Cyberpunk 2077 is one of those games that everyone knows about but everyone has different opinions about it. Partly due to an extremely botched launch, some gamers canceled the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Cyberpunk entirely because the state of the game upon release was sufficient to warrant Sony refunding those who purchased it on platforms like the PlayStation. 4. Here now, months later, it’s worth revisiting Cyberpunk 2077 after releasing a number of performance and balance fixes.
Editor’s note: Check out our Cyberpunk 2077 review with patch 1.5 running on a PlayStation 5.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one of those games that has been thoroughly reviewed by others, so retreading a lot of information about the game’s story or subsystems would be a waste. What I imagine most people would be interested in is how the game behaves on the latest generation consoles, as most outlets have basically ignored the Playstation 4 in favor of the most recent and brightest. So this particular piece is for those of us who don’t have a PS5 and are unwilling to pay scalpers to pick one up – so how does Cyberpunk 2077 run on latest-gen hardware? Let’s find out.
Cyberpunk 2077 received a massive balancing and performance patch in February 2022, overhauling many of the game’s mechanics and systems, reducing the performance load, and attempting to bring all platforms up to some general level of playability. With that stated goal, well over a year after release and with another patch or two even after that, I’ve been playing the game expecting something else to break. It just never happened. Performance was reasonably decent from start to finish, and no major issues like broken quests, forever cars, or unkillable NPC tagalongs occurred during my playthrough of the updated PS4 version. Whatever they revised, they did it right this time.
The number of things that CD Projekt changed in recent patches was of a countless nature. There have been revisions to the quest system that increase objectives and prevent entire quest lines from breaking through no fault of the player, and improvements to the driving system make using any car more predictable and fun, especially when braking. Even motorcycles handle and work better in the updated version of Cyberpunk 2077. Combat AI has also been improved, with far, far fewer instances of hostile AI crashing mid-combat, freezing in place and doing nothing at all. Enemies with shotguns no longer try to shoot you, that sort of thing. CD Projekt has essentially overhauled many systems and subsystems in Cyberpunk 2077, a series of much-needed improvements to virtually everything the public has sold as Cyberpunk.
Clothing and armor have also been slightly revamped. Some mods can now only be attached to specific types of clothing and armor, forcing the player to pay attention to what armor they are using if they want to use a specific mod. This introduces a greater strategy challenge to the game, as you can’t just slap your mods all over the place, although having to use specific types of clothing can make your character look a bit on the spectrum clown shoes.
Of course, for the PS4 version of the game, there are still a few issues that are clearly apparent. The town itself is more like a town in the middle of a lockdown due to a global pandemic: there are few NPCs and cars pretty much everywhere you go. A look at the PC or PS5 iterations of the game shows a city teeming with life – NPCs and vehicles are everywhere. On the PS4 version, you can sometimes jump in your car and see maybe a vehicle or two on the road. From one perspective, it’s kind of nice not having to fight traffic to get where you’re going, but it can make the city noticeably lifeless until you’re in a hub where an event will occur.
Load times can also be quite long, with initial boot loads taking between 45 and 90 seconds, but they seem to be vastly improved over the release date version of Cyberpunk on previous-gen consoles. The frame rate has also been significantly improved over the initial PS4 release, where dropping to 10-20FPS was common. Outside of minor, specific instances, the PS4 version of Cyberpunk is now able to maintain a reasonably consistent frame rate between 26 and 30 frames per second. The torturous stutter and frame drops of 1.0 are pretty much nowhere to be found in the updated PS4 version, thankfully.
The cost of better running performance certainly came at the expense of visual fidelity. Cyberpunk 2077 is still a beautiful game, even on its PS4 version, but NPCs and objects look very blurry and rough around the edges in a ton of places. The more activity there is on the screen, the more the dynamic resolution will drop to compensate, resulting in a much blurrier image. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to the person playing the game – I’m a type of gamer who prefers a game with a consistent frame rate every day, and sudden, hard frame drops to me. bother more than a vein in an NPC’s arm being indistinguishable.
Truth be told, if the version of Cyberpunk 2077 that exists today was the one that released in December 2020, it’s hard to underestimate how different the reaction to that title would have been. Cars disappearing, or cars stuck in the same place forever for the rest of the player’s save file, are not things players should have dealt with, especially not for $60+. Now, in 2022, combat feels more balanced, quest lines work as they should, and performance issues, even on last-gen consoles, aren’t so prevalent that they affect the gameplay experience.
The current updated version of Cyberpunk 2077 is the version of the game we all deserved in December 2020, and I can finally say with confidence that this is a game worth playing for anyone with a addiction to open world games. They can finally sit down with a version of this game, whether on PC, next-gen or last-gen consoles and have a good time. It’s hard to understate how much better cyberpunk is in 2022 than it was over a year and a half ago. Cyberpunk 2077 has also had a lot of sales lately, making it a pretty easy recommendation for those who like shooters, futuristic games, or first-person games with role-playing elements.