For many, it has been a disastrous few weeks with the game. Bugs, glitches and all that nasty stuff is still plaguing CD Projekt Red’s ambitious game. It’s not the most polished gaming experience and even with several patches, Cyberpunk 2077 is still a couple of patches away from being totally bug-free. That said, we reviewed the game on PC and after the first hotfix, our game was playable if not the smoothest. After spending a good deal of time in Night City and completing the main story mission, it’s not the never-ending shindig that we assumed but it’s heavily story-driven, has meaningful outcomes to your choices and the world around it is so beautiful that you’ll be left thinking of Cyberpunk well after your first run with it.
That lasting impression is what very few games manage to do it, and that’s exactly why it’s hard to ignore Cyberpunk 2077 in 2021.
Keanu Reeves and his paper-faced emotions won’t blow you away but if you’re a Keanu fan, don’t let me hold you back. You’re going to enjoy every second of him on the screen. Yes, he’s not much of a playable character but as the story progresses, you’ll find joy in Keanu’s shoes.
Depending on your choice, one of the three - Nomad, Street and Corpo is the starting point and no matter what you pick, the main story will pan out quite similarly. And even though it’s difficult to shake its linear story progression with your choices, the game’s missions and the ending will twist and turn in multiple ways.
Choices are important and they feel important too. Nearly every mission has a dialogue interaction and the way it pans out is heavily influenced by your decision. Some missions will happen differently for you and only when you discuss it with a friend, you’ll realise that it’s not the same for everyone.
Night City never sleeps
Combat also is quite fun, even if at times broken for the game world. You’ll have guns and weapons that can shoot through walls and even homing shots that lock onto enemies. As is with most games, going guns blazing is always the easiest way and stealth often comes as an afterthought. Still, if you choose to hack your way through combat, it will reward you differently. Gunning down enemy becomes easier after hacking into their cyberware and sometimes avoiding bloodshed reaps different rewards.
You can opt for melee combat too. Cybernetics will enhance your arms to land incredible punches or rip enemies in half with the Mantis blades but they often make you feel like a fish out of water. You can run towards enemies like a bullet sponge and slice them up but it doesn’t feel rewarding enough. It’s the future, why can’t we ricochet bullets with a katana?
Weapon modding and crafting also feel like padded content. I found no value or incentive in them in my entire playthrough and even clothes and outfits started to feel like cosmetic rather than stat-boosting upgrades. Even character customization is only possible when you start the game. You cannot change your appearance after you finalise on to the initial look. This is quite the opposite of what we’ve come to expect from RPG games and especially an RPG from the famed developers of the Witcher 3!
Side missions come your way fast and furious. During the initial phases of the game, it might feel overwhelming with the many side mission markers and a plethora of text messages from people who want to hire you for your mercenary services. But some of the side missions are genuinely amazing. Fans of The Office will be happy to know that there’s a side mission with a reference to the show and it’s quite funny to see it through.
But once you take a stroll through Night City, you’ll be captivated by the level of detail. It really does feel like a diverse and believable world. Every nook and cranny of the city is detailed, and once you’re progressing through the missions, the characters that fill this space breathe life into the game. There are plenty of dialogue options that make every mission with its NPCs a memorable exchange of words and give insight about the game world. Whether you’re carrying out a heist with Jackie or sending Nomad groups to their desert coffins with Panam or simply having a debate about good and evil with Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077 has nailed the dialogue options and its choices down. It’s meaningful and urges replayability.
It also looks fantastic, if you have the horsepower. Even with Ray Tracing off, the game looks next-gen. Cars and bikes are so meticulously crafted that it can put some racing games to shame. They look fantastic. Everything in Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it’s going to squeeze every last pixel out of your system but only if you have a beefy gaming rig capable of churning out that high level of detail. Our RTX 2080Ti was barely limping through 40 frames without Ray Tracing at 2K resolution. HDR implementation is great as well but we wished it was optimised for the lower-end systems too. We faced plenty of challenges while running the game on a Dell G3 and console optimisation is best left to the internet memes for a thorough explanation. Mind you, CD Projekt Red is slowly fixing the game and we delayed our review by a month for the fixes to come but I still feel its a good two or three months away from being at its very best on every platform.
Cyberpunk 2077 Verdict
Enough has been said about the bugs and glitches that ruin the gaming experience in Cyberpunk 2077. Many of my friends and colleagues are facing bugs and issues even on the PC version and have delayed their venture into Night City for a time after CD Projekt fixes it.
That said, for us lucky few who have managed to scrape through its sprawling city, Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best games around in terms of storytelling and world-building. There’s a never-ending list of promised features that never made into the final game and we believe that the fact that someone from CD Projekt made those promises was a mistake in the first place. For the hardcore fans that believed in the game devs to add drivable flying cars and realistic interactions with cops such as bribing them, the game will never feel like what it could’ve been. For those who tone down the expectation and approach Cyberpunk 2077 for its fascinating story in mind, the game can be up there with the best.