From Rejecting Cyberpunk 2077 Years Ago to Obsessing Over It Now


There are times where I can’t help but stop and stare. Marveling as strikes of neon light struggle to piece thick slabs of smog suffocating the skyline of Night City, trees gently swaying in a breeze as rainwater pools in languishing side streets. Death and decay, exuberance and excess – the city is awash with it, and it’s difficult to turn away from. Now it is, at least. I couldn’t have turned away from Cyberpunk 2077 any faster when it launched almost three years ago, as my poor old Xbox One struggled to quantify one of the most calamitous console editions to release in a generation.

I honestly couldn’t tell you now what pushed me over the edge back then. Perhaps it was the prevalence of bugs and poor optimization that propelled me to abandon a twenty-hour save, or the narrow approach to character customization and world progression. Whatever the reason, I was content with moving on and never looking back. I think that’s why I’m so surprised to find myself leaving Sea of Stars and Starfield behind to return to Night City on a brand new save. The truth of it is, the Cyberpunk 2077 that exists today is pretty damn astonishing.

Welcome back to Night City

Cyberpunk 2077 screenshots from Xbox Series X and Patch 2.0

(Image credit: CDPR)

Given the totality of the work developer CD Projekt RED has sunk into Cyberpunk 2077 since December 12, 2020, it feels almost reductive to focus on the RPG’s visual identity. The thing is, there’s this fidelity to the design that’s difficult to ignore, and a scale to the outlay of the space that’s oftentimes awe-inspiring. And I know that this all sounds hyperbolic, but Cyberpunk 2077 is honestly the closest a video game has come to really nailing that Blade Runner aesthetic, delivering in a way that I had always hoped the Prague hub in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided would but never did.

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Cyberpunk 2077 works to make you feel genuinely small amongst the towering skyscrapers, with every aspect of the environment working to fulfill this fantasy that I’m a small fish in a very large, exceptionally dangerous pond. The streets are alive with movement, the roads are bustling with activity, and the way that quests are slowly dealt out in tandem with my growing street cred makes it feel as if I’m on a journey of ascension rather than steadily clearing the map up one waypoint at a time like a disgruntled janitor. I know a lot of these aspects have been gradually improved over the past three years, but I’m experiencing the totality of it all with Patch 2.0 and I’m loving every second of it.

Cyberpunk 2077 screenshots from Xbox Series X and Patch 2.0

(Image credit: CDPR)

“Cyberpunk 2077 is the closest a video game has come to really nailing that Blade Runner aesthetic”

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