To say Cyberpunk 2077’s 2020 launch was controversial is an understatement at best. CD Projekt Red’s huge game saw unprecedented levels of pre-orders. Gamers soon started voicing complaints about system compatibility and glitches (some hilarious), immersion-breaking AI decisions like teleporting cops (everyone’s worst nightmare), and a Night City that was decidedly less populated than promo content had shown.
For a game with so much detail to customization, it initially had some serious problems with the details.
For the past few years, CD Projekt Red has undergone damage control. The studio released a long series of patches, worked on improved compatibility across systems, and re-adjusted its DLC plans to focus more on quantity than quality.
Gamers looking for a cyber-filled RPG experience may wonder if Cyberpunk 2077 is worth playing today. The timing couldn’t be better: 2077 is getting a Game of the Year relaunch in 2023, and you can find older versions of the game right now at seriously discounted prices. So let’s take a new look at this insanely ambitious cyberpunk romp, and why it’s more worth your time than ever before.
New Patches Benefit Top-End PCs
Lots and lots of patches later, Cyberpunk 2077 has broadly recovered from the technical problems it had at launch. If you quit Cyberpunk 2077 because of constant crashes or environments zipping in and out of existence, you can safely return to a much better experience. That alone is a reason to jump into Cyberpunk if you gave it a pass the first time.
In addition to smoother performance, Projekt Red has another bonus for those with high-end rigs and an interest in pushing graphics. There’s now a ray-tracing Overdrive mode adding graphics boosts for the latest Nvidia GPUs. There are a few improvements for other graphics cards too – things like ray-tracing when taking in-game photos. These benefits are noticeable for both players with less-expensive hardware and those with top gaming computers. It shows just how far Cyberpunk 2077 has come since its release.
Night City is Still An Incredible Setting
We loved Night City on launch. For all the glitches players uncovered, we found Night City to be the perfect cyberpunk playground in concept. When they worked, the visuals were amazing, the standout characters were well-made, and even simple actions like driving to another location helped us revel in the world.
Night City makes you feel like a cyberpunk world is alive in a way that books and tabletop games can’t match. The game has become even more immersive without the bugs that plagued the game when it launched. That neon dream (and frequently, neon nightmare) is a core reason Cyberpunk 2077 is worth playing for those who haven’t tried it before.
Upcoming DLC like Phantom Liberty Sounds Fascinating
Projekt Red understandably pulled back their DLC plans after the initial backlash. Plans for add-ons like multiplayer mode didn’t seem right when the core game was still running into so many walls. But after issuing so many fixes, the studio has finally announced its first upcoming DLC, a new story expansion called Phantom Liberty. Not only is it long-due, but it also looks genuinely exciting to play.
First, the story sounds more than promising: It’s an espionage-focused tale where V undertakes a daring spy mission for the government. While Keanu Reeves returns for more Silverhand action, the real standout is the introduction of your new contact, Solomon Reed, voiced by Idris Elba.
Second, the DLC features more updates from frequent requests from fans. Expect more takedown moves, more weapons, vehicle-based combat options, and hopefully, no teleporting cops. Frankly, we can’t wait to play it and tell you what we think. We’ll be hearing more about it throughout the summer.
We don’t have a solid release date yet, but the studio is hopeful Phantom Liberty will drop by the end of 2023. Today is the perfect time to pick up the core game and play through it if you haven’t experienced it yet.
Slight downside: As Cyberpunk 2077 becomes more optimized, it’s increasingly losing compatibility with older consoles. New versions and new DLCs for the game are designed for the Series X and PS5, leaving previous-gen consoles behind. That’s the price for a functional game this size. At least older console players will still benefit from the many performance fixes.
A Big Perk Tree Rework Has Your Skills Feeling Better
At launch, Cyberpunk 2077’s skill trees were interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying. Some hacking skills felt overpowered. Certain weapons were worse than nothing, and many skills didn’t benefit combat the way we felt they should.
Projekt Red reinvented the skill trees entirely in early 2022.
Old perks that didn’t do anything are now gone. Other perks got welcome buffs. Other perks have changed to do different things. Stealth, for example, is reimagined as Ninjutsu, while looking sharp (the ability to blind with throwing knives) replaced useless perks like Commando. Speaking of throwing knives, they now make them a far more viable form of gameplay and poisoning.
The changes altered so much that updates came with an entire skill tree respec so players could build their characters anew. If you were let down by skill trees when playing before, the game is worth revisiting now.
More Role-Playing Stuff to Do
Noticeable gaps in the roleplaying experience rubbed some players the wrong way in the early days of 2077. Gamers who really wanted the experience of living in Night City found it a bit shallow for their tastes. It seemed like certain options were cut from the game.
Updates helped a lot with this too, changing relatively small things that made a huge difference for serious roleplayers. That includes a rebalance of the economy, ally rewards once you’ve finished all missions from specific fixers, the ability to change your appearance via your mirror, the welcome option to buy several apartments throughout the city, and a more in-depth relationship system.
AI Has Finally Gotten Into Shape
One change that stood out during the new gameplay is the improvement in AI. Driving is an excellent example. Instead of acting like a zombie horde when you get into an accident, pedestrians now act more like real people. They sometimes lash out with anger and attacks if you threaten them, or they’ll run away, or have another unpredictable reaction.
We noticed similar improvements in enemies. They’re overall more reactive, seek cover faster, move around, and counterattack you. That makes the minute-to-minute gameplay significantly more enjoyable than before!
Oh, and You’ve Got Good Collaboration Content Now
One last reason it’s an excellent time to jump into Cyberpunk 2077: While this isn’t a review of the animated series Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, we must mention its impact. This tie-in show was an unexpected boon for cyberpunk fans everywhere. It generated renewed interest in Cyberpunk 2077, making it an excellent accompaniment for those wanting to dive deeper into the world.
While not technically part of the 2077 storyline, Edgerunners takes place in the same world and references the game in several ways (and the game got several new missions and items as a result). It won high ratings from fans and reviewers for its anime action, bleak story, and general embrace of the cyberpunk aesthetic. If you’re on the fence about playing, we bet Edgerunners would put you over the – well, edge, like it did for so many others. Find the show on Netflix.
You’ve read our reasons Cyberpunk 2077 is worth playing 2023 – are you ready to add it to your list? If you are, you can find the game on Steam for $60, but we suggest shopping around for discounts (sometimes it goes on sale for 50% off), or for the truly patient, waiting until the latest DLC drops with those exciting changes.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Cyberpunk.net.