Cyberpunk 2077 review for Xbox One, PS4 and PC

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

At this point, you?ve undoubtedly heard multiple opinions, thoughts, and various tales about 2020?s most anticipated/controversial/broken/not broken video game aka Cyberpunk 2077. While the news cycle for this particular release from CD Projekt Red has cooled down a bit this week, I?ve finally finished the console version of the game, making it the perfect (?) time to post a review. And you know what my biggest takeaway is after spending 50 hours or so in Night City?

Cyberpunk 2077 is mostly OK, provided you?re playing it on a PS5, Xbox Series X, or higher-end PC. Shocking news, I know, but it?s worth hammering home again and again that the game does run pretty poorly on PS4 and Xbox One, particularly on the base models. If you?ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks but were still thinking about picking up Cyberpunk 2077 in a post-holiday gaming slump, I?d highly suggest avoiding the baseline console experience. 

Outside of that I generally enjoyed my time with the game. It?s not what I?d label a revolutionary RPG experience. It?s more in line with other first-person RPG?s like Elder Scrolls or Fallout, with better shooting mechanics and environment traversal abilities (double jump, mostly). It?s a solid one of those types of games, with a hefty number of side objectives, randomly populated mini-combat encounters, a fair amount of loot, some decent character customization options along with a few other bells and whistles. 

Cyberpunk 2077 is also a pretty good looking game throughout. The main roads of Night City can vary from sector to sector, but overall it?s mostly about neon-drenched roads, evil corporations, littered underground passageways, impressive skyscrapers, and the occasional breathtaking vistas you?ll encounter on the outskirts of the city. I can?t really fault the look of the game at all, and that goes for a large portion of the NPC?s you?ll meet throughout. Yeah, there are a few randoms that can look a little rough (the children look pretty weird) but overall, I think Cyberpunk 2077 is a great-looking game. 

I?ve also mostly enjoyed the mechanics of the game as well. In Cyberpunk 2077 you?ll create a customized avatar from a host of different options (yes, including genitalia), and from there you?ll pick one of three backgrounds. This will dictate the early setting of the game but doesn?t factor into the overall storyline in any meaningful way past that point. You?ll have some additional dialogue options that might pop up for Street Kid, Corpo, or Nomad, but again, if those dialogue options didn?t exist it wouldn?t appear to change the game in a considerable way. 

Once you?ve locked down the look of V (your character), and their background, you?ll start to earn experience in two different ways. One is just baseline experience, generally gained by completing quests, killing enemies, and so on. This will pour into V?s overall level, and each level gained will give you a skill point and a perk point to use. Skill points can be distributed through a handful of categories, increasing a few overall base stats depending on the category chosen. Perk points are perhaps a little more important, as those are then used on specific skills within the categories, to unlock more specific functions and abilities. Perks are where you?ll really start to customize your version of V, and there?s a pretty large variety available. Enough so that when I finally saw end credits roll, I hadn?t managed to completely max out my available perks on any category, despite putting a heavy focus on the Assault tree early on. It?s worth noting because it would likely take a number of playthroughs for you to even come close to seeing everything V can do, which does add to the overall replay value a bit with Cyberpunk 2077.

As far as exploration goes, I enjoyed the look and scope of Night City, but a lot of that space feels kind of wasted. Besides main missions and side missions, you?ll get some smaller-scale side jobs that lead to either stealth or combat focused encounters. There are plenty of shops for gear and weapons, but I rarely found myself using those. There are also various ?ripperdocs? available, which is where you can purchase cybernetic enhancements for V, but it seems like most of those items become accessible pretty early, provided you have the cash to purchase them. Enough so that when I hit the midway point of Act II, I had very little reason to visit a ripperdoc since there never seemed to be anything new to purchase to gear up with. Granted, if you prefer to just explore for the sake of exploration, then maybe Night City will be up your alley. But from a gameplay standpoint, I didn?t see much point in doing so. 

Finally, I?ll say that I also enjoyed the main story of Cyberpunk 2077. I was pretty surprised at just how much Keanu Reeves? character Johnny Silverhand factors in, he?s basically the second (maybe most) important character in the game, and his particular brand of acting is utilized really well. The initial set-up for his introduction, and how that plays out is pretty well done, giving V a lot of opportunities to bounce dialogue off of him and help the player immerse themselves in their own take on V as a character. I also found most of the key side characters to be pretty enjoyable, and it was worth pursuing their questlines to completion.

Overall, I think there?s a lot to like when it comes to Cyberpunk 2077, which has been unfortunately marred by poor performance issues on a number of platforms, and some poor communication (along with some overpromising) on the part of the publisher. It?s clear that a lot of work went into putting this game together, and it?s unfortunate that it had to release in a state that feels a little unfinished. It?s still a game you can very much derive enjoyment from, even in its current state but your ability to overlook open-world bugs and performance issues is certainly going to factor in quite a bit. I think it?s reasonable to assume, especially based on the changes that were made to Witcher 3 after it released, that CD Projekt Red can likely turn things around given more time, but if you?re still pondering a purchase at this point, I would hold off until more updates are made down the road. 

Note: CD Projekt Red provided us with a Cyberpunk 2077 Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: B-