With the holiday season in full swing, I’ve found myself falling behind when it comes to completing previously planned projects. In addition to gift shopping, updating this site, planning for D&D sessions, and the general things I need to do to stay alive, it just feels like my free time is become more and more scarce. This is all a long way of saying that it’s going to be pretty quiet around here until the end of the month when the Game of the Year stuff starts dropping. But in what little free time I was able to scrounge together, I did manage to spend some time with Cyberpunk 2077.
Usually I’d do a Gut Check piece about a game like Cyberpunk 2077, but my aforementioned time crunch combined with my overall feelings about the game, a blog feels appropriate. I’m about six hours into Cyberpunk 2077, and I’ve got to say that I’m not crazy about it. And this might sound like another one of those, “Ari just hates video games” things, but the game has some pretty bad problems and I’m not the only one that holds that opinion. All of this fails to mention the constant crunch the team at CD Projekt Red had to endure just to get this game out the door is shitty. It isn’t just CD Projekt Red however, this is a change that needs to sweep through the entirety of the game industry.
Aside from miserable business practices that encourage the exploration of developers, the game itself is riddled with bugs and glitches across all of its ports, but I expect that in time those will all be sorted out. That isn’t me absolving them for launching a busted game, but if you’re kind of person who doesn’t play games in their launch window, the bugs might be a moot point. I’ve only played a handful of hours so far and I’ve already encountered bugs ranged from hilarious to game-breaking, but buggy launches seem to just be the norm these days.
My main issues really lay in the poor performance as well as the sheer content & story of the game itself. The performance isn’t great, but it’s held up for me and my aging computer surprisingly well. I’m also playing it on low settings, which I mention because the game looks surprisingly okay despite my inferior computer components. But like I said before, performance and technical issues will certainly be resolved in the future. From what little I’ve played thus far, I don’t think performance patches can solve the design issues of Cyberpunk 2077.
I just haven’t really resonated with the story or the characters as much as I would have hoped for. The game itself throws a lot at you early on which makes understanding not only the story, but the mechanics of Cyberpunk 2077 incredibly daunting as well. From the jump, everyone is speaking what might as well be another language as they bloviate about “net-runners,” “corpos,” and other cyberpunk jargon that sounds like nonsense. There’s a sequence early on where you’re introduced to the concept of “brain-dancing,” which is this weird form of hacking a specific sequence in time. The tutorial that’s used allows you to live through a convenience store robbery gone wrong. You basically float around this 45 second vignette of a dude robbing a store, and you can bounce around through different camera feeds and perspectives to essentially uncover every aspect of that scene. The concept itself is already hard to wrap your head around, and then they start introducing an editing timeline along with audio and thermal layers to swap between to uncover certain clues about the scenario.
If that all sounds confusing, that’s because it fucking is. For as much bullshit exists on screen at any given moment in Cyberpunk 2077, the game does a pretty bad job of explaining some core concepts to you. For instance, there was a fight early on where a meter kept filling up that said “overheating,” and when it filled I would catch fire momentarily. Why this was happening, I had no clue. It wasn’t till a friend of mine told me that enemy hackers had that ability, that the mystery was solved. Even navigating the menus is a weirdly complex task. There are so many sub-menus in Cyberpunk 2077, that I genuinely missed about 6 different upgrade trees because all of the menus are a mess.
It’s such a shame too because the setting of Night City seems genuinely cool and is a place I’d like to explore, but I don’t really have the desire to do much more than that. Apparently the main story doesn’t actually start until about 8 hours into the game, which to me seems like a massive hurdle to overcome. I basically have to endure a full work day to get to the part where the story happens. It’s this situation where I have to ask myself, if this game was in a technically perfect state, would I enjoy it? And I don’t really know the answer to that. In theory I’d like to play an action RPG in a cyberpunk universe, but even with Cyberpunk 2077 right in front of me, I still find myself wanting something else.
I could prattle on about Cyberpunk 2077, but the summary here is that I don’t think I like that game very much. It seems fine and I’m glad there are some people that are enjoying it, but I just don’t think I have the time to commit to a game that I’m not smitten with. I need to spend that free time getting our annual Game of the Year stuff in order anyway. For reference, Game of the Year articles should be going up during the week of the 28th. There will be a blog next week (UPDATE: there was not a blog next week) but like I said, otherwise it’ll be quite until GOTY week. So yeah, see you all next week.
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