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.