Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of the most anticipated games of 2020, albeit also one of the most controversial. It was easy to get excited about CD Projekt Red’s ambitious open-world cyberpunk RPG and its rich world — and just as easy to be skeptical about the company’s poor labor practices and bigoted marketing campaigns.
Either way, the game is just about here, and a handful of outlets worked overtime to put out reviews under tight time constraints. Tom’s Guide was not one of them, but we’ve read what’s out there, and there’s no real consensus. Some reviewers absolutely adored the size, complexity and scope of Cyberpunk 2077, while others felt that the detailed world was only window dressing around a somewhat uninventive, buggy core.
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In any case, here’s what the early reviewers think of Cyberpunk 2077. We’ll see more reviews (including ours) trickle in over the next few weeks.
Tom Marks reviewed Cyberpunk 2077 for IGN, and adored the game, awarding it a 9 out of 10. He praised the game’s structure, story and cast of characters, although he didn’t like the game’s myriad bugs.
“Cyberpunk 2077 feels like an RPG through and through. It’s frequently a slow-paced game full of rich, beautifully presented conversations and an almost mind-boggling amount of choices to make – choice in dialogue options, how to build your character, how to approach missions, and beyond.”
“I’ve had important or emotional conversations undermined by the characters I was talking to glitching between incorrect poses, or the objects they were holding and referencing not load in at all. I’d frequently get phone calls in the middle of other conversations, causing two simultaneous discussions to overlap.”
At GamesRadar+ (one of our sister sites), Sam Loveridge had almost nothing but praise for Cyberpunk 2077, awarding it a perfect 5 out of 5, and citing only the core campaign’s short length as a notable flaw.
“Cyberpunk 2077 is a paragon of open-world gaming, offering the kind of freedom to explore and define your character that provides a new pinnacle for the genre. It takes everything we celebrate about open-world games, and learns from it, implementing best-in-class variations in a world that's so dense and detailed.”
“You'll want to explore everything Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer, because the core campaign is surprisingly short … I was genuinely taken aback at facing a 'point of no return' warning in the core campaign that felt like it arrived just as the story was really hitting its stride.”
Kallie Plagge reviewed Cyberpunk 2077 for Gamespot, and she gave the game 7 out of 10. She liked the deep RPG mechanics and, of course, Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand. But the plethora of side content didn’t mesh well with the main plot, and bugs were a big issue.
“The side quests and the characters they showcase are the shining beacon through the neon-soaked bleakness of Night City, and they give you room to explore the best the core RPG mechanics have to offer.”
“The technical problems not only took me out of the game literally but also led me to question whether certain things throughout the game were intentional. It often took me a moment or two to determine whether a visual glitch was supposed to be happening due to V's cyberware, which is a major part of the story, or if I needed to reload the game.”
Polygon, like many other outlets, had a mixed opinion of Cyberpunk 2077 in its review by Carolyn Petit. While Petit loved some of the game’s character moments and plot points, she thought that it didn’t ultimately do much to advance either the open-world RPG or the cyberpunk genre.
“Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t afraid to slow down for both plot and character development. Those tightly plotted early hours in particular, with their clandestine meetings at which characters obsess over gathering intel and acquiring all the necessary gear to accomplish an audacious crime, pull you into V’s life as a merc with her eyes on joining the exclusive ranks of Night City’s criminal elite.”
“This is what I least expected about Cyberpunk 2077: that its notions of “cool” are so tied up in the digital persona of a past-his-prime rocker that the game sometimes feels like looking through your uncle’s musty record collection while he talks about how great the Rolling Stones are.”
Gene Park reviewed Cyberpunk 2077 for the Washington Post, zooming through the central story campaign to finish under a tight deadline. He admired the game’s scope and attention to detail, but was put off by bugs and some not-so-sophisticated enemy AI.
“While the story may seem like a cut-and-dry petty crime drama at the start, it kicks into high gear with no uncertainty. The forced first-person perspective lends itself to tense moments … It feels like a proper role-playing adventure, and not just a shooter with a story.”
“The artificial intelligence here likely factors into the overall jank of the game. Enemies and allies alike have no discernible combat tactics besides point and shoot and die. The boss encounters fare even worse, becoming a mess of mechanics as they flip around and do all kinds of things you wish you could.”
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.