It has been one heck of a journey for me with Cyberpunk 2077. This is a game that I was excited and pumped for the literal second it was announced by CD Projekt RED way back in 2016. I have a long history with the Cyberpunk 2013/2020 pen and paper RPG books. It was easily my favorite universe to run a campaign in and I had a two year long campaign that I ran in this world which was a great time with friends. So thinking of Night City coming to a digital console/computer screen, I was sold on it immediately.
Cyberpunk 2077 was a game that I pre-ordered the day pre-orders went live. I combed over every video that was released by the development team. I must have watched that 49 minute game presentation video at least two dozen times. I still get chills when I see Trauma Team drop in to pick up the client after her rescue from scavengers. It was everything I could have imagined in a Cyberpunk game.
Of course, then the game came out.
Yes, we are all familiar with the absolute bad state that Cyberpunk 2077 was in when it originally shipped in December 2020. Sure, you could give some of the delay to having to work remotely during the COVID pandemic, but there was more to it than that. This was a game that had delivered some major promises, and it could not deliver on most of them at launch. AI was completely broken, physics were a joke at times, and the game did not have a lived in feeling when compared to the original release materials. And that was if you could keep it running. I endured a few crashes, including several that happened live, as I broadcast my Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay. It broke me. Worse still was that the promised Xbox Series X/S versions would not ship at launch. They would not end up coming until almost two years later. It went from being the most anticipated game I wanted to play to sitting in my backlog pile, waiting for the game to be fixed.
Fast forward many moons, and here I am, on the other side of Cyberpunk 2077, as I have finished the main campaign, and I do have some thoughts. It is a game that in its current state, is the game that should have been available at the time of release almost three years ago now. I waited to play the Xbox Series X native version, and it was worth the wait. Gone were many of the stability issues, and the world had the liveliness to it that one expected after the first big trailer. After all this time, it felt like I was finally being immersed in the Cyberpunk experience I wanted from my pen and paper days.
The problem is that I had to wait so long after that initial release. Cyberpunk 2077, is now living a new renaissance for people that waited for the game to get fixed. That is a great feeling for those players, but for someone like me that came to Cyberpunk 2077 at launch with so much baggage and expectation, I was left wanting as the credits rolled. There was no long lasting feelings for me or my character. The exuberance I had from launch had gone, and in its place was more of a sense of completion than joy. Sure, Night City now looks amazing, but that’s the problem here. It should have looked amazing from the get-go. Instead, I look at it from a defeated standpoint. Even the thought of the new DLC does not have me excited. It has me more like trying to see if have time in my schedule to fit it in.
Yes, I enjoyed my time with Cyberpunk 2077 once it was in this state. It delivered on the promises that were made back in 2016. Sure, the story was middle of the road, but it was never about the story for me. Instead, it was about wanting to live out my fantasy of wandering a living, breathing Night City and that did happen. I found some joy with the game. I loved some of the unique side missions, like dealing with the Delamain variant AI, or River’s brother. But it was too little, too late for someone with my joy and enthusiasm that had been burned at the start.
If you jump into Cyberpunk 2077 now, at this date and time with fresh eyes, I am sure it will be the experience I wanted it to be from the start, and that is an awesome thing to say. Sadly for me, it is an experience I can never have with the game. Instead, I will sit with what could have been instead of what happened in its place.