Cyberpunk 2077 finally released this week at the tail end of an extensive marketing campaign that has been building the hype behind this game for over two years.
It was originally intended to be released back in April of this year, but developer CD Projekt Red delayed it on three separate occasions. They stated that the game needed more time in development until it was ready for the market.
And although there was significant outcry from fans, most people were willing to endure the delays so that they could eventually get their hands on the best possible product.
So everyone waited patiently for the final release date of December 10th. And what they got instead of the phenomenal product they were promised, was one that had the makings of greatness, but was pushed out before it achieved that state.
Now I won’t mince words here, Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t have to be released this year. The game is clearly in an unfinished state, and by my guess, required at least another year in the oven. What we have before us right now cannot be called a complete game, it’s an early access product.
If you happen to have a powerful PC and you’re willing to endure a great many bugs and glitches, you can play though the entirety of Cyberpunk 2077 at this point. And maybe you’ll even love the entire experience, but that’s a big maybe.
The game is a broken mess right now, with a number of issues that are preventing players from even progressing though the main narrative. Characters falling off the map, glitched NPCs preventing quests from moving forward and even hard crashes are some of the problems that are plaguing the game.
To top it all off, not only are last-gen console players experiencing all of these issues, they also have to contend with a version of the game that is vastly inferior to its PC counterpart in terms of both visuals and performance. It’s embarrassing how badly this game runs on the base Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and this is by no means the fault of the hardware.
Currently, the game is poorly optimized for last-gen and players are experiencing significant pop-in issues. It’s taking upwards of fifteen seconds to load in the textures on buildings, characters and vehicles.
The game is also not able to maintain a consistent 30 FPS, with performance dropping to below 15 FPS fairly regularly.
But there are also players who are reporting that their time with Cyberpunk 2077 on these consoles has been relatively smooth and bug-free, and they aren’t encountering problems all that regularly. This proves that the game is actually capable of running well on last-gen.
But these experiences are the exception rather than the rule.
For reference, Red Dead Redemption 2 is now a two year old game that runs beautifully on the base Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. The visuals are incredible at 1080p, the lighting is breathtaking and the game rarely drops below 30 FPS even during the most intensive moments.
During my two playthroughs of the game, with a combined play time of over a 140 hours, I barely noticed anything even resembling a glitched NPC or texture pop-in, let alone a hard crash.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a case study on how to properly optimize a game for consoles and anything below that standard is unacceptable.
An argument could be made that the reason Red Dead Redemption 2 works so well on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, is that back in 2018 Rockstar Games only had to develop their game for two platforms. Meanwhile, CD Projekt Red have been actively developing theirs for the two last-gen consoles, PC, Stadia and the upcoming next-gen console versions that will be available next year.
And if this is in fact the cause for why Cyberpunk 2077 is performing so poorly, then it’s yet another reason for why this game needed to be delayed again.
We all understand that CD Projekt Red is no longer a small studio, but a massive publicly traded video game company that has shareholders who were probably pushing to launch the game as soon as possible.
But now that this terrible release has not only caused the company’s stock price to drop by around 30%, as well as lose them a lot of goodwill from the fans, maybe this move wasn’t the best idea in hindsight.
CD Projekt Red is also at fault here for hyping Cyberpunk 2077 to a level that it could never hope to possibly match. The many different promos, ads, trailers and gameplay demos were painting this picture of a game that would somehow usher in a new age of worldbuilding and open world exploration.
The truth is that Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t achieve either of these things. It’s a great game that pays an incredible amount of attention to even the most minute details to create maybe the most immersive city I have ever seen in a game, but it’s not exactly revolutionary.
People also had a lot of expectations about how this game was actually going to play. One group of fans incorrectly expected something similar to an action packed Grand Theft Auto experience, while others were anticipating a highly versatile role-playing game. The latter of these two is how the game was actually described to fans by the developers themselves.
In reality, Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t fit into either of these genres perfectly. It’s a hybrid that focuses primarily on first-person shooting, with a slight emphasis on RPG mechanics that don’t really impact the gameplay in any dramatic way.
They feel unnecessary for the most part and that’s not what we were led to believe would be the case in the game.
Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to be an RPG first and foremost, but what we have in front of us now is almost a looter shooter with roleplaying influences and I can’t help but feel disappointed.
We all let our expectations get the better of us, just like we seem to do every couple of years. And like always, we were burned.
A positive here is that we know that there’s greatness buried beneath the surface of Cyberpunk 2077, it simply hasn’t risen to the top yet. The game requires a lot of work and CD Projekt Red is working on patches and hotfixes for the game on all platforms as we speak.
But as misled as we all feel right now, I’m confident that in around five to six months from now, Cyberpunk 2077 will be an incredible game.
It’s core design and simple RPG systems will probably never change, but multiple other factors like the AI and skills can be tweaked further and the bugs will eventually be patched out.
This game will get much better as we move forward, but I wish that I hadn’t played it at this point in time.