Cyberpunk 2077 - Gunplay

I was fashionably late to the Cyberpunk 2077 party. Like much of the gaming world, I was actually looking forward to it, but as the launch approached, I was seeing a lot of red flags and it started to seem like waiting might be the right call. Not only was the game getting a ton of bad press, but Half-Glass Gaming’s Julian had some struggles with it that made me hesitant to jump in.

And then there was the fact that CD Projekt Red was holding back their console review codes, which is generally a pretty abysmal sign that a game is going to bomb. So I decided I would skip Cyberpunk 2077, at least for the time being.

And then, more than a year later, I found a PS5 review code in my inbox. This happened in February of 2022 to coincide with the release of the game’s 1.5 patch, which seems like the point where the game had turned a corner — it wasn’t perfect, but enough of the early issues had been ironed out that it was finally playable. In fact, it was more than playable; it was actually pretty dang good at that point. I spent maybe 30 hours with it and found a whole lot to enjoy.

With the recent launch of the Edgerunners update (or patch 1.6), I decided to return to Night City and tool around a bit. Once again, I found myself completely sucked into this universe. But this time, I noticed something that I had missed before: The gunplay feels excellent.

I don’t know if this is something that CD Projekt Red worked on improving since February, or if mid-game weapons just feel better than early-game weapons. Or maybe nothing changed and I just didn’t notice this before. (This Kotaku article implies that this would have changed with the 1.5 update.) But either way, gunplay feels genuinely great.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Gunplay

Part of this is the haptic feedback of the PS5’s DualSense controller, which adjusts the tension of the trigger buttons based on in-game context. There’s a little bit of resistance when you pull the trigger, making it feel a little more like pulling an actual trigger (obviously, it’s not exact, but it does help with the immersion factor). And whenever you fire a gun, that tension snaps tight for a split second to create the illusion of kickback.

But aside from that, the aim feels super precise, the little X that marks successful hits feels really nice, and response time feels almost instantaneous. While it’s not as buttery smooth as, say, EA’s Battlefield games (which might have the smoothest gunplay in modern gaming), this feels absolutely great to play.

And I’m really enjoying Smart Weapons, which automatically lock onto enemies and allow you to just keep firing without having to aim. It’s kind of ridiculous, but also kind of awesome.

So my return to Cyberpunk 2077 has been a welcome one, and I look forward to the game’s first expansion. It does look like this game has a bright (neon-lit) future ahead of it.

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