Is Cyberpunk 2077 finally playable on Last Gen Consoles?
Written by: Chris Payne
The 1.5 Patch is Here!
The catastrophic original release of 'Cyberpunk 2077', back in the already dreadful year of 2020, is scarred in the minds of gamers. Leaving many of us with a sour taste in their mouth. We have all seen, or experienced, the janky glitch filled mess that was it's original state, and rehashing that here in detail would be redundant. Any of you who would be bizarrely unaware of what I mean, there is a countless of videos and articles you can read online detailing this and I really recommend checking them out for some laughs. Since release, 'CD Project Red' (CDPR) has periodically dropped patches and updates in an attempt to scramble and fix the offensive issues that plagued an otherwise solid RPG. While the previous fixes and patches have left little to be desired, the latest patch (1.5) has made many dramatic improvements to the game. While it is nowhere up to the standards we would hope (and I advise you still keep your expectations low), the question on whether this is the time to jump back in is something we are going to dive into below. Bare in mind we are talking about base consoles here, so if you're looking for an in depth analysis on the next gen versions, this article probably wont be for you. Lets begin.
For those of you wishing to read the full and exhaustive patch notes by 'CDPR', I have linked it at the bottom of this article should you wish to take a read.
Touching on the point above, this is not the saving grace update we had hoped. While it fixes a lot of major issues, the game is still afflicted by many of the same. Those of you with a lower tolerance to bugs and glitches, you're probably still going to be regularly annoyed at the current state. The new patch does come with some small 'DLC' (I think 'CDPR' played fast and loose with that term), that does bring some cool and necessary additions to the game. More on these later. We also don't get all the same features as the next gen versions, which are detailed in the table below.
Firstly, the game looks much better. The grain effect that made it feel like your vision had been smeared with Vaseline has been cleaned up. You will now be able to distinguish between people and a table, and there has been a significant increase to the stability of the frame rate. Whilst it struggles to hold itself above 20fps, and takes a slight knock during large scale shoot outs, it is much more consistent. Thus ending the awful stuttering effect that took place regularly as soon as someone took a pot shot at you, or there was more than five characters on screen.
Character models no longer load as if someone has sneezed a vague reflection of a human being on the screen. The textures are still low resolution, and are nothing compared to the next gen versions, but you can clearly notice cyberware on their skin, or pockets on their jackets. Buildings, lighting, and other textures are less blurry, but haven't really improved in detail. Everything has one look to it, making the environment and objects seem smooth and almost wet, but still identifiable at least.
Then we get to the load in issues, that are still a major problem. Run into an environment or towards a shop front too quickly, and the game will smear the textures. Removing interactions while it waits to load in. Often I am forced to walk away down the street and come back just to be able to enter certain buildings. I have also had instances when entering the Mega buildings where I'm greeted to a black wall, which you can pass through, but is a big indicator that the game hasn't loaded that area for you. These are mercifully short lived and do resolve quickly. Strangely enough this doesn't happen with character models. Although more commonly, they simply just aren't there entirely and will randomly appear once the game catches up on itself.
The map has been greatly overhauled, with new and more distinctive icons, making it much easier to see what jobs you have available and where everything is generally. There is also a tracker on the 'Fixer' jobs now, allowing you to see how many you have left for each 'Fixer'. There has also been a limit on how many jobs you have available at any one time, meaning your map is far less cluttered. You also get new specialised rewards for completing all the jobs for one 'Fixer', which is a nice touch. Oddly enough the 'Skip Time' function has been reworked, now acting as a wheel. It feels like one of more outlandish and least important change, but one still to note.
While on the subject of 'Fixers'. The egregious amount of calls you are subjected to, especially in the early section when everyone and their Nan wants to introduce themselves, now has the option to be rejected or turned off all together.
Currency has also been tweaked, allowing for bigger payouts for the jobs you complete. Items and cyberware have seen significant reductions in their pricing, meaning you wont have to shell out thirty thousand 'eddies' for the 'Mantis Blades' any more. Although the 'Street Cred' level for each upgrade remains the same. Another system that has been tweaked is the perk trees. Mainly the 'Stealth', which has been renamed to 'Ninjitsu', and 'Cold Blooded' tree that now have reworked and new perks. So if you already have a character in use, all of your perk points have been refunded to you. This is the same for clothing mods, meaning you will have to redistribute all of them.
A.I, thankfully, has been improved to be smarter and more reactive. They have more tools at their disposal, making use of cover and grenades, overall helping them act a little more realistically in gun fights. Enemies will flank you, reload at better times, even try backing you into a corner. No longer acting as mindless bullet sponges. Pedestrian and traffic AI has seen slight improvement, but unfortunately the larger changes was something that 'CDPR' stated they were not able to bring to last gen consoles due to "technical restraints". Driving on the player side has been massively overhauled, allowing you to do burnouts, doughnuts, and drifting (to some degree). Cars feel heavier and less floaty. Leading to fewer instances of your car trying to do an impression of 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and fly off the road the second it makes a slight decline.
Now for the generously named 'DLC'. Whilst I appreciate the decision to add these, it feels as though this was content that should have been included originally. Such as, we now have the ability to change V's appearance in their apartment mirror as often as we would like. It's the full character creator that we get at the start of the game, now containing more options for customisation. For example, additional hair colours and styles. It's a very basic and simple inclusion. One that feels overlooked and weirdly ignored upon the game's original release. You can also purchase new apartments from the computer in V's apartment, or by going to their specific locations. There is a total of five, you can own all five at once, and all of them can be changed visually. Each have vastly different themes, majorly focused around some of the various things of that district, that aline with how you are role playing. The 'Corpo' apartment in 'Corpo Plaza' being one example. There is now a reason to visit the apartments and engage in the interactions there, such as taking a shower or sleeping, as they provide temporary buffs that last for one hour in real world time.
We have also been given two new weapons, and some new weapon attachments. Which is a massive indicator that 'CDPR' has some more weapon packs incoming, and there's rumours there will be new weapons for all weapon types (only time will tell if this is true). 'CDPR' have advised that there is secret inclusions, not listed on the patch notes, that they are waiting for players to discover.
That's it. This is the simplified break down of the new inclusions and overhauls to 'Cyberpunk 2077' with the release of patch 1.5. Circling back to the question I posed at the start, the answer is maybe. Those of you who haven't purchased, or did and smartly refunded the game when this was being offered, I would strongly advise you hold off for now. Wait until you are able to purchase a next gen console. As this game, when running in all its glory, is really good and visually unique. However, the severe limitations of the last gen consoles, and the general buggy state it's still in, dampens an otherwise hugely enjoyable experience. Those of you like me, who still own the game on last gen consoles, the decision will be heavily influenced by your sensitivity level to bugs and glitches. As someone who has a higher tolerance to this, I have still found much to enjoy. The state of the game, while not ideal, is still playable and definitely seen improvement. I don't know if waiting out for more patches is advisable, as I don't believe the game is going improve more than what it is currently. It feels as if 'CDPR' is really jumping in on the performance on the newer console and PC versions, and we are slowly going to be forgotten about. It's worth taking a look and making that decision for yourself, because you can always just delete it again.
The full patch notes are linked here: https://www.cyberpunk.net/en/news/41435/patch-1-5-next-generation-update-list-of-changes
Written by: Chris Payne