Credit: The Gamer
Eight years in development.
Employees forced to work ridiculous hours (which they were doing long before CD Projekt Red said they were).
A publisher that lied about their workplace conditions (and then offered a non-apology for it), lied about their game’s performance on consoles, and restricted anyone reviewing the game so consumers didn’t have an accurate representation of what they were purchasing.
Yep, it’s the “good guy” of the triple AAA game industry – CD Projekt Red – and their latest offering that’s been vomited up onto PC, PS4, Xbox, and PS5 coming later this year. I’ve played about 6 hours of the game (enough to get to the in-game title screen) after the first couple of patches were rolled out. Here are my first impressions.
So, the first thing I need to get out of the way is this. Even after the multiple patches (two patches and a couple of updates at time of writing) the game is still buggy. Texture pop in and out, character models not loading until you’re halfway into the conversation, quests getting stuck halfway through because the game folds its arms and refuses to let me search an enemy. I’ve only had the one crash so far in my gameplay but getting past the title screen and out into the open world just shows how much of the game is being held together with duct tape and string. I have the base PS4 and it’s chugging every ten steps I take while sounding like it’s going to take off.
Asides from the game’s sub-par technical performance, it’s not a bad game. The character customisation is extensive, to say the least, but I feel like more effort could have been taken from this (do we really need 34 different hairstyle types?) and put towards working on making the game a bit more stable.
Now, continuing to harp on the game’s technical performance is childish and pointless – so let’s keep doing it. While Night City does look quite spectacular in screenshots, the bugs and glitches detract from what would otherwise be an enjoyable experience. There are some moments where I’ve looked up at the neon covered buildings and started to feel immersed in the world but then I look back down and notice another gang member is stuck in a wall and I’m sucked right back out of it. The driving gets the job done but you’re not going to be waking up in the middle of the night with soiled sheets because of it.
The writing’s not the worst I’ve seen (Ride to Hell: Retribution still holds that dog shit crown), the world-building is done nicely and most of the main characters and some side characters have clear motivations and their own agendas that make them feel a lot more like people. My favourite character so far has to be the Ripperdoc Vik, he’s got a decent rapport with V and a certain scene with V early on is the first time the game's dialogue actually made me pay attention and feel something. The main plotline takes a while to get going (6 hours and the introduction has just finished) and hasn’t hooked me as much as I thought it would. None of the side quests I’ve finished at this point were super memorable either.
Overall, the game’s just too buggy for being in development this long when they’ve crunched their employees for years (they’re not the only company that does this). If you haven’t bought the game yet, I’d wait until you have a PS5 and the game’s been released for that because it seems like that’s the only version the publisher cares about.
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