The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t go quite as the studio, CDPR, planned. The resulting internet conflagration continues unabated, even leading to Sony pulling the game from the PlayStation store.
I’ve been looking forward to this game for a while. The Witcher 3 is my top video game RPG ever—with the possible exception of Gone Home—and the original Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop game 2077 is based on was a favorite back in middle and high school.
I also have a stock PlayStation 4.
So I ought to be up in arms, demanding a refund, and sharing screenshots of graphical glitches and gamebreaking bugs. But I’m not. Because here’s the thing: I’m enjoying the hell out of Cyberpunk 2077.
In a little over eight hours of play, here’s a complete list of everything genuinely broken I've encountered:
Occasional texture resolution pop-in if I spin around really fast while close to objects. This is only noticeable if I'm specifically looking for it, but isn't during regular play.
Once during a fight, I drew my pistol but saw only my character's empty hand for about two or three seconds before the pistol appeared. I could still fire before it did, though, so it didn't disrupt play.
One time my character’s hair didn’t show up when he looked at himself in a mirror.
In a very early quest, to progress to the next step I needed to talk with a guy. I did, but progression didn't trigger. I could repeat the conversation by talking to him again, but it still wouldn't move me forward. I fixed it by reloading my last autosave, which lost me about two minutes of gameplay, and everything worked.
In a segment of the big quest of the opening act, I needed to get a keycard off an enemy to call an elevator. But the enemy started clipping through a wall and I couldn't interact with him. As with the other broken quest, I restarted the game, loaded the last autosave, lost a couple of minutes of gameplay, and the quest worked fine. (I appreciate how frequent autosave is.)
The game hard crashed once.
A good portion of the most shrill criticism of Cyberpunk 2077 feels like huge hype leading to unrealistic expectations, people bored during the pandemic, and bandwagon effect. The game is buggy, yes, and other people have had a buggier experience than I. But I don't know that it's buggier than Skyrim or Fallout 4 were at launch, and those games didn't provoke this level of response.
There’s also a political angle. A running theme in the early reviews, even though they were overwhelmingly positive, is that Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t engage with or push the political preferences and values the reviewer wishes it did. This, coupled with a widespread distaste for the way CDPR approached some of its marketing, has created something of a shame mob mentality, which probably has people more willing to jump on and obsess about bugs than they otherwise would.
Then there’s the "I thought this would be a GTA game and it's not" gripe. Cyberpunk 2077 is open world, set in a single, large city, features driving, and has cars you can steal. It’s clear this led a lot of people to expect it to be a GTA-style sandbox. But it’s not, and never was intended to be. Instead, Cyberpunk 2077 is a narrative focused game, much as Witcher 3, while set in an open world, wasn’t at all a sandbox game à la Skyrim.
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with Cyberpunk 2077 on my ancient PS4. The story is fantastic, the writing up to the standards set by Witcher 3, the word building great, and Night City a wonder to wander and look at. Graphically, while clearly not as flashy as on next gen consoles (let alone a souped up PC), it’s often quite beautiful, and holds up against other PlayStation 4 games.
Patches will fix the remaining bugs, but I don’t for a moment regret starting it now instead of putting it off, and I don’t regret playing it on my PS4 while I wait to get a PS5.