How to Use Stealth – Cyberpunk 2077

You’re probably seeing a lot of videos and reading a ton of articles on all the powerful stealth builds you can play in Cyberpunk 2077. Also, if you missed it, we also have an awesome Full Stealth Build. However, those builds are very detailed, and it’s easy to get confused by all the nuances and basics of the game’s stealth systems. We understand, and are here to help you figure out how stealth works in Night City, and how best to use it.

As is the case with most RPGs, you can initiate stealth by crouching. When crouched, you will move slower but avoid detection as long as you’re out of eyesight. You can verify that you’re crouched, by looking at the bottom right of your screen – there’s a little figure either standing or crouched. At the start of a play through, you’re very slow in stealth, but this quickly changes with perks.

While you’re sneaking, there are several indicators to show you the status of your enemies. These will be in diamond boxes above their head:

  • Yellow Eye – Enemies are unaware of your presence.
  • Red Eye – Enemies know you’re around and are looking for you.
  • Exclamation Point – You have been spotted and enemies are going to attack you.

As you enter into the sight of enemies, these boxes (either yellow or red) will start to fill up. When they’re totally full, it will turn into a red exclamation point, then it’s time to delta because all enemies in the vicinity will be aware of your presence. Once an enemy is in the Combat mode, they cannot be dealt with by a stealth takedown (see section below on stealth takedowns).

When you’re detected, you have some options: fight the enemies, find a spot to continue sneaking away from enemies, or run away. Unless you have quite a few perks in Cool, then you probably won’t want to fight while in stealth (crouched).

Running away is self-explanatory, so how do you get back to stealth after being spotted? You need to avoid being seen while you’re sneaking for a prolonged period of time. After enemies have lost you, they will still be looking for you (red eye status), but they won’t be attacking you, and you can continue your clandestine activities.

Another mechanic that can make enemies start looking for you is if a dead body is discovered. This will be shown on your screen to let you know enemies are now looking for you. For this reason, it’s important to conceal your stealth kills by hiding the bodies.

cyberpunk stealth guide body detected

In order to hide bodies, you will have to pick them up (1). There are receptacles to hide bodies scattered around most combat areas. They are marked with a red box above them (that’s only shown when you’ve picked up a body or in scanner mode). They can be trashcans, crates, or garbage chutes (2).

The last way that you can be detected is through an enemy Cyber Runner. This will only happen when enemies know that you are around, and they are searching for you (red eye above their heads). A notice will populate on the screen, and a red line will show where the Cyber Runner is or the devices they’re tracking you through. You can destroy the device or kill the Cyber Runner to stay hidden.

cyberpunk stealth guide tracing location

Cyberware can be very beneficial while sneaking. For one, it is how you will access the game’s invisibility perk, which is called Optical Camo. It is a mod for the Integumentary System (1), and it must be placed in the quick access portion of your inventory (where you equip grenades) in order to turn it on (2).

After you get the ‘Vanishing Act’ perk in the middle Cool skill tree, you won’t need to have it equipped for quick access; it will automatically turn on when crouch sprinting.

cyberpunk stealth guide vanishing act perk
Plenty more perks where that came from

Hacking is another optional (but very useful) aspect of stealth. It’s a great way to distract enemies, knock out surveillance, and bypass security. Here are some useful stealth quick hacks from our Cyberpunk 2077 Hacking Guide:

  • Sonic Shock – Upload Time: 2, Duration: 30, Cooldown: 10.
    • Uncommon: Deafens the target, reducing their ability to detect you. RAM Cost: 3.
    • Rare: Isolates the target from local network, preventing them from communicating with their allies. RAM Cost: 4.
    • Epic: Excludes the target from the perception range of their squad, causing them to be ignored. RAM Cost: 5.
    • Legendary: Passive when equipped: enemies under the effects of any quick hack are cut off from the local network. RAM Cost: 6.
  • Request Backup – Upload Time: 2, Duration: 10, Cooldown: 10.
    • Uncommon: Calls in squad members that are not in combat mode, all gathering in the same spot. RAM Cost: 4.
    • Epic: Also works against enemies in combat mode. RAM Cost: 6.
  • Whistle – Upload Time: 2, Duration: 10, Cooldown: 10.
    • Uncommon: The affected target will enter a heightened state of alertness and move to your current position. RAM Cost: 2.
    • Rare: The target will no longer be in a state of alertness when moving to your current position. RAM Cost: 2.
    • Epic: Can be executed on enemies engaged in combat. RAM Cost: 4.
  • Memory Wipe – Upload Time: 2, Duration: 8, Cooldown: 120.
    • Rare: Causes the target to exit combat mode and forget about your presence. RAM Cost: 4.
    • Epic: Affects the target’s entire squad. RAM Cost: 5.
  • Ping – Upload Time: 1, Duration: 20, Cooldown: 0.
    • Uncommon: Reveals enemies and devices connected to the local network. RAM Cost: 1.
    • Legendary: Highlighted targets can be scanned and Quickhacked through solid obstacles. RAM Cost: 1.

Enemies can be distracted to move away from their positions. Click and hold the quickhack button, and the option will appear on some items in the area to distract enemies. Sneak behind distracted enemies for a stealthy takedown.

How to quickhack on different platforms:

Xbox: holding Left Bumper
PlayStation: Holding L1
PC: Hold TAB.

distract enemies quickhack 1 1

What makes stealth in Cyberpunk such a fun and varied experience is all the different ways you can approach combat. A good place to start, since we just finished with hacking, is through offensive hacks. These are very formidable attacks and can be performed at a range.

cyberpunk stealth guide hack combat

You will want to be careful with some hacks as they are traceable; they are marked as such when you go to use them with your scanner. Detonating a grenade in your foe’s pocket might not be the stealthiest attack, but it’s still sneaky if they can’t find you!

Under the main stealth skill tree, Cool, you gain proficiency with several types of guns – mostly semi-automatic, precision weapons like:

  • Revolvers
  • Snipers
  • Precision Rifles
  • Pistols

However, there is one problem with this; only one of these is really a stealth type of weapon, pistols. Revolvers and precision rifles can’t have silencers attached, and the same thing goes for a vast majority of sniper rifles (though the Iconic sniper, Overwatch, is silenced). This means you will want to stick with pistols, unless you throw points into Reflexes for automatic weapons that can be silenced.

cyberpunk stealth guide pistol

Thankfully, there is another option in the Cool skill tree, throwable weapons. You do have to be very accurate for wielding these, as a thrown knife is on a timer for coming back into your inventory (1). Speaking of blades, you could also use katanas (if you put points into Reflexes). However, by the time you close in on enemies, you could just use a stealth takedown. These are performed by approaching an enemy from behind while sneaking (2).

While crouched, a player can walk behind an enemy that hasn’t been alerted. You can either kill the enemy with a Lethal Takedown or a Stealth takedown. Nearby places to hide bodies are marked by your optics when pressing the button to quickhack.

As stated in the previous section, enemies are quickly alerted when bodies are left lying around, so hide them as soon as they’re taken out. If they are next to a container, the game will give you the option to knock them out and hide them simultaneously, as in the example below.

stealth takedown

Since Update 2.0, perks have totally changed and become, in our opinion, much better. It feels like spending points has significant impacts on your character, and this is no different with stealth. Let’s look at which skill trees and perks stealthy players should focus on.

This is the actual skill tree that will provide your character with perks for sneaking and avoiding enemies. The middle column is essential to any stealth build, giving perks like Feline Footwork and Ninjutsu to help your character move faster and take less damage while sneaking.

Like Cool, Reflexes is important for stealth characters that want to be quick as lightening. Mixing this middle tree with Cool’s middle tree, makes for a very lethal and fast assassin. One of the best upgrades is the dash, which replaces the dodge; it makes ducking between cover oh-so easy.

cyberpunk stealth guide dash perk

Lastly, we have Intelligence, which is for all you hackers out there. Unlike the previous skill trees, there is no clear-cut path on which is the obvious choice. Both the left and middle trees provide great bonuses for recharging RAM, queuing up hacks, and other nerdy things. That being said, there is a good place to start, and that is the ‘Eye in the Sky’ perk on the left tree. This will automatically show you cameras, making avoiding (and sabotaging) them a piece of cake.

cyberpunk stealth guide intelligence perks

We hope that this guide of the basics helped you sneak around Night City a little more easily. What kinda stealth build are you going to use? Are sneaky mercs the best mercs? Let us know in the comments!

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Kelson H.
Kelson H.

Kelson is a spud head from out west. He is most happy when holding a milky tea with too much honey and playing a sprawling role playing game or reading a fantasy novel. His video game tastes vary but his main genres are looter shooters, RPGs, and real time strategy games.

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