In February, CD Projekt Red, the Polish developer behind “Cyberpunk 2077,” launched its fourth main update since the game’s launch in December 2020, a sweeping assortment of bug fixes and enhancements. I downloaded it. At the very least, I believed, if nothing had improved, I needed to drive by the crash and see the wreckage for myself. And the optimistic a part of me questioned whether or not CD Projekt Red may, in truth, proper the ship and go away “Cyberpunk 2077” higher than it as soon as was.
After 20 hours of playing, right here’s my evaluation: The major storyline in “Cyberpunk 2077” is an electrical joyride, however the game still isn’t the immersive, open-world journey CD Projekt Red as soon as promised. “Cyberpunk 2077” was alleged to be much more complicated than the studio’s earlier blockbuster “The Witcher 3″: a living, breathing world in which the player charted a unique storyline, the culmination of all their decisions within the game. I’m not confident “Cyberpunk 2077” will ever turn into that game, no mater what number of post-launch updates CD Projekt Red pushes out.
“Cyberpunk 2077″ suffers from fundamental gameplay issues that no amount of additional polish can fix. To me, the best open-world games consist of three key parts. The first element is a cliche, but it’s true: It’s never just about the destination in these games. It’s about the journey. Traveling from point A to point B should be part of the fun. Secondly, open-world games should give you reasons to stray from the main path. These games are about encouraging a player’s free will. And finally, they should ease players into the larger world, with mechanics introduced intentionally so the story can unfold around them.
The campaign in “Cyberpunk 2077” consists of a collection of narrative arcs. Smaller duties, similar to gathering information and chasing down leads, construct into climatic gunfights. With the music pumping and bullets flying, “Cyberpunk 2077” hits peak kind. The heist towards the starting of the game, particularly, caught with me. When you’re on the rails of the trip CD Projekt Red has constructed, it’s a blast. But none of those moments are deft expressions of open-world gameplay.
Night City, the metropolis CD Projekt Red constructed for “Cyberpunk 2077,” is beautiful. You’re driving by a cityscape that appears prefer it belongs in a “Blade Runner” sequel. But except you’re driving in a straight line, it could possibly really feel such as you’re skating on ice. The dealing with is throughout the place, and the automobile will usually seem as if it’s floating over the asphalt. I used to be shocked to study that the newest patch to “Cyberpunk 2077” was slated to improve the driving expertise. These enhancements weren’t obvious to me. In “Cyberpunk 2077,” driving solely ever feels like a way to get to the subsequent mission in the major story. I by no means took a joyride round city. I by no means drove for longer than was required.
There was additionally not a lot incentive to take action. You don’t actually come across duties to finish in “Cyberpunk 2077.” It’s not like “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” CD Projekt Red’s earlier game, the place you could, for instance, run into an outdated girl begging for assist on the aspect of the highway as you trip to the subsequent city. Unless you pull up the map to seek the advice of all the missions at present obtainable, you by no means actually change course to analyze some lead or act as a superb Samaritan to NPCs you meet in passing. There are random gunfights that pop up on the police scanner as you drive by, however I by no means felt the want to drag over and examine. I really by no means bumped into Night City’s police, regardless of crashing into loads of vehicles, dashing and infrequently (by chance) operating into pedestrians.
CD Projekt Red is aware of easy methods to seamlessly introduce gameplay mechanics and ease gamers right into a world; at the very least, they’ve executed it earlier than. In “The Witcher 3,” gamers are required to study alchemy to search out a few of the game’s earliest monsters. After you do, it’s as much as you to resolve whether or not you wish to proceed to make new potions.
“Cyberpunk 2077” contains a slew of mechanics that work equally in its world. In Night City, everybody exists in a grey space between humanity and pc processing energy. Your bones, muscle groups and organs are simply elements, and they are often swapped for modifications. Plus, there are software program packages that gamers can purchase to hack into their enemies. But after one optionally available tutorial, it took me hours of experimentation — and YouTube tutorials — to grasp the methods I may improve my character. The game doesn’t take the time to elucidate easy methods to make use of all these enhancements the means “The Witcher 3” did, and the world doesn’t really feel any richer for all its auxiliary mechanics.
I’m comfortable to report that there don’t look like almost as many bugs in “Cyberpunk 2077” as there was once, although I did have the game crash on me as soon as, and I needed to restart the game a couple of instances. Once, on a lark by an industrial park, I stumbled upon a cybernetic blood ritual (which sounds as dangerous because it appeared). Voices began to whisper in my head and my enamel started to chatter, as if my character stood steps away from demise’s door. Creepy? Yes. Immersive? Sure. Eventually, I solved the thriller and walked away from the gory spectacle — however the voices stayed with me lengthy after I used to be executed. They weren’t in my head, they had been really persevering with to play in my headset. I needed to reset the game to cease the audio from endlessly looping. Annoying? Yes. Immersive? No.
Some 15 or so hours into the game, I discovered myself sneaking as much as an plane provider that had simply crashed on the outskirts of Night City in a tumbleweed-laden area of the map known as the Badlands. A set of fight drones fashioned a fringe round the wreck. Carefully, I scooted behind boulders and bushes to attempt to maintain the factor of shock. Meanwhile, my “choomba” — what they name a good friend in “Cyberpunk 2077” — began screaming battle cries from behind me, moments after she had identified I wanted to strategy quietly. None of the enemies seen, as a result of they weren’t programmed to note.
Here’s one factor I seen, although. You have to take a seat lots in “Cyberpunk 2077.” It feels like you must sit down for each choomba or crime lord in Night City. As you sit, the game momentarily takes management of your viewpoint. And, everytime you’re pressured to look in the path that CD Projekt Red needs you to look, you discover a dirty, engrossing world. Every piece of cybernetic trash sits in its proper place. If you keep on the tracks to beat the game’s major storyline, you’ll doubtless take pleasure in the painstakingly orchestrated enjoyable.
But don’t count on an open-world price devoting numerous hours to exploring. Because when you look away, when you break freed from the body CD Projekt Red forces you into, the world of “Cyberpunk 2077” can really feel completely empty. City blocks whiz on by as you drive aimlessly by Night City. In these moments, with nothing to do, I wasn’t actually certain why I used to be still playing.