To say Cyberpunk 2077 has had a rough couple of years is an understatement. It was riddled with bugs on release and failed to meet the massive hype it generated. Fast forward a few years though and I have no problem in saying that Cyberpunk 2077 is a masterpiece. Here’s the thing though. It always was.
A troubled launch
Now, I’m not denying the game was fumbled majorly on launch. Much like No Man’s Sky before it, Cyberpunk 2077 faced a gauntlet of negative backlash upon release. At one point, Sony even removed it from the PlayStation Store until the most egregious of bugs were fixed. That’s…pretty bad.
But much like No Man’s Sky, considerable time and effort was invested into improving it post-launch. There is something to be said about why game companies always seem to think it’s acceptable to rush out broken games to the public. But this isn’t the article for that discussion. Enough time has now passed for Cyberpunk 2077 to reach its fullest potential.
It had potential
That is, I think, what I’m trying to get at. The potential this game has shown since day one. A cyberpunk adventure set in a densely layered open world. Populated with a ridiculously colourful cast of over-the-top characters. All sadly marred by a myriad of pretty epic glitches. Glitches that have MOSTLY been sorted out. Mostly! Cyberpunk 2077 is now free to finally reach its potential – it just took a bit of work to get there. The copious amounts of minor tweaks, alongside the 2.0 update and the Phantom Liberty DLC have definitely changed the game for the better.
An escape from strange times
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too soft on the game. I didn’t actually play it at launch. I didn’t experience the worst of the bugs. Although I did watch the legendary Crowbcat video multiple times for the sheer laughs it got out of me. My first time in the driving seat was in February 2021, having bought it as a birthday treat for myself. This was a few months after the initial December 2020 release date and in the height of the third national UK COVID-19 lockdown. It was the exact type of escapism that I needed around that time. Most importantly, it grabbed my attention almost immediately. Something that Starfield failed to do…
I ate up the story campaign and the side missions in record time. I squeezed out as much playtime as I possibly could out of it. Drove around the map just for the hell of it. My first playthrough totalled 68 hours. In that time, I had to reload my saves more times than I wanted to count because my story progression was blocked by bugs. And then there was that time the game made my recently purchased Xbox Series X turn off completely. Let me tell you, my heart was in my mouth at that point. Luckily, the Xbox seemed to turn back on fine.
Let me repeat that though. Cyberpunk 2077 was so fundamentally broken at that point, that it turned off the machine trying to run it! I don’t even know how that could happen!
Not a game changer
Is the game the industry-changing RPG experience that was promised? In my opinion, no. But if anything, surely Cyberpunk 2077 has taught us that we shouldn’t necessarily completely trust big inflated corporations hungry for our money. Pushing us to buy games on day one. Promising the earth and not keeping those promises. No matter the genuine goodwill that a certain game company has garnered over the past few years.
In short, I think that Cyberpunk 2077 is a flawed and awkward masterpiece. It ran before it could walk, stumbled and smashed its face on the pavement, then dragged itself back up again to have one more go. And it took a bunch of time at the RipperDoc to complete the facelift. I had a bunch of fun in Night City, and I hope to see you there as well Choom.