I am happy that I decided to give Cyberpunk 2077 a second opportunity
Upon its release, I attempted to play Cyberpunk 2077 but encountered limited success. Although the PC version performed better compared to the console...
Upon its release, I attempted to play Cyberpunk 2077 but encountered limited success. Although the PC version performed better compared to the console version, which resulted in refunds for some players, even my 3070 graphics card struggled to maintain a consistent framerate in Night City. Typically, I am not overly concerned about such matters, but in the case of Cyberpunk, it became a significant problem that exacerbated the numerous issues present in the game.
I'm not someone who obsesses over squeezing out every last frame from a game; performance doesn't hold that much significance for me. As long as a game runs smoothly with a consistent frame rate, whether it's 60, 90, or any number above 30, I'm content. If I have the option to enable ray tracing and indulge in other graphical luxuries, that's an added bonus. I believe I have this mindset because at heart, I'm a console gamer. While I do enjoy playing on my PC, the ultimate dream for me is being able to sit on the couch and choose between "Performance" or "Resolution."
However, when a game stutters as severely as Cyberpunk 2077 did upon its release, it becomes a more significant issue. Cutscenes resembled slideshows, causing considerable discomfort and prompting me to skip them entirely. Given that Cyberpunk heavily relies on its storytelling, while the combat mechanics are decent but not exceptional, I found myself skipping a substantial portion of the game to spare my eyes. The arrival of the Trauma Team at the Night City high rise was depicted as a jerky stop-motion hovercraft, and unfortunately, I skipped over one of the most intriguing segments of the early game.
I endured the initial few missions until the point where your car gets ambushed by thugs, and everything went utterly awry. The following sequence, presumably intended to resemble a James Bond-style car chase, was nearly impossible to navigate due to the game's poor performance. I would shoot an armed thug, only to witness them reappear meters away from my reticle, hindered by the system's slowdown. It was an unprecedented experience for me to encounter lag in a single-player game, yet somehow Cyberpunk achieved it. I died, died again, and ultimately decided to uninstall the game.
I made a solemn vow never to engage with the game again. I had been deeply disappointed and had a plethora of other titles awaiting my attention. However, I eventually broke my promise. Considering all the hype surrounding 'Cyberpunk 2.0' and the Phantom Liberty DLC, I believed it was at least professionally beneficial for me to give it another chance. With the thought of my cozy sofa in mind and fortuitously timed discounts on the Microsoft Store, I purchased the game for my Xbox, and I haven't regretted that decision since.
It runs flawlessly. Don't misunderstand me, this should be the expected standard upon release, but I was prepared for the worst. The beginning played out seamlessly, and the overall experience only continued to improve from there.
As expected, being able to watch cutscenes is a satisfying way to engage with a game. While the Bond car chase left something to be desired, the arrival of the Trauma Team just minutes before more than compensated for it. Their mere presence encapsulated everything I desired from a Cyberpunk narrative: a blend of capitalism, futuristic flying cars, and a militaristic approach to healthcare services, all intertwined into one captivating experience.
The story about a rockstar living in your head doesn't particularly interest me because it doesn't seem to convey a meaningful message, or at least, it hasn't done so yet. However, the portrayal of corporate greed exacerbating the healthcare issues we already face in 2023 is relatable and something I genuinely want to comprehend. I hope the developers have given thought to this aspect. It was disconcerting to witness the poor individual I rescued from a gang den being subjected to the threat of the Trauma Team's rifles within a mere three minutes, despite having Platinum-level insurance. This raises questions about V's own insurance level and how Night City residents with Bronze insurance manage to cope with the majority of their medical expenses, likely enduring significant waiting times for urgent care in the process.
I have made some progress in my current playthrough of the game, although not significantly. However, my perspective has already shifted. Instead of abandoning it and considering it a forgettable and unsuccessful endeavor, I am now actively supporting Cyberpunk 2077's success. I genuinely hope it delivers a satisfying conclusion. I want the game to delve into the issues surrounding a futuristic healthcare system based on subscriptions. I want to engage in conversations with the people affected by it and be presented with the choice to assist them or dismantle the system altogether.
Bruce Sterling is well-known for describing the cyberpunk genre as "lowlife and high tech" in his preface to the works of William Gibson, one of the co-founders of the genre, specifically in the book Burning Chrome. In fact, the term 'cyberpunk' itself originated from this very concept and line of thinking.
CD Projekt Red should not be absolved of the faults of the initial release simply because they eventually delivered a functional game after three years. Their marketing tactics were still deceptive, focusing on hype rather than transparency, and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes within the game remains alarming. Additionally, the fact that the game was unplayable on consoles and had to be removed from stores should never be forgotten. However, I am relieved that I can finally experience the game that the studio originally intended to create. While it may not be as groundbreaking as the marketing suggested, it is a solid RPG that demonstrates a better understanding of the cyberpunk genre, and that is more commendation than I could offer when it was initially released.