There are many tools of destruction in Cyberpunk 2077, some of which are assault rifles, SMGs, and sniper rifles. These are actually some of the best choices to go for in terms of character build, since they allow main character and mercenary V to stay further away from enemies who tend to generally go for cover as well rather than run straight at you.
Moreover, there are plenty of unique weapons that make the skill tree of Assault, found within the Reflex attribute, worthwhile leveling up. That being said, with so many interesting perks available, it’s difficult to know what to prioritize and where to start. This perk tree is pretty forgiving, and every choice is valid, but these are some of the stronger perks recommended for a rifle build of any kind.
By far the best perk to get as early as possible, Executioner gives you a significant boost in damage at the beginning of combat. It only requires one perk point to be unlocked completely and it becomes available at level 7 of the Assault skill.
When enemies are above 50% of their health, you’ll do an added 25% more damage with rifles and SMGs against them. Usually these passive perks involve the end of a combat when enemies are already low, but to have something like this to help you at the start is incredibly useful.
At level 9 of Assault you should pick up Duck Hunter, which comes with two unlockable levels. This is a bit more of a niche perk, but can be useful towards mid-game where more enemies will try to engage with you face to face and run around rather than automatically taking cover.
Duck Hunter gives you 10% more damage against enemies who are moving, and at level two that’s bumped up to 20% more damage. You’ll never know what kind of challenges you’ll face next in Night City, and since not every enemy fights like your typical gang member who tries to take cover, you’ll absolutely want this unlocked.
Nerves Of Steel
If you’re going for more of a sniper build, you’ll want to ensure that your headshot damage is through the roof. Nerves Of Steel, which becomes available at level 11 of the Assault skill, increases your headshot damage significantly in two different levels.
At level 1, you’ll do an additional 20% damage with sniper rifles and precision rifles when hitting headshots. At level 2, the percentage is increased to 30%. It’s a basic damage multiplier perk, but these are your bread and butter perks that should always be prioritized whenever possible.
Feel The Flow
Reload times won’t usually be a problem in the game, since a lot of the combat in Night City has you fighting against enemies who are taking cover — just as you should be. That being said, you want to maximize your efficiency even in cover, since the enemy will try to flank you, which is why Feel The Flow at level 11 of Assault is a great option.
The perk has two levels, and at its first tier it reduces your reload time for assault rifles and SMGs by 10%. At level two, this gets bumped up to 20%.
Precision is another huge aspect of gunplay in the game, and while Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t a pure FPS game, having good aim will make your time in the city ten million times nicer. To help you secure those shots, make sure to grab Hunter’s Hands at level 12 of Assault.
The perk comes in two levels, and basically reduces recoil of your rifles and SMGs. At level 1 the recoil is down by 20% and at level 2 it’s down by 40%, which is a huge jump. The catch? You need to be shooting from behind cover for this perk to be active, but given how that’s a basic aspect of combat in the game anyway, this shouldn’t be a problem for any rifle builds.
Speaking of staying in cover, another fantastic perk to have you covered (see what we did there?) is Trench Warfare, which can be unlocked at level 12 of Assault. It’s just another great reason to make sure you find cover during combat and know how to move through the map to advance towards the enemy.
Trench Warfare has two levels, both of which increase your damage with rifles and SMGs while shooting from behind cover. At level 1, the increase is 5% and at level 2 it’s at 10%.
Another detail to consider with precision weapons like rifles and the like is Crit Damage. You’ll want to ensure you hit those juicy Crit Shots with your weapons and actually deal some seriously devastating damage to the enemy. Named Bullets, unlocked at level 14 of Assault, bumps your Crit Damage by quite a bit.
The perk only requires unlocking it once, and you’ll instantly get a 35% increase in Crit Damage for your rifles and SMGs. Another bread and butter perk that everyone specializing in rifles of any type should get.
Fighting at range usually means your armor and resistances won’t be the best. However, there’s one perk in particular that mends that just a bit, and that’s Bunker, available at level 16 of Assault. Again, its effects require you to be in cover, so make sure to play accordingly in combat.
This perk comes in a single level, which boosts your armor and resistances by 15% while you’re using rifles and SMGs from behind cover. It’s a decent increase, given that sniper and rifle builds tend to not be very tanky.
If you’ve picked this skill tree, then chances are you prefer to take down your enemies from afar. Luckily, there’s a perk that actually rewards you from being as far away as possible from your enemies (within the limits of combat, of course). At level 18 of Assault, Long Shit is a near overpowered perk that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Long Shot increases your damage depending on how far you are from your enemies. The further, the better. It’s particularly good for any sniper builds that rely on staying as far back as possible.
Excellent range, combined with cover, usually means you’ll be standing still in combat and fighting the enemy from a set spot before rotating to a better location. That means a lot of your time fighting is spent not moving, and as one would expect, there’s a perk that rewards that, too.
At level 20 of Assault, pick up Savage Stoic. Your damage with rifles and SMGs will bump up by 35% when you’re standing still. This, on top of all the previous perks involving cover, will turn you into a deadly opponent.
NEXT: Cyberpunk 2077: 5 Best Characters (& 5 That Were Just Annoying)
- Cyberpunk 2077
Tea lover and video game obsessed writing enthusiast with her very own Overwatch team, Anastasia writes about games that leave an impression on her and make her come back time and time again.
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