No game has ever gotten me, and the rest of the gaming planet, so hyped for a new intellectual property. “Cyberpunk 2077” had all the tell-tale signs of a game that would somehow exceed its already sky-high expectations. Coming from the studio that brought us the critically acclaimed “Witcher 3,” it felt like anything CD Projekt Red made would be golden. Announced almost 10 years ago and in development since 2016, this game had more time to excel than most games get. In the end, it became sadly clear that it was a game built on lies, overpromises and countless missed deadlines. But how did things go so wrong for such a prestigious development team?
“Cyberpunk 2077” takes place in a futuristic(ish) California megacity that’s been taken over by the mega-corporations of the world. Crime is rampant in this world as citizens do just about whatever they need to do to survive. You play as V, with the option to choose from one of three starting “backgrounds.” In the end, these have no bearing on the game and only serve as short tutorial missions before dumping you into the world and its main story. However, out of the three backgrounds of Nomad, Corpo and Street kid, Nomad is by far the strongest and most enjoyable of the tutorials. Nomad sets you in the deserts outside of Night City. You are given a contract to transport cargo into Night City. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong, but you meet your partner in crime in Night City and an amazing character in the story named Jackie Welles. Characters are where “Cyberpunk” shows glimmers of promise. Characters like Jackie Welles, Delamain, Panam, Goro and especially Johnny Silverhand (voiced by the always brilliant Keanu Reeves) amongst others really stand out and make the story something special. While the main quest is good, the side quests are great. They provide this often-barren world with the occasional reason to actually explore.
The story and its quests are just about the only positive I can really say for the game. It looks dated, feels dated, has no real intelligent AI and has an unacceptable amount of game-breaking bugs and glitches. The looks are something straight out of a low-budget 360 title, with models looking cartoony, and very far from what we know is capable of hardware today. It would be forgivable if not for the also dated physics and AI. An example of poor or no physics is bullet physics. Bullets leave no impact on water, which may seem like a small thing, but this is something that games from almost 20 years ago were able to achieve. Blunt weapons often will not dent cars, which again is something much older games achieved on much weaker devices. The game doesn’t do service to the genre of “Cyberpunk.” As many have noted, it feels more like a cyberpunk-lite 80’s fanfic.
The game world is so empty. There are hardly any random action events, and when they happen, it lasts a few seconds at most. There are no real stores to visit and no houses to buy as previously promised. It’s an enormous world, I can give them that, but I think many gamers would rather have a real truly populated world instead of this barren world with awful AI. The AI in the game is non-existent. Shoot your gun and NPCs run maybe a few feet before all crouching in the same pose. Police often don’t respond to attacks on other NPCs or themselves, and when they do, the police simply pop in behind you endlessly until you drive away in a straight line. This lack of AI or depth in the open world is something that games for years have had, and it’s really unacceptable to promise fans such a vast, living, open world only to give them this. Hopefully, they can find some way to remedy these errors through updates.
The most egregious aspect of the game is the glitches. They are rampant, (at the time of writing this, the first major patch has been released which is supposed to have fixed many glitches, but these are observations before the said patch) sometimes these glitches create humorous moments, but they happen so often, they just become annoying, and many other glitches can often be game-breaking. For example, while playing on Stadia, I repeatedly encountered a game-breaking glitch that would prevent me from using weapons in my inventory. This glitch happened over and over, even after contact with support and following their recommendations. Another major bug I’ve heard about is the save file bug. Apparently, if the user’s save file goes over 8MB, it becomes corrupted and unplayable.
Graphical rendering has also been a nightmare for Xbox One and PS4 owners. The games at times have looked like something out of the ‘90s. A lot of blocky textures and slow rendering of textures hampers the experience for a lot of players. Luckily, next-gen and PC users should not have this issue.
Overall, while CDPR continues its legacy of amazing writing and characters, the same cannot be said for every other aspect of the game. At its current price of $60, I can’t recommend anyone go out and buy it. I honestly wouldn’t pay $30 for this game in its current state. As a lover of the genre, I truly hope CDPR can fix this mess.