Highly anticipated: Pretty much everyone agrees that Cyberpunk 2077 had an awful launch. However, developer CD Projekt Red has promised to continue updating and polishing the game over time until it's in a state the players are happy with. They've already taken a few baby steps toward that goal with previous bug-fixing patches, but today marked the first major leap forward for Cyberpunk 2077 since release. Patch 1.5 was revealed and released today, and it's quite the doozy.

The update brings many changes and improvements, some of which were shown off on the official CD Projekt Red Twitch channel. Though the livestream has already ended, you can watch the recorded VOD at this link. If a written breakdown is more your speed, we'll do our best to provide that here (or you can read the full patch notes).

So, let's start with the big changes. First, Cyberpunk 2077's perk progression system has been completely redone. Perks that were useless before (such as the one that made you harder to detect underwater) have been removed and remade.

Perks that technically worked, but weren't all that fun to use have also been altered. For example, when you pick the knife-throwing perk and hurl your blade of choice, it will automatically return to you after a certain amount of time has passed (which varies based on the quality of the knife). Alternatively, you can run to the spot it was thrown and pick it up immediately.

Previously, you had to physically loot the knife off of the corpse of the enemy, which made the skill frustrating to use in the middle of combat.

NPC AI has also seen several changes, both in and out of combat. Now, if you pull out a weapon and start firing into a crowd, your victims will behave differently. Some will crouch and hide as usual, but most will run away, and others will even pull out firearms and shoot back at you. These tweaks aren't available on last-gen consoles due to technical limitations.

On the topic of AI behavior, NPCs in vehicles can now "panic drive" when threatened; deviating from their lanes and trying to escape from you as quickly as possible. If they crash into an obstacle, they may even knock themselves unconscious!

In combat, enemies will take cover, reposition, reload and swap weapons, dodge, block, and otherwise react to your actions more intelligently than ever. More "impact" has also been added to ranged and melee weapons, though it's hard to say what that will feel like without actually playing the patch.

Aside from AI changes, you can expect to see some new features the next time you update Cyberpunk 2077. For example, you can customize the appearance of V's base apartment with a handful of repainting options, all of which cost money and can be accessed through your apartment computer.

Note that we said 'base' apartment there. You can purchase multiple apartments in Patch 1.5! For a one-time fee, you can snag abodes in Watson, Westbrook, Heywood, or City Center; or all at once if you're especially flush with cash. Each apartment has different roleplay activities to perform (like lighting incense or playing guitar), a unique aesthetic and layout, and a different price tag. The apartment in Corpo Plaza will run you 55,000 Eurodollars, whereas the one in Japantown is only 15,000.

Furthermore, your in-game romantic partner's home will be available for you to use as a safe house if the relationship has progressed far enough.

Speaking of apartments, it is now possible to change your appearance mid-game from any of your safe house bathroom mirrors. You'll find new customization options when you do so (such as hairstyles and colors), too.

As we said before, Patch 1.5 also brings the long-awaited next-gen console upgrades, meaning PS5 and XSX/XSS players will no longer be forced to play in backward compatibility mode. For PS5 and XSX, you'll be able to swap between Performance and Ray-Tracing presets, which support 60 and 30 FPS, respectively. Both run at 4K, but the Ray-Tracing modes add RT shadows and high-res Screen Space Reflections. The Xbox Series S is limited to 1440p, 30 FPS, and half-res SSR.

If Patch 1.5 will be your first time delving into the game in a while, you might be curious to see how your rig will hold up under past optimization improvements. Fortunately, the patch brings a new in-game Benchmark feature, so you can test things out without needing to start up a new save.

The final positive addition to the Cyberpunk 2077 ecosystem is the release of a free trial for the game. It's only available on consoles, but it lets you play the game for up to 5 hours, completely unrestricted -- you can even attempt to beat the main story in that time if you wish. It's available to download for the next 30 days, so there's never been a better time to try CDPR's latest RPG out.

With most of the good news out of the way, let's discuss some of the bad: PC players running older hardware or software may be negatively affected moving forward. After June 15, 2022, Windows 7 will no longer be a supported operating system for Cyberpunk 2077 players -- the game may outright stop working on the OS due to technical limitations related to DirectX 12.

Cyberpunk 2077's required PC hardware spec have also been altered. Since the cards no longer receive driver updates from Nvidia, GTX 700-series GPUs won't be supported or tested by CDPR for future patches. The GTX 970 is now the new 'Minimum' requirement for PC players.

Ordinarily, a change like this would probably have little impact, but the past couple of years have been absolutely terrible for PC upgrades. Finding a new GPU at a reasonable price (or finding one at all) is extremely difficult these days, so we suspect many PC gamers are still sticking to older components.

Despite this slightly unfortunate news, we're happy to see that Cyberpunk 2077 is still seemingly receiving active support from the developers. We hope this patch is only the beginning.