It certainly is not as great as The Witcher 3
After 4 delays, Cyberpunk 2077 was finally released on 10 December 2020. This game is, literally, the most anticipated game ever so far.
On its release date, a million people played Cyberpunk 2077. Keep in mind, it is a single-player game. There are only 3 games in Steam that have higher peak concurrent players than Cyberpunk 2077 to this date, and all of them are multiplayer games: PUBG, CS: GO, and Dota 2. Cyberpunk 2077 also becomes the fastest-selling games of all time. It manages to garner 8 million pre-orders on all platform — 74% were for the digital version. 59% for the PC platform.
Despite those staggering numbers, there are a lot of problems haunt this game. I have been playing this game for 20 hours. Surely, that playtime is not enough to do a review. But, I think it’s enough for me to write my first impression of this game.
— CD PROJEKT IR (@CDPROJEKTRED_IR) December 10, 2020
Before we dig deeper, I have to say that I am a big fan of CD Projekt. The Witcher 3 is one of my favourite games ever, along with Skyrim, Pillars of Eternity 1 & 2, and Mass Effect trilogy. I also have finished more than 2000 PC games that have a single-player campaign since 2003.
With that being said, let’s discuss this game.
Bugs Fest and Anxiety-inducing Performance
Those are the first two things that come to mind when I remember Cyberpunk 2077. My PC is not high-end by today’s standard, but it’s not that miserable either.
This is my spec:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Motherboard: GIGABYTE AB-350 Gaming 3
GPU: Palit GeForce RTX 2070 Super JS
Memory: G Skill 16GB 3200MHz.
Storage: ADATA SX8200 PCIe SSD 1TB
Monitor: ASUS VG258QR (@144Hz)
With that spec above, I could get a good max framerate at 116 fps. Sadly, the minimum framerate is too pathetic for my spec with only at 40fps no matter what my game settings are (excluding Ray Tracing setting) — since I have never experienced this with other recent games.
Turns out, it is because the game couldn’t utilize our CPU optimally. Fortunately, I play on the best gaming platform ever. PC Master Race FTW! UnhingedDoork on Reddit pointed out that we can modify the game so it could make use of our CPU better. I use the .dll version here, and it solves the anxiety-inducing performance problem.
With so many bugs this game has, Cyberpunk 2077 becomes an ample inspiration for meme makers.
If you ask me, I could stand the bugs considering that I am also a big fan of Bethesda games… LOL… I haven’t found any game-breaking bug either. Most of them are graphical glitches and AI problems on some occasions. However, if we are talking about its performance, it really upsets me. It makes me question my decision on spending most of my salary upgrading my PC for years.
However, taking into account that CD Projekt has to work on 5 platforms (PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) in the midst of a pandemic, I’ll reserve my judgement while waiting on how fast it could solve all of the problems.
Too Much Expectation Definitely Hurts
Bugs and performance problems aside, I do think the game doesn’t meet my previous expectation. The Witcher 3 is truly a masterpiece. Therefore, I was hoping this game could at least deliver the same level of experience.
Sadly, even with all of the previous problems sorted out, I couldn’t see how this game could be at the same level as The Witcher 3. I’d like to be proven wrong though as I haven’t played the game as much as TW3. But, so far, I am pessimistic.
I am not saying this is a bad game. It has an interesting premise on its plot. I also enjoy the way it delivers its storyline, including the characters, setting, voice acting, etc. However, TW3 has the best storytelling aspect compared to all of the games that I play so far. It is certainly difficult for any games to deliver the same experience in that matter, including Cyberpunk 2077.
How about gameplay? Even though it uses a first-person perspective, the shooting aspect is mediocre at best. Shooting in Borderlands 3 feels more satisfying. Melee? Since it’s first-person, the animation is minimal — unlike TW3 which has fluid animations and battle. Quickhacking that is supposed to be magic equivalent in this game doesn’t feel powerful either. Geralt’s Signs, Quen, Igni, Aard, are sooooo much better.
V’s skill trees don’t offer interesting game-changing mechanic too. I also haven’t found a game-changing mechanic from equipment options — just stats increase. The only game-changing effects that I already found come in the form of Cyberware such as bionic legs that can give you double jumps or gorilla hands that allow us to punch like a truck and force open locked doors.
Another thing that I don’t like is too much randomness in equipment and loots. In the game that tries to be stylish and fashionable, I have a character that looks like a futuristic hobo because I prioritize on its stats. Maybe I am a bit bias here because I just revisited Monster Hunter World where it has layered armor and layered weapon features.
Driving in this game is also a torture. It’s so much worse compared to GTA V in the driving aspect.
Bug fixes and performance patches will surely come, sooner or later. From the storytelling aspect, I just hope I haven’t found the best part yet. However, gameplay-wise, I’m not sure it will be improved by a lot later.
There is an ideal solution though — at least for the PC players. That solution is a modding tool. Skyrim was definitely worse than Cyberpunk 2077 in terms of bugs at first. That’s why there is a comprehensive bug-fixing mod for the game, and most players (including me) use it. Besides that, because Skyrim is very friendly for the modding community, they could help to fix the bugs or even improve the gameplay so much more. The Witcher 3 is also friendly in terms of modding. That’s why, I do really hope the modding community and CD Projekt can continue that tradition. Better yet, CD Projekt could also take one step further by providing a comprehensive modding tool. It needs all the help to save its own face for further embarassments.
Last but not least, I want to say something regarding the controversy of this game. Some people argue that it’s because of the shareholders who push CD Projekt to release the game even though it’s not ready. Some people say it’s because of greed. Honestly, I am not sure if that’s true or false but, one thing for sure, creating a masterpiece is not something you could do every time you want it.
Not all of Tolkien’s works are on the same level as The Lord of the Rings. It’s also the case with other creative products, from music, film, games, paintings, etc. The Witcher 3 is amazing in so many aspects. There is no doubt about that for so many players. It launches CD Projekt to a whole new level. But, it also sets the standard really high.