Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person action RPG developed by CD Projekt Red—the same company that brought the world the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It was one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2019… and then for several different months in 2020…
I had personally been waiting on this game since I first saw the trailer in… let me look this up real quick… Jesus, it was 2013. I waited for this game for seven human years.
These words—”Coming, When It’s Ready—were at the end of a now-almost-a-decade-old trailer. I respected it. It signified that these people were taking the development of this game seriously enough not to release it until it was fully complete.
Jump to the beginning of 2020. When it got pushed back from the first quarter to the third quarter of that year, I told myself, “Well they did say that it would come out when it was ready, so they must be putting the finishing touches on this—the feather in the cap, if you will.”
Well, here I am in 2021, and having played through Cyberpunk: 2077 I can honestly say that it was worth the wait….
Oh wait, no… it’s the opposite of that. Sorry, I often get those two things confused.
While it wasn’t a disaster of the proportions that some claim it to be, it was a thoroughly underwhelming experience. I will say that there are some amazing things about this game. Unfortunately, they just don’t cut it when comparing them to the bad things, like…
A Maelstrom of Glitches
Now, most of you have probably heard about the litany of glitches that plagued Cyberpunk’s launch like a… well, like a plague.
I was not privy to the majority of these, since I got my copy in January 2021. However, even by that time, there were issues that hounded my entire playthrough.
The first, and most obnoxious, was the constant system crashes. These would happen for seemingly no rhyme or reason…
- Getting into a car = system crash.
- Walking down the street = system crash
- Hacking into a system to crash it? System crash = system crash.
It was maddening and exhausting. It got to the point that my wife and I would usually say that “when it crashes next, we’ll stop playing and do something else” because it was almost guaranteed to happen at least once every time we played.
Other than that, there were a number of other—minor—things that were more annoying than they were gamebreaking. This included, but was not limited to:
- Items would be marked as new even if we’d viewed them a hundred times
- Quest markers and waypoints would duplicate on the minimap and start moving around
- The line that leads you to your quest objective would circle around on itself in a never-ending loop
- NPC’s would appear and disappear at random
- Items would be visible, but could not be picked up.
- Wrist rockets would be installed, but would refuse to fire.
- Enemies who were clearly dead would still shout that they were looking for us (from beyond the grave. WOOOooOOOoooOOoo spooky)
- Your character would die for no discernible reason. Just WHAM! You’re dead.
Sure, none of these were too terrible, but the frequency with which they happened was more than a little frustrating.
Bright Lights, Big City
Now that I’ve shit on it a bit, let me take a step back and talk about my absolute favorite part of Cyberpunk 2077: Night City.
I’m giving a ton of kudos to CD Projekt Red for making Night City feel like an actual city—or as close to one as I’ve seen in games in quite a while.
It’s a bit hard to describe this in technical terms since there are so many small things that play a part, but I’ll try to be concise.
First off, the NPC’s are great (when they function properly). The sheer magnitude of people walking around the city is staggering, and so is the way they behave. They really do seem to be going about their business instead of just walking around aimlessly. I mean, they are walking around aimlessly, but they don’t seem to be, which is an important distinction.
Night City also has a certain ambiance to it that often made me believe that it could exist someday in the future.
Really, there is an alarming amount of detail that went into creating this behemoth of an open world:
- The alarming amount of trash that scattered everywhere, but was somewhat shoved off to the sides.
- The billboards that shifted and blinked constantly.
- The worrying number of vending machines that sold tacos.
If I could go to the best/worst city of the near future, Night City would be it.
I also enjoyed how the further you got from the population centers, the more abandoned the City seemed to become. The transitions between these sections of the city were near flawless, and it felt like you were just rolling into a different neighborhood…which, in fairness, you were.
All of this, combined, made me relish the feel of the city.
Unfortunately, this was all…
A Thin Veneer
You see, there was very little substance to Night City beyond the fact that it looked amazing.
Most of the shops and storefronts were little more than a facade.
There were a few you could enter, but most were just for show. Not that I fault the developers for this. Allowing all the buildings to be enterable would have been a nightmare… impressive, but a nightmare.
Still, after a few hours of walking around Night City, you start to feel like there is no reason to spend your time exploring. While there were things to stumble upon here and there, they were few and far between.
This left me feeling unenthused about going to a new area. I mea,n I would go to the quest markers, but I never saw a building and was like “Ooooo I should go and check that out!”. It was more like, “I guess I’ll go there if there is a quest? Maybe?”
And speaking about quest markers, there were…
Too Many Quest Markers
The number of small markers on your map is… daunting, to say the least. I tried to do all the “Assault in Progress” quests in Watson, the starting area, and found that it was more like a game of whack-a-mole. The higher you get your “Street Cred,” the more missions become available to you. So the more quests you do, the more markers appear.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that there is a lot of content to get through.
The issue is that after the first twenty or so, you’ve seen pretty much all the game has to offer. Sure, a few of the different regular quests are pretty cool, but the majority of them are laughably similar. It can take an awful lot to give me Side Quest Fatigue, but Cyberpunk managed to get me there faster than most.
I’ve found that ignoring the markers and only doing the Fixer quests if I wandered close enough to them was the only way to play this without my mind melting from tedium.
Some Things These Gonks Did Right
I don’t want to belittle too many aspects of the game, because some of it was really well done. So I’ll make a quick list just to touch on some of the high points before we conclude this review.
- The main story is pretty great, especially the beginning
- The missions with actual story components were very well done
- The combat was fun, if a little repetitive
- Some of the voice acting was great
- Having Keanue Reeves as Cyberpunk’s angry drunken Cortana was amazing
Flatlined on Arrival
Overall, Cyberpunk 2077 was not worth the Eddies I paid for it.
I really wish that I could say differently. I wanted so desperately to love this game, but I just can’t do it. It is a passable game, with some serious aesthetics, rich lore, and an in-your-face personality, none of which were used very effectively.
Maybe that’s what happens when a game is hyped up so much for so long (looking at you No Man’s Sky).
Either way, I’m giving Cyberpunk 2077 a not so chrome 6/10.
In the end I…