Cyberpunk 2077 is a game I waited nearly six years for, growing increasingly worried as more and more details emerged over time, until finally, we have this—an unplayable mess on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, a mediocre game on PC, and a dull, buggy shell of a game on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Cyberpunk 2077 is what I imagine a game made by infamous video game movie director Uwe Boll would be—full of bad editing, questionable scripting, visual glitches and sheer nonsense to the point where it is an unintentional parody of itself. Sort of like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.
Cyberpunk 2077 constantly asks the player–known as “V”—if they want a quiet life or to become a legend in a blaze of glory, yet you never have the option to choose between the two as almost none of the choices made in the game have any effect on what happens.
This “dialogue choices for the sake of choices” is exactly what the first Mass Effect game sought to banish from RPGs with its paragon dialogue and story system, back in 2007, and for the most part succeeded.
Cyberpunk’s dialogue choices have no effect on anything, as all the dialogue and scenes are written such that the outcome of each event is the same. There are only a few choices, as far as I can tell, near the very end of the game, which determine the ending with certain requisites, based on how many side-quests you have done.
The ending itself was a disappointment but I will get to that without any spoilers, as none are required to make a strong case for why Cyberpunk 2077 is an unintentional parody of a Cyberpunk video game.
Will you go out in a blaze of glory? Probably not
“Become a legend” might be the game’s tagline but the way the game defines what this exactly is, is laughable. Why would I want to be celebrated by drunken criminals in an in-game, criminal bar The Afterlife, that we were led to believe was just one of many locations in the game but turns out to be one of the few locations in the game?
Who wants that? It is like being celebrated by the scum in the cantina in Star Wars: Episode 4—pirates, murderers, thieves and bounty hunters in an obscure corner of the universe, while a bad song by artificial musicians plays in a loop in the background, slowly driving everyone mad.
You do not build an empire based on power, intimidation and secrets like the trailers led us to believe. The game is much more linear than Skyrim or Fallout 4, with considerably less things to do. As for actual size in terms of the number of “real” NPCs you interact with, it is not any bigger than a Mass Effect game. Considerably smaller than the second one, actually.
In fact, it is painfully obvious so much was planned but so little was implemented, you can imagine how scenes in the many trailers (which have now been revealed to be fake and not even gameplay footage) could not be implemented reasonably well enough in time and thus were watered down or simply cut up for the sake of getting the game out the door.
I greatly enjoy the Cyberpunk aesthetic and the genres of games that 2077 made an attempt at being, which makes the game even that much more so of a disappointment. The story and world are what saves the game from being utter garbage in my book, but the world itself is so obviously held together with tape and construction paper, and the story chopped up into an illogical, poorly paced and badly flowing jumble of monologues by countless rewrites and cut scenes, that it makes me really wish CD Projekt had waited another four years before releasing the game.
Even after all the numerous bugs are fixed, it was still badly made in a rush and cannot be really fixed without basically redoing much of the game. I honestly doubt they are going to fix the majority of story or gameplay problems that greatly detract from the experience.
Maybe Cyberpunk 2077 part 2 will be good, but I am not holding my breath for that any time before 2030.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not a good RPG
The game’s RPG elements were poorly implemented and nothing like we were led to believe in the fake trailers. My best hope for the game had been a kind of a cross between Deus Ex and Borderlands with some Watch Dogs style hacking tossed in. That is what we got, but with Fallout 4’s character stat and perks system on top of item crafting from a free-to-play MMORPG that ripped off Diablo.
It feels like they played a few Bethesda RPGs, some Borderlands, Diablo II (not even the Lord of Destruction version) and Watch Dogs, then delusionally thought “yeah we can blow these guys out of the water” but in fact, mashing up a bunch of disparate systems that were finely tuned to work in isolation, on top of a first-person shooter in a futuristic world with guns results in a potpourri of a game that does everything poorly.
If a Jack of All Trades is Master of None, Cyberpunk 2077 is the V of All Genres, Gameplay Tester of None.
Crafting in Cyberpunk 2077 is pointless and items haphazard
At no point did I ever craft or think of crafting any armor, weapons or items in game. New weapons and armor randomly drop from enemies you incapacitate or kill. Every thirty minutes to an hour, you will go into your inventory when you are overburdened and cannot run, equip the three best types of weapons you have, the best armor, and then toss the rest. Rinse and repeat.
It is a bunch of unnecessary, pointless work to craft items and feels like it was slapped into the game and never realized. The item dropping itself feels like it was inserted into the game near the end of development, as some items are inexplicably many times better than others depending on your level when they drop.
How does one simple, unenhanced knife from halfway through the game do as much damage as a machete from early in the game, and why does that knife do 1/3 the damage from what appears to be a “rare” version of the same knife (I call him Knifey) but that requires a higher level to equip? I could see if there were enhancements or special things about Knifey, but there are not any, and it is more than twice as powerful as enhanced Katanas at the end of the game.
The item system just was not thought out and balanced with the rest of the gameplay to make a coherent, enjoyable system with fair item upgrading. The randomness not only applies to the stats of items, but the appearance of the items themselves.
It is quite possible to end up rocking a bandana, sleeveless t-shirt, and inexplicably low-cut jean shorts with weird space cowboy boots as your best possible loadout, oh and Knifey. Precious Knifey
I will go more into Knifey later but the little guy I got from some teenagers on the beach I beat to death with a “non-lethal” baton was the icing on the cake that turned the entire experience that is Cyberpunk 2077 into parody.
Marcin Iwiński joins the pantheon of unintentional parody
Marcin Iwiński, Uwe Boll and Tommy Wiseau: the pantheon of director garbage we laugh at, while wiping away a tear.
There was another moment, about half-way through the game that was equally as ridiculous as Knifey that got me thinking maybe this is all just a sad, unintentional? parody like The Room.
I will avoid any real spoilers here so the jist of it is, to progress in the story, I needed to take down a flying vehicle with someone on it I had to kidnap. My partner in the mission and I made a plan to break into a power station type thing, overload the panels and then use the resulting EMP to disable the vehicle. Ok so far normal for a video game. What happened next was a scene from the trailers, except cut down terribly, poorly implemented and then nonsensical.
The car to car or drone shootouts in the trailers were poorly implemented and of a scripted length. It does not really matter if you hit the enemies until you pass certain checkpoints, then they just fall over dead. Arcade games in the 90s and 00s did the being chased and shooting back thing much, much better.
All the chase shootouts in the game feel like this—scripted and tested just well enough to pull some clips from for an advertisement for Cyberpunk 2077 but not actually fun to play and far below the expected quality in a $60 game that promoted itself based on them.
Anyway, so you get into the area, overload the panels, which almost cause you to black out because of all the electronics in your cyberpunk body, and drive off. I was not sure if there was a timer set or we timed it for the EMP to go off when the enemy plane flew by, but then my companion tosses me a detonator.
I was not expecting a detonator at any point in the explained plan, nor did we set any explosives. I push the button and it does not go off. I push it again and then it finally does. I sigh, wondering how they could have edited together the game this poorly.
Apparently, we set explosives in a cut scene at the top of the tower, as that is where the explosion comes from as we watch from a safe distance. But then it gets worse. The resulting EMP does not take down the enemy plane.
My companion suddenly grabs a giant rocket launcher from their vehicle and shoots down the enemy plane.
I laughed out loud at this point. Were the developers making a joke on how ridiculous it all was? I just spent all this time on nonsense for them to have a rocket launcher that was never mentioned until now? It is like something that would be a joke in an action comedy like The Expendables.
You would think breaking into and blowing up a power station would have repercussions. Instead, we had plenty of time to get the person from the plane we shot down, and there was no mention of any type of response from our terrorist act. No, like the rest of the game, there are no repercussions for anything.
Carjack someone? No one calls the police. Murder a bunch of people? Cops inexplicably teleport into rooms they would have had to pass you to access and start shooting. Hop in your car though and they will not chase, no matter how many of them you kill. It is all smoke and mirrors—the police system, the wanted stars system, etc.—copied from successful games but not actually implemented.
In fact, even the NPCs and cars driving around in the game are smoke and mirrors. The vast majority of NPCs in the game randomly shuffle around, pretending to be going somewhere but instead stay near you, crossing streets and walking aimlessly. In the Xbox One version of the game, if you are running, not only is the texture pop in bad, but the collision detection takes a few seconds to load in as well, meaning you can run through people.
How did Cyberpunk 2077 turn out a parody of itself?
The game developers must have been like the cast and crew of The Room, but instead of watching Tommy Wiseau try to deliver the perfect “Oh hi Mark!” over and over, they instead had to watch as Marcin Iwiński went mad, making them first work on fake gameplay animation videos, then desperately try to recreate what he had promised in those videos in a very short development cycle, while talking to himself out loud saying “Night City” over and over.
Night night city, bitch
Night night night city, bitch
Night, night night city, bitch
Ketchup on the beat
Night city bitch, night night city, bitch
Glitch glitch glitch on yo 1650, bitch
8 million preorder, no bug test
– Apparently what was going on in Marcin Iwiński’s head during development of Cyberpunk 2077.
Good games are made organically, by creating systems and testing and refining them into fun, engaging gameplay. Cyberpunk 2077 was made by making fake gameplay footage videos to show investors and gamers, then desperately trying to recreate what was shown in those videos, cutting features, game scenes and beta testing all along the way. And it shows.
CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwiński has to know this, and that is why the Uwe Boll comparison is warranted. Does Uwe Boll think his movies are terrible? No. He actually thinks they’re good enough when in fact they’re laughably bad and the only way anyone can get any enjoyment out of them is by gritting their teeth and experiencing them as a parody. Which is kind of what you have to do to get through a game of Cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not a good stealth game nor a good first-person shooter
The stealth aspect of Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to be a big part of the gameplay. Unfortunately, it is unclear how it works. Enemies look around, maybe, based on line-of-sight cones on the mini-map, but I have a feeling that is fake, as most of the rest of the game is fake. Sometimes the enemies will spot you across the map but other times you can be standing just off to the side of them and they do not see you.
There is no light/dark system or sound system as far as I can tell either. Being a first-person game, I was not expecting stealth to be on par with Watch Dogs, Tenchu or Metal Gear Solid, but it was still disappointing. You can maybe put points into stealth, I think, but it is unclear how it works, apart from an icon over enemy heads that fills up until you are spotted, just like in Watch Dogs.
There are none of the tense moments of trying to avoid detection in most games that implement stealth, as being detected does not automatically fail any of the missions, and the combat is so easy it does not really matter if you get any bonuses for backstab or stealth sniper shots.
I basically just used sneak to close the distance between myself and the entrances to buildings before being discovered, as the buildings confuse enemies, making them enter one or two at a time for easy killing.
Honestly, the enemies are so stupid and easy in most parts that you can just run around with a melee weapon, hacking and slashing only when someone is in the way of what you are trying to do. Or you can do the same with a machine gun. It really takes away from the immersion and fun.
The shooting itself is not very tight or well thought out. Being a futuristic RPG, shooting is basically the equivalent of melee in a traditional RPG.
You would think they would have spent much time balancing it with the RPG elements and refining it as you will be doing it so often, unless you just snap and use an overpowered melee weapon like Knifey or the machete I had earlier. Instead, the shooting feels like it belongs in a bad, free-to-play counter strike clone.
Cyberpunk is the Buggiest RPG since Ultima IX
Seriously. While the new 1.1 patch seems to have fixed a few things, it added a game-breaking bug for some players. There are also so many bugs everywhere in the game that it does not make that much of a dent. Bugs are so numerous that it is hard to tell what is gameplay and what is a bug. If anything, the bugs at launch helped hide the badly implemented gameplay.
T-poses, random texture problems, people spawning inside objects, people including yourself holding weapons that are not there, and so on and so on. Basically, take every glitch or bug you have ever seen in a game, and put them all into one game. That is the easiest way to explain how buggy this game is.
The Bethesda bashing as a defense of the bugs in this game is laughable. Cyberpunk 2077 is on an entirely different level. In fact it is probably the most buggy game ever released on a console or even released on PC by a major studio, even with the day one patch that was supposed to fix everything.
Playing the game made me take a hard think and be grateful for Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Seriously.
The AI in Cyberpunk 2077 is dumber than a pet rock
I am not here exaggerating either. At least a rock will roll down a hill and stay down when it falls. The enemies in Cyberpunk, from the actual AI running them, to the physics and collision detection, are atrocious. Sometimes they will dance in front of you, doing splits and moving side to side like they are in a 70s era disco dance off. Sometimes they will look at you, then run away, then run back, in a loop, never shooting or attacking.
Sometimes the Cyberpunk AI will put their guns away and attack you with a melee weapon inexplicably. Even after they die they will sometimes pop up and move around, or they will fall down when they’re not dead yet.
There is supposed to be a poison/bleed system and an incapacitation system that lets you choose to do the killing blow. Both are broken and it turns into dead bodies popping up and moving around when you turn and look back at them, and people falling down dead when their health bar is not empty yet, then getting back up, then falling down dead again or waiting to get shot or stabbed again.
The Xbox One version of the game is so bad, it was not until about 6 hours total in the game (four hours on X1 and two hours on XSX) that I realized that system was even supposed to be in place and not just another bug. It is all a jumbled mess of nonsense.
The enemies get stuck everywhere too. Sometimes they even disappear right in front of you, or masses of enemies inexplicably all fall over dead as you trigger something in the story prematurely because they never tested things properly.
The enemies are also bullet sponges and when the AI actually works, consists of a few attacking you at once with some pre-scripted shoot, hide, shoot stuff while the rest wait patiently outside for their turn, if they ever do get around to attacking. Enemies in this game like to just stand around, confused.
Cyberpunk 2077 is unplayable on Xbox One S
I will be blunt—Cyberpunk 2077 is unplayable on Xbox One, in my opinion. I played my first four hours of the game on a Forza Edition Xbox One and it was awful. All those videos and screenshots of blurry faces, low frame rate and even lower resolution, and hundreds of thousands of bugs and glitches are 100% true.
My car got stuck like countless others at the same point. Shootouts against multiple enemies or even a boss in a closed room would result in a combination of the resolution dropping to around 480p or possibly less, far distance textures loaded in for the bad guy(s) and frame rate so low it felt like the game was choppy and lagging (15 or less frames-per-second). That makes the combat feel much harder than it is, and it is ridiculously easy.
The Xbox Series X version of the game looks and plays how you would have expected the game to look and run on the base Xbox One. It mostly keeps its 30fps and there is minimal resolution downscaling.
However, all the textures look bad, the cars in the distance are all badly fake, 2D sprites spawning, moving, disappearing and then respawning again, and the city itself outside of a few spots that were featured in the trailers just does not look nearly as good as what we see in Watch Dogs: Legion or Red Dead Redemption 2.
After playing Watch Dogs: Legion on Xbox One S and then Xbox Series X, Cyberpunk 2077 is a serious technical disappointment in terms of its open world aspect and visuals. It may look amazing with all the raytracing on a new graphics card like the RTX 3080, but without raytracing and running the X1 version on the XSX, it looks more like GTA V on the Xbox 360 once you get out of the few pockets of the city they spent tons of time on for the trailers.
Knifey was the only redeeming part of the game, and ostensibly a bug
Precious Knifey really changed my view of the game at the end. I was dejected at this point. Sure, the disappointing story and even more disappointing gameplay would end soon, but I would miss the cyberpunk, futuristic dystopia that I had been desperately craving for what felt like a decade.
Strolling along the beach in thought and beating up gangsters from some broken mission in front of me that I was neither interested in nor had triggered, I acquired a “non-lethal” baton that inexplicably did more damage than my machete or katanas. Then Idecided to give the business to some punks on the beach. They did not stand a chance and I found some knives on them.
I had a knife that did around 150 points of damage per second or DPS. Weak stuff compared to my katanas with buffs. Of course, those katanas were weak compared to just a regular machete I had found on an enemy. The machete clocked in at around 250 DPS, the katanas around 200 DPS.
The knife I found on a body did a good 500 DPS. Woah! I thought, giddily equipping it, as by this point I was not bothering with my guns or even stealth at all and just running up to groups swinging my machete.
The next body I looted on the beach had Knifey. Clocking in at nearly 1000 DPS, I had basically quadrupled my damage output in the span of 30 seconds. The game was already easy. Now it was a joke.
There was about 30 minutes of gameplay and 90 minutes of monologue left in the game, or at least that is what it felt like. Knifey took everyone out in a few quick strokes, with the terrible AI having them approach a few at a time for their punishment. Even the fearsome mechs in the game, when their AI is not making them stand in one spot for you to pump hundreds of rounds into them, only take a dozen or so slashes from Knifey to go down.
By directly copying the health recharge system from BioShock (they changed the color of the little inhaler looking health device and that is basically it), you can spam them, recharging 40% of your health each time. Bioshock balanced this by having them fairly rare. You ended up hording them for when you really needed them. The similar stimpack system in Fallout was balanced by having a cooldown period before you could use another one.
In Cyberpunk 2077, these stims are plentiful to the point you do not even have to look for them and you can spam them. It is actually surprising when you die and takes much of the fun out of the game. At no point in the game did I buy any items from a store nor feel the need to. All you have to do is loot bodies and boxes around you for new weapons, armor and stims, every ten minutes or so.
The AI feels like it is a beta from an original XBOX game, not something from the Xbox One/PlayStation 4 era. Weapons and items are unbalanced. Gameplay is repetitive and boring. Much that was promised was never implemented. Choices have no impact.
Overall, Cyberpunk 2077 is a boring, buggy slog of a game, that without the high production values in the story and some of the scenes, would be more in place in a beta on Steam by amateur developers hoping to polish and release over a number of years. Completely unacceptable for a $60 game and especially so for one that spent so much on marketing hype and promised so much over so many years.
The game may look amazing on a $3,000 PC, but on the Xbox One S it looks bad and not at the quality we would expect for the platform. Running the game on the Xbox Series X, it looks and runs how you would expect it to on the base X1. Unacceptable for a game relying so much on aesthetic over substance.
Once you get outside of a few areas downtown that were shown in trailers, the game world starts to look ugly, fast.If I had reviewed the game on a high-end PC, graphics would have received a higher score, but not perfect, as the numerous visual bugs still exist on PC, and as I mentioned before, the vast majority of NPCs and cars in the game are “faked.” Look around the corners in big, showcase type scenes for the game, and you can see they only worked on what they had to for screenshots.
No aspect of the audio in the game is great, apart from some of the voice work by everyone BUT Keanu Reeves. The voice of V grew on me, and the other characters delivered some pretty solid performances. Unfortunately, these just make Keanu’s voice work as Silverhand that much worse. Sometimes you are left wondering if that was the actual cut Keanu thought would be used or they told him they would use it for a placeholder for something.
While I love the Matrix movies and Bill and Ted, Keanu has never been anything but a B-list actor delivering stilted lines in campy movies. He seems like he is a great person on the inside and I would love to get a picture or autograph with him, or just hang out with him for a bit to see what he is like, but his acting is nothing to write home about.
I do not know if it was time constraints, poor coaching or an inexperience at doing voice-over work, but Keanu’s voice often feels amateurish and out of place compared to the real voice actors behind the other characters in the game.
The music does not take away from the Cyberpunk 2077 experience but it does not add to it either. It is completely mediocre in the true sense of the word—average. CD Projekt had an opportunity to go above and beyond here, and have at least a few original songs that are supposed to be by Johnny Silverhand and his band as theme songs of sorts, but instead we do not even get one actual song, even in scenes where he is playing.
For the sound mixing and effects, the short production time shows. Many sound effects you would expect are missing, characters are sometimes hard to hear because other things in the scene are too loud, and overall the audio experience feels like it was still in beta as well. I have only listed to the game in stereo but I wonder how bad it is on 7.1 surround sound.
The rhythm and chord progressions are there, but CD Projekt hits too many wrong notes trying to play the melody. It does not help that you get the feeling a good third of the story was cut from the game after it was written and possibly even recorded. Time constraints are the only thing I could think of as to why this is.
Cyberpunk 2077 thinks too much of itself—laughably so for what CD Projekt actually delivered—and too much of the dialogue sounds like monologue. You actually spend at least a third of the game listening to people talk in first person. The rest is spent driving or running to your next destination or hacking through the waves of meat puppets.
This could have been acceptable if Johnny Silverhand had any depth to him other than some monologue rants that do not make much sense or if he was a better person. Keanu Reeves plays a shitty, unlikable punk-rocker stereotype in the game.
Silverhand is an archetype of the problematic rock and roll star who does not expound on his anti-corporate or cyberpunk ideology. I was not expecting a manifesto but at least more than a few vague exclamations. All we get is “corporations are bad” over and over without even a single anecdote, much less an exposition of evidence to support his terrorist actions, mistreatment of women, mistreatment of his bandmates and finally his mistreatment of himself.
I would give replayability a lower score, but I am sort of looking forward to playing it again once the XSX update finally comes out near the end of the year or next year. Between the promised, free DLC and a major visual overhaul, the game might be worth playing through once more and might even be sort of enjoyable at moments. All of the endings are kind of disappointing, however.
I also did not do a lot of the side-missions. Most of them seemed pretty simple and silly. Playing through with a character that focuses more on hacking might be fun, but I found myself never using the ability or spending any upgrade points in it, as it did not seem to really do much and the gameplay is so unbalanced anyway. The cool hacking type sections we saw in trailers are pre-scripted events in only one or two areas, unlike the hacking stuff we see in Watch Dogs.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a bad game. The story could have been great but they fumbled it with all the obvious cuts and the inability to really change anything. I think those who say they love the game really just like the cyberpunk aesthetic and the possibility the world offers, in their own imaginations, not the game itself. That is fine. I love the idea of the game but hate the game itself.
Even if all the bugs in the game are fixed, the game would still be bad because of the AI, unbalanced systems, poorly edited story and the permeating blandness of the world itself once you actually try to interact with it. CD Projekt is not going to fix that—it would require another two years of work or more.
Cyberpunk could have been a 10/10 possibly, with years of more work, but instead is a mediocre 6/10—playable on the Xbox Series X, a higher-end PC or PlayStation 5 but not worth it until it drops to $15 with all the DLC and patches next year and the promised XSX/PS5 updates. It is already half-price now at $30. And that makes me sad—because I paid $60 for this joke.
Agree with the author? Couldn’t disagree more and are frothing at the mouth to tell him? Leave a comment here, on Facebook or send an email and make sure to follow Never Ending Realm on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!