Game of the Year contender right here…

So last week, a long awaited game was released and the buzz and chat about it couldn’t be louder across all the socials so I wanted to join in the discussion today. That’s right, today we are speaking about the interactive adventure game Twin Mirror, the most recent game from Dontnod Entertainment which was greeted with mixed reviews across the board. Huh? That wasn’t the most talked about game of the last 10 days?

So it turns out a bigger game than Twin Mirror has released and it’s definitely making waves across the internet. Of course, I am talking about Cyberpunk 2077... How could I not? Unless you have been living under a rock, this game was slated as one of the most, if not THE most anticipated game of 2020 and it was seen by most as the redemption this year needed. However, in spectacular 2020 fashion, the game has become one of the biggest controversies in recent memory, rivalling the drama caused by the likes of Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Cyberpunk’s drama covers it all; at times it’s a broken, buggy game that is plagued with poor textures, crashes and faulty AI. Although it is only on Last Gen, it is advised to play it on current Gen as many are saying that it is ugly and unplayable unless it is at least played on a PS Pro. The whole launch has been a mess and it has sparked further dramas around the guidance of being able to receive refunds etc. Sony has even removed the game from its digital store in order to stem the tide of disappointed players. I’ll be honest, this summary only scratches the surface because there are hundreds and thousands of articles, stories and reports coming in about the game and it’s performance. But frankly, it’s been a disaster.

As normal, Shane and I have both played the game with me managing to hit about 45 hours and I am at the point of no return. My opening salvo of issues I listed above likely shines a negative light on the game and they total deserve to be called out (more on that in a mo) but I want you to also understand that I have enjoyed the game and as far as I’m aware Shane has too. I dig these sort of games and I have a lot of experience with these open world RPGs (looking at you every copy and format of Skyrim I own) and this game definitely has the makings of an amazing RPG. I mean IGN gave the PC version a 9/10 despite the last gen version getting a 4/10… This just goes to show that there is clearly some substance to this game if you can get it to play.

As it stands, I’d give it at 7/10 as the only thing gripping me at the moment is the story and that is what is keeping me powering through the 18 crashes I’ve had up to the point of writing this. The side stories are awesome too and they feel fleshed out and entertaining and serve as a great way to develop the cast of characters you meet. The combat is as expected and pretty cool when you get into it but the gear system leaves a lot to be desired. You always get new items and gear meaning that your unique cool weapon gets out performed by a very basic gun very quickly and the constant stream of new clothes mean that you can create your own look but often at the sacrifice of stats. If you want the best gear, you’ll find that you probably look very weird…

I often approach these games as well in a stealthy capacity and I was very excited when I saw the playthrough of the Pacifica mission where you could hack the bot as well as other items to kill of enemies in Hitman-esque ways. So you can imagine my disappointment when the hacking and stealth is actually a lot emptier than originally planned. I get that things are removed through development but it’s a shame to see this depth stripped from what should have been a core mechanic of the dystopian future: the hacking. Instead, I find the stealth is much more generic now, and a lot of the time I use it to get through side gigs quickly or just to get closer to slice someone open with my katana/mantis blades.

There is a lot more to discuss here about the game and how it handles but I’d be remiss to mention the behaviour of CDPR but first I want to make it clear that the way they have handled themselves is not factoring into my gameplay insights. If you can play on Next Gen and you can swallow the crashes, you’ll find a fine RPG that could be great with future support… But that also leads into the second issue.

A game SHOULD NOT release knowing that it needs future maintenance and support. Knowing that a game is being released that doesn’t run on the generation it’s being released on and then hiding this by showcasing next gen footage is wrong and misleading. CDPR have really dropped the ball, and frankly they fucked up. My disappointment with them doesn’t lie with the Devs though as they have clearly put a lot of work into the game and the world, and it sounds like they went through hell to get it where it is. And they deserve more time to bring this ambitious and awesome project to life. But, ironically considering the game is about money grabbing corporations, the business has decided to push it to release and market it as finished, knowing full well that it is an incomplete package. This is irresponsible, unfair and wrong. The rush to get the game out before the holidays and their reluctance to delay further is evident but all they saw was the money signs. And now, they have stripped the company of its reputation and the jeopardised the state of what could have been an incredible experience.

Maybe we can hold some blame. Maybe our impatience and growing frustration that the game was being pushed back fed into the pressure felt by the publisher. Maybe we should have been willing to accept more delays. I can see that the community can command this sort of pressure. But what I can’t accept is the genuine belief that what CDPR released into the wild was a quality game that did justice to the hard work of the developers who were pushed so hard to make the game a reality. And now, they are being looked to again to do it all over and work on patches and DLC to bring the game up to its lofty expectations it set for itself.

While I have been writing this as well, it is great to see that the developers have confronted and challenged the CDPR leadership on their comments and behaviour (check it)… Fair play to them and I hope we see the CDPR leadership challenged on their decisions.

Remember, check out more Cyberpunk chat on Monday where the guys get excited for whatever Christmas looks like this year and talks about all things gaming, from news to what they have been playing. Head over to the Podcast page to find the links or drop a follow on Spotify, PodBean and YouTube!

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