Return to Night City


Recently I downloaded patch 1.5 for Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most heavily hyped and also heavily criticised games of the last few years. Patch 1.5 is the latest in a long list of updates the game has received since that disastrous launch in 2020, When the game came out it was a bit of a mess. I played on the PS5 which ran the PS4 version in backwards compatibility mode, and the experience, whilst playable suffered from frequent crashes that took you back to the PlayStation dashboard, plenty of glitches & bugs and despite a rather well written story with a memorable cast of characters, felt unfinished and not really fit for release.

Almost a year and a half later we now have the official next-gen (current gen) versions, available as free upgrades to owners of the PS4 and Xbox One versions, and comes with a suite of improvements, enhancements and quality of life upgrades. To put it short, this is the version the game should have released at launch. Immediately the game (I’ve been playing the PS5 version) is noticeably sharper, benefitting from not only a higher resolution (reportedly ‘dynamic’ 4K) but also higher-resolution textures. The game offers up two modes, ‘performance’ for a silky smooth 60fps, or ‘ray-tracing’ at 30fps. Having played about with both settings, I’ve kinda settled on ray-tracing as the world just looks better for it, and although the mode only effects shadow quality – when jumping back and forth from that mode to performance, the alternative looks a little less filmic, and comes off as a bit flat (albeit with the benefit of higher frame-rate). Whichever your preference, with improved crowd density over the PS4 version, far better A.I. for NPCs, vehicles, police, gangs – the game plays so much better. Another big bonus for me with this next-gen version is the implementation of the adaptive triggers on Sony’s Dual-Sense controller, making every weapon more punchy and adding weight snd heft to every vehicle. The controller’s speaker is also used, for such things as Keanu Reeve’s Jonny Silverhand talking to you.

Experiencing the world of Cyberpunk 2077 now has that wow factor it was always meant to have. It’s not without a few glitches still and I did get a crash to the dashboard once, but as a whole it just feels more polished and stable. The potential for this game was always huge and this version is closer than its ever got to realising that dream. Exploring the massive environment of Night City is simply awe-inspiring and even just walking around, interacting, going into buildings and just soaking up the atmosphere is a joy that’s now (mostly) uninterrupted by technical issues.

I hope CD Project Red have learnt from their mistakes and continue to support the game. It has too much going for it to just fade into obscurity snd there is clearly passion, love and real artistry gone into this, regardless of how marred it was at launch. Let’s try and focus on what it is now rather than what it was back then, because right now having sunk several hours into a new game (yes I restarted it) I feel hyped at the prospect of playing it again.

The game has a free 5 hour trial for anyone uncertain of picking it up. I’ll report back if I experience any alarming issues as I progress through the campaign … but for now this is one of the top-tier experiences you can get on PS5, Xbox Series X / S or PC.

2 thoughts on “Return to Night City

  1. I’ve been really enjoying the trial and will indeed buy the game; I just enjoy looking around and soaking up the atmosphere of the place. As someone who was blown away by Blade Runner back in 1982 and loved the early Judge Dredd strips in 2000AD, it feels like this game was made just for me. I haven’t even properly gotten into the actual story/campaign just yet; I’m making progress but am so distracted by the atmosphere of the place I know I should be paying more attention to the tutorials etc and will no doubt have to restart pretty soon to do it all properly.

    Yes, I did finally get hold of a Series X late last year -in October. Loving it!

    Like

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