Cyberpunk 2077 Reviews

  • RDSRDS#5610292,088
    14 Dec 2020 03 Jan 2021
    31 12 7
    Cyberpunk 2077 – A Brief (mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

    Playtime update on 3 January 2021: 90hrs PC, 70hrs Xbox One X.

    It’s finally here. Probably the most hyped title of all time has finally released. I am of course talking about CD Projekt RED’s first foray into a game that is not partially titled The Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077.

    NOTE: This review is mostly about the PC version of the game, with an AMD Ryzen 7 2700x, an AMD RX Vega 64 and 32GB of RAM with the game installed on an NVMe SSD. I will also cover the technical state of Cyberpunk on the Xbox One, One X and Xbox Series X|S.

    First, let’s talk about the bad. Because there is plenty of it. Technical and visual bugs have reared their ugly heads in force in this game, with the base PS4/Xbox One versions being hit the hardest. Patch 1.04 did a bit to alleviate that, from what I’ve seen on the net so far, but it’s not enough yet. Besides that, the narrative controlling by CD Projekt is nigh-inexcusable. They should have shown actual gameplay of the base consoles and allowed those versions to be reviewed properly pre-launch, meaning that said reviewers were able to show live footage of the game instead of even more trailer material. Here’s to hoping that it’s a lesson learned for their next title, whenever that may release.

    Back to bugs: this game is quite full of it. Many bugs are purely visual, but some of them can be severe enough that they make scenes that are intended to be emotionally heavy and heartfelt downright silly. As for the technical side of things, that is not as bad on PC, but on consoles the game has a tendency to crash fairly often. Especially on base Xbox One models, the game can sometimes look and run unconditionally horrible.

    Technical state: PC: 8. Xbox Series: 7. Xbox One X: 6. Xbox One: 2.

    But even without these problems, I can still say with confidence that this is one of the best games I have ever played. From the unbelievably detailed world that is Night City and the surrounding Badlands to the fast-paced, gripping story and side missions all over said city and some of the best writing in any game to date, the core of the game has all the ingredients to be remembered as a masterclass in its genre.

    Night City is a place created with such unbelievable density and detail that you almost always can tell where exactly in the city you are, which is impressive for its size. Almost every corner has at least something to discover, from a bunch of gangers beating the shit out of hostages to a sidequest where you save a monk from becoming cybernetically augmented and many, many more. Traversing the city can sometimes be awkward, since vehicles seem to lose a lot of their control when going at high speeds. However, due to the density, fairly high base sprint speed and the city itself being as rich as it is, walking through the city is a worthwhile method of transport. I only used fast travel once in the entire game and that was more out of curiosity for the fast travel system than because I wanted to skip the journey.

    The gameplay, while slightly less impressive than the city, still is fairly strong and it’s one of the elements where it really shows its RPG chops. Problems can be solved in many different ways and many different possible outcomes can result from those problems. Players can spec into almost any style they can think of, whether it is a full-on hacker operating from the shadows or someone who prefers to rush in and slap everything silly with a rather… adult weapon (I will not reveal more, it’s up to you to find out!). RPG stats also play a role in the environment, with some routes only becoming available with a sufficiently high stat in a certain attribute. Weapons initially handle rather clunky, but their effects get noticeably better as you gain proficiency with those weapons.

    The story grips you by the proverbial nutsack from almost moment 1 and never lets go. It’s a relentless tale of surviving in a city that can easily chew you up and spit you out without anyone noticing. While the main campaign is fairly short, the side quests (especially the ones from major story characters) add much meat to the campaign and are absolutely worth playing through. Which brings me to the following topic: the characters and writing. Nearly everything is fantastically written in such a way that it stirs real emotion inside you while you’re playing. This is aided by excellent voice work from nearly everyone you meet (I’ve heard the voice acting for male V is not as good as the rest of the main cast). Especially the female VA for V knocked it out of the park with just the right husky twang in her voice to sound like a person genuinely inhabiting that world and interacting with the people inside. Besides the obvious main characters such as V and Johnny Silverhand (who is more than adequately voiced by Keanu Reeves), the major side characters could be main characters in their own story, such high quality is their voice work.

    Dialogues are the other major way in which the game shows its RPG chops: probe far enough into a character’s dialogue and you may find hidden details which you would otherwise have never known. You can also use certain attributes to show that you really know your stuff or prevent a situation from escalating in a full-on shootout. Dialogue also offers quite a few different ways in which to interact with characters and can sometimes lead to either touching or downright funny situations. Because even in the dark future, a bit of humour is needed.

    The soundtrack is yet another avenue where CDPR went all-out. Many different genres occupy the airwaves of Night City when using vehicles and the lack of ambient music while traversing NC on foot really allows the player to take in the sounds of the city. The original score made for main missions is a mostly heavy hitting, grungy 90’s style industrial electronic music that really accentuates the tone of the activity; from pulse-pounding beats in heavy combat to slow, melodical music during the game’s many emotional scenes, the music of Night City has something for everyone.

    Core game: 10. (not perfect, but at the very least tied with the best core I’ve experienced so far).

    When it comes to the above-described core, Cyberpunk 2077 has won a firm place in my list of favourite games of all time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the technical state is mostly reflective (since a massive game like this is always going to have bugs) of the core game quality soon.

    Verdict so far (technical state will be re-reviewed in February 2021): PC: 9, Xbox Series: 8,5, Xbox One X: 8, Xbox One: 6.
    This score is ((core grade + technical grade) / 2), separated by platform.

    EDIT: Buy recommendation: PC: Yes. Xbox Series, One X: It's fairly close to an unconditional yes, but it can be worth it to wait out at least the January patch. Xbox One S/base: Wait for the February 2021 patch at least

    Ethics statement: Played on PC, completed the story and did quite a fair amount of side content in about 45 hours of playtime. Stats here: https://www.gog.com/u/RelentlessRDS/game/1423049311?sort=use...

    Feedback on this review is always appreciated when constructive.

    Edit number many: if you are craving RPGs in a similiar setting, check out Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided.
    4.5
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    RDSWell, that person is me for starters. So you're suggesting that I played a different game because I'm not baselessly hating on it, like what is popular to do right now?
    Posted by RDS#5610 on 30 Dec 20 at 23:15
    Pap1Ramen85Finally an honest review, I have not yet bough the game since I don't have 60 bucks in spending money right now but I may just buy it form ebay or sorts.

    I despise people who base a game off of bugs and sadly this title fell into that threshold and it sucks. I heard of this game a while back and I said I must have it and everything so far makes it seem like a great game and I cannot wait to play.
    Posted by Pap1Ramen85 on 03 Jan at 23:23
    Captain Chao5Thanks for the review. I have X1X and am on the fence over this title. I am thinking it may swing it for me when it goes sub-£40...or I might hold out for a few months while I play AC Valhalla.
    Posted by Captain Chao5 on 04 Jan at 13:43
  • A Krayt DragonA Krayt Dragon116,041
    30 Dec 2020 30 Dec 2020
    7 1 0
    For some context, I played this game for about 30 hours on the Xbox One X and 60 hours on the Xbox Series X.

    I was lured into playing Cyberpunk by my love of near-future and post-apocalyptic science fiction. I'm a huge fan of the Deus Ex series, having played each iteration and loving every second of playing within that franchise. Knowing nothing about the game prior to buying it on launch day, I didn't go into it with many of the pre-conceived notions that many people who had followed the development of this game over the last seven years.

    I'll start with gameplay before I get into the bugs and other technical issues. Ostensibly, this game is a pseudo-open-world shooter with stealth, RPG, and driving game mechanics. Think futuristic GTA, but with more emphasis on stealth / hacking options for combat. The gunplay is satisfying enough, if unpolished. I found the ADS mechanics jerky and sticky, not as fluid as playing something like an FPS. This isn't a huge gripe, but it was noticeable.

    The quickhacking / breach protocol system is varied and impactful, especially later in the game, where certain quickhacks can make short work of what would otherwise be difficult enemies or groups of enemies. But something about the system just didn't feel...urgent? When you go to quickhack an enemy, time slows down, and that made it feel like there was less at stake when in the middle of a firefight. Obviously this leads to a less stressful experience overall but I would've liked to see the time-slowing mechanic ditched when you're in combat.

    The driving in this game is a mess. The cars all handle pretty much the same, with the steering of each car being very jerky and hard to pull off without crashing into things. Cars are also very floaty, seemingly barely attached to the ground, and will go flying with the least provocation. Braking on cars is also frustrating, taking a much longer time to come to a complete stop than makes sense, even when not traveling at top speed. The traffic AI is also poor, as drivers on the road will literally sit behind your car and never move or attempt to drive around you. The roads also seem pretty sparsely populated with cars, especially in what you would expect would be congested city areas, but I actually appreciated this more as it made it easier to move around and not rely on the quick travel system.

    The main story is generally engaging, though fairly linear with minimal branching opportunities (mostly towards the end) and with a few side missions with "main" side characters that can affect the rest of the game. Otherwise the missions you do for the various factions in the game (the Tyger Claws, Aldecaldos, etc) generally don't impact the world much, and certainly don't contribute to any kind of faction standing system or faction area control system, which I would have liked to see.

    The voice acting is generally good, with Johnny Silverhand (voiced by Keanu Reeves) and the side characters being the highlight. But the background AI characters and some of the side characters are voiced poorly enough to be a distraction, which is disappointing. The character dialog is also generally mediocre to poor, with some laughably bad lines being delivered over the course of the games 60-80 hour main story / side mission running time. But there are only a handful of spots where this it's particularly bad.

    If you commit crimes in Night City, which generally including assaulting or killing innocents (or getting close to a cop), the Cop AI will trigger and they'll start trying to take you down. This AI for cops in this game is LAUGHABLY bad as cops will regularly lose you if you run 50m down a sidewalk and make a turn into an alley. There's also a shockingly short amount of time between when your crime is reported and when cops forget your crime entirely. There also seems to be little change between the 1-star crime report and top-tier 4-star crime report. Sure, more cops will spawn, but you don't generally have to face more difficult cops (other than the occasional netrunner cop) and they'll forget your transgressions just as easily. Disappointingly enough, cops don't drop any loot when killed, so there's no benefit to killing dozens of cops for sweet, sweet loot.

    Which brings us to the crafting system. The thought behind the crafting system in Cyberpunk is technically sound: you collect items (junk, guns, food, etc.) which you can break down into raw materials to craft items whose blueprints you find or purchase in the world. But the implementation of this system is poorly thought out and poorly implemented. There is a setting where you can automatically break down any junk items you find into constituent parts, which is a great time-and-space saving measure. But there's no similar system to mass-craft items like healing items, grenades, etc. and certainly no way to mass-craft weapons for selling. Which you'll need to do because Cyberpunk is pretty tight-fisted with handing out cash, which you'll need for purchasing vehicles, weapons, clothing, mods, and cyberware.

    Currently the most efficient post-completing-missions non-exploitive way to make money in the game involves buying out soda cans from all the vending machines you come across, breaking them down, and crafting them into basic weapons you can sell at a profit. This is a horrendously tedious process, but will functionally be the only method available to you after you've completed all the game's side missions and NCPD dispatches. This is a major problem CDPR will have to address in the immediate future if they want people to continue playing past the time it takes to finish the main story.

    Cyberware is generally implemented well in this game, with various systems you can modify (hands, legs, circulatory system, etc.) with different kinds and qualities of upgrades throughout the game. One of the leg upgrades gives you a double jump ability, which is a huge game changer. One of the mods to another system is the "Second Heart" mod which allows you to basically respawn after dying without having to reload a save (with a cooldown of course). These modifiers are huge, and affect gameplay significantly. But most of the Cyberware mods available don't approach this level of meaningful gameplay change, and that's disappointing. CDPR will surely be able to add other mods in the future, but for me at least, it didn't feel like my choices of mods largely changed much.

    Which brings me to attributes and perks. Attributes are the overall governing stats (there are five of them) that will determine how you play the game: things like Body affect your HP and carrying capacity, Reflexes affect your evasion and gunplay abilities, Cool affects your Stealth, etc. Each time you level up (to a current max of Level 50), you'll receive 1 Attribute Point and 1 Perk Point. You can also earn additional perk points through various methods. Within each of these attributes is a subset of Abilities which level up with use (like Blades, Assault, Quickhacking, etc.). But these abilities can only level up to the level of your Attribute governing that ability. So if you want to max out your Blades skill, you better dump attribute points into Reflexes. There’s no way to increase Attributes other than assigning attribute points to your character at each level you gain. But each of the Skills you level up also contribute XP to your character, so you shouldn’t have a hard time leveling up rather quickly.

    Once you level up a Skill to a certain level, you’ll be able to choose a number of perks related to that skill using your Perk Points. Some of these Perks are governed by your Attribute Level (so you can’t allocate points to a certain perk if your overall level is too low), and some are governed by your Skill level. You also receive additional perk points for leveling up a skill, so there’s incentive to generate XP for that skill if there are some perks you really want.

    With five Attributes that can each reach Level 20 (that’s 100 Attribute points for those keeping track), you won’t be able to max out all your stats with the current level cap. But you are given some options for AP allocation at the beginning of the game during character creation that can defray some of these problems. Overall the Attribute / Skill / Perk system works well, though with any game of this kind, it always feels like I’m making tough choices towards the end of the game with the last few Attribute / Perk points I have left. I’d recommend finding a guide online about what the various perks / skills do, and plan out your character from there, or you’ll be faced with the prospect of missing out on some perks you wanted to have because you spent too many perk points in something else. ALSO, keep in mind that a couple of the achievements for the game require investment into certain attributes / skills, so make sure you know what those are or you could potentially miss out on a couple of the achievements.

    Now, on to the bugs/glitches: I was immediately struck by how messy the game seemed within the first 10 hours of play. I experienced numerous texture pop-in issues, clipping, and character models failing to completely resolve, or appearing in places they shouldn't. I experienced 10 full game crashes in the first 23 hours of gameplay on the Xbox One X and dozens more game freezes which resolved themselves within a few seconds. These freezes and crashes mostly occurred when driving through the city, when the game loading the buildings and AI cars and people couldn't keep up.

    I also had NUMEROUS quest-breaking or game-breaking bugs, including characters not able to be interacted with, necessary dialog not occurring, characters not maneuvering to a necessary spot to trigger an interaction, characters just not being around at all, locational requirements not triggering, targets not registering as having been killed, targets being unkillable, and all manner of things of this sort. I had to save and reload the game dozens of times to progress in various missions, and in some cases even had to resort to earlier saves to fix a bug.
    Overall, if the game had only minor bug/glitch issues, my score for the game would be a solid 4/5. Cyberpunk would be a good – but not great – game which is not groundbreaking in any single way but cobbles enough gameplay elements together for a fun experience which should be easy for CDPR to smooth over the next few months. Most of the core gameplay elements that Cyberpunk implements have been done before, and done better by other games, but the setting, characters, and story are all pretty engaging. The City does feel somewhat hollow, but I could’ve easily seen CDPR adding more NPCs / side missions over the next few months to a year, really filling out the space for a compelling world and game experience.

    But with the state that Cyberpunk was shipped in – wholly unplayable on launch model Xbox One and PS4 consoles, borderline unplayable on the upgraded Xbox One X and PS4 Pro models, and still a glitchy mess on the PS5 and Xbox Series X – I have to knock a full point off my score. After playing the game for 5-10 hours, I was excited at the prospect of what was to come. But that hope ultimately never came to fruition, and I’m left with a largely hollow game experience I don’t see myself returning to now that I’ve 100%ed the game. This may change if CDPR is able to right the ship and fix the litany of gamebreaking bugs, glitches, and technical issues and introduce meaningful, engaging DLC. But as it is, the core experience did not feel worth it.

    Cyberpunk 2077: 3/5.
    3.0
  • PoozeyPoozey357,216
    15 Jan 2021
    3 0 0 New
    ETHICS NOTE: I played 72 hours of the game on an Xbox Series X pre-optimization patch. I have popped 40 of 44 achievements at the time of writing this review.

    Cyberpunk 2077 is the definition of a hot mess. For every element of the game that is exquisite, you are met with a design choice or bug that frustrates and pulls you out of the experience. The game is distractingly buggy, and immersion can easily be interrupted. However, in those moments when all the elements come together, there is nothing quite like CD Projekt Red’s Sci-Fi epic.

    The main character of Cyberpunk 2077 is Night City. The best open-world games always manage to make the world feel like it all exists without you even there to witness it. The city’s seedy alleyways, skyscrapers, luxury hotels, rotting industrial areas, and dilapidated housing estates are full of incredible amounts of detail. Night City is an intense, beautiful, and brutal place to exist in.

    You play as V and the game presents you with three paths to choose from that dictate your back story and help shape who you will become and how you might relate to the wider story. Character customization is very in-depth and will take a good chunk of your time. While there are lots of dialogue options, there are times where the voice acting responds to a situation in a way that you might not want to or have expected with the choice that you made. It’s a minor complaint as V’s story is superbly crafted and touches on themes of legacy, artificial intelligence, loss, and unchecked corporations. V’s interactions with Johnny Silverhand, excellently performed by Keanu Reeves, really invest you in not just V’s story but also the larger world and the consequences of living in Night City and the toll that the city can take. The writing and performances are mostly great across the game, you will connect with and care deeply about many of the main characters you encounter.
    Deciding how to determine your fate with a character can be agonizing.
    Visually, Cyberpunk 2077 is staggering. When playing on an Xbox Series X, even without the optimization patch that is on the way in 2021, the game is truly breathtaking. The grimy ultra-modern architecture is absolutely bathed in neon and makes for a startling effect when played on an HDR-compatible console. Lighting effects are generally excellent, particularly the weather. Sandstorms blast across the Badlands and the game is at its visual best when it rains at night creating excellent reflections. Shadows are a slight weak spot, V’s shadow can look downright ludicrous at times, hopefully, this will be addressed via patches. Adding to the technical mastery of the visuals is the design of the different districts of Night City, each has its own distinct personality and despite the size of the city, it is quite easy to learn your way around due to the unique characteristics of the neighborhoods.

    The gameplay is a mixed bag. The shooting is excellent, and Cyberpunk 2077 works very well as an FPS if you choose to play more of an outright assault build. Guns feel very balanced and nice and chunky. Highlights are the revolvers and shotguns which are devastating to use. V is very maneuverable too, sliding around with ease and able to climb very fluidly. A huge part of Cyberpunk 2077’s core gameplay is using quick hacking and manipulating the environment and people around you. The mechanics are executed very well, and it is very satisfying to approach an environment and have your hacker’s bag of tricks at your disposal to plan with. A personal favorite is the ability to detonate enemy grenades. It is very impressive to see the level of options the developer provides you with for how want to build your character. Modifying your body with cyberware is very satisfying and you can unlock new abilities that make it much easy to traverse the world which is appreciated. Leveling is a little complicated to learn initially and the sheer amount of abilities is a bit overwhelming. More tutorials could be useful however as it takes quite a while to wrap your head around how everything in the game works.

    Other aspects of the gameplay are quite frustrating. The police and wanted systems in Cyberpunk 2077 are simply not up to scratch. Once you are wanted, police will randomly spawn in interiors out of nowhere. You can be in a room facing the only door and police will spawn behind you. This prevents you from planning your escape and instigating a realistic chase as there is simply no way to predict police movement. The driving mechanics are also disappointing. Vehicle handling is extremely twitchy and at high speed, it feels like you are driving on ice. The best way to get around Night City is on a bike as there less chance of you hitting things due to the over-sensitive handling. It is a shame as the vehicle designs are gorgeous. The sound design for all vehicles is excellent too.

    All the audio in Cyberpunk 2077 is top of the class. Ambient sounds are crisp and well detailed, the city nightlife sounds are very absorbing. Special mention must be given to the soundtrack which absolutely slaps. When a fight gets going you are pounded with heavy synth and guitars. The music in the gunfights is reminiscent of the recent Doom games, it’s that good. The outrageous music in the action scenes is juxtaposed well by the quieter moments, the score beautifully underlines the games more emotional scenes to drive them home. Music is used to build tension very effectively; it is reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s work in the Dark Knight trilogy. Cyberpunk 2077’s score is one of the best you will hear in any game.

    Let’s talk bugs. I had a better time of it than most playing on an Xbox Series X but there were still many, many issues. The predominant bugs I encountered were U.I. overlap issues. At least once during every session, I would have something become stuck overlapped on the screen. Sometimes it was a gun stats tab, other times it was subtitles even though I didn’t have subtitles on. Most of these issues necessitated saving and reloading the game to get rid of it which killed the immersion. Lines of dialogue would often be repeated, calling your vehicle didn’t always work, NPCs would become would not respond to interaction and the GPS would lose its mind. That’s just a small selection. The game also crashed at least three times during my time with it. Otherwise, core performance was good. Frames were mostly locked to 30 or 60 depending on what graphics mode was selected and I experienced little if any slowdown. It’s just such a shame as I wanted to be absolutely drawn into the story and world, but immersion will be interrupted due to the bugs.

    So much of Cyberpunk 2077 is excellent. The world, story, characters, music and most of the gameplay absolutely hooks you in. There are periods where everything works and you really lose yourself in Night City. That’s why the bugs and other gameplay issues are so disappointing, as it messes with what can be a fantastic experience. Unless you are desperate to avoid spoilers, I would recommend waiting for a few more patches, or if you have a Series X wait for the optimization coming later this year. Cyberpunk 2077 is a great game that will one day be an incredible game.
    4.0
  • CoastKeyCoastKey209,521
    12 Dec 2020 13 Dec 2020
    16 62 10
    Not a big review, but if I had known how little you actually play and how much you talk and follow directions I would not have purchased. If you follow the story its more or less only talking, after talking after talking and go to a place and its not far from a long, long movie with lots of different people and lots of different stories and its just tedious and confusing. Story is built a lot like Assassin Creed games and its not far from Assassins Creed in modern setting.

    Then, inbetween all the annoying talking there are very good moments with editorstuff and a complex but new and fun modern way to deal with enemies. The different encounters when you move around the city are good and the size is also pretty good.

    It chrashes often! No debating this. Cant drive a car fast on Xbox One x cause it freezes the game, and you will experience that you are stuck between for instance chair and the table and lots of other places. Cant fasttravel so you have to load previous game when this happens.

    Collecting and sidemissions are pretty standard and its not a pretty city to run around in with most building and cars looking like sheit so all in all a 2.5 for me.

    FYI after mission Play it safe game stopped and didnt give me anymore mainjobs. Tried to load previous but no luck so far. I see that i gotten a few downvotes and I must say I stand by what I wrote cause there is no gameplay during any of the main stories and if I wanted to see a movie I wouldnt paid 70 dollars
    2.5