We write about Cyberpunk 2077 quite a bit at TheGamer. Personally, I’ve beaten it twice, sinking around 125 hours into the game, and while I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of it, I gained more from the experience than I expected. I played it more as a fashion shoot simulator, I drank in the best quests without firing a single bullet, like Sinnerman or Judy’s romance arc. I spent some time with Us Cracks off the beaten path. If you don’t play it expecting an RPG, there’s a bit of room to enjoy it, despite the fact its biggest issues can never be patched out, and the original release was so shoddy it belongs in a museum.
The majority of the pieces I’ve linked to above were written by me, and that’s not even close to all of them. I say this because Cyberpunk fans often feel like critics are invaders to their enjoyment, like we’re rubberneckers driving by the car wreck and laughing. But I fully experienced Cyberpunk 2077, and any criticisms I have of the game come from that full, personal experience. So please, for the love of Johnny Silverhand, stop telling me CDPR will get it right by Cyberpunk 3.
Related: Cyberpunk's Trauma Team Has So Much Wasted PotentialI know the first Witcher game wasn’t great. I’ve played it. I know 2 was an improvement, but still pretty ropey. Played that too. I know – can you guess where I’m heading here? – that 3 was then the masterpiece, taking lessons from the first two, having solid risks pay off, and improving on an open-world genre that was becoming stale by dedicating time not to settings and visuals (though it’s a great looking game) but to character and narrative. Everyone you meet in The Witcher 3 matters in some small way, and that is what makes it so special.
CDPR knows that. We all know that. The success of The Witcher 3 is not some unexplainable fluke. It was not a Fall Guys moment, reliant on extremely lucky timing and a huge viral boost out of nowhere. The Witcher 3’s strengths are there for all to see. CDPR was not starting from scratch with Cyberpunk 2077, and the idea that it needs two bad Cyberpunk games under its belt to make a good one is absurd.
You might be thinking “well, who’s saying that?” Hey, congratulations on doing any other job besides games media, because I gotta tell you, I hear it all the time. When Cyberpunk 2077 first launched, the entire conversation around the game was “It would be a masterpiece if not for the bugs,” with the hard crashes every 20 minutes being used as cover for the truncated questlines, poor character development, general sexism of the world even as it elevated individual female characters, binary world building, terrible driving, limited- I mean, do you need me to go on? Over time, the bugs have slowly been fixed, revealing that the game underneath is only okay even when polished.
That means the argument needs to change. People could just admit the game isn’t that good and move on with their lives, but for people willing to get Johnny Silverhand tattoos based on some pre-release trailers, giving up isn’t as easy as that. This is where the mythical, wonderful Cyberpunk 2077 3 comes into it. That game, which isn’t even being developed yet, is the real bona fide masterpiece. When Cyberpunk 2 rolls around, that one will be a masterpiece too, but until then, Cyberpunk 3 is where it’s at baby. Game Pass can't save it, and a new gen comeback isn't on the cards.
The lessons that CDPR learned from the three Witcher games should have already been folded into Cyberpunk 2077, not to mention that with its monumental budget it’s bizarre to treat it like the shoestring project the first Witcher game was. CDPR are no longer unknown Polish developers trying to establish a place for themselves in the world, they are one of the most recognisable and admired studios in the world. Get some goddamn self respect and stop shilling for them.
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