The information about Cyberpunk seems to be all over the place. Either it’s the best game that’s ever hit the market, or more popularly, it’s the buggiest, unplayable game that’s ever seen the light of day. I’m not seeing a whole lot of in between from the media or streamers, but I got really frustrated when I saw the same phrase twice this week. According to some, it’s unplayable except on high-end PCs. That right there let me know that, at least those media sources, were probably not giving this game an entirely fair shake. So, I decided maybe I should take a crack at it and let you know what I think of the game so far, and the issues that I’ve run into.
First, let me say that this will not be a review of the game. I haven’t finished it. To say I’m at a place where I could give it a full review would be unfair. This is entirely based on PC play as well. I don’t own a console, last gen, next gen or otherwise. I’ve also captured almost everything I’ll talk about as issues on stream so if you want to see exactly what I mean you can check out the YT channel for those videos. As for what type of PC, that matters in the context of what sparked this discussion so, here’s what I’m running it on as well as settings and such. CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700; RAM: 32G DDR4; GPU: nVidia RTX 2060. I’m running it at a resolution of 3840×2160 with medium to high settings. Blur is low, film grain on, lens flare on. I left most of the settings default and hold steady around 50 FPS. That’s just the general stats, now let’s get to the meat of it.
This is absolutely not going to be an article about how the game is perfect and everyone should just shut up and play it. We need that about as much as the articles about how it’s a total trash fire. The game has issues, several of them. Most noticeably the problems on last gen consoles. Kudos to CDPR, and the console manufacturers for offering refunds pretty much without question. At the end of the day that is the appropriate response. “We’re going to fix this but if you don’t want to wait or just aren’t happy, you get your money back.” On the other hand, a lot of people have been quite happy with the game, especially on PC.
So let’s get right to it, what are the issues I’ve seen in my 25 hours of gameplay so far? These are what I’m calling the minor bugs. They didn’t really impact gameplay, just strange behavior.
Texture loading: The big one is probably the texture loading. It’s the most frequent issue I’ve seen in this, or any game really. Either you’re moving so fast that the game is having trouble keeping up, or some textures just fail to load completely, leaving things a blurry mess. I haven’t seen this to the extreme some people have, but it has come up from time to time.
Collision issues: Everything from vehicles buried halfway into the ground to a time I jumped through a window only to be thrown back 200 ft. This is another issue I see in a lot of modern games. So much so that it’s a common meme leveled at a few as just a feature of their games. The only time this effected my gameplay was when my motorcycle was buried in the sidewalk. Summoning it again, or another vehicle quickly put me on my way but I did see what happens if I mounted the bike. Falling through the map is what happens.
Teleporting people: I’ve seen a couple of times where NPCs just seemed to teleport, or go through some seizure-like animation before continuing on their way. It was always someone I wasn’t interacting with so it wound up being more of a distraction than anything else.
Hovering objects and sound echo: I lumped these together because they are, by far, the least impactful issues and I haven’t seen them since early in the game. There was a couple of times when items NPCs were holding would hover in the air while they used the same item somewhere else. Most noticeably was Jackie’s chopsticks when he’s eating breakfast. He moves his hand one way and the chopsticks stay in the air while he goes for another bite with a duplicate pair. There was also an instance riding in the car with Jackie where his voice seemed to be coming at me from two different locations.
These last two actually had an effect on gameplay. They were what I would call serious bugs, and will hopefully be addressed. Before I list them though, you’ll see crashing and lockups are not on this list. I have not had one crash or lockup that I can remember. I may have to review the videos but I can’t think of it happening at all.
Camera switch not working: This may not be a big deal for everyone, but driving in first person just isn’t fun for me. So when the Q button stopped switching the camera during a stream (in which I wanted to complete a race mind you) I considered that a big deal. It wasn’t that there was lag in the switch. It just wouldn’t work until I played the game again the next time.
Trapped in another dimension: I don’t know what to call this one, and I think it may be a unique situation because of what I did. It only happened once, but I went to take out a target, some tiger claw scrub that needed killing. I entered the hostile area and got immediately attacked by a guy in the garage. I backed up for cover, exiting the hostile area, and fought my way back in. That’s when things got weird. At a range of about 5 feet everything was normal. Beyond that, I couldn’t hit the enemy and they couldn’t hit me at all. The only way to finish the mission was to rush them every time and just open up with my shottie when I got close. I didn’t actually get that on stream so hopefully that description makes sense. It was like an episode of Star Trek where we could see each other but couldn’t interact because we were in opposite dimensions.
On the flip side, this is a beautiful game, with a ton of things to do. It also has an engaging story so far. Very likable, and hateable NPCs that surprised me honestly. I’ve grown quite fond of my character’s friends, the sort of companion characters like Jackie, Judy, and Panam. A lot of thought seems to have been put into their characters, and that to me should be the focus of an RPG like this. FPS games do shooters better. Stealth focused games do stealth better. An RPG should excel at the story and characters, and so far I’m digging it. I haven’t come close to finishing it though so that could obviously change.
But my individual experience is about as useless as anyone else’s in this. It works for me, great. Who else has exactly the same system as I do? Same software, update versions, drivers, etc? Likely no one. So, like any review of a game, or first impression (this is not a review), you have to take this all with a grain of salt. We need to look at other player experiences.
If you listen to some of the games media though, it’s ‘virtually unplayable except on high-end machines.’ That’s the part that stuck in my craw. I don’t have a high end machine. It’s no slouch, but I could certainly have spent more when I built it this year. It is nowhere near unplayable for me. As Defector.com put it “Even for those relatively few gamers playing it on high-end gaming PCs, where it reportedly performs better, Cyberpunk 2077 turns out to fall wildly short of the supposed revolutionary ambition and advancement promised by its hype cycle.” Now, I’ll agree that by all reports, CDPR’s handling of this before launch seems to be awful. Their response after the fact, their willingness to refund purchases, seems to indicate there’s more to it. If they were such an awful company, why would they do that? That’s probably an entirely different conversation. I want to look at this idea that only people on super PCs are even able to play the game, reportedly…
Looking at Steam, there’s 257,083 reviews at this time, mostly positive mind you. The last game I remember to have such a turbulent release was Fallout 76, which has 17K reviews right now, also mostly positive. Hard to say what it was during the first week’s release, but the fact that two hundred and forty thousand more people took the time to review Cyberpunk, in just a few days time, is bit of an indicator that it can’t just be “relatively few” gamers on high-end PCs. As I write this, Cyberpunk is #3 on the top games by player count, with 378K peak today. It falls behind two games I don’t think anyone will top, CS:GO and DOTA 2. That’s not “relatively few”, that’s literally more than any other game on the platform except the big 2. Cyberpunk’s overall peak is 830K with over 90 Million hours played. It’s #4 in top peak players over all time. That’s not “relatively few”. That’s not “unplayable”. Know where Fallout 76 peaked? 36K. That’s a game with relatively few players. Cyberpunk hit those numbers in a week!
Don’t just take my word for it though. Yes, this is a relatively small sample size but from the community who has no paycheck or click-pennies to gain from posting online. There’s many more, these are just the ones that agreed to be quoted before I went to print.
So, is the game unplayable? Obviously not. If it was so utterly broken to deserve what it’s getting from PC reviews, you wouldn’t be seeing as many good reviews, and players sticking with it. Is it suffering from some huge issues on consoles, and probably some PR crap? Absolutely. Point here is that it’s neither the best game out there nor a toxic trash fire that the devs should be beaten for releasing. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between with our games media. I might put a little more faith in the reaction if the hit pieces about other things hadn’t been so prevalent before the game’s release, but again, that’s a discussion for another time.
When it’s all said and done, make up your own mind. If you haven’t already gotten it, maybe wait a couple months. There’s some big patches coming. If you hate it so much, get a refund. Don’t be that guy who got a refund and is mad that he can’t still play it though. There’s countless games out there. Find one you love and forget about this one, if it’s not to your liking. But one thing’s for sure. The idea that this game is broken/unplayable on PC is simply false. It does need some work. It needs a good coating of polish. It is far from unplayable, however. And console players, it does suck that the release was so rocky for you. That’s a bit of how we feel every time we get a garbage console port. It’s no excuse, but maybe a peek at how PC has been treated for quite awhile.