Despite It All, I’m Addicted to Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077

Never mind the obvious—this game is indeed unfinished and broken. So were many of my favorite games upon release—Arcanum, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, and many more. I can add Cyberpunk 2077 into the list because I’m really having fun with it, flaws and all.

And there are a lot of flaws. Here’s to hoping CDPR does go through with their promise of adding more stuff to it over time, like Hello Games did with No Man’s Sky. Mind you, I’m not excusing it at all for being broken, and I feel like it would’ve still been pretty buggy even with another year of development. I’m just saying that I’m quite used to playing buggy games, especially ones that turn out great anyway.

This blog post was written as of version 1.06, so CD Projekt RED may have already patched something I mention here by the time you read this. I’m over 90 hours into my first playthrough. I’ve hit level 50 and finished every side mission (except those from Kerry Eurodyne) before proceeding with the rest of the main missions.

That means Cyberpunk 2077 has exceeded my experience with The Outer Worlds and may surpass my experience with Fallout 4 from five years ago with 30 more hours and another playthrough. I’m definitely going to do at least one more run with a different build.

Making Cyberpunk 2077 Run Smoothly

This game takes a good bit of power to run. While it runs better than it did on launch, it still takes some finangling to make it run smoothly. My current rig satisfies only some of the recommended specs, with my GPU falling a bit short. Also, running the game consistently brings CPU usage up to 100%, especially if you leave a lot of the settings on default.

I got it to run it smoothly enough at a consistent 30-45 fps. It’s not ideal, but it’s playable. I grew up playing games at 30 fps, so I’m used to it. I set all my graphics options on low and turned off effects. But the most important settings are putting crowd density on low and using Static FidelityFX CAS to adjust resolution scaling—which I put at around 70-90.

But what really turned things around for me in terms of performance is installing a mod called Cyber Engine Tweaks, which included certain tweaks under the hood and added a debug console back in the game. It certainly improved the gameplay experience for me. However, I do have to download the updates manually every time a new patch for the game comes along.

My First Playthrough

I jumped in blind and without a plan. Usually, I would play a stealth character for my first playthrough to give me the best options for exploration. I also tend to not spend more than five minutes in character creation since all I really care to do is to give my character my skin tone, hair style, and eyes. What I ended up with in this playthrough looks more Hispanic than Chinese.

From the three life paths—Nomad, Streetkid, and Corpo—I chose Streetkid as I thought it was what blended most seamlessly with the setting. Aside from getting a different introduction, choosing a particular life path affects some dialogue options you may get throughout the game.

With the build I ended up with, specializing in Rifles and Crafting with some points in Stealth and Cold Blood, perhaps it would’ve been better if I started as a Nomad. Maxing out Crafting turned out to be a good choice because good guns are really expensive if you buy them from vendors.

Aside from giving yourself money through the console or using the drop point dupe exploit, the only way to make a serious amount of money is to do every side job and gig throughout the city. You can also do tons of crime-fighting for more XP. Suspected organized crime events tend to yield crafting specs for iconic weapons, so you’d want to do them too.

Once I finished the mission with the parade in Japantown, I went from level 28 to the maximum of 50 by clearing all the side jobs and gigs. Once I hit 50, then I proceeded with the major missions involving Rogue and Kerry Eurodyne.

As of this writing, I’m at a weird place where the only mission left is Nocturne OP55N1, which I know proceeds to the third act of the game. I don’t want the game to end just yet, so I’m still holding off on it.

Every Little Thing That Bugged Me in Cyberpunk 2077

There are plenty of bugs and glitches in this game. Most don’t faze me, even the occasional T-posing of NPCs in random situations. The bugs that do bug me are missions that get locked for some reason, usually when a trigger actually doesn’t trigger. A good example of this is the side mission Killin’ in the Name, where you end up going on a wild goose chase for clues about a mythical netrunner-philosopher’s legacy.

But what really annoys me is the interface. I played StarCraft II somewhat seriously for five years, which gave me an affinity for hotkeys and the unquenchable desire for efficiency. If I can’t do anything with just one simple action, that makes my blood boil. Well, then again, it can’t be a cyberpunk game without having a clunky interface, am I right?

Organizing Consumables

As for consumables, it shares the same problem with The Outer Worlds of cacophony, but I’d say it’s even worse here. At least in The Outer Worlds, there’s the novelty of the different brands and there’s more variety of effects to be had. In this game, there are only three types—alcohol, non-alcohol, and food (not including healing and buff items). If you tend to loot everything in sight like myself, mashing F to pick everything up like a vacuum cleaner, it gets messy fast.

If you wish to organize that cacophony or disassemble into crafting components, a button to scrap them all at once would be nice. If it’s a stack of the same item, it’ll always bring up the quantity slider that’s tedious and slow to use.

You might as well learn to not pick up white items, which is not easy for a habitual hoarder like me. But you do want to pick up consumables as they can save you a lot on healing items.

Crafting

You’ll likely find yourself hoarding weapons and clothes to disassemble so you’ll have a ton of crafting components. You can then use that to craft more powerful items, as well as mods, healing items, and ammo. However, you can’t craft multiple items at once. You have to not only press the craft button, but hold it.

There’s a button for disassembling all junk into components, or selling all junk to vendors or drop points, and there’s a skill for automatically disassembling them. But using those components is a different issue altogether.

Why is it like this? Perhaps having to hold it gives you a way to cancel when you suddenly change your mind, but it seems pointless to me.

You can edit an XML file in the game’s configuration to reduce the duration from 0.8 seconds to 0.01 so you can spam it without wasting your life. Funny enough, in context of the game, doing this makes you a real-life netrunner. Does that count as metagaming?

Equipment Switching During Combat

I would like to switch between different grenades while in combat to counter different enemy types without having to bring up the inventory menu. Maybe equip recon grenades to see how many enemies are up ahead, then switch to frag or anti-personnel grenades to take out human targets, and then switch to EMP grenades if there are robots or netrunners.

Even more so if you have a projectile launcher installed as your arm cyberware. It has a mod slot for whatever type of round you wish to fire, either explosive, electric, even tranquilizer rounds, or so on. But what if you want to switch to something different during combat?

Sure, you can bring up the weapon wheel and switch both your grenades and your consumables. But that’s slow. And I’m playing on PC, not console. I understand it has to have compromises to accommodate console players. Perhaps there will be mods for PC players to add more control customization.

How the Inventory Itself Behaves

Whenever anything changes, whether you equip a different item, buy or sell an item, consume an item, or so on, it has to refresh. Everything blinks and disappears, then reappears for a split second. It may be just a blink of an eye, but I still find that irritating.

Even more irritating is when I’m crafting an item. When you have high level crafting, you can improve a crafted item’s quality, as long as you have sufficient components. So, when I craft something, I should be able to see the higher quality item right away so I can craft it if I can. But I don’t see it here. Oh wait, I’ll go to a different screen, then go back. Ah, there it is.

Vehicle Handling

Vehicle handling is… well, it works, I guess. It’s not the best. Cars are super squiggy. I didn’t like motorbikes in Mafia: Definitive Edition, but I actually like them here. I’m not compelled at all to buy a new car in this game, no matter how cool they look, because Jackie’s Arch is enough for me. I actually like it that the best vehicle in the game is available right then and there.

You can download and install the Better Vehicle Handling mod, but only if you’re willing to manually install it. I ended up choosing not to install the mod as I got used to the game’s vehicle handling, especially for motorcycles.

Vehicle Acquisition

It’s more like how the game implores you to buy vehicles. They’re marked on the map the same way as side jobs and gigs—with the same exclamation mark icons. The problem with this is you have to manually look at their tooltips to see if it’s a side job or a vehicle. CDPR should make a different icon for them and let you filter them out if you want.

Anyway, I later bought the Yaiba Kusanagi, which looks like an homage to Kaneda’s bike in Akira. I also acquired variants of the Quadra Type 66, which looks like a tribute to the classic Ford Mustang with the fastback. I thought I would never buy vehicles, but I ended up doing so because they look really cool.

No Vehicle Customization

But unfortunately, there’s no way to customize the cars and bikes. That’s definitely a feature worth adding in the future. Not only should CDPR add a way to change the colors and styles, but also give an option to sell unwanted cars. There are so many of them that it would be great to sell some whenever you need extra eddies.

Messaging Quest Givers During Missions

For example, whenever I have to send a message back to the quest giver, I usually open my phone menu. The good thing that the name of the quest giver is put on top. But when I then open messages, I have to scroll down in order to find that particular message I have to reply to. Sure, their list of messages becomes expanded sometimes, but I still have to scroll down.

Mirrors

Why do you have to use the mirror just to see your reflection? I guess to save on system resources. But when I get close to a mirror, the dialogue menu pops up and doesn’t go away until I get far enough away from the mirror. Even if I want to pick something up nearby, I can’t because the mirror is there.

No Quickload Key

Why is there no quickload key? I have to pause, go to “load game,” then load my quicksave. Maybe they don’t want me to save scum, but come on.

Possible Future Playthroughs

My next playthrough will likely be a stealth netrunner with handguns. This video by StealthGamerBR (who is also known for stylish kill combos in Dishonored) shows what’s possible with stealth combat in this game.

The best combination of weapons—from what I’ve learned with my first playthrough—is a silent weapon (either a silenced gun or a knife), a weapon that can shoot through walls, and a smart weapon for when you’re surrounded.

So, with an assault build, the best combo I came up with is the Widow Maker tech precision rifle from the Raffen cave for charged shots that go through walls, the Overwatch silenced sniper rifle from Panam Palmer for long-range stealth kills, and either the Yinglong smart submachine gun or the Divided We Stand smart assault rifle (you have to win this from a 6th Street shooting contest).

The Yinglong homes in on one enemy at a time, while Divided We Stand targets multiple enemies at once. Perhaps the latter is best for the purpose of being used when surrounded.

With a handgun build, I think you can use a silenced Overture revolver as your stealth weapon (even better with Crash from River Ward or Archangel from Kerry Eurodyne—both can accommodate silencers), Johnny Silverhand’s Malorian Arms 3516 for shooting through walls (the only handgun capable of doing so), and Skippy as your smart gun.

I’d also like to try a ninja build with a katana and throwing knives. There isn’t really a melee weapon that can go through walls that I’m aware of, but you can definitely use the Sandevistan cyberware for slowing down time. You use either the Satori, Scalpel, Black Unicorn, or Tsumetogi as your main weapon, and knives for stealth takedowns and throwing.

It’ll also be interesting to try a brawler build. The only real reason I have for playing one is so I can beat Razor Hughes in the final Beat on the Brat mission. I want to make that kid—whose father got paralyzed by that gorilla—happy.

Annihilation build is interesting as shotguns have great potential burst damage, especially when you get a shotgun with four mod slots. The Crash mod works incredibly with shotguns since it boosts each buckshot, thus multiplying the damage by how many buckshots there are in each shot.

Also, I enjoyed light machine guns in The Outer Worlds, and I also found it fun to spray and pray in this game.

Conclusion

Look at that long list of gripes I have with Cyberpunk 2077, then try to process the fact that I absolutely adore this game. I have a thing for immersive sims—first-person RPG games cast from the mold of the first Deus Ex game. Shooting, stealth, looting, hacking, progression, all of it. I’m really into games like this. I can put hundreds of hours into these games.

But how many hundreds depend on how immersed I get in the setting and story. I only put around 80 hours into The Outer Worlds and 120 hours into Fallout 4, while I’ve put more than 1000 into Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas. Who knows how many more I put into Morrowind, Oblivion, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines and all the Deus Ex games (excluding Deus Ex: Invisible War).

With the prospect of future DLCs for Cyberpunk 2077, I’m looking forward to putting even more hours into it. I don’t know exactly how many more runs I’ll do, but it’s giving me enough motivation to find a way to stream this game (as long as I’m sure I don’t get DMCA’d).

I plan to stream my subsequent playthroughs on my Twitch channel, especially once I build a dedicated streaming PC because streaming this game from my main PC is a hardship. And if I do get sick of this game, then it’s back to DOOM Eternal for me.

Got Feedback?

Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below.

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