Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that did not follow through with every promise it made and for a lack of better words, released in an almost unplayable state for most gamers out there. This has to do with a number of factors including feature creep, impatient shareholders, and the crumbling bridge between console generations. However, if you have a PC that can run it and can look past the Skyrim-like bugs, Cyberpunk 2077 is an amazing game that has the potential to be mind blowing if CD Projekt Red follows the same path as Hello Games did with No Man’s Sky and upgrades their game past “good enough”.
This review is based on the PC version, running a 2080TI and decent processor. Right off the bat, the visuals are astounding. The moment you start the game it feels like you’ve been transported to a world that can only be described as a mix between Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, and The Fifth Element. Night City (where the game takes place) is a dark sprawling dystopia reminiscent of Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan graphic novel series, where the verticality is only transcended by its neon lighting and numerous seedy inhabitants.
The game forces you to play in first-person unless you’re driving which adds to the sense of scale and focuses your eyes on the details they built into everything from the interior of vehicles to the dirty backrooms of the nightclubs you’ll frequent. This sense of wonderment will wear off after a few hours of play when you start noticing where CD Projekt Red started to cut corners in the development process.
Even on a high-end PC you’ll see vehicles pop in and out of view fairly close to you on the horizon, which is especially noticeable when you’re driving outside the city. Also, for a game that was hyped for expressing how customizable your character was there seems to be a complete lack of character customization options after your initial character creation in the beginning of the game. These issues will most likely be remedied as more patches and additional content get released by the developer in the coming months however.
The gameplay is relatively simple, think of a mix between Deus Ex, Watchdogs, and Grand Theft Auto but you feel like you could play the whole game in a chosen style rather than being forced to fight head-to-head all the time. The progression associated with the gameplay makes you feel overpowered at times, it’s similar to Skyrim but you unlock the powerful abilities earlier and a number of them stack. While the crafting skill is unbalanced and broken (another page taken from Bethesda), the skills and tech tree are fun to explore and easy to try out different playstyles without over committing early. Hardcore role playing enthusiasts will find this extremely lacking, but an average player will find the different abilities rewarding to pursue.
While the main story is a blast to get through and is well written, it does lack the promise of wildly branching story arks and real consequences for your actions in each playthrough of the game. However, if you can get past that the main campaign is one of the better stories I’ve played through in recent memory. There are a ton of side quests as well, a number of them are cut-and-paste fetch quests but there are a surprising amount of absolute gems that are a joy to play as well as adding some character to the world which can be lacking at times.
CD Project Red stumbled profoundly with their release of Cyberpunk 2077 on Playstation and Xbox. I’m shocked that they were allowed to release it commercially on consoles without it being playable. This is not a review about that though as I’m sure they will work and make it worth playing within the year on consoles, this is a review focused on Cyberpunk 2077 in its best state.
That being said it is both spectacular and unfinished, breathtaking and buggy, worth playing and worth playing again once it’s updated. Cyberpunk 2077 is a game to keep tabs on as I wouldn’t be surprised if it blooms into one of the best games of the next year.