Cyberpunk 2077 PS5 Review – It’s Been a While, Samurai
To say that Cyberpunk 2077 went through a troubled launch would be an understatement. It was heavily criticized for performance issues that plagued the console versions, the plethora of bugs and glitches on all platforms, and the half-baked game systems. Based on the work of tabletop role-playing game designer Mike Pondsmith, the game had lofty ambitions that weren’t met (see full review here). Needless to say, it went through a rocky development cycle that ultimately led to a troubled release. Since then, developer CD Project Red has been working hard to deliver the long-awaited PS5 and Series X versions, while also trying to remedy some of the game’s core issues. Over a year since its original release, Cyberpunk 2077 is finally available natively on current-gen consoles in a state that it really ought to have been at launch.
Right off the bat, the very first thing you notice about the PS5 version is its improved image quality, regardless of whether you’re playing in the Graphics or Performance mode. The latter runs at 60 frames per second and even manages to maintain that target frame rate for the most part during taxing situations. The Graphics mode runs at half the frame rate but adds ray-traced shadows to the mix. It results in more physically correct occlusion of environmental objects, but the trade-off isn’t particularly worth it here. The most noteworthy visual improvement comes in the form of revamped HDR support, allowing Night city’s emissive lights and bright highlights to stand out. It’s a far cry from the washed-out look that the game exhibited at launch with HDR enabled.
Crowd density is significantly ramped up on the PS5 over the previous-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077. The streets of Night city are no longer empty, as there’s often an adequate number of people populating them. NPC behavior has also received an overhaul, resulting in pedestrians and vehicles being more reactive to your actions. The flow of traffic is now more in line with what one has come to expect from an open-world game, and NPCs react more appropriately in hostile situations. The disappearing act that NPCs pulled off in the past has largely been taken care of in this new update. Cops do still appear out of nowhere behind your hack, however, and it’s just as easy to lose sight of them when involved in criminal activity. On the plus side, AI during combat encounters has been notably improved. Enemies are now more effective at performing melee attacks as well as parrying incoming attacks. Similarly, they now try to flank you during gunfights – a feature that was oddly missing from the original release.
A much-requested feature was the possibility to buy new apartments for V, which has finally been added in the latest update. You’ll also be able to customize their appearance and receive bonuses for passive activities, such as taking a shower or drinking a cup of coffee. Moreover, the game has received new romantic interactions in the form of text messages and sleepovers with dateable NPCs. The game was severely lacking in the immersive sim department, so it’s nice to see the developer make some strides in this direction. The handling of vehicles has also received some much-needed improvement, as driving cars no longer feels like moving around on a skating rig. Steering cars feels more natural, though it’s still easy to lose control when driving at a high speed. The knife has been added as a brand new melee weapon that hovers back to you after a throw, much like a boomerang. It’s a neat addition that comes in handy in stealth.
Other quality-of-life improvements include a rebalanced economy system, the possibility of selling cyberware, and the ability to change V’s appearance and reset their perks. In addition, the map UI has been redesigned to offer more clarity. There are also some filters to further help improve the visibility of specific activities on the map. It’s also possible to hang up on incoming calls from quest-related NPCs or fixers, instead opting to receive their message in the form of text. Rounding up the quality-of-life features introduced in the latest update are the loading times, which have seen a dramatic reduction over the PS4 version, even when running via backward compatibility on the PS5.
The DualSense controller has received support in the form of haptics and adaptive triggers, both of which add to the immersion. Regarding the latter, the left trigger is used to convey the feeling of carrying different weapons, and the sensation of pulling the trigger is emulated on the right trigger. Similarly, when driving a vehicle, the left trigger tightens up to mimic the feeling of hitting the brakes, while the right trigger imitates the accelerator and also gives feedback when the gears are changed. Several of the game’s UI-related sounds are played from the controller’s speaker, further adding to the immersion. That said, given the extensive support for some of the controller’s features, it’s disappointing to see that support for the gyro aim has been overlooked.
Beyond the technical improvements, Cyberpunk 2077’s current-gen release comes with some improved game systems and quality-of-life changes. While its original vision hasn’t quite been realized as yet, these improvements bring it one step closer.
Cyberpunk 2077 Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: CD Projekt Red
- Developer: CD Projekt Red
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher