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Cyberpunk 2077 is still the same game with the same issues

Cyberpunk 2077 is in trouble. It has been since the game launched and people couldn’t play it on their PS4 or Xbox One consoles. Trouble has followed it through every patch, hotfix, and update that rolled out through 2021. And even now, with another massive update that’s given the game a suite of improvements on current-gen consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 is still in trouble.

Cyberpunk 2077 — Next-Gen Gameplay | PlayStation 5

While Cyberpunk 2077‘s 1.5 update makes the game look prettier and run smoother on consoles, I’ve been playing it on PC since launch, and nothing’s different. I understand that the game isn’t suddenly going to have ray-traced shadows on my computer when I boot it up, and that’s not what I expect. This update has been positioned as the game’s next big change, the version that should have been released in the first place.

But the issue is that nothing is different. When I boot up Cyberpunk 2077 now, I don’t feel like I’m playing a different game than I was when it launched in 2020. Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t something that will be radically changed from what it was in December 2020, and it’s time for us all to come to terms with that.

Skin-deep changes

If you’re playing Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’ll find that the game runs and looks better than it did before. That’s a great thing, don’t get me wrong. Having played it on PC since 2020, I get the appeal in that. Cyberpunk 2077 is a gorgeous game, and when it’s running at 60 frames per second (fps), Night City can really come to life.

But a majority of the bigger changes in this patch are simply skin-deep. Cyberpunk 2077 is the same game with the same story, sidequests, and weirdly transphobic advertisements. You can change your character’s appearance whenever you want now, and you can throw knives properly, both of which, again, are nice things to have.

Cyberpunk 2077 — Next-Gen Update Launch Trailer

Cyberpunk 2077‘s gameplay loop is unchanged, though. While a heap of quality-of-life features have been thrown into the game, actually completing its quests or driving around Night City remains unchanged. Sorry, that last part isn’t completely true — you can perform burnouts in cars now. Whoopee!

A lot of the changes are what I’d describe as “pretty neat.” Players can buy new apartments for V and have them play guitar inside. Cool. But it’s not gameplay-changing, and that’s true of everything in Cyberpunk 2077‘s 1.5 update. Anyone picking the game up today on consoles will get the same thing they would’ve gotten a year ago, save for higher frame rates and all-important ray tracing.

Bad to the bone

The fact of the matter is that Cyberpunk 2077 will seemingly always be a bug-filled game, whether those bugs are just visual or actually impact gameplay. These traits seem like they’ve almost been baked into the game like they’re part of its core. And for what it’s worth, Cyberpunk and its bugs are inseparable at this point. It wouldn’t feel right playing the game without something going awry.

A hacker uses a computer in Cyberpunk 2077.

In the four or so hours I’ve played the game since its 1.5 patch went live, I’ve experienced some of the same quirks that have been around since it launched. I saw characters T-posing during cutscenes, sound effects not playing during specific animations, and cars driving through solid objects. While Cyberpunk 2077 runs better across all platforms now, little of the game has actually changed.

If anything, that’s evident from the content of every patch leading up to 1.5. Over the course of the past year, post-launch development for Cyberpunk 2077 has seemingly been dedicated entirely to making the game playable for everyone without game-breaking bugs and glitches. For what it’s worth, CD Projekt Red has managed that much. You can play through the game without being softlocked 20 hours into it.

Cyberpunk and its bugs are inseparable at this point.

But the only actual gameplay changes to Cyberpunk 2077 have come in this past update, and even then they’re not huge. Players can throw knives at enemies now without losing them forever, and some perks have been rebalanced. There isn’t any new content. Cyberpunk 2077‘s story expansions seem like a long-forgotten promise.

If you didn’t like Cyberpunk 2077 the first time you played it, the game’s latest patch isn’t going to change that. Really, all the game’s 1.5 update does is give console players the PC experience. The game can run at 60 fps, at a 4K resolution, with some light ray tracing. But those visual features don’t reinvent the game — they just polish the mess that’s always been there.

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Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
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Cyberpunk 2077's big mistake
CD Projekt Red announced Cyberpunk 2077 in May 2012 at a press conference. At the time, the developer promised features like a "gripping non-linear story filled with life and detail" and a variety of character classes, weapons, upgrades, implants, and more to choose from. It said the game would "set [a] new standard in the futuristic RPG genre with an exceptional gaming experience."
Cyberpunk 2077 would not release until December 2020, over eight years later. But in the meantime, CD Projekt Red continued to tease the title with trailers and interviews, highlighting the game's ambitious scope and vision. CD Projekt Red developers hyped up how the main story and sidequests intertwined, how the game would feature multiplayer, how cops would be very reactive, and more. Although the game looked and sounded very impressive prior to its release, many of these features and promises were either missing or half-baked in their implementation into Cyberpunk 2077.
Cyberpunk 2077 Teaser Trailer
For eight years, an RPG that was supposed to change the genre forever was promised, but in the end, all we got was a fairly standard open-world RPG with a bevy of technical problems at release. The massive backlash happened because people were so excited for Cyberpunk 2077, partly because CD Projekt Red hyped up all of these ambitious features over eight years.
The reality is that game development is an arduous journey that doesn't always go according to plan. Designs change, features are cut, and sometimes the finished product just doesn't come together. CD Projekt Red probably never meant to lie to its fans, but priorities and development timelines shifted and what the developer ultimately delivered with Cyberpunk 2077 wasn't up to snuff.
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Initial Confirmation
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