Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably the most highly-anticipated game of 2020, and after several delays and other controversies, it’s finally here. Fans will be able to get their hands on CD Projekt Red’s new RPG on Dec. 10 (unless you pre-ordered from Best Buy). Ahead of the global launch, here’s what critics are saying about the game so far:
Andrew Reiner, Game Informer:
“Cyberpunk 2077 is a work of awe-inspiring ambition, dazzling with its massive scale and creative vision. The world of Night City is a metropolis of futuristic art, stealing your eye with stunning neon-lit architecture and streets filled with citizens made of flesh and metal. Night City is an open world that immediately pulls you in and keeps you engaged with its dark narrative, meaningful player choice, and overwhelming amount of side content.”
Kallie Plagge, Gamespot:
“It also bears a mention: Cyberpunk 2077 is phenomenally buggy. I played a pre-release build that was updated during the review period, and there’s a day-one patch planned as well, but the scale of technical issues is too large to reasonably expect immediate fixes. I encountered some kind of bug on every mission I went on, from more common, funnier ones like characters randomly T-posing to several complete crashes. I didn’t notice much of an improvement after the update, either. In a very late-game, very important fight, the game froze on me–twice. I ended up taking a break out of frustration before attempting, and finally succeeding, the third time.
These bugs, more than any game I’ve played in years, took me out of the experience often. Non-interactable items like cardboard boxes will explode when you interact with something next to them; UI elements will stay on-screen long after they’re meant to, which is only solved by reloading a save; characters will interrupt themselves during proper dialogue sequences by repeating a throwaway line they’d say in the overworld, seriously disrupting key moments; I died once and, upon reloading my last save, found my hacking ability no longer worked, forcing me to roll back to an autosave 10 minutes prior. The list is extensive.
James Davenport, PC Gamer:
“I found it moving and life-affirming in the final moments, even in the face of near certain death and a relentless onslaught of bugs. I suppose it’s an appropriate thematic throughline though: Cyberpunk 2077 is a game about V coming apart at the seams, in a city coming apart at the seams, in a game coming apart at the seams. Play it in a few months.”
Tom Marks, IGN:
“Cyberpunk 2077 kicks you into its beautiful and dazzlingly dense cityscape with few restrictions. It offers a staggering amount of choice in how to build your character, approach quests, and confront enemies, and your decisions can have a tangible and natural-feeling impact on both the world around you and the stories of the people who inhabit it. Those stories can be emotional, funny, dark, exciting, and sometimes all of those things at once. The main quest may be shorter than expected when taken on its own and it’s not always clear what you need to do to make meaningful changes to its finale, but the multitude of side quests available almost from the start can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the options you have when you get there. It’s a shame that frustratingly frequent bugs can occasionally kill an otherwise well-set mood, but Cyberpunk 2077’s impressively flexible design makes it a truly remarkable RPG.”
James Billcliffe, VG24/7:
“In the midst of such intense anticipation and scrutiny, it’s easy to get carried away with what Cyberpunk 2077 could have been. The final experience might be more familiar than many predicted, with plenty of elements that aren’t perfect, but it’s dripping with detail and engaging stories. With so much to see and do, Cyberpunk 2077 is the kind of RPG where you blink and hours go by, which is just what we need to finish off 2020.”
Carolyn Petit, Polygon:
“One of my fears about Cyberpunk 2077 was that it was going to be so cynical and nihilistic that playing it would be like wallowing in grim hopelessness, that the cheapness of human life in the game’s world would be mirrored by the game itself. But that’s not the case. It’s easy to lose the human thread in the overwhelming glut of stuff Cyberpunk 2077 puts on your plate, with your map plastered with crimes you can violently “neutralize” for a reward from the police, and fixers constantly sending you text messages about underdeveloped one-off jobs you can take on to earn a bit of extra cash. But the humanity is there, if you look for it.
“And that humanity is the saving grace of this alluring yet uneven and deeply flawed game. I can’t deny that Night City wowed me with its scale, its verticality, and its sense of history. But I wish I could see people like me on its streets as something more than objects. I wish that the game’s politics were more radical. Yes, I know I shouldn’t look to a colossal game that was itself produced under exploitative labor conditions to lead the charge of anticapitalist liberation, but I wish the sparks of Johnny Silverhand’s ideological rage got to burn brighter, that Cyberpunk 2077 felt more interested in envisioning new futures than in reminiscing over bygone glories. Neither its gameplay nor its narrative can imagine the bold possibilities that I find so central to the best of cyberpunk. But what it does offer is visions of people trying to make do and get by in a world that’s trying to eat them alive, and sometimes those people get by with a little help from their friends. It’s not the revolution I hoped for, but it’s something.”
Riley MacLeod, Kotaku:
“I haven’t fallen in love with playing Cyberpunk 2077, but I haven’t loathed it either. Some moments have been exciting or moving, while others have just felt like stuff to do. I’m middle-of-the-road on it so far—having fun in spots, left wanting the game to be more like what made The Witcher 3 great in others. The game itself wants so badly for you to think it’s cool, that it’s the cutting edge of graphics and game design, that it talks about edgy topics like body modification, corporate power, and the internet. It tries too hard, stuffing itself with a tangle of complicated roleplaying game systems; with so many cyberpunk tropes, plots, and slang; with neon and holograms and so many in-game ads, most of them for sex; with car chases and hacking and corporate espionage and double-crossing powerful people; with a world where the human body is made obsolete with money and technology, while also chewed up and spat out for the sake of capital. There’s an admirable diversity of races, sexualities, genders, and body types, but they feel like a veneer. It’s not a politically progressive game: these identities are all in service of the game’s vision of the cyberpunk future, one that can feel implausible and alienating but also has hints of the world we live in today.
Chris Tapsell, Eurogamer:
“It’s still early on for me, I should say – after 30 hours I was still, no doubt to the horror of many with vanishing spare time, just finding my feet – but much of that focus is placed on Cyberpunk‘s central story, which has so far been a welcome surprise. Beneath the noise – and Cyberpunk is truly cacophonous – there is a lingering thread of tenderness to it. I’ve opted to play V as a woman, with a ‘Corpo’ background, and she’s been voiced impeccably by Cherami Leigh and written with some skill. There’s real tenderness here, real vulnerability – a lot of “this city’ll chew you up and spit you out” stuff, sure, but there’s a waver to the tough talk, and from more than just V. Cyberpunk‘s story so far is one of fear, the surface of it plated in chrome and angst and body horror gore, but still built on a core of humanity. It’s more than I expected, and more than we’ve been taught to expect, frankly, by the brashness of the marketing, the pitching of Night City as this great, submissive, ultra-hedonist playground. Night City is a vile swamp, in actual fact, and Cyberpunk‘s characters are drowning in it. It is, so far, more than just a synthwave skin on another puerile open world.”
Rob Zacny, VICE:
“Cyberpunk 2077 is a game of the past and its forgotten futures. Its setting is a pastiche that was overtaken by history and technology. It is a piece of software that is a throwback to PC gaming of the 1990s and early 2000s in every possible way, and its aesthetic and narrative sensibilities of a teenage boy’s bedroom in the 1980s. Yet its lavish and utterly sincere devotion to its influences recalls what has made these dated visions so alluring and enduring. Cyberpunk is too tacky and graceless to be cool, but it’s very big, and very loud, and sometimes that’s all it takes to be awesome.”
Brad Chacos, PCWorld:
“Even if the main narrative somehow stumbles at the finish line, it wouldn’t take away from that sublime core gameplay experience. After a dozen hours, I haven’t come close to exhausting the available activities in just the first of Night City’s six districts and surrounding Badlands. No matter what happens with V, I can’t wait to discover all of Night City’s secrets. I’m in love.”
Richard Scott Jones, PCGamesN:
“Retroactive trigger warning about ‘politics in games’ for whoever cares about such things, by the way, but if that’s you, then you’d best steer clear of Cyberpunk 2077 if you stand by your claimed convictions. This is one of the most explicitly politically charged games ever made – Mike Pondsmith designed the tabletop game upon which it’s based as a “cautionary tale,” and after the killing of George Floyd back in June, reiterated that his universe is “a warning, not an aspiration“. Anyone who insists it’s pure, meaningless escapism is hopelessly deluded.
“Even if such sentiments are uttered in sincere good faith, I think it’s a tragic diminishment of our medium to insist that it shouldn’t tackle politics. Cyberpunk 2077 might not push quite as many boundaries in game design as a landmark release could, but if it can convince more people that games can and should take a position on issues of substance rather than peddle mindless thrills, that’ll be a worthy legacy.”
Stay tuned for Den of Geek’s review of Cyberpunk 2077 next week!