Cyberpunk 2077

Let me address something real quick: Cyberpunk 2077 was a mess at launch. It was such a mess, in fact, that the conversation about the botched release completely overshadowed the conversation about what was actually in the game.

I can’t comment on the actual state of the game at launch because, like many others, I heard it was really bad and I had other things to play at that point in time (like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales).

But then something happened. Update 1.5 landed on February 15, and CD Projekt Red started handing out the console review codes that they’d withheld back in 2020. I was given a code for PS5 (well, technically it was a PS4 code that I then had to upgrade to the PS5 version), so I finally decided to give Cyberpunk 2077 a go. My plan was really to just get far enough in the world to get myself a fancy futuristic supercar, then drive it around for a bit to see some of the sites. I figured I’d put maybe three hours into it, whip out a quick editorial on my early-game thoughts, then not think about it until another inevitable patch dropped.

Cyberpunk 2077

But that’s not what happened at all. What I learned in my first couple hours was that there’s an actual game here, and it’s very much worth playing if you’re a fan of open worlds and near-future sci-fi stories.

One thing that I’ve not heard a single complaint about is the game’s setting. I mean, I’m sure I could find some if I really looked, but when people grumble about Cyberpunk 2077, their gripes are mostly about technical issues and not the game’s commitment to its aesthetic.

And that’s because the world here is very compelling. As was advertised, this is a techno-future society that feels like it was pulled straight out of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. It’s a seedy world of body modification, synthetic drugs, and rampant debauchery. Hives of hackers go to war against mega-corporations for dominance of the tech world. Corruption runs rampant, and the police are fully decked out in military garb and equipped with flying cars. This is a world that I would absolutely hate to live in, but I love to visit it from the safety and comfort of my living room.

Aside from CD Projekt Red absolutely nailing the cyberpunk setting, the writing is incredibly snappy. The early part of the game moves extremely fast, and you’ll feel almost dizzy trying to keep up with it (reading the Neuromancer novel feels the same way). The pacing does slow down eventually, but in those early hours, the game wastes very little time, which is super refreshing considering how bloated the beginnings of open-world games can feel.

Cyberpunk 2077

And the characters are surprisingly well-realized. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering this comes from the same studio that was behind the absolutely fantastic The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but it’s not something I’ve seen mentioned a whole lot.

When I first met the gruff meathead Jackie Welles, he had a pistol to my head. I was expecting him to become one of the game’s villains, but then the police showed up and my character blacked out. When I came to, I was sitting in an alley with Jackie, and he invited me to have dinner with him. So I decided to take him up on the offer, and we became fast friends.

I’ve also become enamored with Judy Alvarez, who comes off as kind of obnoxious when you’re first introduced to her, but once the cyber-crap really hits the fan, she opens up and becomes a much deeper and more complex character than you initially thought. I learned that she’s one of the game’s romance options, and I definitely think I’ll be trying to woo her when the time comes.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Judy

This is a harsh, hard world, and people in it tend to put up a tough exterior. However, when you really get to know these folks, you start to realize how vulnerable and human they actually are. Even Jackie, the guy you’ll meet from the wrong side of a loaded gun, ends up being a real teddy bear. (I admit that I still haven’t warmed up to Johnny Silverhand, the character portrayed by the ever-lovable Keanu Reeves).

The game is far from perfect, of course. Even on PS5, and even after the 1.5 patch, character animations can be a bit janky. I mean, just take a look at this gliding jellyroll:

(The above footage was captured by my fellow Half-Glass Gamer, Julian.)

But the amount of jank in the current-gen console version of Cyberpunk 2077 is comparable to something like, say, Fallout 4 rather than something like Internet Cafe Simulator 2.

I’ve invested about 12 hours into Cyberpunk 2077 at this point, and if February wouldn’t have been so jam-packed with must-play open-world games, I would have played it for a lot longer. I definitely plan on going back to it, and I do hope to at least finish the main story before I bounce off of it for good. I also hope CD Projekt Red continues to update this for a while yet (this game really needs a better wardrobe, for example).

For now, though, I have to admit that Cyberpunk 2077 is probably a lot better than you’ve heard. No, it’s not the technological masterpiece the community was hyped for, but there’s still a very good game here. In fact, if CDPR continues to tweak, fix, and add to this game, it could become another one of gaming’s big redemption stories. And I, for one, would love to see that happen.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 (which was upgraded to PS5), but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Zarbor
Zarbor
5 months ago

Looks like you came to same conclusion many of us already did even when the game was buggy and needed fixing. The best part about CP2077 is the setting/enviroment. There are some good missions but the overall story is convoluted but entertaining enough to see it thru.

Everything else about this game is average and poor even with the current update. Obviously the game is better now that’s its fixed most of the bugs but there was quite a bit more they need to fix and update and they have not.

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