Cyberpunk 2077

I’ve got a confession to make. Hope you’re sitting down. I’m a nerd. No, that’s not the confession, I hardly hide that. My confession is that I hated Blade Runner. In my not so humble opinion, it was the most idiotic, nonsensical, contrived 1 hour and 57 minutes of crap I’ve ever sat through. That’s saying something, I’d rather sit through a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show while wearing fishnets and a wig than watch it ever again.

Apologies in advance for the brain bleach required to get that image out of your mind. RHPS is another “cult classic” which stole time from me that I shall never get back. All that being said, I skipped all the hype leading up to the eventual release of Cyberpunk 2077 on December 10th, 2020. I didn’t see any trailers, read any news, subscribe to any subreddits, none of it. I think I saw some screenshots, heard Keanu Reeves was in it, and thought it looked cool.

97 hours and 3 minutes later, I’ve completed the main story of the game, nearly every side mission, and quite honestly I’m about ready to create a new character and go back in for seconds. Right off the top I have to say that this game is as beautiful as it is bug-ridden, and it’s quite possibly the most beautiful video game I have ever sat down to enjoy in my life. This is a game made for adults, not kids. GTA V looks like an episode of Teletubbies by comparison.

I honestly cannot get over the graphics in this game. The skin textures alone on the NPC’s are unbelievable. Tack on ray tracing and all the other modern refinements, it is more visually immersive than any game I’ve played yet without a VR headset on my noggin. The writing is also unbelievably well done. Had this been a “choose your own adventure” style paperback, I cannot imagine the number of paper cuts I’d have after 97 hours of reading.

The big story here though, is that the game is an absolutely buggy mess. Here’s a brief list of what I alone have hit, while the Internet is abuzz with a near endless list of issues.

No hover conversion here…
  • On launch day, it would repeatedly and randomly crash.
  • A subsequent update caused the game to crash on startup which required a 9GB fix to resolve.
  • Once I was pulled into an endless loop of reloading after falling into a void through the highway while driving.
  • Cars fell from the sky like rain.
  • Cars sunk into the asphalt as deep as their roof.
  • Dialogues overlap.
  • Objects on the HUD get stuck.
  • Executing a mission outside of the planned order would force me to reload and replay how the writers wanted me to, or if it didn’t dead end it would endlessly harass me to complete the mission.
  • The AI for vehicles is completely daft, as unless a path was completely clear – it would simply sit in the road and honk until the 1mm of bumper left in the road was was moved.
  • I’d call for my ride to appear and watch it head off in the other direction, or explode immediately as it spawned in the same space as some other vehicle, or run me right over instead of stopping.
  • Closing the game out in Steam would actually leave it running in the background. Steam itself reports that I’ve played 161.9 hours where I’ve actually only spent 97 hours.
  • Tech rifle won’t fire. Fix? Drop the rifle and pick it back up.
  • Gun stats not visible in inventory. Fix? Unequip the Kongou. Text description is too long.
Insert sinking feeling pun here…

Despite the bugs, it’s the most fun I’ve had in an open world title since I first experienced Fallout 3 on my old Xbox 360. Nearly every character in every main or side plot has depth, whether or not it matters. Decisions made at every point in the game help to further shape the dialog and direction, as well as which of 6 different endings the player gets to experience. So far I’ve only completed the “Johnny and Rogue” ending. I’ll skip the spoilers.

The game play is an absolute riot. Sure, there’s always the staple “shoot everyone in the face” method. Tack on the availability of smart weapons which allow shooting around corners (like Gene Simmons’s gun in Runaway from 1984, and the gun play is wonderful. Tack on the choice to use stealth, or remotely “hack” the implants of enemies to dispatch them in any number of methods – it is just plain fun and never gets boring.

I will say that bugs aside – 2 things that this game is missing (which I hope will be addressed in a future patch) – the total lack of customization of the way the character looks and the vehicles they drive. Now of course, the character can be customized before the game starts (in very NSFW ways), but once the general appearance is decided – that’s it. Any other game, hair, skin, ink, etc… this one? Nope. Same with cars. You buy it, that is it.

Overall though, and I’m speaking from a strictly PC player here, it was worth the $59.99 I paid on Steam. I can’t speak to the troubles that folks are hitting on consoles, and can totally understand their frustration. On my PC, I was able to implement a few different “hacks” to improve the game and work around bugs. On the console, they’re pretty much stuck until the developer fixes it. I’m looking forward to subsequent play-throughs, and future expansion.

Great game.

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