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Cyberpunk 2077 - Review in Progress
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:59am 08/12/20 | Comments
Our first hours in Night City as we begin to form a neon-lit picture of the breadth and scope of Cyberpunk 2077.

Being overwhelmed can have a negative connotation when viewed purely from the perspective of, well, digital stuff. And that is a large world to explore; an expansive story to experience; a map littered with characters and activities and quests and things to do. Icons everywhere -- where being pulled in so many directions, whilst still trying to figure out mechanics, means that even after a dozen or so hours there’s a sense that you’re still in ‘Intro Mode’.

That moment -- the one alluded to above -- is how you begin your Cyberpunk 2077 adventure. And the ensuing hours thereafter, well, they’re indeed overwhelming (though not for the reasons mentioned above). Instead it's a feeling akin to visiting a new sprawling city for the first time. Where your eyes and brain activate their own organic form of CyberWare™ in order to process the sights, sounds, signage, vehicles, people and fashion. The bustle. Night City is quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with detail and a sense of scale that is truly awe-inspiring.

A sensory feast of towering buildings, people, animated billboards, vehicles, shops, back alleys, and more. The auditory mind isn’t entirely equipped, honestly, in our modern mindset to understand it. But, damn it’s rad. Night City and its districts present a futuristic megalopolis that stands as one of the greatest achievements in videogame history -- where art, interactivity and technology come together in such a way as to make the impossible, well, possible. The other ingredient is history, lore and a world that drips in detail -- often literally. With steam and puddles and rain pouring over business signs and branding, and characters that have a lifetime of story to impart.

It's a feeling akin to visiting a new sprawling city for the first time. Where your eyes and brain activate their own organic form of CyberWare™ in order to process the sights, sounds, signage, vehicles, people and fashion. The bustle.

This is, of course, bolstered by cutting-edge technology, and on a high-end rig powered by NVIDIA’s latest GeForce 30 series of graphics cards; real-time ray-tracing, and DLSS work together to add a dose of proper next-gen to immersion thanks to cinematic lighting on par with, well, cinema. That is, the realisation of a vision beyond what we’ve seen so far on the still brand-new and impressive PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. With the right hardware Cyberpunk 2077 is basically next next-gen.

This is not to say these impressions of Night City (or this review) is limited to the ‘RTX On’ PC version, but with an RTX 3080 or even RTX 3070 -- the presentation goes from a stunning open-world unlike any other to feeling like you’re there, in an insanely detailed vision of the future. In other words we haven’t been playing Cyberpunk 2077 this past week as much as we’ve been living in Night City.

Built using developer CD Projekt RED’s own Red Engine, the Night City we get to see and explore is one of those rare experiences where it feels like you’re witnessing some of the most evocative concept art come to life. Based on the pen-and-paper roleplaying game from the 1980s, created by Mike Pondsmith, the art direction is what you might call “retro-cool”; hardware and structures that feel lived-in; neon and chunky, like. Cyberpunk’s version of what we know of as the internet captures this spirit by presenting pages on a lo-fi browser but on the sort of transparent display you might envision existing decades from now.

From there braindancing involves experiencing memories and experiences by jacking them into your brain -- the future’s number one form of entertainment. Outside of overtly sexual legal dramas.

Night City is such that it can change the way you play and move about. For instance, heading to a meeting across town might mean walking that kilometre or so, while stopping at each intersection only to cross when it’s safe, casually taking note of all those passing by, and momentarily basking in the lights and sounds emanating from street vendors, hotels, and storefronts. In a sense, Cyberpunk 2077 can quite easily turn you into a digital tourist, even though protagonist V is anything but.

The Night City we get to see and explore is one of those rare experiences where it feels like you’re witnessing some of the most evocative concept art come to life.

A hustler born and raised on the streets (as per the StreetKid life path), living in the diverse and lived-in Watson and looking to make it big, V is both defined and something of a blank canvas. Especially when compared to Geralt, the star of developer CD Projekt RED’s last RPG outing -- The Witcher III. Played from a first-person perspective and being able to choose not only V’s look but eventual skill-set and behaviour plays into those initial moments of feeling like you’ve stepped off the interstate bus and into a new city.

Given time, of course you become V, and a citizen of the complex Night City, while knowing full well the importance of Breaching a target, using elemental damage, and even a skeletal upgrade to improve bone density and his or her jumping ability. A twisted vision of the future where capitalist ideals, techno-driven evolution and unchecked human nature results in beauty and violence in equal measure. Probably a lot more of the latter with the advent of augmentations that do nothing to help humanity’s capacity to keep up with change.

It’s understanding the world that informs the brisk and engaging combat, pure FPS skills don’t make sense here on the account of there being an augment that will boost speed and reaction times to turn V into a self-guided™ esports MVP. The fact that you can wield a rare pistol that features smart auto-tracking bullets that set people on fire feels almost superhero-like in nature. Or, more specifically, supervillain-like. Then there’s tech that lets you breach and cause someone’s augmentations to overheat and catch fire. You can also hack someone’s optics to switch them off, allowing V to pass unseen. No fire, but there’s probably a Ripperdoc in Night City that sells some sort of eye combustion tech.

Cyberpunk 2077’s combat is fast, but it still falls firmly into the realm of the RPG -- especially when played on the higher difficulty settings. There’s that traditional ‘holy moly these skill trees and CyberWare options are insane’ sense of overwhelming, but it's befitting of the world in which it’s set. Here the base stat of ‘Cool’ opens up stealth upgrades and the chance to land a critical hit. ‘Tech’ informs crafting and being able to bypass security doors without a fuss.

Cyberpunk 2077’s combat is fast, but it still falls firmly into the realm of the RPG -- especially when played on the higher difficulty settings.

The choices are as vast as they are detailed, yet Cyberpunk 2077 does that odd thing of keeping quite a bit of the experience inside menus and static screens. Not only in terms of inventory but also in buying clothes or food or sorting through nearby quests -- a disconnect that feels a step behind the intuitive hud-as-implant UI.

Choice across dialogue, the jobs and gigs you take, and the way in which you approach a task becomes more than a simple case of stealth or guns-blazing. Weapons play an important role, and Cyberpunk is very action-heavy, but it’s through a grasp of skills, abilities, CyberWare, and other tools that the true scope becomes apparent.

Night City is a place where corporations and gangs and authority figures exist in a volatile, ready-to-blow state, and the more time you spend within its towering confines and neon glow the more you begin to get a sense of this unflinching depiction. And the more you begin to see the Tyger Claws, the Animals, the Voodoo Boys, and others as their own little pockets of culture, hierarchy, style, behaviour, and power. Where you can become involved or simply use them all as a means to earn Eddies. So you can buy that sweet new ride that looks like something cooked up in the mind of an 80s cokehead.

Humanity’s darkest desires and love of all things born from greed can be found just about everywhere you look - though it’s never a case of shock for the, you know, shock value. Even discovering the world of illegal BD’s (Braindances), that is the creation and selling of disturbing memories you can experience, you can see how it got to this point. Just by observing the physical cracks in the walls, the not-so-hidden squalor and desperation found in the alley-ways, the gang-ridden streets where cops feel almost second-tier, it’s a world that is both cruel and one that hasn’t stopped even for a second. For decades.

And it’s this pace that ties into the overall narrative, which involves stakes both personal to V and the very soul and future of Night City. Without going into specifics, CD Projekt Red takes the wonderfully rich character-driven moments from The Witcher and applies that to the location as much as it does to the almost endless string of wonderfully realised faces (and overly augmented faces) you meet.

Humanity’s darkest desires and love of all things born from greed can be found just about everywhere you look - though it’s never a case of shock for the, you know, shock value.

It was this side of The Witcher that led to the eventual creation of the dramatic Netflix series being associated more so with the games than the novels on which they were based. A great story, or multiple, in the stunning location of Night City is the other half of the overall picture. And in peppering the streets with surprise and discovery CDPR pushes Cyberpunk 2077 into the realm of all-time greats. A world in which you want to spend dozens of hours or however long it takes for V’s journey to reach some sort of end. But, in a way that keeps your attention firmly away from the clock or arbitrary checklist counting off busywork as a means to add breadth.

Cyberpunk 2077 is an experience that reminds us that chatter about playtime, the number of quests, and other measures of density or length become meaningless when an open-world RPG lives up to its promise. And no matter the amount of time spent, simply existing is reason enough to visit. Much like the evocative setting of Night City, where the promise of greatness is another gig or upgrade away, we’ve still got many more hours to put before we’re ready to hit those heights.

This review in progress will become our full verdict, with additional notes, in the coming weeks.
Read more about Cyberpunk 2077 on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!

Latest Comments
Posted 05:31am 08/12/20
Preloads are up.
Posted 12:52pm 08/12/20
A note on performance and the review build.

In its review state, which is without the large day one patch, Cyberpunk 2077 is, well, buggy. Full of glitches and quirks and characters doing the sort of strange things that could very easily become memes. To the point where it takes you out of the game, regularly. With Night City being as impressive and incredible as it is it's hard to see how a single patch will make Cyberpunk an issue-free experience. Is it still brilliant? Yes. And no doubt fixing issues and squashing bugs and other little bits will see that side of the experience improve over time. Which is a good thing because I'm already thinking about a second playthrough.

As for performance on PC it's solid, though you need a monster rig to play with ray-tracing effects and things on Ultra at 1440p or 4K. The latter is basically exclusive to the RTX 3090 where the frame-rate with DLSS sits at around 60 - with regular but not major dips. With a G-Sync compatible display it's smooth. Now turn ray-tracing off and it scales remarkably well but the RTX On experience as per the review truly feels next-gen -- like something that shouldn't be possible on today's hardware.
Posted 03:20pm 08/12/20
i've been playing AC Valhalla for the last few weeks. a change in bugs will be refreshing.
Posted 03:46pm 08/12/20
The latter is basically exclusive to the RTX 3090
I'll be running ultrawide but yeah, I am ready.

LIke I've already said, what I want is to feel like I did playing Deus Ex for the first time. The litany of bugs and astronomical system requirements may actually help me out with that :D
Posted 04:26pm 08/12/20
I think im going to wait abit for a few patches. They probably arent happy with releasing it now but Christmas is coming and they probably didn't want to delay it yet again.
Posted 12:00pm 09/12/20
What is the CTD situation like? I can handle glitchiness but CTDs do my f*****g nut.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 01:29pm 09/12/20
Honestly, we'll know more after the day one patch which we expect to be significant
Posted 09:33am 10/12/20
When does this drop? I am keen to see the feedback. Haven't seen so many people excited about a game for a long time.
Posted 09:40am 10/12/20
it's already playable on console. PC will be launching in 1 hour 20.
Posted 10:05am 10/12/20
just reading that game is causing seizures in susceptible people
Posted 12:20pm 11/12/20
i have got it installed....
Posted 12:36pm 11/12/20
play play play. It's good.
Posted 01:33pm 11/12/20
8 hours in and it's not the buggy mess i was led to believe.
Posted 08:52am 12/12/20

First big patch dropped: https://www.cyberpunk.net/en/news/37043/hotfix-1-04 - mostly bug fixes

Posted 02:53pm 12/12/20
lol just got the title screen 15 hours into the game.
Posted 03:30pm 12/12/20
Ooooo there's loot. I love that!
Posted 06:44pm 12/12/20
sounds like everyone should avoid the ps4 version at all costs

im happy to wait for ps5 version to dorp
Posted 09:03pm 12/12/20
Yeah the PS4 version is an absolute mess.
Posted 08:56pm 15/12/20
finished the main story line, only doing a handful of side-gigs throughout

ran into several glitches and crashes along the way on the xbox one x version

as for storyline and character development it’s one of the most complete and even OTT efforts since about Half Life 2 that has grabbed me. the attention to detail in the cyber styling is everywhere throughout Night City and beyond. if you’re wondering what to expect, basically it’s like GTA themed and paced in a similar way to the Scarlett Johansen version of Ghost in the Shell or maybe elements of Bladerunner 2049 too.

I am interested to go back into my saves and see how the ending would have played out with Arasaka corporation if I hadn’t chosen to return to Earth. That’s not much of a spoiler so don’t worry.
Posted 09:17pm 15/12/20
this game is awesome. very few bugs at all. never gets boring. i am not very advanced i like to do the side missions.
Posted 10:04pm 15/12/20
The reviews are all over the place for this game. Some are claiming it is the best thing ever, while others are claiming it is a turd worth no time at all. Even more hilarious is seeing how inept some reviews are that they criticise the game in their write up but the final score is something like 9/10, which obviously doesn't line up effectively with the narrative hype surrounding the game. Even OpenCritic has had to create a label for the first time ever describing that the game is clearly not what it should be, and for potential buyers to be aware that the base game on PS4/XBONE is just not functional.
Posted 08:39am 16/12/20
I know I would have been champing at the bit to play this 20 years ago on release day, but now it just seems weird that people don't wait a month or so for the launch day bugs to get ironed out before they commit to a single player game
Posted 05:42pm 16/12/20
I guess I felt as though I had waited eight months due to the April to December delay. I don't really feel affected by the bugs though. It runs great on a high end system, doesn't CTD and what bugs do exist are easily ignorable.
Posted 02:22pm 18/12/20

I guess I felt as though I had waited eight months due to the April to December delay. I don't really feel affected by the bugs though. It runs great on a high end system, doesn't CTD and what bugs do exist are easily ignorable.

I think it’s just crazy how all over the place the game is on a professional review standard but also as a company moral value with their clearly transphobic ways. I mean, even ignoring what some would argue is just SJW nonsense (it’s not), CD has purposefully misled customers through use of dirty tactic review meddling. From only providing PC copies to outlets, - and potentially only those with RTX 30’s to highlight how good the game is - to forcing reviewers to use stock footage in order to control review narrative.

There is a ton of shady s*** going on with CD and this game, which I hope can be documented clearly and with concise effort. So many review sites have been caught complicit in this, and I hope AusGamers isn’t one of them.


Posted 10:14am 18/12/20
I've been enjoying the game. I wanted the game to be released and I am happy with it. Could be better but it's better than other games I have played with bugs on launch. I think that some people wanted and expected perfection regardless.

In hind sight, it could have used another 3-6 months of polish but the wait would have annoyed the s*** out of me. I think it's best not to show a release date unless your certain you can deliver.

It's not too suprising that CDPR is not the angel that people have made it out to be. People have given them a lot of credit with the Witcher 3 but they have lost some of that creditbility now.

I don't think that the PS4 and Xbone version should have even been made. They would have had the longest dev time along with the PC version but I guess they just have not scaled down and optimised enough for for the old consoles.
Posted 12:43pm 19/12/20
What is the replayability looking like? Wondering if people will be able to go back to it in 3-4 months after it's had a huge round of updates when it might be a totally different game.
Posted 01:20pm 19/12/20
There is no new game + at the moment but that was patched into Witcher 3 post-launch so we may see it at a later date.

Having a look through the skill trees I reckon there's potential for multiple playthroughs. Hard to know how branching the story is at this point but there have been points where things could easily go different ways narratively and it'll be interesting to see if they are covered with dialogue and different paths to take through the game. I'm 45hrs in and have just completed the first mission of Act One.

edit: hotfix 1.05 dropped today. Waiting for the PC version to go live before I start playing.
Posted 02:32pm 19/12/20
yeah narrative might rely on what you choose for your character at the beginning

after the first few encounters with trauma team and the corpos playing as a StreetKid, the choices seemed to be either progress or a brick-wall of impossibility. when I tried agreeing with Panam to get the revenge she wanted with some rival nomads it was just impossibly hard mob waves down in some cave hideout until I went back in the autosaves and chose to go the other way and talk her out of it.
Posted 02:47pm 19/12/20
I wish this stupid 1.05 patch would download so I can start playing.
Posted 10:36am 21/12/20
Main story reminded me of GTA 4. It was super depressing and not very fun.
I love f*****g around and doing all the side activities though.
Posted 01:26pm 21/12/20
apparently save files will become corrupt when they reach 8mb in size. mine is almost at 4mb and i dont think im even half way through the game.
Posted 08:40am 24/12/20
my save is under 5mb which is good. Apparently its best to sell things to that drop box instead of the actual vendors, because you cant buy things back and that helps stop bloat in the save file.

Not sure about anyone else but i love pistol and revolvers in the game. That is mainly what I use. The smart SMG is cool too and the Saratoga SMG is pretty good.
Posted 09:44am 24/12/20
There's a patch out on PC today which fixes the save game issue - allows for save files bigger than 8MB.
Posted 06:08pm 24/12/20
Note that corrupted save games are permaf***ed.
Posted 09:05pm 24/12/20
lol. the hotfix update for me is 54gb.
Posted 09:58pm 24/12/20
It was 500MBish for me.
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