Games: Exploring the Relaunched World of Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 had one of the most disrupted and troublesome launches I’ve ever seen back in December 2020, although this was mostly due to the version launched on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 base models (the One X and PS4 Pro experience was a little better), it’s fair to say that for such an anticipated release, fans had many reasons to be upset.

The framerate was a major issue on the ageing consoles and could drop as low as 10fps from its target of 30fps, and on the Xbox One, the resolution could drop below 720p depending on what happening in the game. Not only this, there were times were loading textures was so slow, that NPC would be a literal blurry mess with no details in their facial animation.

It’s also easy to forget that the game was also subject to a few delays from its original release date of the 16th of April 2020. For the game to launch with so many issues was unbelievable and a lot of the good grace CD Project has from their previous game The Witcher 3 might be lost to a large number of fans.

In February 2022 after numerous patches and changes, the game had a bit of a soft relaunch as per version 1.5 of the game, this brought with it native PS5 and Xbox Series versions of the game and it seems that at least here and on PC the game is worth a revisit. I picked the game up in a sale during 2021 and I’ve held off playing until now so I can approach it fresh.

Take note that the troublesome last-gen versions of the game have been patched to make the game run a bit better but they are not without issues, even now well over a year after launch. Although I’ve not been able to experience these first-hand, if you want to experience Cyberpunk 2077, I’d recommend doing it on a PC or the newer consoles.

My first steps into Night City were kind of breathtaking, very few games can compare to Cyberpunk in terms of visuals. The neon-lit streets are beautiful and CD Project Red once again is showing off in terms of its world-building ability. Once I was in the game, I was quickly invested in the story of the main character V and his struggles by the end of the intro, which sets the tone for what’s ahead.

As a side note, I’ve struggled to get into CD Project Red’s last big release The Witcher 3. I’ve tried now on 4 separate occasions and never lasted longer than a couple of hours. That’s not to say that I can’t appreciate why so many players love the game. But with Cyberpunk 2077, it’s dragged me in really early on and I always look forward to getting back to the game.

One thing that does confuse me is the player creator system. I’ve no idea why it’s as deep as it is for a game that mostly plays out in 1st person. This would make way more sense for a 3rd person game, where you can see the character models most of the time.

At the start of the game, you’ll get a few different choices that’ll allow you to choose a life path for your own version of V, these are Nomad, Streetkid and Corpo. This will change your history and starting point in the city and it’ll continue to affect your journey through the story as you progress. No matter what your choice is, you quickly encounter Jackie Welles, who’ll be your buddy going forward.

I choose Nomad and had to fix up my car and get Jackie and some illegal goods past the border, this quickly escalates and get a bit crazy. From my understanding, the different choices will change the setup of the story before coming back round to the rest of the game’s introduction. After this, it’ll open up a few different dialogue options but it might not be enough to merit a second playthrough, this be up to players to decide for themselves.

Once the intro is complete, you are free to explore the amazing world of Night City at will and you’ll get contacted via your4 phone with optional side missions. You’ll never be wanting for more stuff to do and taking on these missions will give you more incite to the story and city, which is in itself a major part of the story. Take your time and explore, as this is what makes Cyberpunk 2077 special. The game doesn’t really hold your hand and from this point, you are free to explore and learn how to build your character through decisions taken on how to approach each mission in your own way.

This also means that your choices in both dialogue and approach to missions can change later story events or playstyles. Although I’ve not been able to play the game twice to experience it first-hand, some reviewers have noted this can change things quite a lot.

Although it looks like a 1st person shooter, it’s very much an RPG style title. The abilities that can be unlocked and upgraded can add a good level of personalization to how you want to play, you could build stealth and try and sneak thru through situations or build an all-out killer and go in guns blazing to every situation. It’s quite deep and you’ll also level perks just from using them in-game.

You’ll collect loads of weapons and items as you progress and as the game gets further through the better weapons and stats made me enjoy the combat more. When you first start some enemies can feel a little bullet spongy. Some of the weapons you’ll collect during missions are outstanding and it’s nice that you can upgrade your favourites to keep them relevant while you progress.

“Your beautiful”

Once you progress far enough in the story you’ll get to meet Johnny Silverhand played by none other than Keanu Reeves. It’s been noted that the actor, enjoyed his time working on the game so much, that he asked for the Silverhand to have a bigger part in the game. This led to a change in the original story for the game and some big rewrites. Although I like his character, I’d argue it’s the same as normal for a character by Reeves with a little more anger thrown into the mix.

The game can be blasted thru in a relatively short time of about 22 to 23 hours when playing on lower difficulties and avoiding the side quests, but as with most RPG games taking in the optional extras could take the game for anywhere between 60 hours up to 100 hours for the completionists out there.

In terms of performance, my RTX 3070 has been good enough to get the game running at mostly over 60fps at 3440×1440 ultrawide resolution at mostly high settings and a little bit of Ray Tracing thrown into the mix, but only with DLSS enabled. DLSS looks great here, with only Ultra Performance really causing a notable difference in terms of the visual resolution. If you have older hardware you might need to dial in your settings a bit to get smooth and steady performance.

Overall I’m really impressed, and I’d recommend anyone with a modern GPU or one of the newest generation of consoles to try the game out. I’ll take my time and keep playing the game over the next few months and I’ll be interesting to see what might be added to the game via DLC in 2022 or maybe even 2023. The Witcher 3’s DLC was highly regarded and also huge.

It’s a beautiful game and it’s just a shame that a large number of the player base had such a bad experience at the game’s launch. Hopefully CD Project Red avoids issues like this going forward as they are one of the best developers in the world when it comes to both story and world-building. Now is definitely the right time for players to experience Night City in all its glory.

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