REVIEW – As Billy Idol sang in the most famous track on his album Cyberpunk at the time: this game was a real “shock to the system” – both our hardware and our own nervous system felt it. It was a shock because – on a proper PC – though it had to notch graphics, with ray tracing, at the same time it put a lot of strain on the machine. And it was a “shock” to the owners of older consoles as well because they had never seen such a scandalous start in the last decade. But how good was the game itself? We will share our experience after the 1.06 patch…
Cyberpunk 2077 is like a beast that is very hard to tame. It just wants to be everything. Huge, detailed, authentic, complex world; full of possibilities, decisions, consequences, playing styles. It set such an ambitious goal that the developers were simply almost out of control, the program living almost his own life – it’s a self-contained software like Johnny Silverhand himself, the game’s second protagonist and the digital ghost: the former rocker, rebel and terrorist.
This city never sleeps
Although Night City, the capital of Cyberpunk 2077, when the game works the way it was invented, is quite enchanting, dazzling, and not letting you go, at the same time, the magic is often shattered by blinding flaws. Enough of a buggy NPC that performs some inane animation, an important object that suddenly disappears or just hangs in the air, the character talking to you stays has its lips closed or a corpse who stays standing like in the movie Blue Velvet from David Lynch (only there it was a direct absurd artistic effect, and here it is a bug)…
Yes, there are STILL bugs like this in the game, even after 1.06! These moments break the magic or the otherwise incredibly well-dosed cyberpunk atmosphere – as “cyberpunk” is not just the title of the game, but a genre as well. Aside from bugs, Cyberpunk 2077 is amazingly well-crafted escapism for an alternative future journey to live another life.
Three kinds of heroes
In the game, we can launch three types of characters: “street kid”, corporate genius (or “corpo”) and nomad, and our hero can be male or female. While we can’t reshape the physics of our characters in as much detail as we do in BioWare games, we still have plenty of room to choose from. What’s new compared to other RPGs is that we can shape the naked bodies of our heroes if we want to (such as the dick size for men and the shape of the pubic hair for both sexes) but this will have exactly zero significance throughout the game.
We can also shape its features – in the beginning, they are not nearly as complex as in other role-playing games. Still, the skill system of our character is a lot more complex, it is very easy to get lost in it and there are many skills that I didn’t find much sense in or barely used.
Also, before our actual adventure begins, each character gets their own “prologue,” which, while not lasting long, beautifully brings up the actual events.
Would William Gibson like it?
The story of the game is perhaps the greatest strength of Cyberpunk 2077. Without spoiling stuff, all we reveal is that our hero, a hacker named V, has to hunt for a special object, and other times he or she is hunted by others, while he or she will “get to know” the digital spirit of Johnny Silverhand, a rocker, rebel and terrorist played by Keanu Reeves during the game.
The main story isn’t that long – it can be done in twenty hours, but it’s well designed and with lots of twists and also with lots of interesting, more important characters and NPCs. Some side missions that are tied to Silverhand are so elaborate that we can actually look at it as the main story, it’s a shame to miss them, while other missions that don’t belong to the main campaign are sometimes a bit generic or uninteresting. Overall, though, the story is extremely high quality, the best part of the game.
In its gameplay, Cyberpunk 2077, as I mentioned, tries to forge a lot of gameplay elements, so it’s not a surprise, that not all of them work perfectly. CD Project, of course, has basically put together an action-RPG, which in turn is more similar to the Borderlands games than Witcher 3. Besides the obvious first-person view the shooting combat system that takes into account the quality, strength, level, and hits of a weapon, for example, which is totally Borderlands, but we could also include stealth, which plays a much bigger role here.
We can also blind or kill the enemy with our “quick hacker” abilities – the higher the level, the more deadly they are those. We can also break into their systems – in which case we can take part in a hacking mini-game, which is relatively fun, but I’ve seen better than that.
We can also ride cars and motorcycles and like the Grand Theft Auto games, we steal all of them here. The driving model of the game was pretty meh in earlier versions, but it has been improved since then, though it’s not perfect even now.
PC: “this is the way”
Cyberpunk 2077 really shows its power on a PC equipped with a ray-tracing video card, but the graphics are also great on Geforce Now or Google Stadia – though, the latter doesn’t have ray tracing. The game looks amazing on a PC, but I think everyone has heard about (or experienced themselves) how bad is it on PS4 and Xbox One consoles, with extremely flawed graphics sometimes. I don’t want to really insist on the latter, as the whole press (us too) has discussed this issue a hundred times, the point is that the textures on the console are low resolution and buggy and there are a plethora of other visual bugs in the game, some of which have already been resolved, but others are still not. Also, you get an old version on your console even if you have a new generation Xbox Series X / S console or PS5, as there is only one version made. The game runs perfectly on XSX anyway, but unfortunately, the PS5 version is still freezing… The nextgen console version is supposed to come next year, with ray-tracing and all the modern stuff included, so if you have a next-gen console and have resisted the temptation and have missed Cyberpunk 2077, it may now be worth the wait until the CD Project finally makes the next-generation version.
Finally, all I have to say is that unfortunately there is one thing which is pretty terrible everywhere besides bugs: the artificial intelligence. Whether we’re looking at pedestrians or our enemies, the AI is pretty basic, or it’s almost non-existent for passers-by – a video has been made that shows it is even worse than the 2001 GTA III. We can only hope that CD Project will fix this later with patches as well…
Both game of the year and biggest disappointment of the year
This is not a joke or a writer’s exaggeration: there was a vote in The Gamers – Hungarian Gamer Community group and based on the votes, it turned out that Cyberpunk 2077 is both the game of the year and the biggest disappointment of the year. This pretty much characterizes the game itself, which is extremely enjoyable at the same time, but we’ve also shed a lot of tears over the relentless amount of bugs, freezes, lame AI and other flaws. So it really was a “Shock to the System” in all aspects, let’s hope, that CD Projekt will fix everything so that it will be a “shock” only in a good sense…
+ Amazing cyberpunk atmosphere
+ Great story with Keanu Reeves
+ Huge graphics on PC and next-gen
– On the old PS4 and Xbox One this is the shame of the world (there is the game with us 5.5)
– Lame MI
– The RPG part is unnecessarily complicated in places
Publisher: CD Project
Developer: CD Project
Genre: Action-RPG / Adventure
Release date: December 10, 2020