Cyberpunk 2077 review – intoxicating potential, half undermined, half met

December 10, 2020
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It’s been a little over eight and a half years since Cyberpunk 2077 was announced. For the majority of the time, developer-publisher CD Projekt told us we could expect it when it’s ready, and not a moment sooner. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Cyberpunk 2077 has finally arrived, thunderous and yellow, after months of reported ‘death march’ crunch – enforced overtime extended repeatedly to shifting deadlines – and sadly it shows.

Even putting the human cost aside, it is an enormous shame. As much as the excitement has been at times irresponsibly over-fanned, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game of vast ambition. It’s driven by a core of characters wonderfully written and performed, a story of genuine layer, momentum and depth, a technical feat of immersive decision-making, and pumping, sim-inspired action. But the undeniable potential is drowning under the tidal wave of little issues. An uncharacteristic carelessness to the finer points, some pervasive immaturity of thought, and distracting, recurring bugs leave Cyberpunk 2077 as a game in conflict: a world of unmatched detail, in dire need of attention.

But how I love it, nonetheless. Cyberpunk 2077 follows CD Projekt’s trend for adapting its games from the grittier kinds of genre fiction. As The Witcher games drew heavily from Andrzej Sapkowski’s Polish fantasy novels, Cyberpunk 2077 does from Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk, a 1988 tabletop RPG. The result is a strong emphasis on immersion at all costs, a slightly of-its-time tone, and far greater choice in what you can do and how you can do it than in any of the studio’s previous games.

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