbo, China. He now lives in California with his wife, a rescue dog, and a mischievous Hallowe’en cat.
You can find him occasionally ranting at Bookruptcy.com, and can email him directly at michael.r(at)screenrant(dot)com.
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