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Cyberpunk 2077 is A Frustrating Mess…

Cyberpunk 2077 is A Frustrating Mess…

In preparation for the release of Phantom Liberty, I’ve been working my way through Cyberpunk Sex Simulator; after hearing many people say that the game is genuinely really good now, I figured it would be worth my time. While it would be disingenuous to say it hasn’t improved from its catastrophic launch, it’s still drowning in frustrating systems and mechanics, which make it hard to love.

Before I get into the negatives, I think it’s important to mention the things Cyberpunk 2077 does well. Primarily, the story and the world-building are absolutely incredible. There’s an inherent satisfaction to just existing within the world, and I found myself regularly doing side quests and gigs just to live out the mercenary fantasy that Night City provides. The characters and NPCs are also incredibly enjoyable to be around and engage with, feeling very nuanced and interesting.

The biggest pain point for me comes in the form of the game's myriad progression systems — which are thankfully getting reworked in the upcoming updates. The worst one being the perk system, which makes me feel like I'm playing a numbers game to keep my weapons relevant instead of unlocking interesting perks to help define a playstyle. Many of the perks boil down to increasing weapon damage in certain conditions, such as range and health. While these could be interesting — due to bad balancing — they don’t make me feel particularly powerful. They just define what weapons I can and can’t use. To put it into perspective, my main build revolves around handguns and stealth, yet whenever I try to use any other weapon I haven’t built into, they just feel incredibly underwhelming to use. This highly limits any sort of experimentation, as I am completely railroaded into using the weapons I have built for and have very little room to change without completely overhauling my entire build. This makes so many side quests feel so much less rewarding, too, as the rewards are more often than not completely useless, being a weapon my character isn’t specced for. Street Cred is one of the other main progression systems, which just feels pointless. Levelling Street Cred is easy and will happen naturally as you do basically everything within Night City, and it gives the player access to more vendors and better items to purchase from these vendors. Theoretically, this should be great, yet most of the new items up for purchase are pretty underwhelming once again.

There are also some incredibly painful gameplay systems, such as the driving and the melee combat. Vehicles generally just feel awful to use, all the ones I’ve used steer abysmally, and any attempt to drift either spins the car out or, in the case of the Kusanagi — Cyberpunk’s homage to Kaneda’s bike from Akira — the bike bounces in an incredibly weird manner, and feels as though it tries to counteract me. While this is almost definitely made worse due to the fact I am awful at driving in videogames, it doesn’t feel particularly good to learn. To emphasise this, the slippery handling regularly led to me hitting civilians and getting a police bounty, which made things feel just a little more frustrating. Melee combat also was a huge problem: animations felt stilted, enemies lunged what felt like miles in a single attack, and sometimes parrying simply didn’t seem to work properly. I would often parry an attack, get the parry animation, yet still take a considerable amount of damage. I’m not sure if this was a mechanic I missed, but either way, it didn’t feel good. The real kicker to all this was the fact that the game is still pretty buggy. While I never experienced any game-breaking bugs, there was an insane amount of minor issues, which really added up to a painful experience. From quest NPCs outright refusing to move when they were supposed to follow me to vehicles clipping into walls and even my vehicle spawning thousands of metres in the sky.

More often than not, I am genuinely having fun playing Cyberpunk 2077, and I do think it is absolutely drowning in potential, but as it is right now, it’s hard to say the game is in a great position. Despite this, I have a lot of faith that Phantom Liberty will make huge improvements to the game as a whole.

Jacob Sanderson

Jacob Sanderson

Staff Writer

It's not an obsession if it counts as work...

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Michael J Snider
Michael J Snider - 12:40pm, 19th December 2023

the fuck heads that made this infuriating need to be kicked in the head until they shit themselves