Cyberpunk 2077 (XBO/PS4/PC)



  • @dipset I'm about to beat it, but I'll buy it on PS5 as soon as it comes out to play it again, as I generally prefer playing on console and there's a ton I left without doing that I really wanna play.



  • (Shit, way longer than I was expecting!)

    Still far from finishing the game but as I'm getting near the 100th hour I decided to share my thoughts about it.

    I was expecting Cyberpunk to be an expanded Deus Ex and that's basically what it is. Then throw some GTA and Fallout, Skyrim in the mix, with all the pros and cons, along with Witcher 2 and 3, and there you have it. I'll throw some comparisons around because looking at the general discourse around social media it seems like there's some exaggeration regarding its flaws. But this is also how discourse works nowadays, Red Dead Redemption 2 was highly criticised only to now be called as the open world standard.

    Night City

    Honestly the world caught me by surprise. The density of the city is on a level that I would only expect from Rockstar and even then I'll say this surpasses what they've done with GTA so far. Crazy amount of geometry going on, attention with detail from the grand scale of the colossal skyscrapers to the tight streets and slums. Night City feels alive, with districts blending into each other organically, local business, people walking the streets and great background sound design.

    There's issues, mostly coming from very shallow AI, glitches and lacking animations from pedestrians. It's mostly functional. They'll run when crossing the street if the light turns red, say something if you talk or bump against with them and get scared if you do something crazy. I can easily make a video exemplifying some abhorrent behaviour, but that's not the norm. For 99% of my time with the game they just go on their (clumsy) lives and most issues arise from the insane amount of population density in certain areas like City Center or Corpo Plaza.

    In all honestly Night City's citizens don't vary that much from most open world NPCs. Needs work no doubt but more on the glitch and animation side of things than the AI it self. But again, it functions, as you walk through a colossal metropolis the pedestrians do their job just fine by just doing their own thing. This until you come across one floating 2 meter from the ground or leaving its phone floating in the air. But lets not pretend this is something unique to Cyberpunk. Open World games are known to glitch a lot. Even a super basic open world game like Spider-Man has plenty of weirdness going on, and so do Ubisoft games despite releasing several a year. (Bethesda!!) And setting Rockstar as the standard everyone should meet, is like saying that every football player must be at least as good as Cristiano Ronaldo or just quit.

    Combat

    Coming from GTA, Fallout and Deus Ex roots, Cyberpunk largely surpasses expectations set by its influences. Hell it's even better than – say -Metro Exodus (on console), which is at its core a shooter. Low standards? Maybe. But these are in fact the standards set by the industry leaders. It would be great if the shooting was as good as Destiny but it is closer to Destiny in quality than anything done in the genre before. Guns have great feedback and are precise to control. The fairest comparison would be Outer Worlds which in my opinion already compared favourably with most in the genre.

    Stealth is basically Deus Ex.

    Enemy AI is lacking, but again, nor Fallout or Deus Ex offer something better. This is pretty on par. Except combat AI does frequently break.

    Driving

    Was hoping for Cyberpunk to be the first open world game with great driving (wait, except Mad Max) but unfortunately it is not. 1st person driving is quite ok, except that most sport cars are so low that you can't see the road, forcing you to go 3rd person which controls way worse, being too twitchy. Regardless of the perspective you choose you still have terrible breaks and almost non existent traffic AI. I think with some minor tweaks this could improve a lot. I'll say that staying within the city speed limits helps a lot the driving experience.

    A GPS voice notifying you when to turn would be great because it gets annoying spend more time looking at the map than at the road.

    Level design and mission structure

    So here's a controversial opinion. Cyberpunk has some of the best level design I've ever experienced. It's impressive in both quality, quantity and depth.

    It's very reminiscent – again- of Deus Ex. You have a building, with multiple entry points and ways to complete the mission. At this point I completed every single side mission available in the map just because of how satisfying is the setting up of each mission, how open is the approach and natural the level design feels. There's very little of the typical email with the new pass code to open “that door”, no incredibly large air vent that takes you from the toilet straight to your target. It's really astonishing the amount of buildings present in the world and how fantastic is the level design in each one.

    Locations feel real and often have nice small design subtleties. Like, maybe you can get close to a target staying at a motel just by talking to the receptionist and renting a room. Maybe that mission where you are supposed to deliver a car, before delivering the car you should open the trunk and that will drasticly change what was expected from you initially. This subtlety where stuff is not telegraphed to the player and “unnecessary” care is given to mundane quests is one of my favourite things about this game.

    Then of the opposite side you have the situations you come across on the streets, where level design is near inexistent and missions have zero structure. This is the equivalent of Ghost of Tsushima's road encounters. In my opinion is not handled well from a design perspective. I would be OK with it if these were random encounters (like GoT) but the decision of marking them on the map takes away its only redeeming quality. Passable filler content that works well enough if you just come across it and decide to engage. Mediocre stuff, useful for grinding only, mildly satisfying if you stumble by accident while exploring. But again, the kind of filler you'll find in every single open world game.

    Story and Characters

    While I was playing TLoU2 it annoyed me how much of a spectator you were. Not just from a decision making perceptive but mostly for the lack of participation. Cyberpunk nails this in my opinion. Departs from the stiffness of Witcher 3, and most RPGs, and fully embraces the more cinematic approach of a big AAA title but makes sure to keep you engaged by participating in intimate actions like sitting down, drinking, giving a hug, fu... and dialogue choices. This makes small moments incredible significant emotionally. When shit doesn't just breaks!! When the character you're talking too dosen't start to multiply the cigarette she's smoking in mid air, or objects don't just disappear or you're spawned inside the character you're talking with, seeing her eyes and teeth from inside her head.

    Don't know how impactful are your decisions, probably not Wasteland 3 level, but its not like anyone cared about that game. Without a second playtrough, or going online and spoil stuff, is difficult to know how much is an illusion. But it appear to me that several relations change based on your decisions, as well as whole blocks of story being not available much like in Witcher 2. Again, kind of hard to say but perception wise it's great how not gamy this bifurcations feel.

    But as a whole story content is pretty great. World building very well handled by environments, literature and media. Characters come in and out of your game in a very natural way with story and missions spawning from interactions with you but more importantly between each other regardless of you. A great mix of small stories to more complex mysteries coming from side content. And the main story so far (I'm far from finishing it) lives of great characters and interpersonal relationships, and a fantastic deep and complex world, omnipresent.

    Music and sound design

    Sound design I think it's pretty on point. The city, guns and cars (in 3rd person) all sound great. But there's mixing problems, and bugs that at times fail to trigger some sounds. I noticed a few dialogue lines that seem to have ended up in the game without being treated. Or maybe some post processing that should be done in game and the sound engine failed. As with most things with this game, quite good until the games breaks it.

    It always was going to be difficult to fit music stations in a future world. It's not reasonable to ask for whole music genres to be invented for a game. But their selection works surprisingly well. For me, a lover of black metal and electronic music, this hits incredible close to home. But it's nowhere near the quality of GTA 5, which I'm not neutral about being a Flying Lotus fanboy.

    Customisation and RPGing

    This is a mixed bag. First I do support 100% their decision of going 1st person, but I do feel a 3rd person mode, even if Skyrim levels of clunky, would be great just to occasionally check on your character. I like to dress according to the mission, or moment, and sucks that there isn't a bigger visual feedback apart from menus and mirrors (and lots of photo mode). But there's an impressive amount of variety in clothing with a surprising render quality.

    Stats wise I appreciate what the game does. You are never locked out of a type of gameplay style, and it rewards you just by acting. And then specialisation offers a good depth. Nothing new really, but works. I went for a maxed “mage” build mixed with stealth as secondary and the way as it progressed made me change my approach style constantly, more so than I was expecting. Yet I still do some missions just shotguning people when I feel like. Reminds me a lot of Skyrim and that's great.

    If you just follow the path of least resistance you probably won't have much fun with it but if you allow yourself to be creative and seek the fun and the challenge there's plenty to enjoy here. Stupid analogy, but it's kinda like Mario Odyssey, if you content yourself with just getting the minimum moons you probably wont enjoy it but there's much more depth beyond that.


    I''m having a great time with this game, so far. But I can't recommend it to anyone. Still think CDPR should be ashamed of releasing it like this. It shows a lack of respect for their customers but honestly what disgusts me even more it's how it shows a greater lack of respect for their own developers. It's heartbreaking seeing the level of attention that almost everything in this game got to be completely ruined by poor management. Marketing pulling a Molyneux didn't help neither.

    This is an unfinished, unpolished game that requires a lot of good will as it stands. Every single thing I praised about it is blemished by bugs, glitches or just being unfinished. Or all at the same time. Everting AI related (traffic, pedestrians, enemies, police) needs work and it's in my opinion the biggest issue with this game. Hopefully it's their priority right now, though I imagine getting the game to be back on PS store is really where they are focusing right now.

    I also think it will be interesting to follow how it will evolve in the upcoming months. I imagine they'll include lots of "free" DLC that will basically be just missing features being integrated back in the game.



  • @phbz

    It's funny because I basically disagree with almost every single point of praise you've given the game, but at the same time, I still see the glimmers of goodness myself and I wish I too could enjoy the game as much as you and other people have enjoyed it so in the end I'm just happy you like it.

    I think I can see the subjectivity in a lot of the praises and criticisms of the game, but I have a really hard time getting on board with the level design, combat, skill progression holy trinity. I find levels are boxy, enemies are placed cluttered in spots while barely moving. My V-build has really high stealth and pistol crit damage I can basically just wiz through a ton of levels as a headshot sim. I'm pretty happy for it because up close and personal stealth just feels jank so I'd rather shoot them from afar.

    On top of that, I hear enemy audio coming from random places (like maybe I'm in a basement and they are 2 floors up and I somehow hear them). Sometimes they sound angry and on alert so I'm not sure if they know I'm here. They shouldn't know I'm here because I've been pure stealth, but they repeat the same 3-4 angry lines so I can never tell if they're on the hunt. Likewise, the game allows for camera hacking but doesn't display all the enemies if you go too far out of where V is so basically, the cameras are unreliable for enemy placement.

    You mentioned this game is being compared to everything which obviously isn't entirely fair, but I can't help myself in comparing it to other games that do things better. I think about combat-first games like MGS V, TLOU2, The Evil Within 2, and how well those games did level design, enemy AI, and dynamic open environment combat. Obviously CP77 can't be the master of everything but I just don't like how combat and the mission areas feel.

    A closer point of comparison for me would be The Outer Worlds which doesn't over complicate their missions. The combat mission scenarios are in the open world or small areas like houses and the gunplay or melee feels buttery smooth so it compensates for it's lack of deep level design. Whereas CP77 goes into custom mission levels which don't feel great (i.e. infiltrating the compound with PanAm or confronting Woodman in the club then sudden guards appear in narrow hallways for no reason).

    Total bug but still not fixed for me is my tech pistol sometimes won't fire. Gets me killed so often when I switch from stealth to loud but my gun won't fire. Apparently it's a bug but it hasn't been patched as of when I played a week ago.



  • @dipset Some of the complaints you list are due to the unfinished nature of the game. There's plenty of stuff that seems like it's one step short from being ready for release, or that it was rushed to meet release. I can certainly see how this alone can kill any enthusiasm for the game.

    On the other hand those bite size fixer jobs are the better part of this game where IMO level design shines. And that's something I've been noticing is that most people I come across that are enjoying this game as much as I am, are the ones spending 80/100/140 hours in the game mostly doing side content.

    But its design philosophy is not of a "combat-first game", as you put it. This is really a immersive sim at its core. Traditionally direct combat is the least enjoyable way to play them and stealth isn't this very reactive thing, more of a situational puzzle that you have to solve. I do recommend to push the difficulty to the max just to raise the stakes, more so as you become overpowered. It's true that the game has an identity crisis in some scripted mission that push you to combat, but I still think the combat here surpasses genre standards. And can be enjoyable, specially when you can be downed in 2 or 3 shots.

    As someone who loves the infiltration/extraction side of Deus Ex this game is kind of a dream come true as it offers dozens upon dozens of that at really high quality.

    Anyway, just my opinion. I completely can understand people not enjoying this game. I'm even surprised how Steam as a 79% rating for a game in such a poor state. But in a way it illustrates how strong the core is regardless. It's one of the games I'm enjoying most this year (well last year) but as a reviewer, right now, I would give it a 6/10.


    Just a side comment for the forum in general. In two EzA podcasts I saw people recommending to save your progression points and use them as you "need" them. That's the absolute worst way of playing an immersive sim. That will just lead you through the path of least resistance and you might be deviating from the build you really want. The game is well designed enough to offer you alternative routes not dependent on having strength or technical skill to open a door. For sure invest in those abilities as they are useful, but do focus on what you really want in the long run rather then what's convenient in that second.



  • Just finished the game with what I'm positive must be one of the worst endings.

    Not only do I agree with the initial reviews that had the game on the 90s, this game is nothing short of brilliant and absolutely worth the wait, and it simply has me incredibly excited of knowing that I left a ton of content undone, and similar to TW3 it was the kinda thing that just grew on me and had me more and more invested as I kept playing.

    This is an all time great and a game that will never fade away.



  • Just reading these tweets from Schreier and man what a freaking mess it was development of this game!

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/1350322423170797568


    This part pissed me of the most(the part about it was third-person for 2 years):

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/1350329528019791872

    GODDAMN IT!!!

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  • I feel like in my TV production world I hear people say things like “well when I worked on this show, we only needed 3 pose artists, so why does this show need 7?” and I can’t help but get annoyed because not all shows are made equal, they don’t all have the same budgets, talent, etc.

    So it’s hard enough to schedule in an industry that is very pipeline driven with tried and true formulas for getting it done. I can’t even begin to imagine how to build a pipeline for a game with this much stuff going on. And obviously management doesn’t want to sit and wait to test out different options of production when they can just start DOING and adapt later.

    Basically, I’m not surprised. Not sure what the fix for these massive games having development woes other than get less ambitious, don’t announce a release date and be open to stopping and reassessing problems as you go along.

    Easier said than done. And what incentive do they have to change things? The game sold well and somehow reviewed well too.



  • Specifically for Cyberpunk they definitely needed more time.

    But much of what I've been reading seems like pretty common for game development. Software is modular in nature, things are indeed stitched together. And features are left out all the the time. We just don't know about it.

    At this point is beating a dead horse. The problems are obvious since release day, this adds nothing. It would be praise worthy if this report had been published before release.



  • @phbz said in Cyberpunk 2077 (XBO/PS4/PC):

    But much of what I've been reading seems like pretty common for game development. Software is modular in nature, things are indeed stitched together. And features are left out all the the time. We just don't know about it.

    Main problem is, other games' development cycles don't effect the final product this much most of the time so they must be managing those situations better.



  • @scotty Game was too ambitious for their time frame. Bad project management, just that. And some naivety with the PR. There's no denying that. No one is saying all went great (not me at least).

    It's just making me uncomfortable what's being pointed out as unique when most of it is quite normal. Just like trying to paint the idea of a vertical slice demo at E3 2 years prior to release as a sign something was wrong.



  • @phbz

    Okay, got your point mostly in the second sentence.



  • @phbz

    I actually think the takeaway the writer was putting out there is that this isn’t unique to Cyberpunk. This happens all over the industry and it’s kinda similar to his other reports. Sort of like a loose “why even make games” sentiment hidden somewhere in there.



  • Girlfriend reviews has two cool videos on Cyberpunk.

    Youtube Video

    Youtube Video



  • @phbz yep I agree a lot with this, I personally love the game and think the end product is phenomenal, but there's certainly a ton of issues with the process, that from my experience, is not just game related but too often in sw development in general, to a large degree here that certainly impacted the end product, and something that does need be improved at large and certainly within CDPR, but it unnerves me somewhat the level of persecussion things seem to be at, which admittedly may be a bit of a defensive stance from my side given I do love the game.

    One thing that struck me as very odd in those tweets is that it mentioned apparently planned mechanics in 2016, such as a third person view, wallrunning, flying cars, which seem like odd complaints to me, since that was very close to the development, at those were features that they had announced long ago would not be present, and it seems perfectly understandable to me that throught development features like that may be cut as technical and design challenges come up.





  • i finished the game last night. I've barely touched the side-gigs. Think I've maybe done like 10 or so. I didn't really understand how to make money so I didn't really buy much. I focused a lot on trying to build up my Crafting so I could craft all my Legendary Iconics. My favourite gun ended up being the one you get from the penthouse at the end of act 1. Having a silencer on it was so nice.

    Honestly, I fell pretty much right where Bens review is. The highs are so very high. There are some incredible set-pieces and the writing team has outdone themselves on creating compelling characters.

    But I also find the combat to be rather dull at times.

    And the bugs are so pervasive it's frustrating. Falling through the world, audio glitching out ruining dramatic highpoints, enemies glitching out and not reacting to you for an entire area.

    I'm probably going to jump back in over the weekend just so I can play through one of the other endings, as the one I got was nice but wasn't particularly satisfying.

    So yeah, I think Bens review is on the money. It's a strong 7, verging on an 8 if they can sort the game out technically.

    Edit:

    I forgot to mention that I think when CDPR say that it's the next generation open world, I sort of believe them. In terms of questing and density and the way the world is built, it's really damn cool. But as time has gone on, I can't help but find the world very flat. Anyone who isn't quest related has almost no dialogue, and when you compare that to something like Skyrim, Skyrim's population feels more real as a result. As Ben said, its comically abrupt.

    It's the world that will have me recommending the game to people in the next few months, once I have word that the bugs have been worked on and fixed a lot.



  • Cyberpunk has another update.



  • Anyone play this lately? I'm tempted to buy again if it's been somewhat improved.



  • @paulmci27 Don't get it yet then. Last months update did very little to change things, basically set the base for future changes and this month's hasn't dropped yet.



  • @paulmci27

    I main'd pistols and stealth. Sometimes my pistols don't shoot, even after updates.

    So I wouldn't recommend it yet and especially if you don't have RTX 20 or 30 series cause the graphics just look PS3-ish, even on High.