Review by, William Griston, For Love of the Game – Gigamax Games Contributor
A plethora of articles (including this one) are still being written, YouTube videos are being created and posted, hundreds of thousands of hours of gameplay edited and all the bugs collected together for compilation videos. Cyberpunk content everywhere.
On the one hand, I feel for the last-gen console players, on the other, CD Projekt Red(CDPR) did immediately issue a recall and implement (a half-assed) refund system. Granted CDPR shouldn’t have released for those systems at all(let’s be real here) but did the people who owned the base model consoles really expect that a brand new game pushing next-gen was going to run flawlessly? Does nobody remember the 360 version of Black Ops III?
It’s weird how such a wildly anticipated means of entertainment can be so divisive and it’s definitely an example of bandwagoning. Even my coworkers who haven’t even seen anything beyond screenshots and reviews are taking sides.
Who knew that an open-world RPG would be the biggest event of the year, yeah I know hype train, blah blah blah. I’ve been following this project since the announcement trailer in 2013, I didn’t feel the hype train as badly as some did(or at all really). It could be that I’m just not paying attention, but I feel it’s much more likely that these people hype themselves up by consuming every piece of media about a given game leading up to the launch.
I watched the official trailers/teasers and then talked about them for a day or a few days afterward and then I promptly forgot about Cyberpunk beyond “It’s coming(tm)”.
My method seems to work well for people who don’t want to overwhelm themselves with info and potential spoilers.
I’m probably an outlier. I used to watch Angry Joe and Angry Video Game Nerd and AlphaOmegaSin and all those other YouTube game reviewers, now well, now I guess I am the reviewer. The neat part is that I can clearly identify exactly when it was that I stopped following gaming as closely as I once did. It was the transition from magazines to digital news, for me, something was lost in the process.
I think all of that is a big part of the reason I didn’t have a huge problem with Cyberpunk 2077.
Well, that and I have a half-decent upper-end midrange PC and I have no distractions in my life besides my job and writing the occasional think-piece for the fellas at Gigamax who are nice enough to host my mental diarrhea. Does anyone even read this shit besides me? (Hit me up on Twitter @AwfulMcBad or post in the comment section below). I guess if I’m going to write about cyberpunk I should write about cyberpunk rather than rambling on about how old I am(40 by the way) and how gaming was better in the beforetimes*.
May as well rip that bandage off.
As of this writing, they’re facing not one but two class-action lawsuits because they failed to ensure the game works flawlessly on the last-gen consoles(Base model Xbox One and Base model PS4 specifically, but the Pro and X variants have had issues reported as well). I expect that because of their immediate response in offering refunds to consumers they’ve got a good chance of walking away from both of those class-action lawsuits. This isn’t any different than a recall of a toy or a malfunctioning piece of electronic equipment.
As for the game itself, well, it’s buggy. Not as horrendously buggy as both the gaming media and YouTubers/Streamers are portraying, but it is buggy and there is jank and most of the bugs/glitches are minor but there are some that aren’t. In 65ish hours I’ve had to reload a save once and I’ve had two crashes to desktop.
It’s not super buggy to the point that it’s unplayable, but there are glitches and you might get soft-locked somewhere. Kinda goes with the territory with both open-world and CDPR games. CDPR is becoming like Bethesda. They too release super buggy barely functioning games and then patch the shit out of it for months/years. Though in Bethesda’s case they stop patching the game after a while, CDPR is something else, they were still working on The Witcher 3 up until they started work on Cyberpunk.
If you’re on a PC with decent to good hardware, you’re fine. Enjoy the game and make sure you run at least two save files per character!
If you’re on console? Wait until you get your Xbox Series X or PS5
If you’re smart, regardless of the platform you’ll let the game bake for a year before you even touch it.
I dove in after a couple of days(and a couple of hotfixes) and man, this pie is delicious but it’s not very filling. That is to say, Cyberpunk is a game that oozes atmosphere, at least at a surface level. The artists at CDPR did an absolutely fantastic job painting Night City, everywhere you look at awesome vistas and towering super-structures, the designs of the vehicles and clothing are top-notch too.
The biggest issue that I have is that the game world(outside of missions) is shallow. The average citizen(that is, not a gang member, cop, quest giver, or well, you) of Night City barely responds to your existence and at best will run away should you do anything remotely aggressive in their area. I expect that CDPR isn’t quite done with bringing the city to life considering how they were forced to rush the game out the door. Maybe in the future we’ll see some fixes that address the lifeless marionettes that make up Night City. Like, don’t get me wrong, if you’re just wandering around the citizenry fills their role as a moving background wonderfully.
As for the story, or at least the story that I experienced, at any rate, was very well done. It felt real. I didn’t get a happy ending but I didn’t get a sad one either. Of course, your mileage may vary. I’ve seen a lot of people criticizing the story on social media, but as with most social media, they can’t be specific when pressed for details.
The gameplay is kind of frustrating until you get enough points into the related trees and get a few nice guns(or swords/clubs if you’re a melee class) then it suddenly becomes too easy. as is the case with most RPGs, which is kind of the point I guess. I just wish RPGs had a difficulty slider that was more than “They take less damage and you take more”, I’m playing through on hard and it’s not even hard. It’s just really unfulfilling with most of the guns I’ve used. The late-game sniper rifles are awesome as are the late game shotguns, but ARs and SMGs are bland and don’t feel like they do as much damage as they should. Towards the end of the game, I wasn’t even using any gun beside the sniper rifle because it was the only thing I had that could actually touch the life bars of the mindless mooks that the game kept throwing at me. The boss fights are intended to be exciting set pieces, but I found them super easy to sequence break. The arenas you fight them in are big enough that they aren’t a threat and you can just chip at them from so far away they can’t touch you.
*The beforetimes is the period between 1980 and 1999 when the popularity of the internet among the average person was still reaching critical mass.
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