Cyberpunk 2077 (PC) - Review / First Impressions

NoUseMercenary

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#1
Cyberpunk 2077 (PC) - Review / First Impressions

My laptop specs:
MSI G75 Stealth 17.3" 1080p @ 144hz
Intel i7-9750H (6 cores) @ 2.6ghz

16GB of RAM
1TB NVMe SSD
NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB

Game Settings:
Everything is on High to Ultra, although I turned off Ray Tracing as I was experiencing screen tear / frame pacing issues when it was turned on by default. With ray tracing disabled, the game runs pretty smoothly and the overall graphics and performance are great.

I'm playing via Steam, with a PS4 Dualshock controller setup via bluetooth.

First Impressions:
Character creation seemed somewhat limited, choosing between male or female. Not many color options for hair styles, hair color, eye color, etc. To be honest, despite whatever nose, ear, jaw line, mouth, etc you choose, the overall character still looks kind of the same. I was expecting more options in height, body weight, muscle tone, skin tones, etc. Also, the tattoo options seemed pretty limited. I didn't like any of them, so I had zero tattoos or cyberware aesthetics.

I chose Nomad as my life path. The game kind of throws you right in without too many tutorials on movement, but the first mission is pretty straightforward. Jesse seems to be a pretty cool character, although unfortunately due to previous gameplay trailers released by CD Projekt Red, it kind of spoiled what happens in the near future. After the introduction, I went through all the VR Tutorials that teach you basic melee combat, gunplay, stealth, and hacking. I definitely suggest going through all of them as they don't take very long and teach you some of the basics. After that, I completed the following mission, scanning and picking up any items I came across.

I saved the game once I got to V's apartment and started the next mission. I'm still figuring out inventory and how to equip weapons, clothing, etc. Not sure how to sell my junk yet that I've picked up. The skill tree seems a bit overwhelming. Not really sure what all to put my points into thus far.

UPDATE: So I'm about 5hrs into the game and just finished The Heist Main Story mission. Basically the end of the prologue. I was able to compete all the side missions and gigs, except three (since they don't show up on the map) before moving onto The Heist. I knew not to move forward with the Heist mission till last due to the spoiler revealed in CD Projekt's earlier story / gameplay reveal trailers. Although, if you don't know what happens, I'm not going to spoil it for you.

So far, not too many noticeable bugs. I've seen some cars clipping through the road and some pathfinding issues on some NPCs. Other than that, most of the visuals hold up. I think with ray tracing turned off and most setting set to just High instead of Ultra, I'm not really experiencing any texture popping or bad frame pacing issues. Game runs pretty smoothly.

I like the Brain Dance stuff where you can remotely watch things play out, investigate stuff, etc. Pretty cool feature.

Here are some screenshots I've taken of my character build, although my equipment is basically set as best "armor /dps," not really built for style or personal preference.


I'm putting points into Reflexes so I can unlock higher headshot damage, critical damage, and stuff for sniper rifles. And then I'm also putting points into Intelligence for hacking, scanning netrunners, etc. The points that are put into body are just for basic things like health points, armor, health & stamina regen, and some points into Annihilation for submachine gun / rifle / shotgun damage.



So after completing most of the side missions and finishing the prologue after The Heist, my character level is Level 9, Street Cred 11. With about 21,000 eddies. Again, at this point in the game, my character isn't much to look at.


View from V's apartment:


One thing that does bug me about playing this game on Steam, is that it shows Xbox controller layout buttons instead of PlayStation, despite me using a PS4 Dualshock controller and having the correct settings setup on Steam. Basically, CD Projekt needs to release a patch, so you can set your controller button guides in-game.

Beat Cyberpunk 2077 last night. Did the Nomad ending. There is a small section where you can go back to the city to wrap up any remaining gigs/side jobs, or you can play through till the final bits /credits roll, and then it takes you back to a previous save before starting the final mission (with all leveling gained / equipment). I'll probably play through the final mission a few times and see what other endings there are, as there are quite a few dialogue options that will change the outcome.

Now that I've beat the game, I can say that I enjoyed my playthrough.

There are some noticeable bugs though that I hope CD Projekt Red fixes in the coming months. Towards the end of the game, my map was bugging out only showing certain icons based on the zoom level on the map. There was some annoying dialogue/subtitle glitch where every time I jumped into the game, it had previous dialogue from Johnny Silverhand stuck on screen (only way to remove it was to disable/enable subtitles in the Settings every time).

Also, I ran into issues of falling through the map or the game glitching out if I picked up and read shards too quick. In addition, I'd like to see them fix getting phone calls from Fixers / people during missions. I'd be already in a dialogue tree with someone during my mission and then suddenly my phone would ring and some fixer started talking messing up my dialogue options during my mission. It was annoying.

I'd like to see fixes to NPC AI, allowing them to have daily routines. Fix the cops AI so they're actually are a threat and you can have car chases running from them. Curious what they'll fix in the January and February mass patches and what free DLC they'll release in Q1 2021.

Anyways, that's all I got for now. I'll will try and upload some screenshots from my gameplay to this thread. Feel free to post your thoughts, questions, etc in this thread and I'll try and respond as much as possible.
 
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NoUseMercenary

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#2
Worth noting, the RTX 2070 Max-Q I have in my laptop is a less powerful version of the actual RTX 2070 card. It's the laptop version of it. Based on benchmarks, it's closer to the performance of a 1650ti card, but is supposedly capable of ray tracing.
 

NoUseMercenary

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#4
How's your experience when it comes to bugs? Did the day one patch help?
After I turned off Ray tracing, the game has run pretty smoothly. No screen tearing or frame pacing issues. The only bug I noticed thus far was Jesse walked into a group of lockers and it caused everything inside to tumble out. Like his path finding was a little buggy, but it was just for like 2 seconds. That's the only thing I've seen so far.

I didn't play the game before the Day 1 patch. And I'm assuming by what I've seen from other gameplay videos, the PC version is the best place to play Cyberpunk 2077 right now, until they come out with official PS5 & Xbox Series X versions.
 
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Libra-75

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#5
After I turned off Ray tracing, the game has run pretty smoothly. No screen tearing or frame pacing issues. The only bug I noticed thus far was Jesse walked into a group of lockers and it caused everything inside to tumble out. Like his path finding was a little buggy, but it was just for like 2 seconds. That's the only thing I've seen so far.

I didn't play the game before the Day 1 patch. And I'm assuming by what I've seen from other gameplay videos, the PC version is the best place to play Cyberpunk 2077 right now, until they come out with official PS5 & Xbox Series X versions.
Yeah, I'm hoping the PS5 version will be a lot better than the last gen (PS4/XBox One) version, since I'm going to play it on PS5.
 

Fijiandoce

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#7
Finally got to play a bit last night! Played up to the apartment. Went outside, didn't go see the dude and just went for a wander in that immediate area. The game is kinda breathtaking whenever you look up. A lot of verticality in the world, as far as design goes. Don't know if that translates to the actual gameplay later, but interested to find out!

I didn't wanna have MSI afterburner up for the first impression but i could tell it was trying its best to be 60. Maybe hovering in the high 50's at times at high/ultra for me (with dlss tho, from what i've seen if i turn that off it's 30 fps central lol. This might also mean a cpu bottleneck for me since reviewers got a bit higher with dlss on). Kinda interested in DF's optimised settings. I flicked the RT features on and off and in some cases i honestly didn't know if anything changed. Maybe there are specific situations where it works 10x better, but for the little time i had with it i couldn't immediately pick anything out. I know RT works for reflections, but your character doesn't have a reflection which is a giant waste and missed opportunity imho, unless it's a bug.

On the bugs, only really seen two. One was a floating car, the other was 16:9 black bars that wouldn't go away (this second one was kinda annoying). Nothing major.

Gunna be a fun week. Can't wait to get stuck in! This game looks great in Ultrawide with HDR!
 

NoUseMercenary

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#8
Finally got to play a bit last night! Played up to the apartment. Went outside, didn't go see the dude and just went for a wander in that immediate area. The game is kinda breathtaking whenever you look up. A lot of verticality in the world, as far as design goes. Don't know if that translates to the actual gameplay later, but interested to find out!

I didn't wanna have MSI afterburner up for the first impression but i could tell it was trying its best to be 60. Maybe hovering in the high 50's at times at high/ultra for me (with dlss tho, from what i've seen if i turn that off it's 30 fps central lol. This might also mean a cpu bottleneck for me since reviewers got a bit higher with dlss on). Kinda interested in DF's optimised settings. I flicked the RT features on and off and in some cases i honestly didn't know if anything changed. Maybe there are specific situations where it works 10x better, but for the little time i had with it i couldn't immediately pick anything out. I know RT works for reflections, but your character doesn't have a reflection which is a giant waste and missed opportunity imho, unless it's a bug.

On the bugs, only really seen two. One was a floating car, the other was 16:9 black bars that wouldn't go away (this second one was kinda annoying). Nothing major.

Gunna be a fun week. Can't wait to get stuck in! This game looks great in Ultrawide with HDR!
From my experience so far, the verticality does come into play as you're able to climb and eventually unlock abilities like double jump and stuff. One of my missions I did earlier required too high of a Technical ability to pick the lock, so I went around to the side of the building, climbed up some dumpster, got onto the roof, and dropped down into the building through a sky window.
 
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Fijiandoce

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#9
So, found out why they don't include the player character in the raytraced reflections. Enjoy:



Not too sure what's up with perf. tho. I usually get what's in my screenshot above. But after a while it'll crash down into the 30's and stay there.
 

NoUseMercenary

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#10
Here are some new Cyberpunk 2077 screenshots from my recent playthrough. An update on my character level and Street Cred too. Basically all I did tonight was go around and collect all the tarot cards and then all the missing Delamain cars. Tried to get the fetch quests out of the way. Now I'm starting the main campaign mission with Voodoo Boys.








 

NoUseMercenary

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#11
Beat Cyberpunk 2077 last night. Did the Nomad ending. There is a small section where you can go back to the city to wrap up any remaining gigs/side jobs, or you can play through till the final bits /credits roll, and then it takes you back to a previous save before starting the final mission (with all leveling gained / equipment). I'll probably play through the final mission a few times and see what other endings there are, as there are quite a few dialogue options that will change the outcome.

Now that I've beat the game, I can say that I enjoyed my playthrough.

There are some noticeable bugs though that I hope CD Projekt Red fixes in the coming months. Towards the end of the game, my map was bugging out only showing certain icons based on the zoom level on the map. There was some annoying dialogue/subtitle glitch where every time I jumped into the game, it had previous dialogue from Johnny Silverhand stuck on screen (only way to remove it was to disable/enable subtitles in the Settings every time).

Also, I ran into issues of falling through the map or the game glitching out if I picked up and read shards too quick. In addition, I'd like to see them fix getting phone calls from Fixers / people during missions. I'd be already in a dialogue tree with someone during my mission and then suddenly my phone would ring and some fixer started talking messing up my dialogue options during my mission. It was annoying.

I'd like to see fixes to NPC AI, allowing them to have daily routines. Fix the cops AI so they're actually are a threat and you can have car chases running from them. Curious what they'll fix in the January and February mass patches and what free DLC they'll release in Q1 2021.
 

Fijiandoce

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#12
Finished this game over the holidays as well. Managed to do enough to qualify for all the endings so played through the Nomad and Johnny endings. Apparently, the other ending is the worst ending.

After finishing i do have some criticisms that i picked up tho.

Story:
No real complaint, characters, themes etc. are all good. Just the pacing kinda plateaus (which is kinda the case for most open world titles). I was expecting some late game twist that shakes up the established story up to that point, but that doesn't happen. Once all the characters and stuff fall into line, you're off onto the final missions.

Car control:
In Ghost Recon: Wildlands, it was obvious they gave the job of 'Vehicle design' to a guy who had only ever ridden bicycles. His only interaction with a car was probably reading about what one was, and how it functioned, in a book.

While it's not as bad here, they need to do some research into understanding the importance of suspension to a vehicle. Literally had my ride launch into the stratosphere after catching some air, landing, and then preceding bounce itself into escape velocity.

They also need to improve the sensation of speed. When you're in the base car, everything seems fine because it's not that fast. But i've seen people doing 100+ take a corner and complain that the cars are prone to understeer... well, duh. NOTE: They don't actually use the term 'understeer', they usually just drop it under the term "bad car control", even though understeer is the natural effect when you turn at speed.

Music:
I thought they'd really lean into the electro-synth beats a little bit more. The fact they commissioned their own music is commendable tho. Was expecting a few more
type tracks.

Or even some real synth filth

Controls:
Worst criticism for me however, on PC, is the controls. Hoo boy is this thing a real mixed back. 'F' instead of 'E' as the default interact when 'E' is kinda the defacto standard. Fair enough if 'E' was mapped to something but honestly i can't even remember what the 'E' key is used for in-game. You also have z,x,c,v which are all used that are way too close together. Speaking of mapping. This would be an easy fix if they let you remap the keys. They don't. You get a small selection and that's it. For everything else, you're locked in. Why do 'tab' and 'caps' both serve the same function? Make it a toggle in the menu... The keys also aren't consistent. Most of the times, 'back' is 'c', on a few occasions, it's esc (this is infuriating coz every other time this brings up the menu!), and very rarely they have some scenes where fucking 'x' is back... Sit on a cactus till it comes out your mouth mate...
They also have some dumb ass mapping baked in. The 'dash' is a double tap in a given direction. This probably makes sense on console (or controller) where you can do a double movement on the stick. On a keyboard? The key is either on or off. So if you're trying to tap your way to move slowly, I hope you instead like watching yourself launched head first into situations you weren't planning on; coz that's all this leads to. Wanna nudge up to the edge of a high vantage point? Nah mate. You actually wanna rocket off the edge Wilhelm style! Wanna scooch on over to the corner of a crate to get an angle on enemies? Nope! Leeeeory Jenkins time!

If this title came out firing on all cylinders imho it'd be worth a mid to low 90's score. In its current state, would understand it being dropped to the mid to low 80's. Personally, i really like these types of games, so i'd probably put it around 90, even as is.

Also, there's a few easter eggs i found along my way. I'll share them here!
- I think one everyone will experience is the GLaDOS one during the Delamain quest.

- You can get a pet cat...

- You can get the fastest car in the game for free (paid version is 175k). I'm not sure if there is a trigger, but i was driving around outside of any quest and found the tunnel Panem takes you through in her questline and towards the end of it there is a container with a black Cliburn. Yours for free.

- There's a smart gun i found named 'Skippy' that talks back to you. Sometimes, he'll get aroused if you reload your gun...

- There's a 'Matrix' reference that Johnny will comment on, except the outcome when he leaves the window is a little different (shard with a conversation between one "Orpheus", and a Mr "Anderson"):


- There's a death Stranding Easter egg in the One eyed Cop quest:
 

NoUseMercenary

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#13
@Fijiandoce - Nice write up. I'm surprised you were able to do the Johnny Silverhand ending, along with the other default ones. You have to make sure to answer certain dialgoue trees throughout the game in order to have high enough cred with Silverhand to unlock it. I didn't know until towards the end of the game, so it was impossible for me to get in thru this playthrough.

I agree about the pacing. I was waiting for some Main Story even to change certain aspects of the city. Like a bomb going off and part of the city destroyed or something for the rest of the game. I also wish they had more stuff going on with the Factions. Like being able to gain favor or lose favor with Factions based on your decisions during missions. Or Factions gaining or losing territory based on certain mission decisions. Or heck, just more Faction wars in the streets.

Regarding vehicle control, I thought it was pretty good considering this is CD Projekt's first attempt at stuff like this. It can definitely be fine tuned, but overall I was happy with the driving. I mostly drove around in my motorcycles.

-----

Side note: I started playing Ghost of Tsushima over the New Year weekend. Just started Act II (after completing everything available in Act I). Man, is this an amazing game. Playing Ghost of Tsushima after Cyberpunk made me realize just how bad CD Projekt did with optimizing their game. GoT has amazing graphics, animation, ambient sounds, gameplay, etc and runs perfectly well on a PS4 Pro. I've only played Cyberpunk on a PC, but from what I've seen from PS4 videos, it looks awful. No reason for that, other than the developers released an unfinished game.
 

Fijiandoce

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#14
There were a few parts where Johnny would ask for control and i was a bit apprehensive. But i kinda played under the assumption that at the end, one of us would control the body. Towards the end you kinda end up in this "'ill save you bro", and he's also all "I'll save you too bro" (V's lines aren't delivered that way tho). One of the key moments in the story for me was the bit where you find Johnny's grave (or lack of one). I did the tarot cards early in the game, and i had already been to that place and explored a little. It's a little bit sobering to then go back there later on and find that the dude in your head was buried feet from where you were standing... and you had no idea... Even he had no idea!

The Delamain quest was one of the quests that kinda endears you to the guy. At the end, you can either nuke the AI core, or merge them. You would've expected Johnny to go with the nuking option for obvious reasons, but he's the one that comes up with the solution to merge them.

Johnny's route, i guess, is quite a sobering route in many ways.

Onto other things that i found out recently: If you hit a mirror when your relic is going haywire, you appear as Johnny, not V.
 

Junglist

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Mar 19, 2021
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#15
Pretty thorough review there, good work.

I'm going to finish a few other games first but I will return to this eventually as I'm sure a good game is hiding beneath all of the bugs. I did load it up and get to the point of having a conversation with some big bloke in a car but haven't played much beyond that.

I feel the game is poorly optimised on the CPU side of things. I have a 9700K and whilst it's not the fastest CPU around there is no reason for it to be maxing out at 100% utilisation.
 

NoUseMercenary

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#16
Pretty thorough review there, good work.

I'm going to finish a few other games first but I will return to this eventually as I'm sure a good game is hiding beneath all of the bugs. I did load it up and get to the point of having a conversation with some big bloke in a car but haven't played much beyond that.

I feel the game is poorly optimised on the CPU side of things. I have a 9700K and whilst it's not the fastest CPU around there is no reason for it to be maxing out at 100% utilisation.
Thanks! Yeah, I'm waiting for the supposed March update before starting another playthrough. Or I might just wait for the first DLC to drop over the summer. I didn't run into too many bugs, nothing game breaking. And if you set all your game settings properly, you can achieve decent visuals at a consistent framerate. The big one is just turning ray-tracing off. But you can adjust other settings like shadows and stuff too that will greatly improve performance. Some of the Digital Foundry videos do a good job at showing which settings to adjust, as there really aren't any noticeable visual changes between Max Setting and Medium, but the performance boost is huge.