I’m starting a series about the games that kept me busy this year. These are my favorites, not necessarily “the best.” Also, these posts will be in no particular order. We’ll do a podcast in the near future ranking our top games of 2020.
It’s bad that I feel almost ashamed of talking about how much I’m enjoying Cyberpunk 2077. So many people have had such a terrible time with it, and the mixed messaging from CD Projekt Red hasn’t helped the situation.
It’s pretty inexcusable that they have said from the beginning that they were targeting the PS4/Xbox One generation of consoles, and then at launch the game is barely playable on those consoles – so much so that both Sony and Microsoft are offering refunds, and Sony went so far as to pull it from their digital storefront.
It’s also pretty inexcusable that even for the people that have been able to play it with relatively few issued, you can’t do too much crafting or looting without fear of your save file growing too large in size and becoming corrupted… in an open-world RPG with a crafting skill tree in it. I mean looting and crafting are core pieces of the RPG formula.
But if you’re able to get past all of that (and hope that with time and updates, things will get better), the game is actually a lot of fun. I’ve played the game on both PC and Stadia with relatively few issues (the game is actually proving to be a big win for Stadia).
As a fan of the cyberpunk genre (and in particular a big fan of the Blade Runner movies) this game is a marvel to behold. Everywhere I go, the sights and sounds leave me in awe.
There are a lot of open-world fantasyland RPGs. There’s even a lot of open world cityscapes in modern settings. But to literally be able to explore and take in an open world heavily inspired by the likes of Blade Runner and other films of the cyberpunk genre… now that feels like something special.
I’ve heard some complaints about the gunplay if you’re playing on console, but if you go turn off some of the advanced settings things start feeling better. But if you play on PC with a mouse and keyboard, it feels just as good as most other shooters.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’m quite enjoying the gunplay. There’s a good variety of weapon types. But the thing that really puts it over the top for me is the animations. I have long held the opinion that half the “feel” of gunplay in video games is the design of the weapons themselves and the animations for when you draw, stow and reload them. Cyberpunk 2077 has some very cool weapon designs and some very cool animations.
Sadly animations aren’t quite enough to fix bad feeling driving. And the driving (particularly with mouse and keyboard controls) feels awful. Motorcycles seem to be the way to go. But I’ll admit there are some very cool looking vehicles in this game. That makes it all the more of a shame because every trip across the city ends with my vehicle looking like a complete wreck.
So far I’m into the story, but I don’t want to get into spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that for now.
Side quests are a bit of a mixed bag. Some are multi-staged, thought out, little stories told in a Cyberpunk world. Others require little more than going to an area and killing a handful of enemies before the mission is over, with no real story to speak of. I’m mostly ok with that. They can’t all be narrative driven. The game breaks them up into actual “side quests,” and “gigs.” The side quests tend to have more meat on the bone. The gigs are the smaller ones. Breaking them up this way allows you to better prioritize the items in your quest log.
There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad to say about Cyberpunk 2077, but I can’t help it. I have loved everything that has worked for me so far. And most of it has worked fine for me. That could change if my save file starts to balloon (fingers crossed).
I really want to see where the main quest lines are going, but for now I’m content to explore and do my upmost to check off every single objective marker on the map no matter how minor the gig. That’s usually a pretty good sign. If I can’t be bothered with your side quests (or gigs), you’ve done something wrong.
This is the kind of open world that I want to keep exploring because it’s so cool, I can’t help but want to spend time in the world.
It may take time (and a lot of updates) before Cyberpunk is widely considered a success. But it’s doing enough right that I can’t get enough of it.
My other favorite games of 2020 (in no particular order):