With all of the details revealed thus far for Cyberpunk 2077, there have also been plenty of reasons to worry. Following its delay to December, let’s take a look at 10 of our biggest concerns, ranging from the story and gameplay to overall polish and performance on certain platforms.
With CRPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 3, I’m always impressed at the amount of cohesion needed to maintain a game’s story. These are games with main quests and side quests that provide multiple options, branching paths and branches on top of those branches (not to mention all the variations that can happen due to one’s character build). It’s easy for the overall cohesion and strength of the story to suffer, especially when so many decisions have to be kept track of.
Given the amount of branching that CD Projekt RED is promising in Cyberpunk 2077, there’s some concern as to whether the writing and overall plot can hold up, especially when the developer is trying to account for every single silly action that a player can take. Of course, this also ties into…
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we had Geralt, an established character with a strong background and history. Even if you didn’t play the previous two games or read the books, the narrative did a good job of conveying Geralt’s character while also advancing and developing it alongside the main story.
In Cyberpunk 2077, V has his share of backgrounds – as seen in the three Life Paths – but the sheer amount of customization and decision-making possible means that the game’s story has to be more flexible about how it reinforces his convictions and develops his character. After all, it all comes down to what the player decides and whether or not the narrative can anticipate that and find a way to leverage that to such a large degree.
There’s also Johnny Silverhand, who will be stuck in V’s head at some point and presumably remain with him throughout the story. Given that this is an established character – that too backed by a charismatic Keanu Reeves – there’s some worry that Johnny could overshadow V’s presence. A lot of them comes down to the strength of writing, how frequently Johnny is inserted into story scenes and whatnot but it’s a worry nonetheless.
Life Path Differences
This is something that piqued my interest when Life Paths were first revealed. I can appreciate having playable prologues for different kinds of V, showcasing his journey as a Nomad, struggles as a Corpo rat or life as a Street Kid. It’s pretty cool and having a Life Path influence how the world reacts to you makes for good replay value. CD Projekt RED has promised more than that though, like exclusive content for each Life Path.
While I doubt that Life Paths will make for three entirely different games in one package, there’s still a concern for how different playthroughs will be outside of differing prologues and endings and how much exclusive content one can really expect. For now, it’s best to just treat Life Paths as backgrounds that will influence how different groups interact with you in (and out) of Night City while also affecting the ending.
This has been a major concern ever since CD Projekt RED announced it. Don’t get us wrong – a first-person perspective has worked incredibly well for RPGs, from Deus Ex: Human Revolution to The Elder Scrolls. However, for some fans coming from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, having to adjust to first-person will be tough (especially since V only appears in third-person for certain cutscenes, while driving or when reflected in mirrors and glass).
Some may like to see their custom character at all times, especially during dialogue exchanges; others may prefer third person combat. It all comes down to preference at the end of the day. A third-person perspective option would have been nice but that’s sadly not included.
Driving – and transportation mechanics in general – is always a concern in open world games. It’s very easy to mess up the responsiveness of controls or make certain vehicles feel unwieldy. While CD Projekt RED had its fair share of issues with Roach in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, initial impressions of the driving in Cyberpunk 2077 have been that it’s fine but needs more polish. Whether it will see improvements or regressions remains to be seen, along with any potential issues that could crop up from summoning one’s vehicle.
The Witcher 3 didn’t have the best melee combat. This isn’t to say it was terrible but it wasn’t the best. This has seemingly come to haunt Cyberpunk 2077, whose melee combat has looked less than stellar, to the point that the development team outright admitted to not being 100 percent happy with it. More recent footage showed some improvements but the blocking and response from hitting enemies looked like they required more polish. The gunplay has been looking pretty good so we’re at least hopeful that melee combat will be improved.
As an investigative mechanic, Braindance looks pretty cool – it not only allows you to experience events first-hand but pause, rewind and fast forward, and analyze different aspects afterwards. Don’t get us wrong – this is already a step up from just activating Witcher senses and following trails. But it currently looks to boil down scanning different parts of the environment.
Will it become more complex than that, even with the ability to switch layers and filter out different sounds? Time will tell – a balance between being a narrative vehicle and intriguing puzzle mechanic would be ideal. We’ll just have to wait and see if different situations leverage it.
Xbox One and PS4 Performance
It was an open secret throughout the marketing and hype for Cyberpunk 2077 that it wouldn’t run well on current-gen consoles without some heavy compromises. No footage from the PS4 and Xbox One versions has ever been shown till date, even after the game went gold and was close to releasing in November. It was only after the recent delay that CD Projekt RED Adam Kicinski admitted to more work being required on the current-gen versions.
“Since Cyberpunk 2077 evolved towards almost being a next-gen title somewhere along the way, we need to make sure everything works well and every version runs smoothly.” Of course, considering the company is optimizing for so many different platforms, we’d say not to get your hopes up if you’re playing on Xbox One and PS4.
Glitches and Bugs
Despite all the delays and hard work from the developer, bugs will inevitably seep through. The problem is that with larger scale games like this, especially ones with so many branching decisions and paths, dialogues and characters, gameplay systems and mechanics, there will be a fair number of bugs and glitches. This same issue affected The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at launch as well, though CD Projekt RED released updates at a steady pace and fixed a lot of them. Nevertheless, expect the initial romp through Night City to have its share of rough patches and issues.
Too Big in Scope and Scale
Of course, another worry is that the immense scale of the game will lead to certain areas, story beats, characters or gameplay mechanics being underdeveloped. It could be that certain Street Stories just aren’t that good compared to others. Romancing companions may not be all that well-developed.
Certain weapon classes and types may end up feeling underwhelming compared to others. It could also mean that entire levels and environments aren’t properly polished or enjoyable. Again, this is always a concern for games of this magnitude – we’d honestly be more shocked if every aspect, no matter how small, was at a consistent level of quality.