It was one of the biggest fiascos in the recent history of video games, but now ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ shines as a great shooter, refined with a brand new and huge patch, as well as with a wonderful paid expansion, ‘Phantom Liberty’, which we will have available next week. We review the evolution of the game, the initial setback and the current acceptance as an excellent game.
A promising hype. The announcement was unbeatable in terms of promises. Based on the legendary role-playing game ‘Cyberpunk’ by Mike Pondsmith that had helped shape an entire subgenre of science fiction at a pop level, CD Projekt Red embarked on ‘Cyberpunk 2077’, which it announced in May 2022. It had been working on him since they released ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine’ in 2016.
Promises, promises. As the months progressed, the programming team grew exponentially and elements were announced that would not make it into the final version, such as a multiplayer mode. ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ exceeded three hundred million dollars in costs, making it one of the most expensive games in history. However, the problems began from its launch date: the scheduled April 16, 2020 was delayed again and again, almost month after month, until it finally hit stores on February 15, 2022.
A catastrophic launch. All of this generated a certain distrust that increased with CD Projekt Red’s attitude towards copies for press reviews. The media had to sign very strict embargoes, non-compliance with which meant paying very high fines. Additionally, no copies of the console versions were provided, only the PC ones. We already know the result: countless bugs that made the game unplayable in the console versions, to the point that it was removed from the PS Store and the Microsoft Store and different stores promised to return the money to those who requested it.
The icing on the crunch. And to top it all off, the . Although Projekt Red stated before the launch that its employees would not suffer the fear (the obligation to work more contracted hours in order to reach the dates and commitments made), it ultimately assumed that it would be inevitable. Polygon described in detail what the last months of the game’s development were like (after the umpteenth delay) and it must have been a terrifying experience.
Changes for the better. When the waters calmed down a bit, Projekt Red made it clear that it did not want to give up (or could not: the money invested and the plans in place were too many to settle the issue cold turkey), and from the launch until now it has been releasing patches that have left the game much closer to what it should have been in the first place. The game hardly has any bugs at this point, and we’ve even enjoyed expansions of it like the excellent Netflix anime ‘Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’. And it’s not just that there are no bugs: in this time, the enemy AI has been improved, the perk system has been refined… the game is what it should have been.
And some buts. Although fans like nothing more than sparing the life of a game that has started off on the wrong foot, as happened with ‘No Man’s Sky’, there are those who still swear by ‘Cyberpunk 2077’. It’s true: technically it’s almost what it should have been, but the problems with a story that isn’t too worked out or with an environment that seems more like a background setting than a genuinely living world, are still there. In any case, it’s time for two extra additions: patch 2.0 and the ‘Phantom Liberty’ expansion.
Patch 2.0: the final fixes. This is the biggest facelift the game has received since its launch: the attribute tree has been redefined and improved (among other things, with much-needed details such as a preview of the effects), better communication of the missions in our mobile, there is combat in vehicles and the police force has been completely remodeled. They are very notable details that add depth and, above all, playability, to the world of ‘Cyberpunk 2077’.
Phantom Liberty. The first and only expansion of ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ will allow us to approach the game with fresh eyes. We’ve tried it and it’s fair to say that its immersive, hyper-violent espionage plot gives a nice twist to the main game. We were talking about the problems of Night City as a lifeless setting and that is partly fixed in Dogtown, an area in which we can fully immerse ourselves, where there are 100 new objects to discover and new abilities that introduce even variants in combat, such as small animations for the executions. A welcome reformulation for a proposal that deserves a second chance.