What is Braindance?
In the Cyberpunk universe, Braindance was invented at US Santa Cruz in the early 2000s and was primarily used as a means of rehabilitation for prisoners, therapy, or trauma relief. It was also used for recording one’s experience so that another individual could relive that experience as their own.
By 2077 however, Braindance has become a wide-spread phenomenon, used in everything from movies to video games, adult fare, and more.
In Cyberpunk 2077, Braindance is used as a method of storytelling. Think of braindance as a key to unlock insight on various characters such as childhood trauma, religious or psychological activities, criminal acts and more.
The Braindance Experience
During a Braindance, you are reliving someone else’s experience, seeing what they saw, hearing what they heard, and feeling everything they felt in that moment in time. It’s essentially a kind of VR immersion or trance – Inception anyone?? Often invoking some form of an emotional reaction and response from your character. This comes in handy when interacting with memories from deceased characters or when you want to record an experience to revisit later. And, it is a major factor in Cyberpunk 2077 when it comes to story and gameplay.
BD recording implants record every element in the background, even ones the roller might not be aware of. Sometimes, you’ll even be able to analyze extra layers or raw things the roller’s cyberware picked up. Kiroshi optics, for example, can grab infrared, allowing you to grab heat signatures from recordings taken while the roller was wearing that particular cyberware.
When performing a Braindance, your character will put on a headset to initiate the sequence. There will be flashing lights and there has been a PSA warning, as this animation could be a trigger for those with epilepsy or those prone to seizures.
During a Braindance, your character will experience different sensations. You may feel scared, nervous, or even aroused, depending on the situation. You’ll feel exactly what that BD roller felt at that exact point.
How to Partake in Braindance
During a Braindance, there are two modes which will allow you to relive an experience as your own.
In Playback Mode, you can watch the scene exactly as it played out. You’ll be seeing the scene clearly, through the eyes of the character your braindance belongs to so keep in mind- you’ll feel their thoughts and absorb their feelings as your own during the experience.
Analysis / Editing Mode
In Analysis or Editing Mode, you control the playback. The scene in this mode will appear more grainy as you scan details of the environment recorded by the BD roller. In the editor, you can pause, rewind, fast-forward, resume play, or restart from the beginning. You can do this as often as you need, in case you miss anything. You can zoom in and out and move the camera around freely to analyze every aspect of the scene. When you rewind or FF, remember the longer you hold down the button, the faster you’ll be able to do so.
In this mode, you’ll have three scannable tracks, or layers:
The visual layer will be yellow, the thermal layer will be blue and the sound layer will be green. In the editor, you’ll be able to swap between these tracks easily as you analyze the scene.
The bold sections in each track indicate a scannable clue. In moments where clues overlap, the bold section will glow. If on the correct layer, the clue will be highlighted for the duration of the sequence. Once a scan is successful, it will disappear from the track.
In this mode, you’ll be able to swap between sight, sound, and thermal to scan items and people as you hone in on a certain sense. For example, with sound mode, you’ll even be able to hear someone on the other end of a phone conversation that another character nearby is having.
Don’t feel rushed. Take your time and remember, if you miss something, you can always rewind or restart from the top. Or, FF to the place lit up on the track to find that particular clue. (Just make sure you’re on the right layer, or track for the clue you’re looking for or you won’t be able to find it.
Tips and Tricks
Make sure to look around because some things may not be super obvious. Don’t be afraid to glance at the ceiling. But keep in mind… you can only scan a clue during moments that clue is perceivable by the person recording the braindance. Meaning… even if you’ve seen the entire BD and rewind to a certain point when you know someone is about to pull out a gun you’re looking to scan, you won’t be able to scan it until the BD roller sees it.
Make sure you don’t get too far away from the person’s experience you’re reliving. If you’re getting too far out of range, you’ll see a notice at the top of your screen that reads “leaving signal range” so stay close the BD roller to avoid resetting the braindance.
I recommend watching the entire scene in playback mode first. Do this all the way through, from the BD roller’s point-of-view as you listen and look for signs that may be important. Then, in analyze mode, you can start looking for clues.
Pay attention to the information in the top right of your screen for clues on what to look for or what to do next. You’ll notice some optional clues here as well.
Keep in mind… some braindances can be pretty intense. If you’re planning on doing a lot of braindances during your playthrough of the game, you may want to invest in the Cool attribute. Since specing into Cool affects your ability to stay calm and “keep your cool” under pressure and high-intensity situations. So it might not be a bad idea to keep some extra points in Cool just in case you get hooked on this Night City trend.
After all, braindances aren’t just used to solve mysteries from the past, but are in fact the biggest draw entertainment-wise and are all the rage in 2077. However, as I mentioned, some experiences can be pretty intense… and rumor has it too much dancing with the devil can result in brain damage. So… buyers beware, got it?
Types of Braindance
You can experience a braindance for a job, for fun, in the main quest, in side quests; alone, or in a group. That being said, the more people experiencing one together, the less detailed that experience will be, so keep that in mind when seeking out these types of business opportunities… or pleasures.
Black Braindances (or XBDs), are a type of explicit braindance, and can be things like Flatliners – where the BD roller dies during the recording.
Note that partaking in a BD in a non-“safe” atmosphere can result in some risky situations. You may become too consumed by the braindance itself, forgetting your you, sitting in a chair, living someone else’s experience, and lose all sense of reality, or forget your surroundings entirely.
Now… I’ve heard mixed information in regards to if a braindance can be forced upon an individual or not. Some say it can, while others say a braindance only works on a willing participant. I’m sure as we all progress through the game, this question and more will be answered.
Braindances are still used for medical reasons including treating psychological therapy and other forms of mental illness and this may be something you’ll run into during your playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077.
Where to Experience Braindance
When it comes to where you can get such an experience, note there are many ways you can partake in a braindance. An arcade, a bar, or even in your own home. (If you can afford such a luxury).
You may be familiar with one of Night City’s most favorite Braindance operatives. A character you might have already met in fact… Judy Alvarez. Judy is the premier braindance technician at Lizzie’s Bar and is a hard person to miss. She leaves… quite an impression to say the least. The quest you’ll be looking for to do this is called “The Information”.
Judy is well-respected for her skills, creativity, and innovation when it comes to the practice and is even known to deal in illicit braindances. (For the right price, of course).
Running the suite at Lizzie’s, Judy is not only the techie and editor but also affiliates herself with the Moxes gang themselves. Judy is the perfect person to seek out for your first braindance experience to ensure a smooth run for your first go. And don’t worry… she’ll keep you comfortable. 😉
Looking for more Cyberpunk 2077? Check out this guide on everything you need to know regarding attributes, class, skills, perk points, and more. Need some Cyberpunk flare? Click here to create your own LED light-up jacket for under $60!
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My favorite games growing up were Sonic, Zelda, Super Smash Bros, and Pathways into Darkness.