Cyberpunk 2077 and Night City did not deliver on the hype that a lot of people had been hoping for. It has had one of the worst video game launches in recent memory and regardless of how quickly it’s patched or fixed some people will never give it a second chance. As someone who has been excited for this game since Keanu Reeves appeared on screen as Johnny Silverhand, I’m fortunate enough to have a PC build that can run it and have come across very few bugs.
To be clear, I love this game. I’m having more fun with it than any other game I’ve picked up in 2020, but it’s not without its issues. Obviously the biggest and most glaring of which is its inability to perform on last-gen consoles. That aside, there are a few things CD Projekt Red dropped the ball on that they really shouldn’t have.
This game may have been the developers’ first foray into the FPS genre, but with so many other games to learn from and experience with open-world from the Witcher series, there’s no excuse for some of these.
#5 Customization Ends After Creation
The character customization itself at the start of the game is a decent enough experience. I spend a solid 20-30 minutes setting up my character, and with some options, very few games have the balls to give you. Where the bigger issue comes into play is once you leave the character creator and enter the game. In Cyberpunk 2077 they boast of a world where customization is everything, a place where you can literally put swords into your arms.
But one thing you can’t change is your hairstyle or color. It seems like such a major oversight when it’s a common feature in open-world RPGs of all types. In 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas CJ was able to visit a barbershop to change his hairstyle. Hell, he could even change his body type based on how much he worked out, or how much fast food he ate. That was 16 years ago, bring back the barbershops, CD Projekt Red.
#4 Lack of Dialogue Options
Games about making your decisions and influencing the world around you have done very well in the past decade. Whether you’re playing a Skyrim, Fallout, or Mass Effect game, your playthroughs feel like you’re a different character depending on your choices. While Cyberpunk 2077 has a few moments through the main quest line that accomplishes this, they’re few and far between. In most cases, dialogue options fall into two categories: several options for getting more info and one for advancing the conversation.
This leads all conversations to seem as though they have one outcome. Sometimes, when you’re exploring the other options the main character’s tone can suddenly change drastically, making the flow of the conversation seem very weird and off. In a game about immersion, it’s a real mood killer at times.
#3 Inventory Management and Shops
Item management in open-world games has always been a chore and integral part of the game. Every item in Fallout 4 served a purpose even if you couldn’t immediately use it. Similarly, thanks to the crafting system in Cyberpunk 2077 (which is pretty good) even common weapons or equipment that you’d never use has its place. So after every fight or mission, I spend a few minutes breaking it all down into crafting components.
But not everything can be recycled, so it’s best to just sell off your access items, grenades, and equipment to a shop. The system for which is clunky as hell. Every time you sell something, the inventory flashes and sometimes rearranges itself. There’s no way to mass select items, so they’re all being sold one by one or stack by stack. There’s no way to favorite any weapons or gear, so if you’re dissembling too fast you might scrap your best gun.
#2 Quest Outcomes
Piggybacking off the last entry, Cyberpunk 2077 is supposed to be your oyster, with various things in the world you can change and affect. There are a few times in the main story where big choices can influence what’s to come. But part of making a world feel alive is that these choices exist around twist and turn.
One of the biggest letdowns in regards to side quests is dealing with ‘Cyberpsychos’. These are people who have augmented their bodies so much they suffer psychotic breaks and the main character has to deal with them. Prior to release, CD Projekt Red had said in an interview at E3 that there are countless ways you can defuse this situation. In reality, you have two choices: fight them to the death, or fight them and take them down non-lethally.
In another side quest (also with a Cyberpsycho) I found a woman with her stomach slashed open. She was still alive (or dying?) and in pain. She gave me some info and I was expecting to be able to heal or call for help. But after the info, the choices and options ended, so being the hero I am I just left her behind, alone and dying.
#1 Gear: Suave or Effective?
There is another half to the customization coin that has been a problem in MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV in their early days. Do I want to look awesome or do I want to be awesome? In Cyberpunk 2077 you have to choose between wearing the best gear regardless of how it looks. Or you dress yourself up to look awesome, regardless of the stats.
It’s not the first game to do this and single-player games with stats on gears rarely give you a way to mix and match appearances, but nonetheless, it’s a sore spot for a game that boasts superior customization.
It’s a problem the Fallout series suffers from as well and one could argue that since it’s First Person Perspective, you don’t see yourself anyhow. That’s fair and it’s hardly the biggest flaw of the game. But for a title that was looking to redefine the genre, this would have been a great way for CD Projekt Red to set themselves apart from other titles. Instead, Cyberpunk 2077 ends up as a fun game that doesn’t quite measure up to its predecessors.
Regardless, I do enjoy Cyberpunk 2077 and I’ve already put over 50 hours into the game and will continue to do so. My hope is that the launch of the game can be corrected and hasn’t done such irreparable damage that we won’t eventually see a sequel or expansion that addresses all of these issues and more. If No Man’s Sky can come back from the brink of gamer ire, so to can Cyberpunk 2077.
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