Oftentimes, the hype of a new game coming out can be exciting as well as worrying. Some have lived up to their promises, while others fall flat and often leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Video game titles like Duke Nukem Forever, Mighty No. 9, and Daikatana have made many promises and failed to deliver. However, perhaps one game that has made so much hype was Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED’s long-awaited game, ever since 2012.
The marketing for the game was huge during the 2019 E3 announcement, where they revealed the trailer. Even endorsed by and starring Keanu Reeves as a character in the game was announced here. Fans of the tabletop game were really excited to see what CD Projekt RED could do.
Yet when the delays kept getting pushed back, fans were getting impatient.
Death threats were being sent out to CDPR by idiotic “fans,” while workers were asked to work overtime. What followed were memes and jokes that really made it seem like we would never see Cyberpunk 2077 hit shelves anywhere.
Then on December 20, 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 finally launched.
To say it was a train wreck of a video game launch would be an understatement. Many complaints about playability were so rampant with many saying it’s unplayable.
After 10 months of trying to fix the game, is it worth getting now? Well, honestly yes. However, we should take a closer look at everything.
Out With The Bad
Let’s get this out of the way. Are the problems that people have talked about really true?
Sadly, yes. In both the PC and console ports, Cyberpunk 2077 is a rather buggy game at times. This was a huge issue that every player had almost experienced constantly.
First off, certain models and textures would take time to render, even on Playstation 4 Pro, Playstation 5, and Xbox Series S. There were times where text from subtitles would sync up to the voiceovers at all. There were also complaints about a bug during a certain story mission that made it impossible to play through.
CD Projekt RED tried putting in patches to fix some of the underlying issues that the game had. Though it’s unlikely it’ll ever be perfect. That quickly put a halt to all of the great things people were expecting, making Cyberpunk one of the biggest disappointments in video game history to many at that point.
In With The Good
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about something positive about Cyberpunk 2077.
Just like the Witcher series, CDPR really nails it with the story and characters surrounding Night City. If you ever wanted a game that felt like Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell, this is as close as it gets to the real thing.
It even has easter eggs and references to those other series, as well as a few others are around if you look hard enough.
Playing as the mercenary, “V” really gives the player the freedom to take on any life path and dialogue. You choose between three life paths: Street Kid, Nomad, and Corpo. The difference is with dialogue options and how you interact with other characters.
Speaking of characters, people like Jackie Welles, Judy Alvarez, and Johnny Silverhand are full of life and really seem to express emotions when talking with them. Even characters from the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop game, like Rouge Amendiares, Santiago Aldecaldo, and Lyle Thompson make their appearance.
In terms of gameplay, it’s a first-person shooter with open-world exploration. Along with some role-playing game mechanics like leveling up and spending skill points.
As you start off, you’re relatively weak and need to rely on stealth for a bit. However, once you get to a good point where you can take enough damage, the shooting and melee combat feels satisfying. Plus, Night City has many side quests and bounties to keep you busy. You almost can’t turn a corner without seeing a crime in progress or a warrant on a deadly criminal.
There are also dozens of cars, clothing, and weapons to gather. Each tends to be unique from the other. The difference between a low-level pistol and a high-level pistol is also very distinct.
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While praise has to go to Cyberpunk 2077 for presentation and gameplay that’s easy to learn, yet hard to master, it’s far from intricate.
Forgetting about the bugs and glitches for a moment, the gameplay is good, for the most part. Yet it’s also not much different from what we’ve seen in first-person shooters or RPGs for that matter.
Much like The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk also suffers from difficulty spikes both from selecting the difficulty and types of missions around Night City. Easy and normal difficulty feels almost too easy at times. While Hard and Extreme feel almost laughably cheap.
If you don’t have the right equipment or have the best stats, you can potentially die within a few hits.
Driving feels very loose, even with all the patches that have been added over the course of 10 months. Motorcycles are almost worst than cars in terms of turning and braking. This certainly explains the high rate of fast travel points around the city.
Melee combat is also broken to a point where you’d be able to destroy a small group of enemies if your stats in brawling or blades is pretty high.
Another issue is that while the lifepath choices do affect your background, it really doesn’t change much. In fact, both Nomad and Corpo just feel like Street Kid with different coats of paint.
However, the biggest is that weapons are very strange, almost like we’re going back to Borderlands looting mechanic. It never seems like you can be dedicated to any single weapon cause later you find one that’s better in stats. You can upgrade and use crafting, and even buy weapons from vendors. Although, it’s really unnecessary when you can find the most powerful weapon for free by exploring.
Not Giving Up Yet
Despite all the issues that come with Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED has really been working hard to fix its mistakes. This was really a case where the game could have used another year of work to be made perfectly. At around September of this year, with patch 1.3, CDPR released free downloadable content in the form of an alternative look for Johnny Silverhand, two new jackets, and a new car.
Fans were mixed in their reaction to this, with most of them being negative.
What they failed to see was during that patch, it fixed minor and even useful features. This included an update on the mini-map, easier controls with vehicles, and graphical tweaks for both PC and consoles. Sony had also recently put up the digital copy of Cyberpunk back on the Playstation Store after PS4 users reported the game being unplayable.
There’s still a long way to go before things smooth out. However, this is proof enough that CDPR cares enough about their fans and games to really add more features and goodies to keep people interested.
Take It With A Grain Of Salt
Thus far, CD Projekt RED has been constantly trying to fix its mistake. We’d be wrong on our part not to reference that game development is a complicated process. A lot of people think that a game company could make the perfect at a whim. This isn’t always the case.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been a game that has been in development hell since the Playstation 2 era. When they announced it on E3 in 2019 so many delays made people impatient and even angry. The number of death threats was staggering to a point where they were really trying to explain why it was going to take so long.
CDPR’s executive board members are also partially to blame, as they basically demanded the 2020 release while the development team claimed they would need more time.
Combining pressure from the fans with corporate interference (as well as the COVID-19 pandemic) really made this an impossible task. Even with the number of patches and word of free downloadable content and expansion packs, nothing can really fix what has been done.
To put it lightly, it is what it is.
To me, it’s a game that’s compelling and unique in terms of storytelling and character development. Even after the first playthrough, I felt a need to go back and play it all over again.
If there’s anything to take away from Cyberpunk 2077 it’s that it’s a game that is far from perfect, but it never needed to be either. Something about going through Night City discovering new places and people, felt poetic and liberating.
Find me another game where we have a Ghost in the Shell-like theme going on, with Keanu Reeves as a partner!