Cyberpunk 2077: The Preem, the Gonk and the CDPR.

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After a week of as close as nonstop playing and reading countless posts, i decided to write this not just as feedback towards CDPR but also towards parts of the community. As a plea for them to understand some aspects of the game, by articulating and putting into perspective why certain aspects are better than what the status quo tries to make you believe and *explaining* also a few things that in all fairness should had been explained ingame if not made more clear.
Because constructively criticizing the game is one thing but to muddy the water by calling everything about the game "trash" doesn't help the game or anyone especially not the devs !!

I want to avoid giving a numeral score on things, i'll try using a scale of above / under average relative to other titles on the market to put things into perspective so you can see where i'm coming from. Don't worry, it's spoiler free.
BIG CAVEAT, this is about the PC version, playing on hardest difficulty.

**DISCLAIMER**: Those allergic to anything positive and prone to get triggered should proceed with caution, I will not be held responsible for bouts of hysteria or tamper tantrums !

**WARNING**: Beyond this point you will be crit by a (hopefully comprehensive) wall of text, advance at your own peril !


The Preem:

* Story: As I said this will be spoiler free, while a story's content is a highly subjective aspect of any media, one cannot ignore it's length or lack thereof. A big factor responsible for why TW3 was capable to bring emotion out of people was that they had the time to get invested and attached to characters and the world. I didn't rush to finish CP77 and while I didn't do all side jobs & gigs, I did end up doing the most important side missions and i clocked about 65hrs before seeing the end credits for the first time, comparatively I clocked over 110hr in TW3 on my first playthrough without exploring everything.
CP77 has a lot of great characters with realistic personalities and problems unlike stereotypical borderline caricatures that other games are flooded with, it has great moments of story telling that really pulls the player in.
It's filled with different subject matter and is far from the stereotypical "action" games that follow action movie scripts, so if you tend to skip dialogue you will miss out on the intricacies that elevates the story and you will only do yourself a disservice at that.
It is however relying too much on the player to find information off the beaten path, at times crucial information which result in the player never being able to come forward and confront or explain themselves with their findings as there's no appropriate dialogue option for it...
It has other flaws which I'll write down under the Gonk which makes it fall short of outstanding, but overall a very interesting story in the world of cyberpunk...and I'm left craving for more... bravo, way above average !

* Music: This will be a short one because simply put it's 10/10, from combat to ambient to radio it's a blast, the fact those tracks were made specifically for the game didn't affect their quality and honestly opened the door to look at some of the music artist other work.

* Sound: Vehicle and city sounds are among the best I've heard in a game, you need a decent sound system preferably headset to appreciate it. Gun sounds are good and feel impactful, with every class (tech/smart/power) having their unique sounds and every type (shotgun/rifle/ect) being easily disguisable. However, all (unless i missed some) blunt weapons sounds are subpar, they not only sound too much alike with the exception of sasquash's, they have a severe lack of impact. And I believe ALL melee weapon sounds lack a proper impact sound when hitting different surfaces with minor exceptions. (eg, there is a metallic surface sound but unlike gun impacts less variations if that makes any sense) As it currently is sound can bug out and get out of sync or not play at all in rare occasions, there's still work to do on and as a result slightly above average, with some fixes and tweaks it can be cranked up to easily distinguishable above average with a outstanding 10/10 only achievable with indoor/outdoor locations affecting the reverb (eg, shooting a gun in or outside sound the same, driving a vehicle outside or inside parking garage sound the same but IF there's a difference it's so minor I cannot differentiate in-between.

* Graphics: CP77 is truly nextgen and is arguably the next Crysis. While DLSS does a lot of heavy lifting, the game is contrary to popular belief actually one of the better optimized games of the past years, while there's memory leaks affecting performance those are nothing new in pc gaming and bounds to be fixed with time. For now in-between long sessions and/or traveling in-between a lot of districts when a performance drop is noticeable one should simply do a quick reboot.
We have yet to see footage of a game which it's maximum graphics come anywhere near this, all the while this being a OPEN WORLD game located in a massive city (horizontally but especially vertically to a degree not seen before) Which needs to be emphasized as people don't seem appreciate the fact that relatively speaking, creating large maps with loading screens in-between with a good looking skybox is so much more common as its easier to achieve...

People calling it unoptimized because they cannot run it maxed out at the same framerate of "other titles released this year"... you politely don't know what you're talking about.
To put it differently, every game that I can think of has major performance dips when in their larger cities, here you are nearly constantly in the largest city ever if not adjacent to it, with on highest setting at peak times per district the biggest (generally) unique dynamic (albeit with basic behavior) crowds I've seen.
Tweaking and optimizing graphics performance can be a never ending story, that said graphics are outstanding.

* Design: Architecture, clothes, guns, vehicles, gang identities, and the star of the show night city itself and anything else I forgot to mention 10/10 ! While this is more subjective there's nothing out of place that doesn't fit with everything else. The only "negative" is that I can't get enough, I want more cars, guns, clothes...

* Gameplay: It's one of those aspects that *some* are quick to dismiss and label as bad without any constructive criticism or argumentation, I try to see the best in people so I'll attribute it due to ignorance of how the system works, and again some things could had been clearer in game but also part of it is on the player to pick up on and learn.

* Combat AI: One point that keeps being brought up is how the combat AI is stupid, that's just not true (when it works) because it's deliberately varied. I'll attribute this to people assuming "because it's a FPS /FPP(perspective) NPCs look humanoid thus they should all behave similarly" when there's couple of layers to NPC behaviors, which is one of the RPG elements of the game.

First of all, they're divided in archetypes EACH having a few tiers that dictate their difficulty which enables certain abilities/perks. (eg, a lower tier won't have access to cyberware or nades)
There's your "default" ranged enemies, fast ranged (usually represented with kereznikov ect), heavy ranged (lmg/hmg) shotgunners and snipers.
Then there's the "default" melee, fast melee (bladed sandevistan) , heavy melee (blunts 420)
Last but not least netrunners and mechs/androids...and i'm possibly forgetting some.
This translate into that NOT ALL NPCs ARE ALLOWED (/know" how) to use cover, shooting while moving/running, use grenade, heal, sprint, rush ect..

The second layer is their aggressive levels dictated by their gang affiliation, with on one end of the spectrum animals / maelstrom... while at the opposite end is arasaka / militech...
This translate into how prone they are to rush or flank the enemy, remain in cover, retreat, chase, ect ...

The result in normal combat situations (normal being when the AI doesn't bug out and actually loads and executes it set of "rules" and the player doesn't try to exploit AI perimeters) that some NPCs just rushes the player or at times moves but doesn't attack, or won't go into cover despite being shot at ect... but those occurrences eventually disappear the higher level the player is and enemy scales into higher tiers.

The one archetype that's absolutely horrendous when you think of the possibilities, are netrunners. All they seem to be capable of (aside of the basic fighting rules) is to spam overheat.
They should be capable to blind the player by disabling their optics for X seconds until it reboots, make their weapon jam, blowing up their inventory grenades might be too hardcore but you catch my drift, heck maybe interfere with the player's leg/arm cyberware.
I believe it was planned as netrunners tend to have duplicate "overheat" perks which is possibly due to it being the only ability in their pool of available hacks.
If anyone experienced anything else than overheat spam, please let me know !

So combat AI is arguably average if not above average. Their reaction time after entering combat feels like it could be a tiny bit faster, but otherwise nothing stands out as "bad".

* Cover system: quick word on that as I've also read complains how the cover system is jank.
The cover system works pretty much like most FP cover system, the player needs to get used to the dimensions the character takes in the game world then associate what cover works with said dimensions...which is pretty standard.
Not all cover is impenetrable pairing that with enemies using smart and tech weapons, results in the player that can be hit while in cover, which isn't the cover system necessarily being jank but it's on the player to react to the gameplay scenario.
To be fair the one jank thing about the cover system (on PC) is how finicky it is to adjust positions with the double tap dodge that launches the player out into the open to eat a face full of lead.

* Gunplay: It's clearly not a twitch aiming FPS like CS:GO...but i don't understand how rational people can call it bad which is probably why there's never argumentation supporting that label.
Enemies "bulletsponginess" not only makes sense for the game world (cybernetics...) but rewards aiming as headshots deal massive damage, weakspots deal massive damage if not crucial in certain encounters and rewards character progression.
Also while having the RPG elements of different weakness, resistances up to immunities, and perks that increases armor, hp ect...

Enemies reaction to hits is very good, it's so satisfying going for the legs followed by headshots john wick style. (it's no euphoria engine good but that would actually be unrealistic in the world of cyberpunk)

When comparing it to similar games, eg: Fallout, GTA, RDR2 or Watchdogs if those are considered baseline while having a somewhat basic gunplay, CP77 is way above average as it moved away from that and brought the gunplay closer to CoD.

* Melee combat: feels good enough, some sync issues with parry timing for certain animation as their point of contact and window of counter attacking doesn't feel to align precisely but that might just be my perception of it.
Some out of sync of gorilla fists animation and sound finishers issues, but worst case average.

* Driving: How vehicles behave on the road is actually surprisingly good, it's by far not anywhere near simulation level and I didn't expect it to be but the weight distribution/transfer feeling is pretty spot on.
So not only do each vehicle handle differently, but one can gauge it pretty good just by it's model !

There's tweaks that need to happen for sure, there's something weird going on with turn sensitivity, while you can get a "feeling" for when you over/under steer there seems to be sudden "spikes" of aggressive turn acceleration ? Not sure about the terminology or how to explain it, but there's probably something wrong when you can borderline drift with those arasaka trucks...i suggest people try it !

If there's one thing that needs to be more aggressively tweaked its braking. Let me put it this way, it's quite "realistic" for the speed on the dashboard...but doesn't feel right for the speed the vehicle drives at on screen. Some kind of "emergency brake assist" that strengthen brake speed the longer you're holding it would really change things for the better I think.
That said it's definitely not for everyone, I can see how someone who's used of GTA5 arcade style driving where they can just throw themselves in sharp turn at ridiculous speeds and correct themselves airborne would dislike CP77's driving.

But that doesn't make it bad ! So with some tweaks driving would easily be above average. (again compared to similar games GTA/Watchdog...not comparing to Forza...)
Now vehicle collision/physics however isn't good...but I guess it's the red engine's limitations ?


The Gonk:

* Polish: With all due respect to the devs that poured hours into the game, but to keep it short I need to be blunt. let's not sugarcoat it or insult anyone's intelligence the game is unfinished, lacks any sign of polish. Polish to me is making sure that at least in the cutsenes everything is as it should be eg. when a item is in view it doesn't stand out of the environment because it's being held in a unnatural way or held by a ghost... or of all places during the end credits not having certain "things" render/loading properly but just shown as black silhouettes... it's way below average it's borderline horrendous.

* Police / Wanted system: there's absolutely NOTHING good about it, the game would had been better off with no wanted system and just static police presence which would had suited the lore for certain areas of the game anyway.

* Non-combat AI: overhyped a system that clearly wasn't anywhere near ready, but it could still be worse they could be completely oblivious... at least some run away, others crouch, they manage to create a crowds and bring life to the world until the player interacts with them ... i understand that there can be A LOT of NPCs on screen which might be taxing for intricate AI systems...but at the end of the day... because it was overhyped in marketing material it deserved to be scrutinized... it's way below average.

* Driving AI: IF ONLY the driving AI would keep cars moving... but it's even worse because some cars can suddenly stop having any semblance of AI, which even occurs on the outskirts of the city where they'd just stop dead in their's clearly bugged as nobody (i hope) would code the AI to just stop... it's probably issues with culling which also affect NPC AI... but still it's horrendous.

* Immersion: How can one be immersed when there's not just bugs, and a general lack of polish, and horrendous AI issues but a lack of features for a SELFPROCLAIMED immersive RPG, from just sitting at a bar and drinking / eating , to barber and tattoo shops....while there are moments of immersion... it pales in comparison to RDR2, Kingdom Come and even to way below average.

* Character progression, perks and attributes balance, economy, crafting and all around RPG elements: in short, unfinished. The crafting and economy needs such a large rebalance that It wouldn't hurt to just completely overhaul the crafting and armor system and then balance the economy accordingly.

Too many perks are nothing more than +% passive increase. It's normal to have passive increases but it's not ok when that's the vast majority of perks.
Take the athletics tree for example, good perk= the rock (not because of it's name) because it gives immunity to knockdown which is something unique.
Bad perk= Human shield, because it's just a conditional % armor bonus which is something you can get in almost every tree but with different conditional requirements eg, blades armor when moving, rifles armor when in cover...
Eg of making that bad perk good = Human shield, When grappling a enemy their allies will hesitate to open fire unless to retaliate (can add a cyberpunk lore aspect to it f.ex maelstrom not giving much of a duck about it)

Then you have cold blood which is just one big passive support tree....
I'm not saying this to insult any devs and i can very well be completely wrong but my HONEST first reaction was "damn this whole character progression, the looter shooter and enemy scaling aspect of the game was taken last minute from the multiplayer prototype".

For an labeled and marketed as RPG it's way below average. For a action game above average.

* Story pacing: Making the main story shorter was a bad decision, because it became clear that it resulted in "unfinished" business with certain individuals and the feeling of time jumps without the passing of time which makes you question if it's not plot holes, and occasionally complete immersion breakers.
Spoiler free and simply put: if the player is sent to let's say a fixer for w/e reason....there needs to be a established relationship, thus there should had been a introduction quest for each individual fixer, preferably locked behind a small street cred reputation requirement. Low enough so that it doesn't take hours of doing sidejobs & gigs, but SOMETHING just to give that palate cleanser to the player and introduce them to things outside the main story and if not for those reasons, at least for immersion !

For a CDPR's disappointing, any other company would get a pass for this.

* Cyberware: Oh boy... it's importance in the world and lore made it that this deserved it's own talking point.
I didn't expect a detailed cutscene for every time you get a new piece of cyberware, but at least why not show the player a preview, maybe a 3D model like we've seen in the tools of destruction trailer, or if that's too demanding on performance/time something like the "schematic style" of the mantis blades poster / concept pictures...just anything for the player to appreciate the tech they're about to get installed and go "awesome so cool".

There's also a lack of variation and mods, what about kiroshi automatic night vision (or nv goggles) ?

Legs cyberware add so much fun and freedom that you should let the player experience it much sooner ! Since it is locked behind a hefty pricetag and street cred it would be great to have "junk" cheaper leg implant to differentiate from the current blue ones, maybe double /charge jump has a cooldown and don't make you jump as high, maybe there's a chance to randomly trip and fall ...

Let's not forget cosmetic chrome or gold skin, synthetic to realskin visual options, tech hair or colored implants ?!?

Or what about the fun ones like "midnight lady" zappy tits...just small % chance of dealing some electric damage as melee retaliation, where's the Mr Studd ? It doesn't need to do anything in combat, but just knowing I could buy it for shit's n giggles would be great, cherry on top would had been something as small as your partner saying 2 words "oh wow" before playing the default scenes.

On top of this all... there's no visual changes for the cyberware that is installed on the player with exception of arms cyberware with variations based on it's slotted mod.
Overall it's lacking on too many different aspects to get a pass !

* Interface: Is painfully below average when we've been told what we see on screen is what V actually sees trough his optic cyberware... it 's thus something that should be extremely customizable from resizing and scaling, changing colors, disabling the (immersion breaking) on screen location/objective icons, V's current body position of crouch/stand ect ...


the CDPR:

If you made it this far and read everything, i just want to say thank you choomba !
I like you, even if you don't agree with me.

With all that said, I followed this game development for years and believe I managed to keep my expectation in check...all I expected was a product that resembled what was shown starting as late as the deep dive of roughly a year and a half ago AKA when the marketing material that WAS NOT labelled "work in progress" anymore and we were close to the release date...after the game got delayed time after time under the guise of polish, I didn't expect more features but simply that it would be a real immersive experience.

(If I'm being honest the ONLY thing I SECRETLY wished for was that the whole "dual wielding is cut from the game" would had been a language barrier thing and misunderstanding and dual wield pistols was still possible but not smg ect, as the icon was visible in the perk tree in videos and still is till this day ingame)

So is Cyberpunk 2077 worth playing on PC ? Absolutely yes, there's a lot of things that are good and done really well, it's a fun time if you want it to be.

Is it a game that NEEDS to be played right now ? God no, if u lived under a rock and didn't know about the games existence I envy you, go away and come back in a year !

Despite that it does NOT resemble the game that was marketed since it went out of it's "work in progress" stage (I want to emphasize that because people need to stop with the bs about wallrunning ect ...cut features happen when labeled as WIP...there's a laundry list of valid things to criticize constructively) from inventory and especially scanning UI that looked better, hacking with side objective programs , monowire off the top of my head ....

Cyberpunk 2077 is FAR from the masterpiece that we all hoped it would be, it's clearly unfinished and rushed out the door, as a CDPR fan and simply as a consumer it's such a massive disappointment so I can only imagine how much worse the devs must feel.

I expect some will call me a bootlicker which I will just shrug off because I don't care about those that aren't trying to's kind of disgusting that some are trying to label CDPR as "scammers" it's obvious that the game was too ambitious for the dev time it received, but there's clearly heart and effort put into it !

One also can just take one second to look at all the official merch, all the free goodies that came with physical copy, and i was one of the lucky (or maybe unlucky) to get my hands on a CE, are all qualitatively SO GOOD with attention to detail and care that it couldn't be further from the truth.

Salt in the wound is some of those people who are calling CDPR scammers will run off to drop 60 bucks at cashshops without thinking twice...I'm going off topic here.

CP77 with a lot of bug fixing and tweaks can easily be among the best games, with more features and content it CAN achieve the status of masterpiece because the foundation and structure is there !

Contrary to what the loud minority is spouting it isn't bad, it's not even among the worst games released this year. It's simply extremely disappointing because CDPR is held to a higher standard based on their track record, their "when its ready and we want to polish" statements then shot themselves in the foot with their marketing campaign and got headshotted by their console performance.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk, but seriously if you read it all YOU are breathtaking !

Ps: I am interested in hearing other people's constructive opinion even if it would contradict my own.
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