By now we’re all aware of the issues that plagued the release of Cyberpunk 2077. If you’ve been living in a cave the last few years allow me to TLDR-breakdown (Too Long Dwelling Randomly) the situation for you :
Big game being made. People impatient. Game not fully tested before release. Game buggy. People mad.
Now that you’re up to speed, allow me to show you the game we got :
Due to some reckless digging of the pavement outside my house, I was left without internet for around 2 days. This was also my first 2 days of playing Cyberpunk 2077 – which was not only frustratingly poor timing, but also significantly enraging, given that I was now unable to download the day one patches for the game.
As if the ham-handed workmen digging the pavement weren’t enough to infuriate the most placid of nerds, the calamitous customer service of my provider were adamant that the issue must be inside my house?? Even after an engineer came out and reported that the line had been crushed and destroyed in several places ……. by workmen.
But i digress.
The point here is – without the update patches and fixes I went into this game with my love spuds dangling in the wind. So consider this a review that includes the worst state the game could possibly be!
What’s Cyberpunk Like Without The Day One Patches?
Playing it on Xbox One, the graphics were ropey to say the least. A lot of textures didn’t seem to render properly and in places lived up to the most horrendous screenshots I’d previously seen online. The gameplay was jittery but manageable and the sound occasionally fuzzy. To top it off the game was crashing around once an hour. This was without a doubt the worst case scenario.
Knowing the issues around the release i was aware that my problems could be fixed with the addition of the patches so i was happy to wait it out. The silver lining is that it led to some hilarious late spawns and renderings within the game. I’ll not go into any great detail for fear of spoilers – but the glitches ruined what was quite a sombre moment in the prologue of the Streetkid path.
Internet returned, service provider looking embarrassed, I was able to play the game as it should have been. It’s safe to say from this moment on I fell in love with the game.
The story itself is fantastic and not at all linear. As i stated there are differing career paths to be chosen but the core gameplay remains the same. Even after a few hours i was looking forward to a replay on down the line.
So far i’ve poured 70 hours into the game and i’m still not done. Not by a Night City mile. This city has stories down every alley way and it’s easy to stumble across a story in a shipping container, an aftermath in an apartment or a body in the desert. Each time the player comes across these scenarios there’s clues or a story unfolding which strengthens the lore.
This feeds into Cyberpunks real strength and that is the care and attention to detail CD Projekt Red put into making Night City a living, breathing metropolis. But this is also where i feel the recent controversy also sinks its claws in – i can’t help feeling further development would have made the game completely immersive instead of just very immersive.
Cyberpunk 2077 or Grand Theft Auto V : Which Is Better?
There is definitely a platform for comparison between the two games, but as for which is better – they’re acquainted, not blood relatives.
Cyberpunk 2077 is always going to be compared to GTA, given the style of gameplay and that Rockstar have cemented their game as the Gold Standard of open-world criminal RPG. It’s an inescapable comparison. Where Cyberpunk 2077 falls short for me in that comparison is the control system for the cars and radar – you’ll find GTA V nailed this.
GTA 4‘s vehicle control system was a major off-putting factor for many players as all the cars felt top heavy, unresponsive and sluggish. I’m sure there’s a realism argument here somewhere but i couldn’t care less about that, i just don’t want it to feel like Niko is driving a small bungalow.
Going back to that initial comparison, the radar zooming out to accommodate high speeds, so the player could see the GPS is a welcome feature of GTA V. It could also be argued that the lack of this feature within Cyberpunk 2077 is directly intentional, as Night City is not a venue to be raced through. However, gamers will be gamers!
The control scheme of the vehicles in Cyberpunk 2077 is a blog post in itself. Each vehicle type and model has it’s own feel but across the board they have a tendency to spin wildly out of control at higher speeds and steering control subsequently ranges from unresponsive to absurdly sensitive.
Over the course of my playthrough I abandoned weapons for large portions of the game, as i had bulked up my Netrunning skills to such a level that it was more fun incapacitate the bad guys before they even knew i was there. I decided to focus on playing to the stealth aspects of the game and going in for creeping kills and diversionary tactics. It’s that sort of game. If you enjoy a full-frontal assault and guns-blazing your needs are also accommodated for.
One reviewer on Twitter mentioned that they felt the map was too small, which personally i find to be a ridiculous statement. Apparently this reviewer got bored early on, which tells you everything you need to know.
If you’re interested : Altchar.com do a wonderful rundown of the map size and put it into perspective in relation to GTA V‘s map : https://www.altchar.com/game-news/heres-how-cyberpunk-2077-map-size-compares-to-that-of-gta-v-aCtYd3o3Jcx7
But take it from me – the map is big enough! You won’t get bored of exploring anytime soon.
As previously mentioned – the takeaway here is that these maps were built with different goals in mind – with GTA V being a setting for action and high speed car chases and Cyberpunk focusing more on story-telling and open-world exploration. Both games include a fantastic mix of these elements but it’s important to point out the context.
Whats next for this franchise? There has been talk of a free DLC making it’s way to the game very soon. It’s my hope that this is the first of many DLC’s, and with any luck an open world multiplayer RPG option within the year.
There has been a regular stream of bug fixes and update patches so far which will hopefully continue as players return to the game.
CD Projekt Red have posted significant profits of $304 million despite Cyberpunk having a rocky start which makes me think this game has wheels and a long road ahead.
Hows It Look?
The main thing to talk about is how absolutely beautiful this game is. It is a work of art (when it’s performing as should, which for me was around 95% of the time, given my lack of patches).
As you can see from my gallery there are fantastic opportunities to use the in-game photo system.
The daytime views in Night City make for a claustrophobic, baked and arid scum town. Nighttime brings with it peak Blade Runner vibes of aggressive neon and shady backstreets. The aesthetic is working overtime in this game that’s for sure, and it’s gorgeous.
In conclusion if this game had had another year in development Rockstar Games would have been changing their trunks. I adore what CD Projekt Red have created. There’s a beautiful game with immersive lore here and i hope they keep working to make it the game it should be.
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