I remember the first time I saw the 48 minute gameplay reveal for Cyberpunk 2077.
It blew my socks off with its quality and I became incredibly excited for its release.
Years passed and each tease got me more and more excited, especially the reveal that Keanu Reeves would play a big part in the game’s story, playing Johnny Silverhand.
My hype for the game was to the point that I was almost as excited for it as I was for The Last of Us Part 2.
However, going in, I knew I had to temper my expectations because it had been hyped up to levels I was sure even it could not surpass.
Yet, I was still confident that CD PROJEKT RED would deliver a complete and finished product.
Then, news came out that they were restricting those who reviewed the PC version, so they could only use footage from the trailers.
Even more suspicious was them completely banning any reviews for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox versions.
At the time, I reasoned that they were just trying to hide the bugs that would be fixed with the day one patch and the game would run fine on my PlayStation 4.
Oh, how wrong I was.
I’m not saying anything new by going over how incredibly buggy the console versions were upon release and, honestly, still are.
I just completed my first playthrough of the game and lost count of how many bugs I encountered.
My game crashed a total of five times, seven if you count the two times I had to quit because a bug made it literally unplayable.
There were a litany of other glitches I experienced, like characters speeding up like they were the flash, the frame rate dropping when driving, characters calling me in the middle of a mission when I’m already talking to another character.
Not only this but Cyberpunk 2077 is also lacking features that have been in open world games for almost two decades.
The most prominent example of this is the police system, which is 100% broken, as police officers spawn right in front of you and give up chasing you after you get a block away from them.
Driving is also a pain because of how difficult cars are to drive, the already stated low frame rate, and the mini map being way too small.
At least I found driving around on motorcycles to be pretty fun.
However, despite all of these numerous problems, I still found myself having fun with Cyberpunk 2077.
Yes, it definitely should not have been released in this state, but I still found myself enjoying the story, its characters, and gameplay.
You play as V (Gavin Drea for male, and Cherami Leigh for female), a mercenary living in the dystopian Night City, who is hired to steal a biochip from a corpo.
Of course, this heist goes completely wrong and V has to place the biochip in their head to save it.
Unfortunately, after a near death experience, the biochip begins to kill V and replace them with the digitized soul of Johnny Silverhand.
And so, V and Johnny have to work together to find a way to remove the biochip, without killing V, encountering a large cast of colorful characters along the way.
Takemura (Rome Kanda), Judy (Karla Tassara), Panam (Emily Woo Zeller), River (Robbie Daymond), Kerry (Mathew Yang King), Jackie (Jason Hightower), I came to care about so many of these great characters, to the point that, when one of them died in a mission, I actually looked up how to save them, then went back and did just that because I liked them so much.
The growing bond between V and Johnny is also great to see, as it grows across the game and Johnny continuously gives you advice on what to do in many compelling missions.
Of these numerous fun quests, I would have to say that my favorite is actually a side quest called Sinnerman.
The opening to that mission is just so intriguing and, as it goes on, it raises some really interesting moral questions about belief, forgiveness and corporate exploitation.
Along with the great quests, there are also some intense gameplay mechanics, with different play styles offered to the different builds you use.
I focused on my stealth and turned my V into a Cyberpunk ninja, occasionally using Mantis Blades to slice up my enemies.
This action went along great with the score, which is absolutely phenomenal in every way.
I can easily see myself listening to this game’s music for years to come.
These great elements of story, character and gameplay combine into the endings, of which there are numerous.
Unfortunately, these endings are mostly based on what you choose right at the end rather than across the game, but they all offer different perspectives for the story, and different conclusions for each of the characters, delivering a satisfying experience.
It’s just a shame that this satisfaction is watered down by the extremely buggy nature of the game, and the shady business practices that went towards hiding this from players.
I may have not enjoyed The Last of Us Part 2’s story to the point that it made me personally find playing it to be a negative experience, but at least Naughty Dog didn’t screw with players by releasing a buggy mess.
Once again, I know I’m not the only person pointing out the hypocrisy of a game preaching against corporations when said game falls victim to corporate greed, but it’s still quite depressing.
Cyberpunk 2077 could have been one of the best games of 2020 that delivered a worthwhile experience, even if it could never live up to all the hype.
Instead, it will most likely be remembered for its buggy launch and practicing the very corporate actions it speaks against.
Still a fun game overall but one with a corporate shadow leaning over it.