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Review: Cyberpunk 2077’s Alpha State Shows Promise of Greatness

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Cyberpunk 2077 review - Johnny Silverhands

I know what you’re thinking. Cyberpunk 2077 came out over two weeks ago, so why is there a review here now? Well, for starters, since I had to play the game on a console–in this case, the Xbox Series X–I didn’t get the code until the release date. Second, it took awhile before a patch released that fixed the horrible case of crashing the game suffered from. The good news is that over the last week I’ve been able to play it, it is mostly playable. The bad news is that it took way too long to get to this point and it’s still riddled with issues.

It’s easy to rip on everything that is wrong with Cyberpunk 2077, but to be fair, the game has a lot going for it as well. It’s one of the more unusual RPGs I’ve ever played. I imagine it’s a lot like a cross between Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimDeus Ex: Human Revolution, and Grand Theft Auto. It’s like Skyrim or Fallout in that V–the player character–gains experience for abilities based on how often they are used. Every time V executes a stealth takedown, she gains experience in the stealth talent pool. She uses guns, she gets better using guns. She fights with her fists, and you get the idea.

Meet the Flathead

Cyberpunk 2077 is like Deus Ex: Human Revolution when it comes to the various upgrades you can install on V, as well as pool experience upgrades into attributes and perks to play the way you want to. Do you want to tank your way through everything? Then invest in Body. Perhaps you want to get through missions without anyone knowing you were there? Invest in Cool. Do you want to hack everything in sight? Intelligence is for you. You can drastically change how you play the game by your cybernetic upgrades and skill investments. It’s both overwhelming and wonderful simultaneously.

As for how it’s like GTA, well, how bad of a criminal do you want to be? Do you want to steal cars? Slap around police? That option is there, but you can choose to be a good guy as well. My paragon side from my Mass Effect days is too strong, and I didn’t take on any side gigs that involved killing cops. Rough up criminals and leave them for the cops? Absolutely. Start a gang war for giggles? Yeah, that was in my wheelhouse as well. Why? Because they’re gang-banger criminals. If it wasn’t going to be me slicing and dicing them, it would have been someone else.

Cyberpunk 2077 sword combat

But as fun as that all is, what really makes an RPG a great RPG is the narrative. At first, the story really bored me. It appeared to be your typical mercenary stuff, and as much as I loved that in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I really don’t want to do that again in first-person post-apocalyptic universe. But then things took a turn for the super weird and super unpredictable, and that’s the brilliant left hook this game needed. I know the game has been out there for awhile and there are spoilers galore, but I will not contribute. The twist took me by surprise, and I will not take that away from anyone. Just know it has a lot to do with Keanu Reeves’ character, Johnny Silverhands, so if you like Keanu’s voice, you’ll love it.

It’s because of this fun gameplay and this great story that it’s such a shame Cyberpunk 2077 performs like it’s still in alpha. I had a horrible time at first, because the game crashed literally every 20-30 minutes. I could almost set a timer to it. It crashed so often, everything felt disconnected, and it really became difficult to remember exactly what I was doing or what I just learned from that tutorial. I researched countless “fixes” for the problem, and I tried them all, including Warner Bros.’ suggestion to uninstall Mortal Kombat 11 (this has been corrected on its support website, just to be clear). It wasn’t until a new hotfix released that the game finally stopped the constant crashing. Then it only crashed every hour to two hours, which was a marked improvement.

But then I was plagued with another issue. The missions, whether they are main or side missions, too often glitch out, preventing me from progressing. Thankfully, the game does auto-save every ten minutes or so, so with the crashing or the glitching, it wasn’t too painful to get back where I was. However, reloading a mission multiple times is annoying, especially when you get to replay areas you hated the first time. Did I say “get to”? I meant “forced to.”

Cyberpunk 2077 review

Sure, there are other bugs as well, such as the clipping, people walking right through you, and the random deaths by an exploding car on the other side of the road. But those are humorous at the very least. The crashing and the mission glitches are downright frustrating. Even though it doesn’t crash as much now as it did at launch, it still happens more often than it should, which, to be frank, shouldn’t happen at all.

I am seriously envious of my friends playing this game who aren’t having issues (mostly PC players), because I see glimpses of the greatness Cyberpunk 2077 has in store. Once CD Projekt Red works through these crashing and glitching issues, and maybe moves the console version of the game into at least a beta phase, it could be fantastic. I, for one, am looking forward to replaying the game with all new choices when Cyberpunk 2077 is fit for console launch.

Cyberpunk 2077 is currently available for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox X|S. It’s currently not available digitally for the PS4 and PS5. It’s only playable on PC.

Cyberpunk 2077

6

Food for Thought
  • Keanu Reeves is hot, though. And funny.
  • Completely customizable gameplay that really taps into those Skyrim and and Deus Ex: Human Revolution vibes.
  • When it's not crashing, glitching, or clipping, it looks beautiful.
  • There's an incredible story here that is begging to be uncovered.
    If you want to know more, check out Siliconera's review guide.
    Keri Honea
    Keri has been a part of the video games industry as a writer and editor since 2004. Her video game backstory is long, convoluted, and better left unheard. When she’s not playing or writing about video games, she’s reading Warhammer 40k novels, teaching yoga, and making sure her kids don’t burn down the house.