Review Roundup

Cyberpunk 2077 reviews reveal long-hyped RPG is stunning but problematic

A look at where gaming has been, not where it's going.

CD Projekt Red

The first wave of Cyberpunk 2077 reviews are here. The first set of reviews from sites like IGN, Game Informer, and Venture Beat collectively paints a clear picture of CD Projekt Red's hotly-anticipated role-playing game.

Cyberpunk 2077 appears to be just as bombastic and well-detailed as previews and trailers made it seem, making it a jaw-dropping AAA showcase. But design issues, bugs, and problematic characters seemingly hold the game back from absolute greatness. Will it be enough to keep gamers entertained?

"...an engrossing thrill ride..."

Cyberpunk 2077 currently sits at 91 on Metacritic thanks to several positive reviews from outlets like IGN and Game Informer. IGN praises both the main quest and side missions, claiming that "the choice you have within them make Cyberpunk 2077 one of the most exciting, emotional, and just plain fun RPGs I’ve played in recent years," in its 9 out of 10 review.

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Every mission and objective is infused with exhaustive amounts of detail, regardless of how central it is to the core plot, which was also the case in CD Projekt Red's previous smash hit, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Cyberpunk 2077's story was also praised in many reviews, with Video Games Chronicle calling the campaign "an engrossing thrill ride," claiming that it will set a "new bar for cinematic blockbusters."

While it doesn't feature the largest open-world ever, it's immensely detailed, with The Washington Post saying that it has "the dense activities and detail of Kamurocho in the Yakuza games and other smaller role-playing titles, stretched out across miles of a proper Grand Theft Auto city."

While Venture Beat's review was one of the more negative opinions on the game, coming in at only 3 stars, it praises the visuals. "Night City is beautiful and ugly in all the ways a megacity should be," it says. Later, Venture Beat calls it one of the best showcases of ray tracing yet. From a visual perspective, Cyberpunk 2077 is a spectacle, though the visuals are hurt by bugs, which seems to be the game's Achilles Heel.

Overall, these early reviews indicate that CD Projekt Red has crafted an extremely ambitious and detailed RPG that puts a lot of emphasis on player choice to tell a compelling story. But there also seem to be some major flaws that hold the pre-launch PC version of Cyberpunk 2077 back for many reviewers, and not all of them are technical.

"...more like edgy set-dressing than meaningful commentary..."

Even the extremely positive reviews for Cyberpunk 2077 like Game Informer mention just how buggy the game is. "Not since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have I played a game that is riddled with so many graphical bugs at launch," Game Informer states its mostly positive review. "The danger of entering a seedy bar loses its bite when one of its patrons stands motionless in a T-pose. A high-speed motorcycle chase down a highway is far less intense than it should be when an NPC biker shakes so much he looks like a blur."

Even with all the delays, it seems like Cyberpunk 2077 could've still benefited from more time in the oven to work out these kinks. "As the game neared its end, every main character of the game was touched by some hilarious, scene-breaking glitch," The Washington Post states. Given the fact that CD Projekt Red is reportedly requiring the use of the provided b-roll for early video reviews, we won't truly see these glitches in action until the game is out.

Additionally, there was some divisiveness over how the game decided to portray some of its more delicate content. For example, Polygon points out how pronouns are tied to voice in character customization as well as how "CD Projekt Red failed to do anything with the trans options and identities they incorporated into the game to make them function in this way, and as V, you never have the option to say or do anything about it."

"The objectification of trans people is just background texture, nothing more," it concludes.

Game Informer's 9 out of 10 review says much of the same, also pointing out that the game uses problematic situations "more like edgy set-dressing than meaningful commentary." Reviews also point that there isn't much that feels "new" in Cyberpunk 2077. Rather, the title just combines the best elements of open-world games into a fun package with a couple of glaring flaws.

Jeff Grubb, who reviewed the game for Venture Beat, sums up the game's situation aptly: "I will be shocked if in 5 years we say to ourselves while playing a new game, 'Oh, they took this from Cyberpunk,'" he said on Twitter. "Instead, this is a game that feels like a summation of where we've come since Xbox 360. It's not a look at where gaming is going."

Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on December 10 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.

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