Disclaimer: This review has been updated to include our verdict based on the initial 1.04 hotfix update for Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One, and also now includes a score to represent that version of the game.
We're not sure we've ever before played through a fully released AAA title while constantly thinking to ourselves "this is going to be quite something when they actually get it finished" - at least not to the extent we've found ourselves doing so with the spluttery, stuttery console version of CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077. This game is one hot mess of bugs, glitches, shoddy AI and jank at launch and so far, and after now having now spent a good deal of time with the latest 1.04 hotfix, it’s not a situation showing any sign of improvement. There are serious problems here and they’re problems that are very obviously going to take a long while to fully resolve.
In the meantime, what we've got here as things stand is still, in a number of ways, a towering achievement on the part of its developer. There's an enormous, intricately detailed future-metropolis to explore in Cyberpunk 2077, an awe-inspiring backdrop to a solid main campaign that's jam-packed full of intrigue, excitement and a cast of genuinely interesting characters. There's some top-notch writing here, for sure, and it's coupled with excellent voice-acting and exquisitely detailed facial animations that do so much to sell the drama during the many long conversations you'll have with the friends and enemies you meet during your time in Night City. Things can be a little too puerile from time to time - this is a world that's got a pretty juvenile fixation with studded dildos, sex shops and smutty patter - but on the whole the sci-fi story delivers a tale that'll keep you gripped to the very end.
Zooming around the rain-soaked streets of this sprawling, seething metropolis in one of the game's many exquisitely detailed future-cars, flooring the accelerator of your motorbike as you emerge out of the darkness of a tunnel into the startling, sun-drenched desert wastelands that surround the city, is where Cyberpunk 2077 feels most like the game we dreamed it would be. There's so much detail at every turn here, so much meticulous artistry on display, that it's impossible not to be completely and absolutely sucked into the events at hand - or at least it would be if almost everything that CD Projekt Red has excelled at with this one wasn't constantly undermined by incessant technical woes.
We've heard about the dire condition of the base PS4 and Xbox versions of this game - a version that's been dealt with in a blatantly underhanded fashion by a developer very obviously aware of its glaring issues - and even on next-gen hardware there are a ton of problems to contend with if you're considering jumping in at this early stage. Our playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077 on Series X saw us forced to reload our game countless times in order to solve a myriad of issues that, at their most egregious, involved completely broken missions, a malfunctioning inventory screen that refused to let us change clothes or weapons, bugged out conversations, missing audio and disappearing vehicles. In the main campaign quests things seem to hold together more reliably but getting out into the wilds, exploring and taking on side quests here can see a multitude of bugs begin crawl out of the woodwork.
This is a game where jobs you decide to undertake will randomly start and stop of their own accord, your mapped route switching to some other side job or activity as and when it sees fit, where multiple conversations play out over the top of each other constantly, where your phone rings incessantly and then answers itself, often during critical campaign moments. Character models walk through one another, body parts disappear, items of clothing glitch around the screen obscuring your vision, there are long pauses as you drive across invisible boundaries into some other part of town, weapons disappear from your inventory, your vehicle won't respond to your calling it...the bugs are truly endless and they are pretty much constant.
On Series X, Cyberpunk 2077 is capable of looking truly astounding at times, especially when you choose to run in Quality Mode at 30FPS, but it's also loaded full of blurry textures and graphical anomalies, very often looking like something from a good few years back on last gen consoles. The level of actual interaction available as you wander the streets of Night City is also something of a disappointment with a handful of vendors the only real way in which you can interact with your surroundings. In relation to this, we're also pretty bewildered by the lack of aesthetic customisation options available from shops here. Where are all the tattoo parlours? Why can't we get a flipping haircut? Where are the car garages and why can't we pimp our rides?
This is an aspect of Cyberpunk 2077 that continues to bug in RPG elements that generally feel undercooked. The character creation suite is lacklustre - yes you can add a willy or vagina or choose to have no genitals, very good - but the actual level of overall customisation feels lacking. You can also choose one of three backstories that seemingly affect the conversational choices you can make during the game but honestly, beyond the opening act, we're just not sure how much of a difference any of this really makes and, in fact, it seems only one late game mission decides which of the endings you’ll get to see come the end of your adventure.
Quite tellingly, we never felt like returning to our house in Night City, never felt like immersing ourselves completely in our avatar in the way you might do in other RPGs – in the way the game’s TV advertising suggests you will - because it just doesn't feel like that sort of game. It's all rather hollow and empty on closer inspection, and so you're kept busy, distracted, constantly bombarded with side missions from your phone that never stops ringing and the whole thing - outside of the excellent core narrative holding it all together - feels disjointed, haphazard and messy.
Beyond all of the now widely reported bugs and issues there are also real problems here with regards to the game's NPC behaviour and enemy AI. For as much as Night City is an astonishing sight to behold, for as much as it has the power to suck you in on an aesthetic level, it's also populated by dullard citizens who either don't respond to your presence at all or, when prompted, deliver lines of dialogue that have nothing to do with what's currently taking place. Sit and watch them for a while and you'll observe how they mill around in circles and bash and bump into each other and even straight up just vanish. You'll also notice far too many re-used assets, with identical character models often found walking side by side - a far cry from what we had hoped - and heard - would be delivered by the game's developer.
In combat the AI also proves to be somewhat disappointing. Enemies are initially quite exciting to face off against, and Cyberpunk 2077 certainly gives you plenty of ways in which to toy around with them, however they soon reveal themselves to be pretty dumb, lacking in variety, easy to shake off and, once you level up a little, just far too simple to dispose of. Indeed, as we proceeded to unlock more and more of V's cybernetic implants, giving ourselves access to a host of ways with which to befuddle and confuse our foes, the game - on normal difficulty at least - presented little to no challenge in its face-offs. Even a handful of late game boss battles, sequences which should have been big, dramatic engagements, were a doddle to blast through by simply mashing attack and hacking our enemy to pieces with our super-charged arm blades. We actually beat one of the game's main late-stage bosses with nothing more than a nightstick and a lot of running around in circles.
This isn't to say the core combat's not enjoyable - there's a ton of ways to approach and infiltrate enemy territory and V's hacking abilities make stealthing your way through missions a blast for the most part - it's just that the AI feels like its lacking a lot of the time, it's just another element of the game that feels surprisingly unpolished. It's a shame because there are some incredibly well conceived main and side missions here that set you up for thrilling encounters but then end up disappointing because you just mill through all of your foes, one-shotting giant tank turrets and slicing soldiers to ribbons by simply running around and mashing attack.
The jankiness here also extends itself to Cyberpunk 2077's driving mechanics. AI cars have absolutely zero awareness as things stand right now and the cars you yourself pilot feel unsatisfyingly weightless and twitchy, minimal contact with other vehicles or scenery often resulting in massively exaggerated losses of control. On motorbikes things fare better, and taking it slowly in cars makes the problem less of an issue, but it's yet another aspect of the game that feels strangely shoddy and unrefined. It also doesn't help that - on console at least - roads are at times almost completely devoid of traffic, other vehicles materialise and dematerialise in front of you, vehicle models can be seen to be 2D from a distance and those great big stutters as you cross into new parts of town cause the entire game to freeze for up to ten seconds at a time...it's a constant litany of technical issues that whittle you down and make the whole thing feel like a bit of a struggle.
We also found ourselves feeling somewhat disappointed with the progression, loot and weapons systems here. There’s a ton of loot, guns and clothing to pick up as you make your way around Night City but none of it feels essential or important beyond an aesthetic level. There are the expected tiers of rarity with common and legendary gear vying for a place in your inventory but honestly, going into battle here – and this is a problem mainly caused by that lacklustre AI – it just doesn’t feel like it matters what gun you’re packing, one will do as well as another because the foes you’re facing aren’t tactically aware enough to make it count. Perks do have their highlights, we loved unlocking the gorilla arms, super-charged jump and arm blades but, as you continue up the chain, things become strangely boring, just doling out minor percentage gains to elements of combat you likely won’t ever really notice or care about because the game doesn’t present a challenge that makes you need to.
We could go on and on here really, talk about that horribly busy world map, the magic teleporting police, the rather meaningless weapon stats, the enemy awareness icons that disappear at random, the buggy HDR settings that entirely disappeared from our in-game menu at one point, or the handful of missions that we completed only be told later that we hadn't but, and at the end of the day, it's much simpler to say that Cyberpunk 2077 just feels like it needs far more time in the oven on console. Our biggest worry in this regard, however, is that bugs can be fixed, performance can be improved, but some of the deeper problems, such as the lack of opportunities for interaction with the world, janky driving mechanics and questionable AI, are going to be issues that are much harder to resolve.
There's a fascinating narrative at the core of this game, an astonishing setting, some amazing characters to meet and plenty of fun still to be had if you've got the stomach to put up with the constant jank, bugs and performance issues that await you at this point in the game's journey. We genuinely look forward to returning to Night City once it's been patched and upgraded, we're sure CD Projekt Red has every intention of fixing things - even if they haven't exactly been honest about various aspects of this release thus far - but for now it is what it is and it has to be scored as such. Would we happily recommend this game to a friend in the state it’s in just now? No. There’s just too much weighing it down as things stand, problems that turn what should be a fantastic experience into a rather grating and disappointing one that’s left us feeling slightly bewildered for all the wrong reasons.
Cyberpunk 2077, in its current form on consoles, is a hard game to recommend getting involved with. There's a strong narrative here, brilliantly written characters, some excellent side missions, fun combat and an astonishing setting but, as things stand right now, it's an experience that's in need of some serious TLC. The Series X backwards compatible version may well perform better than the frankly shocking last-gen console efforts but this is a game that we had constant problems with, one that doesn't feel or play like a fully finished product and one that is truly quite hard to recommend in its current incarnation.
I’m several hours into it but still don’t know what to make of it! Gun play is ok, but no where near as satisfying as something like Borderlands 3 or Destiny 2. Also the game is quite overwhelming in the first few hours, with all the various game mechanics and systems. I’ve only had one bug so far, which forced me to reload a save.
It sounds all too familiar — a game launched before it was ready.
It might be best to wait for the Series X optimizations. Then buy it at a discount so maybe publishers will start respecting their customers.
Good review and I’m glad you talk about not just the buggy mess this game is in but also the lifeless npc’s and lack of interaction of the world. I’m going to wait until this is heavily patched and also the next gen patch. That may be a year out from now who knows but I want to experience this at its best, not the ***** show it’s in now.
I have a question for anyone who has played it, how does the actual RPG progression feel and does it make a difference? I’ve seen a couple of reviews mention that it really doesn’t matter which way you spec, the game feels like more of a shooter than an actual RPG. I don’t mind either way but I’m confused as I’ve seen others say it does matter.
I feel like "score pending" is giving CDPR a free pass. They were willing to take pre-orders for and release Cyberpunk 2077 in its current state; you should be willing to review and score it in that same state.
@Fenbops the perks and augmentations are fun to unlock as you progress but yeah, it doesn't feel well implemented or in any way necessary to success. Loadouts just feel important. You can make do with any old gun and some melee.
"This is one hot mess of bugs, glitches and jank at launch, so much so that we've made the decision to hold off on a final score here"
This is madness, basically everything that's wrong with game industry in a nutshell. Yeah, sure, let's make CDPR get away with all of this scammy marketing.
Agreed. As much as I like the game, in spite of its shortcomings, the rpg aspects seem tacked on. It's no Deus Ex, I can say that much.
@likelinus I don't think people are letting them get away with it... You've seen the #Cyberbug2077 trend, yeah?
@VenomousAlbino I agree, I said the same about push squares review earlier.
@VenomousAlbino It's a tough situation. On the one hand yeah, but on the other, a lot of people have genuinely poured a long time and a ton of hard work into this, people who had nothing to do with pushing it out like this, seems reasonable enough for their sakes to hold off until its ready. But I can still see where you're coming from absolutely. It's an odd one.
Wow, I'm sorry, but this needs a score. Everything is wrong about this game, people are pondering if they should buy it or not en you're not giving a score because?
@PJOReilly that is absolutely besides the point. The review is of the product, not the team who made it. If a car was riddled with faults and stuff that didn't work, you wouldn't say "sure, the car is criminally unsafe and might kill you, but people worked really hard and on it and maybe they'll release a better version later", surely?
I'm slightly puzzled. You stated in the review "...returning to Night City once it's been updated to its final next-gen form in order to pass a fair final judgment" and later "The Series X version may well perform better than the frankly shocking last-gen console efforts..."
Assuming "next gen" is Series X and "last-gen" is Xbox One, what is the current gen? Xbox One X? If so, how is it on this 'gen'?
@Notacoolkid19822 Couldn't be further from what I was thinking tbh. I have no opinion on CDPR beyond that their handling of this release has been absolute *****. Anyway, we're looking at pushing ahead with a scored review based on the latest patch 1.04 now so will be remedied very shortly.
Starting as a Nomad, I was utterly shocked at how undercooked the driving aspect of my first vehicle was in the desert outside the city. Literally driving highway speeds, a single cactus stopped me cold, like slamming into a wall. I thought to myself, these could get some serious pointers from Forza Horizon. In the city and into missions, I am feeling average. I like the room to room combat, but in the streets I feel very alone, yet see these mannequins that are supposed to be NPCs. They don't even acknowledge your vehicle and I inadvertently slay many NPCs with a simple nudge while trying to park. They will not get out of the way of a car coming through. This of course brings in the cops, who appear to be hunting me, but I quickly learned don't leave their spawn area. I'm still in it to win it and knew going in I would be waiting for my Series X patch. I went back to Control for the time being!
Getting a refund from Xbox on my digital preorder was quick and easy. I haven't played it since launch day on my XB1 X.
If CDPR wants me to pay full price 6-12 months from now, when the game is truly finished, they will have to offer something more than words as an apology.
It's a fair review for the one x, series x or s, but not the base model. Plus if they are selling it you should score it. You can always re-review further down the line. I got it for my series x but I am going to wait to play properly maybe with the next gen upgrade.
Seems like a great game for Game Pass. Permanently. They made their money back bilking the suckers. They can hand it out for peanuts while they fix it. I foresee $14.99 sales regularly by the time the XSX patch is out which sounds like may be sometime in 2022 now. For what's likely to be a bargain basement game before it's even finished being made, I'm sure It'll be worth playing.
I get the feeling MS knew this disaster was coming. They paid for exclusive marketing, put together that Cyberpunk 1X bundle....and then since August they've basically not made a single peep about the game existing. You don't pay for exclusive marketing rights and then bury it beneath Valhalla, Fenyx, and Control in your promotionals unless you're trying to fully distance from it.
For anyone shelling out $60 for this now, Customers who bought Cyberpunk 2077 also purchased: XBox Series X Box $99.99, Xbox Series X (confirmed) Preorder $1749.99, Xbox One X New Generation X $799.99
@gollumb82 Heh, ironic comment. I'm celebrating the launch of Cyberpunk by playing a tactical RPG with a focus on stealth mechanics, deep skill trees, exquisite stealth, and fantastic story. Deus Ex. (Though I'm playing Mankind Divided on PS5 because it never got an X1X patch and the textures on Xbox are blurry 900p garbage. Marginal consolation that Human Revolution has great BC on XB, but Director's Cut is unfortunately unavailable and....well the base game looked like garbage even for a 360 game...it's hard to go back and play.)
I still want the third game of the new trilogy. And a remake of the original. That game was amazing but the gameplay and UI is so antiquated as to be unplayable today. I don't always call for remakes but that game is one of the greatest games of all time held back only by the very very very dated gameplay and interface mechanics. And Warren Spector generally being Warren Spector.
Invisible War can die forgotten in a hole. That game made me hate X-BOX with how it devastated that series on PC.
@VenomousAlbino ""sure, the car is criminally unsafe and might kill you, but people worked really hard and on it and maybe they'll release a better version later", "
You haven't followed Tesla and Chevy Volt, have you? The latter had the steering wheel fall off in the...was it CR or JD Power test track...more than once....but it's soooo greeen and it'll be so good! And the Tesla's had that little problem where they exploded if wet. But they're soooo green and beautifully designed and they'll get it right next version!
Sadly when it comes to tech darlings and unicorns, even exploding cars are excused if the design intent is cool enough and the team is trusted to "get it right eventually."
Seems universal - reception is blinded by tech enthusiasm so that even if a product fails it's stated basic intent and purpose, even dangerously so, it's all ok if the scope was expansive and interesting enough. People are weird.
Deus Ex:Human Revolution is actually better than the Director's Cut in my opinion. I felt that Rifleman Bank Station didn't add anything worthwhile to the game and it felt like a slog to get through. You could say it's ironic that Mankind Divided got panned by critics for feeling incomplete and Cyberpunk comes out and surpasses it in every way 🙄 I did love both HR and MD. Listening to Cyberpunk's OST makes my hair fall out, Michael Mann knocked it out of the park in Deus Ex. Agreed on part 3 of Adam Jensen's story
Despite all the bugs and glitching people are having i can't wait to play this game..
@gollumb82 The big thing with Director's Cut was the improved textures, mostly. Human Revolution was always an ugly game, even when it launched on 360. (even with Auto-HDR on XSX it's only mediocre looking at best.) Director's Cut fixed that a little (though it also removed some of the gold filter which I thought ruined the creative intent - but the gold was overdone.) The difference in appearance was night and day. The other thing Directors Cut fixed were the 100% broken boss fights that they outsourced to some other company that didn't "get" the game and required an all action combat approach, which left you screwed over if you build for stealth (in a Deus Ex game.......) I ended up spending most of my praxis on Typhoon so I could try to cheese past the broken bosses in the base game. They rewrote the bosses entirely to be stealth-able for the DC. It's really the best version of the game by far, and technically it is BC supported on XB. But I bought it as a WiiU disc, and unfortunately it was never available as a digital game for XB, so it's kind of lost to time. I'd buy it for $70 if they released it digitally for XB BC. It's worth it.
Mankind Divided. It's a shame, they really upped the game in control and stealth, it plays soooo well. But yeah even part-way through it feels like the amount of locations are severely limited for a DX game, the areas are smaller (except for Golem City that goes on way way waaaaay too long for a dreary uninteresting environment.) It's a great game that should have been greater. In a way it feels like Invisible War 2. Better gameplay though. And a distinct lack of the color blue....
Of course next to the scope of the OG game, everything pales in comparison. That thing could be broken up into 3 episodes in a remake like FFVII.
Honestly I am impressed by this game on my Xbox One X, but I can see how people who are stuck playing it on a launch-spec Xbox or a One S might be disappointed. On the One X though it looks great, and I find the game to be tons of fun as a fan of games like Elder Scrolls and Fallout. It honestly feels like a proper Bethesda RPG to me, and much like those games it's really buggy at launch lol. That said they are clearly dedicated to patching the game up and the latest patch I received made the game a much better experience. This is one of those games where the launch era crowd might be really critical of it but over time it's sure to only grow in favor.
I've got the game. Right here, in my hand. Still in its box.
It's a nice box.
But I'm gonna wait a while before inserting the disc in my Series X.
At least sixt months, I think.
I'll play it when the full "next-gen" patch will be applied.
@Bobobiwan WHy pay full price for a game then not play for six months? Even if you pre-ordered, they are offering full refund. If you are that worried about bugs, get a refund and buy again in six months, when the price will likely have dropped. If not - put it on and play it.
@Captain_Chao5 As I wrote in another post, I chose to support them. And I am genually excited about this game. I wanted to play it day one but what I read here and there made me reconsider.
But I keep my game, I know CD Project and they will fix all this mess. I trust these guys, really.
Let's see if they can pull a Hello Games No Man's Sky over the next 1-2 years. I know they have DLC planned, but it sounds like there are some fundamental issues that need addressing around AI for this to be a truly immersive free-roaming RPG.
There is something to be said for a more linear approach to building RPG worlds such As Outer Worlds or Greedfall, you can rely a lot less on the simulation aspect that games like Red Dead and Skyrim provide, meaning less need for more immersive AI and you can focus on the aesthetics and storytelling to sell the universe.
Companies that release their games before they're finished deserve to fail.
@SuperWeird So pretty much the entire industry these days?
I'm playing the game on PS5 and really like it but there's no question from the videos I've seen it's a disaster on the base last-gen consoles especially. The PS4 and X1 versions should've been cancelled. Would've caused a lot of anger in the short term but the long term damage what be where it's headed now.
@Gamer83 Speak for yourself, I couldn't disagree with you more there. As an Xbox One X owner I am very happy that I can experience and enjoy this game on my console without being forced to purchase a next gen console to play it. For some reason it seems like the PS crowd is by far the most negative about it, probably because their backwards compatibility isn't that good a lot of the time. Well it's a shame if it's an issue for you guys but that is not an excuse to make the rest of us miss out on this game. Maybe the One X is unique in it's position but then again that is why I bought it on this platform. It's kinda lame how you think just because you have been having issues that nobody should be allowed to have it.
I think 5 is a fair score after reading the review. Glad you finally put a score on it. Did anyone believe patch 1.04 would make much difference? It’s going to be months before they sort this out on console and that includes the ‘next gen’ consoles too.
Curious if you considered different scores for Series S/X against One S/X? Sounds like a huge difference in how they play
Ooooof. Really hope you guys stay safe, reviewers who gave the game a mediocre score have been getting death threats.
Hoooooooboy..... Suddenly crackdown 3 looks pretty darned amazing!
Way to turn it into PlayStation vs. Xbox garbage. The game was clearly held back by 2013 consoles, this is about wanting a better product.
@Gamer83 The Xbox One X is not a 2013 product, it's a 2017 product, and I doubt it's holding anything back when the game runs better on that than most PC's right now.
That and there is a big difference between the way the PS5 handles backwards compatibility and the way the Xbox Series consoles handle it. The Xbox Series consoles are essentially just the latest upgrade to the Xbox One platform, everything that runs on Xbox One also runs on Xbox Series and it enhances games the same way it would on Xbox One upgrade consoles. The PS5 on the other hand is pretty much an entirely separate platform from the PS4, only a select few PS4 games will run on it and they all need a lot of special attention in order to benefit from any enhancements over the PS4. Xbox is pretty much an ecosystem where games can be enhanced like they would on a PC, while Playstation is very closed off and a lot more difficult to do backwards compatibility with, so I wouldn't generalize any issues you would have with PS4 games on PS5 as an issue that would be facing Xbox users.
@Gamer83 the game was held back by garbage management, not by prev gen consoles.
Alot of hate here you do know its been out for a week plus its a open world rpg but they never had any bugs says skyrim and fallout.
@orionreplay Impressions like these are so far off to everything that has been stated in the trailers and amazing marketing campaign, it's not even fun anymore.
I totally agree with this review. I've played it for 25 hours on Series X. It has been a continuous display of issues, collision bugs, pop-ups, texture bugs, floating objects, and floating npcs... and when I say continuous I can hardly remember a sequence without bugs. I decided this morning to stop playing and get back to other games that definitely deserve my time and attention (specifically Yakuza 7 and Destiny 2, or the latest Gears DLC). We'll see if CDPR will have a real next-gen patch by march, but I'm starting to doubt they'll resolve all the issues before Q3. Five is almost being generous.
@Deadeyerobbie Same here. Can wait. I have tons of stuff to play through on Game Pass anyway. But I agree, this game should never have been released in this state. Think they (CD Projekt Red) are walking on egg shells now. People's views of them will change because of this.
Will the pro consumer company give refunds?
Well, Sony just removed this game from the PSN!!!
Wonder if Microsoft will follow suit.
Xbox has handled backwards compatibility one trillion times better than Sony but just to put it out there, I haven't had any problems with Cyberpunk on PS5, in fact on that console it's a mostly smooth running, very enjoyable game and since the patch I've seen people say it's now fun and playable on PS4 Pro. I don't know from personal experience how it plays on Xbox One X so maybe I shouldn't comment on it but what I saw initially was a lot of people not enjoying the PS4 and Xbox One experiences. Maybe 'held back' is the wrong term but I feel CDPR bit off more than it could chew.
End of the day, I'm just disappointed because it's a great game on machines that can handle it and can't help but wonder if being made with PC, PS5 and the Xbox Series X/S consoles in mind would've been better.
Having had this game a while now on series X, and taken my time playing it. I feel that the scope of the project is admirable, the production design of night city is astonishing. Some of the main storyline missions are well developed and fun. As others have mentioned there is a lot of shortcomings that will hopefully get ironed out eventually. I feel the game is highly overwhelming to start with, and a better implementation of game mechanics could have been presented to the player to help grasp the enormous amount of customisations within the game. In hindsight the game should have been delayed until ready, and only released on next gen systems to fully utilise the power of those systems. Hopefully Halo infinite will navigate this issue better than cyberpunk. As a fan of science fiction and cyberpunk I still would recommend this game.
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