My Cyberpunk 2077 Fears Have Finally Subsided
The version 1.5 patch for Cyberpunk 2077 delivers on long overdue promises
I was anxious to return to Night City. The last time I visited things were pleasant. Well, as pleasant as can be in a place overrun with corruption, violence, and debauchery.
At the time, December 2020, the talk of the town was about how awful the city, and Cyberpunk 2077 was as a whole. Players on console grimaced at the game’s instability, with game breaking bugs and visual glitches destroying any sense of immersion CD Projekt Red hoped to build. They trashed the campaign, which was deemed short, especially when taken away from the side gigs and missions that were largely plot filler.
In all, the game was ambitious at best, unplayable at its worst. I managed through a couple playthroughs largely unscathed. Only two major crashes hit my base model PS4 (though one caused me to have to replay one of the endings). The limited enemy AI allowed me to get comfortable with the game’s mechanics, which merged stealth and gunslinging options quite seamlessly. I grew fond of V and Night City, even with Cyberpunk 2077’s numerous flaws.
The announcement and release of what appeared to be a revolutionary 1.5 patch for the game took me by surprise. I always intended on revisiting when the PS5 game was released properly, but I didn’t expect to do so on a Tuesday in February. Certainly not so soon after finishing Pokémon Legends: Arceus and definitely not with games like Elden Ring and Gran Turismo 7 awaiting my possible purchase.
Still, I thought I’d be excited to reinstall the game. In reality, I was terrified. The laundry list of game fixes, from frame rate to artificial intelligence warranted a look, but the reality of coming to terms with what I’d see and feel when revisiting Night City instilled anxiety. Will I have to uninstall this game because of crashes? Is the driving actually improved, or is it just wishful thinking? For the first time in a while, a video game had me on the edge of my seat. Not in anticipation of what could go right, but in fear of what could go wrong.
After a couple hours of milling about Night City on PS5 I can say the fear has mostly faded. From my vantage point, the game runs great. My heart still skips a beat when the auto saving that occurs at the intersections of the city’s neighborhoods causes a brief, but distinguishable stutter. I’m cautiously optimistic about entering the menu, which feels more responsive than previous iterations. I’ve yet to notice NPCs pop in from the void, though I’ve seen my fair share fall victim to being stuck in walls and fences after taking a few rounds of smart bullets.
If anything, the improved enemy AI has caught the brunt of my lingering fear, with side gigs and environmental fights depleting my health with a quickness. I haven’t succumbed to any firefight yet, but a liberal use of restorative items suggests my first death in this updated version is around the corner.
Since I first played Cyberpunk 2077 more than a year ago, I’ve maintained that the game was prey to its own hype. Having not followed the development cycle closely, I was surprised at the final product and blissfully unaware of the ways it tormented those who followed CD Projekt Red’s list of promises. Now, months away from its original, faulty release, things are looking up. The population density feels real. The film grain slider is no longer requisite to hide low quality textures (though some food models leave something to be desired). There’s even more staple open world features like apartments for rent which you can redecorate.
The game still isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly deserving of a second or third look. Just try not to think much of what was. Instead focus on Night City the way it was always meant to be.