Cyberpunk 2077 Review
Cyberpunked 2077. Lots to discuss here. I love the game regardless.
I did it again. I trusted a company. I pre-ordered a game. I trusted “the darling” of the gaming industry but it may have turned out to be a darkling. Witcher pun, you love it.
Before I got too far with this review let me make it clear- I do not blame the developers for the myriad of holes in this game.
I cant say anything that hasn’t already been said, can I? (I will, please keep reading!)
I have now experienced Cyberpunk on PS4, PS4 pro, PS5 and PC. Obviously the soundest experience was on PC, but second place was not PS5, it was the pro. Thats not a knock on the PS5 (which I have not managed to personally acquire yet- pull your finger out Sony!) as the PS5 is trying to play a poorly optimised PS4 pro version of a poorly optimised PC version of a game that is not running great on PC.
I played, regardless of bugs, about 40 hours up until patch 1.05 released then I gave up. I played up to that point because underneath the various crashes, bugs, and shortcomings (or flat out lies) compared to the advertised game there is still an incredible game to be played.
I filled my time (after completing chapter 1 or 2) with side questing and odd jobs rather than ruining the main quest line for myself with crashes and game breaking bugs. I also wanted to get some of the immersion it promised going and presumed that would be best experienced on the main quests when the game was fixed- so I have avoided a lot of them so far.
The reason I quit at patch 1.05 is because I had gotten used to the bugs my version had- I knew how to avoid them- how to minimise the damage by saving often and before an event that I knew was likely to crash the game. Having lots of save files so I could jump back 10, 20 or 30 minutes in the case of something irreversibly bad occurring. 1.05 then fixed some of my issues, such as the hourly (almost perfectly) crash and shut downs- and instead introduced bugs where I couldn’t run. Bugs where I couldn’t leave the settings menu. Bugs where people died... and stayed alive.
At that point the frustrations and negativity were getting to me and I knew if I carried on playing I would not want to play even when its fixed (predicted to be March time with some BIG patches).
I understand why these patches are causing more problems- Im not annoyed about that. They are causing more problems because the Devs are being forced to rush fixes in, that likely haven’t been tested or passed amongst the team and picked at as stringently as they may have been. Because- we aren’t playing a beta. People are returning the game at an alarming rate. So the problem then is that it was released completely unfinished on too many platforms. It shouldnt have come out for anything other than PC the day it released. Then it should not have released on PS4 or Xbox 1 at all (not the standard consoles). If they wanted to release it on them then they needed a serious amount of extra time. I also get why it needed to be released on them- thats where half the customers are at the minute. Most people don't have the new generation Xbox or Playstation due to stock issues of both. PC gamers account for just under half of the total gaming market (like 48% or something ridiculous) but only require one version of the game. Console players are therefor around 52% of gamers but require 6 versions to capture the majority.
Any way you break it, the games not finished and should not have been released- so I am treating the current game as it is an “early access beta” that you only have access to by buying the game. Suppose this rings even more true since it got removed from the playstation store.
Why did the game go wrong?
Before I break down ways in which the game disappointed me, I will explain why. Everyone loves an underdog. Being caught unaware by an amazing game you had little to no expectations for is surreal. That game becomes incredible- you didn’t expect incredible Ai for example- because- perhaps its about exploring a futuristic city. A perfect example of this is the last of us (the first one). Very limited fanfare (if at all) around the release. The game came out, it was incredible, everyone loved it. Masterpiece.
Im not trying to shit on that masterpiece, but there is A LOT more to do in Cyberpunk than the last of us 1. The graphics are better. The story is longer. There are choices. It’s open world. The NPCs are wandering about. Some are doing things. There are side quests. You can customise your character, etc etc etc. Even in the last of us 2 (which in my opinion was another masterpiece) there were no NPCs that I expected to be going about their days (the ones there weren’t doing anything really). Cyberpunk however. A game for the same price (actually cheaper than the last of us 2 since I got the special edition) I expected more. Much more.
Im not going to exclusively blame myself for over hyping this game in my head, I’m going to take a few things into account. The advertising for Cyberpunk started before the game had even begun development. It started with an INSANE video with incredibly advanced graphics and characters based in an ultra cool Cyber punk setting. Obviously. This Was back in JANUARY 2013!!!
From then things went dark for a few years whilst CD Project Red enjoyed the immense success of the Witcher 3. A well deserved success it was. The world is full, vibrant. The story is incredible and there is a lot to do beside that.
Cyberpunk then started its hype. From videos with the writer talking about the world. Talks about immense realism and decision making. ‘Every action has a consequence’. Blah blah blah KEANU REEVES!! They hyped this game to absolutely unattainable levels and attempted to deliver the impossible during a pandemic. It was never going to be possible. Is this the Devs lying to advertisers? No, from the Team that birthed the Witcher 3 into the world, I doubt it. After the immense success of The Witcher 3 some very greedy shareholders and head honchos have had to attempt to hype the next big thing. A next gen game, playable on current gen in a futuristic lived in metropolis from the creators behind the Witcher 3. I mean, if the company had delivered I can imagine how many hours you could blast about in this game? It was an impossible feat from the beginning wasn’t it?
So what is actually wrong?
So aside from the obvious bugs and crashed, what is actually wrong at the minute?
If you were to ignore the advertisements of clearly missing features.. Then still a little chunk. But deciding what is a bug, and what is just poor game design is difficult.
The driving is either horrendous, or I am terrible at it. I cannot navigate the city without driving into most things I pass. The only vehicle I can cross the city in without destroying it or killing myself is oddly the motorbike. That seems to handle quite well and not suffer from snap over steer or understeer. (I own a few cars as well, and have stolen other, so I’m not judging on one shitty car).
The NPC, Enemy and Police Ai is either broken, poor or boring. Non of them do what they are supposed too. Police appear behind you when you have accidentally shot a civilian THROUGH an enemy. Enemies don’t seek you or work together in any sort of interesting way. They either run at you or move between 2 pieces of cover and shoot at you. Not true for boss fights but as mentioned above because I have avoided main story quests so I haven’t come across to many of those.
The clothes and general loots system is pretty poor. Millions of variations of guns, all the same bar maybe 1 stat point. Reminds me of maybe the division 1 or the borderlands without the mad extra effects that make the weapons unique.
The clothes also suck. I mean, 90% of them are garish as hell in a really uncool way. I was exception some flair and wackiness- but trying to make your character look ever remotely similar to the guy in the advertisements is impossible unless you are cool with a gold sequinned version with dildos hanging off it or something? This may just be me being uncultured in cyberpunk styling- but I’m not like ‘wow, that’s cool’, I’m more ‘ugh, this looks super shit as well… more leopardskin’.
Whats right? To be fair, after the mini bashing above- there is a lot!
The game is absolutely gorgeous….. maybe not on PS4 or Xbox One. Ob the PS4 pro, PS5 and PC though, it is incredible. Insane levels of detail. Even, can’t believe I’m saying it, the NPCs.
The world LOOKS lived in, even If the Ai walking and driving around is dumb as shit. It’s thorough, stylish and varied.
The customisation (as much as I hate the styling) is extensive both cosmetically and stat wise. The character skill tree is also pretty in depth. Some of the skills are semi useless, but some are awesome and I guess this is matter of opinion anyway.
The side quests and of main story things to do are MASSIVE, there are a lot of them. They are varied. They are interesting. They are fun. Easily likened to the Witcher so far. Though as I say I have perhaps played 40 hours? So monotony hasn’t set in yet? I spend an embarrassing amount of time on the Witcher 3 exploring and questing, so that’s saying a lot.
There is a great game here. An incredible game even. It’s just been hidden under flat out lies in advertisement and the buggy release. Is it worth the money? ABSOLUTELY. I would count the period from now until March as your early access Beta where you can play the whole game if you like, or play until you know you want the full experience when it is finished in March.