When you read this post you probably already know: Cyberpunk 2077 hype did not paid off. However, I would like to explore some personal insights.
As a Role Playing Game, you are being someone else. A player might spend an whole hour tweaking the characters appearance, hair, weight, eye lashes. Then calmly considering to spent the scarce points each attribute. One is not creating himself/herself, but a different being. Maybe a projection or simply experimenting unique approaches.
Than the game starts.
You barely see yourself in the screen.
Shooters are much easier to do in first person. CDPR said they opted for the first person approach as part of the vision that the player should feel he is actually there. They even removed some features of the game because it was not working well in a first person.
But as I said before, since one spent so much love creating the character, it would be a wiser decision if one would see it more often. A third person would be a better decision. It was more valuable to see the custom V fighting than was seeing Geralt’s.
The result is that I have never really connected to the character that I personally created.
Also, there is a second take on character creation that is very unique to Cyberpunk 2077 universe: augmentations and down-the-line customizations. A game advertize as being open regarding your physical appearance, I was noted by many the lack of visual modification during the game. Not even changing the hair style, present in a much less relevant The Witcher 3, was absent.
Clothing functions as both technical improvements and fashion. The game could embrace the idea the each piece of clothing could have any game element or bonus. It would encourage players to find their own style instead keep mixing weird styles just to get specific bonuses.
The game was plagued by technical issues. There are hundreds of videos in Youtube with hilarious situations. CDPR had to reimburse several players and it was removed by Playstation Store days after the release, due the impossible state!
I personally had no crashes but a ton of buggy behaviors. Citizens reactions, random explosions, enemies misbehavior. In some critical emotional moments, a bug can spoil the fun. I finished the game trying to do ALL the achievements. But one was impossible to achieve due a bug in a side mission.
Then cars… The Witcher’s horse, Roach, was a delicious surprise and set the benchmark to address rideable in video games.Just before launch, Geoff Keighley (one of the few people that tasted it at the time) said driving was super satisfying. The cars felt so bad. Driving was a burden. Felt like balloons, weightless. Bikes even worse.
I was hopping to drive like a vagabond, exploring each inch of the city. But instead I was using the tele transportation all the time.
The pace that the fixes were coming were also much desirable. I finished the game in 3 months, but a small number of patches were released back them. CDPR always had a top-in-industry attitude regarding enhancing their games after release, but this time I believe they are subpar.
At the very beginning, you have to choose the background story. There are 3 possible starting conditions. And the first act considers this choice important, pointing to it frequently.
Then it becomes irrelevant. The mid game is a generic Ubisoft open world game or GTA. V is in a brink of dying, but the open world nature let her have romantic relationships, racing, and helping other people that, frankly, could wait until you solve your most important issue.
While not very original “there is a dude inside your head”, their take is quite unique e grounded. However, CDPR opted to use other very boring tropes like “I died but I’m too special so I reborn”. No need to put a bullet in V’s head to wake her up in the next scene.
The mid-game is a “ensemble a killer team” theme. It was nice but the team and the final mission is less like Ocean’s Eleven and more The Avengers: group a team of 3 guys and storm into the castle. A good point is the insertion of several recurring characters in side-missions. From love-affairs, super AI or ex-cops, the player start to care about them after some time.
The final orchestrated act was also lacking due a single biggest factor, imho: there are no good villains. A good villain have to be seeing, tasted, and feared often. If you show Adam Smasher only once, 50 hours late you could not care less about him. The other Arasaka family members the same.
Think about great movie and video game villains. They have a considerable amount of screen time so the viewer have the chance to witness his evil intentions. Darth Vader, Joker, Glados, LeChuck, Ganon, Bowser.
A very good aspect of the story is the cultural references and jokes. More than once I was caught laughing out loud with some of them.
As one of the first games I have ever pre-ordered, I must say that knew what was coming. If I waited for some reviews first…
Cyberpunk 2077 is a ambitious project and several parts of it show it. However, despite the strong beginning, it becomes a generic open world game with amazing graphics.
I finished the game, and most of the achievements. 100+ hours on it. Yet, I fell disappointed. I event might get back to it in a couple of months or years, with extra content and several enhancements.