Cyberpunk 2077

Review: Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077’s abysmal launch hasn’t been forgotten by any means and it is good to see CD Projekt attempt to right the ship on what was a catastrophic event for the studio. I was let down by the game when it launched in December 2020. So much so, I requested a refund from Sony and refused to touch the game until it was in a better state, something I would want to play and experience.

It seems that time has some as last week, Cyberpunk 2077 released patch 1.5, the massive update that added a wealth of changes and added current-gen versions for those who waited. Was it worth the wait? In some respects, yes, I think it was but I’m still bitter some of the mechanics shown were never implemented.

I don’t expect the game to change drastically now that we’ve gotten the game on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles. And with GPU prices and availability being a bit better than it was in 2021, the choice to play on PC is much more welcoming to players. If you’ve already played the game and wanted to revisit Night City, then I think you’ll find it’s the same game with better mechanics and tweaked systems being the only changes, it could be worth checking out.

Welcome (back) to Night City

I skipped the initial release because the game launched in such a sorry state that I refused to even accept the launch. I know colleagues of mine who enjoyed the game for what it was, but we were promised a game that never came to be. So, I’m reflecting a year and some change later on what I wanted from Cyberpunk 2077 and what we actually got this month. For all intents and purposes, the game is lacking but it is playable now and for the most part, it’s stable if not fun at times.

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When the developer teased us with a gameplay demo indicating wall-running was an option and how the melee would be implemented was when I was ecstatic — so it’s a shame that we never really got to see those mechanics. Paired with the studio’s timing and release of patch 1.5, I would have been okay with seeing this patch launch in a few months given how many games are launching in February and how many of those games will try to steal your free time.

Have I enjoyed my time with Cyberpunk 2077 after the latest patch? I think so, yes. Sure, the gameplay mechanics may not have drastically changed but the enemy and NPC AI have been improved and now function as best as you would expect given the circumstances. I’m not saying that they are nearly as interesting as the NPCs in Elden Ring or even Horizon Forbidden West but they do enough to sell the fantasy of living in this futuristic megacity setting.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a Fixer-Upper

Speaking of the megacity, players are now able to purchase apartments across the city. You pay a fee and then you can switch your living quarters to one of several locations on the map. Icon placement and the ability to differentiate what each icon means have been improved too, I’m told. Seeing a comparison of how things looked before the patch and what things look like post-patch is a big change, but one for the better.

Oh, and you can now change your appearance within your apartment. I’m told players were not able to change how they looked after creating their character. CD Projekt has addressed this by adding mirrors you can use in your apartment to address this and now with more options for those who like to fiddle with how they look.

Better graphics, better AI, better driving controls

I’m only going off what I’ve experienced so far but the driving feels good in Cyberpunk 2077. It might not be an elevated experience but it serves its purpose. I read the reviews in December 2020 and just like you, I was disappointed to hear driving around Night City was abysmal. Crowds and traffic reacted in such an unrealistic way that it was hard to enjoy driving. Furthermore, the city itself felt lifeless. I could see that from the multitude of videos I looked through on YouTube across console and PC. With Patch 1.5, all of these qualms are addressed.

Another big issue that the developers addressed is the perks players will unlock. Some older perks have been completely scuttled off the menu while others have been buffed or nerfed. Speaking to colleagues and friends who played the game at launch, I learned how mismatched the perks were to the gameplay. Useless perks, as they came to be known, have been replaced or upgraded to fit the narrative and serve a purpose. Gone are Commando, a perk that lets you go undetected underwater, or Stronger Together, a perk that lets the player deal additional damage when holding a corpse. Stealth is now Ninjutsu and offers a better output for those who want to be unseen.

Romances get some under the hood retooling and even new text chains and even lewd photos from your love interest. I’m not too fond of this mechanic in most games these days but for those who do enjoy it.

DualSense implementation is what draws me to any new title and it seems like that’s been added with some success. There are several distinct rumbles when driving that make it feel immersive. Guns recoil and react when in combat and the adaptive triggers do wonders to really sell the vision of Night City.

Verdict

Cyberpunk 2077’s next-gen patch is the game we should have gotten at launch but it’s insane that it took almost two years to deliver that vision. That said, there’s a good game here but it’s launching in a window where better games are readily available and worth your time. Had CD Projekt launched this in a few months, I reckon I’d say pick this over anything else but in February where two of the biggest games of the year are already out on store shelves, Cyberpunk 2077 can wait. Sure, the main campaign is fun and worth experiencing, the combat is good, and the characters are realized but it’s also one of the busiest months in a long time.