Cyberpunk 2077 review round-up: A beautifully-crafted sci-fi experience marred by technical...

Polycount

Posts: 2,821   +574
Staff member
Highly anticipated: After eight years of waiting since its initial announcement in 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 is less than three days away now, and now that the review embargo has been lifted, journalists have begun to publish their in-depth impressions of the title ahead of launch. Overall, the reception has been positive: journalists are blown away by the scale and beauty of Night City, as well as the depth of its character interactions.

However, plenty of others have had their experienced marred by bugs, performance issues, and other technical difficulties. So, to get a more comprehensive and wide-reaching view of what Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer, let's take a look at what reviewers are saying.

Cyberpunk 2077's world is unlike anything we've ever seen before, according to The Telegraph's Tom Hoggins:

I am not sure there has been a video game city that feels quite so alive on first glance. It is rich in detail and intrigue, every inch designed to suck you into its world. As you stretch out from your home, into the Tokyo-inspired hustle of Japantown, through the favelas of the gang-controlled Pacifica --where street kids hurl rocks at busted government sentry turrets-- and even beyond the city walls into the sweeping Californian desert you are left in no doubt that Night City is the real star here. Definable swathes of land that give rise to different opportunities in V’s sprawling quest.

However, as The Verge's Adi Robertson puts it, Night City is only the backdrop for what is a dark and gripping narrative for main character V:

V witnesses a cold-blooded crime by one of Night City’s biggest power players. In the ensuing chaos and coverup, they end up with a piece of dangerous experimental technology. They also resurrect the digital ghost of a Night City legend: metal-armed punk rocker terrorist Johnny Silverhand, voiced by Keanu Reeves. While suffering Johnny’s cynical quips and frustrated outbursts, they have to figure out who built the tech and how to stop its deadly effects, appealing to criminals and corporate loyalists who will all but inevitably stab them in the back.

Not in the mood for an intense main story? No problem -- there are plenty of side activities for you to sink your cybernetic teeth into, if Kotaku's Riley MacLeod has it right:

Story-wise, Cyberpunk is also a lot, with multi-quest main stories and an astonishing number of activities: meaty side quests from characters; gigs you can do for various agents called fixers; cyberpsychos to deal with as you please; map events you can do for the police, like stopping crimes and assaults; collectibles to search for; and people who need help.

Unfortunately, if things get messy, Cyberpunk 2077's gun and swordplay won't satisfy everyone. As TechRadar's Jordan Oloman puts it, Cyberpunk 2077's combat is closer to Fallout 4 than Call of Duty:

...Cyberpunk 2077’s nearest neighbor combat wise is Fallout 4. It’s not doing anything too exciting in that department beyond the quirky cyberware, but it still provides a good enough gameplay loop. However, melee combat, especially with blunt weapons, feels particularly floaty and disappointing, so it’s a shame that there’s an entire branch of missions based around it.

The good news is, you can always hack your way to victory instead, according to GameSpot's Kallie Plagge:

Once I got a good cyberdeck and equipped better quickhacks, combat really picked up for me. I had a quickhack that reset an enemy's optics--pretty much everyone in Night City has cyberware in place of organic eyes--and temporarily blinded them, which allowed me to sneak past. I was able to shut off entire camera systems easily and set turrets to "friendly mode" so they wouldn't shoot me on sight. I approached most encounters like a puzzle: I'd hack into the camera systems to see how many enemies I'm dealing with, then figure out who to distract and in which direction so I could move from room to room undetected.

As entertaining as Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay can be, its core characters took center stage for The Washington Post's Gene Park:

The game is filled with whip-smart characters with plenty of opportunities to showcase the writing’s ability to handle emotional intimacy. Characters like Judy, a skilled technician of “braindances” (this game’s version of virtual reality experiences) are handled with great care and nuance, especially when they have to deal with troubling circumstances.

Sadly, things didn't end on a high note for PC Gamer's James Davenport, who encountered so many bugs that he knocked 22 points off his final score:

Too bad almost every serious dramatic beat was undercut by some kind of bug, ranging from a UI crowded by notifications and crosshairs failing to disappear, to full-on scripting errors halting otherwise rad action scenes. What should've been my favorite main quest venture, a thrilling infiltration mission set in a crowded public event, was ruined by two broken elevators. I had to reload a few times to get them working.

The most absurd bug might've been when some children spawned in front of a timed shooting contest I entered with a friendly nomad. I couldn't shoot anywhere near the children because my weapon automatically raised, so I just sat there and let the timer run out as my buddy talked shit.

Bugs aside, once Cyberpunk 2077 has its hooks into you, it's not going to let go for at least a few days, reports Eurogamer's Chris Tapsell:

It's still early on for me, I should say - after 30 hours I was still, no doubt to the horror of many with vanishing spare time, just finding my feet - but much of that focus is placed on Cyberpunk's central story, which has so far been a welcome surprise.

Overall, Cyberpunk 2077 sounds like a thrilling, futuristic experience that will keep players entertained for dozens of hours. However, it's also an experience marred by an array of technical issues and at-times lackluster combat -- hopefully, future patches will clear up these problems and allow Cyberpunk 2077 to reach its full potential sooner rather than later.

As for performance and other technical details surrounding CD Projekt Red's latest epic, stay tuned. We were unable to acquire a review copy of the game, so our own benchmarks and analyses will have to wait till after launch.

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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,301   +3,241
Having watched 6-7 hours of streams yesterday, this game is hardly what I would call "beautifully designed". The art style boils down to "throw neon at everything" while character models are all gritty and, just, ugly in general, which is fine, but these two styles dont mix at all. Textures range wildly in quality, and the bloom and dynamic resolution make the game look like its rendering at 720p instead of 1080p or 4k. Character models and clothing look...."moist" while everything else is dry and dull. The style in general leaves a LOT to be desired, and is a far cry from the focused teaser trailers from eons ago.

Dialog felt ham fisted at times, voice acting felt average at best. Missions with tutorials hammer you over the head with answers to puzzles and how to use the games mechanics. The city itself is jsut empty. Few pedestrians, fewer cars. Big highways with nobody on them, empty city streets, and NPCs that just occupy space with ugly design and low poly appendages ripping you out of any immersion you may have felt. GTA V, on the x360, had much denser populations, let alone the xbox one/ps4 or the PC versions. The guns you get as loot are far too numerous and, again, boring. Very few are more then "take gun, staple shape to it, and paint odd color".

The bugs are both kinda hilarious and damning at the same time. The car and motorcycle physics are farm simulator 2011 level. "jank" describes it well. Same for the melee combat, which makes oblivion look like a masterpiece. There is 0 weight to melee blows and almost no strategy. On hard difficulty the enemies are all bullet sponges, taking 4-5 shotgun rounds or 30 SMG rounds to the facewithout dying. Throw a grenade into a group of hippies dancing to mute music? They wont even react until it explodes.

Overall, boring looter shooter with RPG elements. The gameplay loop isnt interesting at all, and that cant be fixed by a simple patch. Mods will be the saviour of this game on PC. On console I'd avoid it like the plague. Maybe it will be good at $25 with all the expansion packs in a few years, but today at $60+ this is an embarassment for a AAA experience.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,321   +2,297
From what I have seen it's a typical ambitious RPG. That is, you're better off waiting at least 6 months to play it so a few million beta testers have found the worst problems and the developer has fixed most of them.

I'm keen on playing it and even have it on a cheap pre order for PC, but I doubt I'll bother until next year when I have an RTX setup worthy of it as well. Count me in- after about half a dozen patches....
 

ExReey

Posts: 17   +42
Having watched 6-7 hours of streams yesterday, this game is hardly what I would call "beautifully designed". The art style boils down to "throw neon at everything" while character models are all gritty and, just, ugly in general, which is fine, but these two styles dont mix at all. Textures range wildly in quality, and the bloom and dynamic resolution make the game look like its rendering at 720p instead of 1080p or 4k. Character models and clothing look...."moist" while everything else is dry and dull. The style in general leaves a LOT to be desired, and is a far cry from the focused teaser trailers from eons ago.

Dialog felt ham fisted at times, voice acting felt average at best. Missions with tutorials hammer you over the head with answers to puzzles and how to use the games mechanics. The city itself is jsut empty. Few pedestrians, fewer cars. Big highways with nobody on them, empty city streets, and NPCs that just occupy space with ugly design and low poly appendages ripping you out of any immersion you may have felt. GTA V, on the x360, had much denser populations, let alone the xbox one/ps4 or the PC versions. The guns you get as loot are far too numerous and, again, boring. Very few are more then "take gun, staple shape to it, and paint odd color".

The bugs are both kinda hilarious and damning at the same time. The car and motorcycle physics are farm simulator 2011 level. "jank" describes it well. Same for the melee combat, which makes oblivion look like a masterpiece. There is 0 weight to melee blows and almost no strategy. On hard difficulty the enemies are all bullet sponges, taking 4-5 shotgun rounds or 30 SMG rounds to the facewithout dying. Throw a grenade into a group of hippies dancing to mute music? They wont even react until it explodes.

Overall, boring looter shooter with RPG elements. The gameplay loop isnt interesting at all, and that cant be fixed by a simple patch. Mods will be the saviour of this game on PC. On console I'd avoid it like the plague. Maybe it will be good at $25 with all the expansion packs in a few years, but today at $60+ this is an embarassment for a AAA experience.

So let me summarize your post:

The art style is bad
The graphics tech is bad
The city is empty
Gunplay is bad
Melee combat is bad
Tutorials are bad
NPCs are ugly
Gameplay is boring
Lots of bugs

I understand that ppl don't agree with 10/10 reviews, but your 0/10 opinion, with not a _single_ positive point, is equally bad, if not worse.

Unless you're a troll, in which case: well done :)
 

Thretosix

Posts: 48   +61
I'm not seeing anything like a pre-order bonus to have to purchase on day one. Like others I think I'll wait until I build a newer PC around a newer RTX GPU likely a year from now when the game itself goes on sale and the hardware to run the game optimized becomes more available. Game looks great though.
 

amghwk

Posts: 996   +882
As expected, something over-hyped is never a good thing. At least, it's not a worse let down than Daikatana. Might get it next year or later, when it's at least 75% off, or when Epic decides to give it for free, if it comes to that. Or maybe not. I have other backlogged games bought during sale or got free to play anyway.

And with the 50GB(!!!) "Day-0 patch", it's still not finished, but had to be released anyway, lest, receive backlash from blind loyalty fans.
 
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BSim500

Posts: 778   +1,679
I can wait a year for the next round of holiday sales and by then all the bugs should be worked out.
Looking back at the changelog timelines for Witcher 3, Divinity Original Sin, etc, 14-20 months post launch is typically the time-frame where the game is finally "completed" (unless it's a Bethesda game in which case the community are still patching up Morrowind...)
 

TomSEA

Posts: 3,320   +2,068
Looking back at the changelog timelines for Witcher 3, Divinity Original Sin, etc, 14-20 months post launch is typically the time-frame where the game is finally "completed" (unless it's a Bethesda game in which case the community are still patching up Morrowind...)

Which is really absurd, especially when talking about a game that was first announced EIGHT years ago.

I can see a game taking 1-2 months to have all the kinks worked out of it based on the thousands of different PC configurations it will be played on. But nearly 2 years?? That's ridiculous....
 

gamerk2

Posts: 497   +388
Which is really absurd, especially when talking about a game that was first announced EIGHT years ago.

I can see a game taking 1-2 months to have all the kinks worked out of it based on the thousands of different PC configurations it will be played on. But nearly 2 years?? That's ridiculous....

Not really; most of the contracted staff will be let go post-release, and many of the more experienced programmers will move on to whatever the next project is. It does take a good year and a half to get some of the more obscure bugs ironed out of massive projects like this.
 

Namtrooper

Posts: 107   +53
Having watched 6-7 hours of streams yesterday, this game is hardly what I would call "beautifully designed". The art style boils down to "throw neon at everything" while character models are all gritty and, just, ugly in general, which is fine, but these two styles dont mix at all. Textures range wildly in quality, and the bloom and dynamic resolution make the game look like its rendering at 720p instead of 1080p or 4k. Character models and clothing look...."moist" while everything else is dry and dull. The style in general leaves a LOT to be desired, and is a far cry from the focused teaser trailers from eons ago.

Dialog felt ham fisted at times, voice acting felt average at best. Missions with tutorials hammer you over the head with answers to puzzles and how to use the games mechanics. The city itself is jsut empty. Few pedestrians, fewer cars. Big highways with nobody on them, empty city streets, and NPCs that just occupy space with ugly design and low poly appendages ripping you out of any immersion you may have felt. GTA V, on the x360, had much denser populations, let alone the xbox one/ps4 or the PC versions. The guns you get as loot are far too numerous and, again, boring. Very few are more then "take gun, staple shape to it, and paint odd color".

The bugs are both kinda hilarious and damning at the same time. The car and motorcycle physics are farm simulator 2011 level. "jank" describes it well. Same for the melee combat, which makes oblivion look like a masterpiece. There is 0 weight to melee blows and almost no strategy. On hard difficulty the enemies are all bullet sponges, taking 4-5 shotgun rounds or 30 SMG rounds to the facewithout dying. Throw a grenade into a group of hippies dancing to mute music? They wont even react until it explodes.

Overall, boring looter shooter with RPG elements. The gameplay loop isnt interesting at all, and that cant be fixed by a simple patch. Mods will be the saviour of this game on PC. On console I'd avoid it like the plague. Maybe it will be good at $25 with all the expansion packs in a few years, but today at $60+ this is an embarassment for a AAA experience.
Bummer. You seem very negative about it. Hopefully if CDPR takes the time to Improve all poor aspects of this game it could be great. But most companies probably wouldn't the time and money to fix these issues. Like you said the modding community might bring it up to the standard we would like.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 312   +310
Looking back at the changelog timelines for Witcher 3, Divinity Original Sin, etc, 14-20 months post launch is typically the time-frame where the game is finally "completed" (unless it's a Bethesda game in which case the community are still patching up Morrowind...)

****in a'. Not worth wasting time or any money on those overambitious RPGs before the inevitable 50+ patches and hotfixes, and 5+ DLCs. I have the feeling that CP2077 is going to get even more patches over its life than TW3 or Kingdom Come: Deliverance...
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 309   +295
So let me summarize your post:

The art style is bad
The graphics tech is bad
The city is empty
Gunplay is bad
Melee combat is bad
Tutorials are bad
NPCs are ugly
Gameplay is boring
Lots of bugs

I understand that ppl don't agree with 10/10 reviews, but your 0/10 opinion, with not a _single_ positive point, is equally bad, if not worse.

Unless you're a troll, in which case: well done :)
He's probably a last of us 2 fan afraid there was a better game of the year.
 

spydercanopus

Posts: 868   +148
Canceled pre-order when CDPR delayed it for a PC / console simultaneous launch. I had taken off work and moved my kids visitation schedule around for the "it's gold" release date. That made it personal, and I'm straight up angry about it. Now I'll wait for the actual "gold edition" several years from now. Or never play it and be just fine.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,301   +3,241
Bummer. You seem very negative about it. Hopefully if CDPR takes the time to Improve all poor aspects of this game it could be great. But most companies probably wouldn't the time and money to fix these issues. Like you said the modding community might bring it up to the standard we would like.
I'm just posting my first impressions., It may seem like I'm super negative, but I have 0 hype for this game, and I'm willing to identify problems and discuss them without constantly sugarcoating it with "but this aspect is good tho" like I'm afraid of hurting the game's feelings. Haven't paid the slightest attention to it until last night. After the witcher 3, CP2077 feels like a major misstep, a game that isnt finished. I expect more, because I expect multi million dollar companies to have some idea of what they are building. Basic things like consistent art style and a narrative/gameplay loop that is engaging is game design 101.

Perhaps I should have learned from the witcher 3's massive graphical downgrade and PC launch fiasco. CDPR seemed like they were willing to take steps other AAA companies wouldnt, but it seems they are just as vulnerable to the trappings of overhyping buggy unfinished ideas presented as full games and refusing to learn from their mistakes.

A bad game can still be fun, but a boring game is forever garbage. CP2077 is honestly boring to me. None of the streams made it look like a GOTY title, at best it's a borderlands style looter but with a boring story instead of zany characters.
He's probably a last of us 2 fan afraid there was a better game of the year.
Neil Cuckmann's masturbatory women beating fantasy is pure hot trash.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 309   +295
I'm just posting my first impressions., It may seem like I'm super negative, but I have 0 hype for this game, and I'm willing to identify problems and discuss them without constantly sugarcoating it with "but this aspect is good tho" like I'm afraid of hurting the game's feelings. Haven't paid the slightest attention to it until last night. After the witcher 3, CP2077 feels like a major misstep, a game that isnt finished. I expect more, because I expect multi million dollar companies to have some idea of what they are building. Basic things like consistent art style and a narrative/gameplay loop that is engaging is game design 101.

Perhaps I should have learned from the witcher 3's massive graphical downgrade and PC launch fiasco. CDPR seemed like they were willing to take steps other AAA companies wouldnt, but it seems they are just as vulnerable to the trappings of overhyping buggy unfinished ideas presented as full games and refusing to learn from their mistakes.

A bad game can still be fun, but a boring game is forever garbage. CP2077 is honestly boring to me. None of the streams made it look like a GOTY title, at best it's a borderlands style looter but with a boring story instead of zany characters.

Neil Cuckmann's masturbatory women beating fantasy is pure hot trash.
You realize they don't have the day 1 patches or the updated drivers for this game which they reviewed, right? So you are making assumptions even before the game releases.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,580   +4,924
What good is a game if it's so broken I can't play it?

considering how long this game spent in Development Hell, I KNEW it was gonna end like this.
 

Ren128

Posts: 12   +8
CDPR not providing a game code for an outlet as big as you guys? Weird.

I've always loved your performance reviews.

Apparently according to what I've seen posted on Twitter, the copy of the game sent to reviewers has copy protection which reduces performance and which won't be present in retail version (this is to stop people leaking the game).
 

arrowflash

Posts: 312   +310
Do the reviewers get the Day 1 patch?

You realize they don't have the day 1 patches or the updated drivers for this game which they reviewed, right? So you are making assumptions even before the game releases.

The review copies do have an early version of the day 1 patch, with not all but most of the bugfixes from it.

I'd be willing to bet money that the final retail version with day 1 patch will still be a trainwreck.