Hot take: Cyberpunk 2077 was not more busted than a number of recent games like Watch Dogs: Legion and Outriders

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bigsocrates

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Edited By bigsocrates

Cyberpunk 2077 is at this point an infamously broken game that as of my writing this is still not digitally available on PlayStation Network (though that may have to do more with the refund stunt that CDPR pulled than the quality of the product.) On base Xbox One and PS4 it was apparently pretty bad, but I played it on Xbox Series X and on the 9th gen consoles, PC, and even the half-step consoles (PS4 Pro and Xbox One X) it was a pretty functional game. It definitely had glitches and issues, and I think the PC version is much more YMMV than most games are these days because it plays very badly with certain set ups, but most people were able to get through it and roll credits, especially after the first few weeks of patches.

Compare that to Outriders. This was a game that due to its always online architecture was literally unplayable for a good chunk of its launch weekend, just not letting you boot into a game. It had fewer in-game glitches, like enemies with bad pathing or important quest NPCs not spawning or what have you, but playing on Xbox Series X I experienced a couple crashes and a lot of server boots, and I am not alone in my experience. Outriders has also had a particularly nasty bug that wipes people's equipment if there's an issue while logging into a game, and that's really horrible in a looter shooter and even more broken than the progress blocking bugs that cropped up in some versions of Cyberpunk. They say they'll restore the equipment and maybe they will, but at this point I'm willing to say that the game launched broken and clearly needed more time, just like Cyberpunk.

Watch Dogs: Legion had a nearly equal number of issues on launch, including a bug that prevented progress from saving. The multiplayer was delayed from the game's launch and then delayed again, only recently becoming available and even then without some of the activities available. A lot of people who played the game on launch got burned by losing hours of progress with no chance of recovery (unlike Cyberpunk where many of the game breaking bugs did get fixed relatively soon, though not all, and Outriders where they say that the equipment should be recoverable, though we haven't seen it yet.) Ubisoft launched Assassin's Creed: Valhalla in an almost equally broken state, with a ton of progression blocking bugs and other problems, though I haven't read about the "no save" issues that plagued Legion.

None of this is a defense of Cyberpunk 2077, which should not have launched in the condition it did and deserved the condemnation, but I do think it's worth talking about how the discourse around these three other games, and many of the other games that launch broken, is so different from that around Cyberpunk. It's true that Cyberpunk is taking a long time to fix, unlike these other games that had most of their bugs patched out more quickly (though none of them is in perfect working order yet) and that's part of it. But I think a large part is about expectations. Cyberpunk didn't cost more than these games (Outriders was "free" on Game Pass, which blunted criticism a bit, but $60 on other systems; Valhalla and Legion were sold with various Ubisoft season passes and Deluxe Edition shenanigans,) It isn't that it was "more" of a scam, and CDPR did actually work to get people refunds (despite the way that backfired) unlike Ubisoft and Square Enix who just promised to fix the games while they counted the boatloads of cash they made from selling substandard products.

I think that Cyberpunk was a victim of its own hype. It promised an amazing and revolutionary experience and it offered up a reflavored Fallout game with fewer choices and...nearly as many bugs as a traditional Fallout game, a series known for launching broken. It's not that Cyberpunk doesn't deserve the criticism (Outer Worlds proved that you can launch a Fallout style game in good working order if you scope it properly and use the right tech) it's more that the differences in reaction are a result of CDPR's reputation, its promises and hype cycle, and the panicked refund promise that mostly made things worse.

My take on all of this is both that other games should have received some of the criticisms that Cyberpunk did (many Bethesda games are still broken to this day, and games like Batman: Arkham Origins never had all their game breaking bugs patched out) and that Cyberpunk doesn't deserve to be seen as some uniquely broken piece of garbage but rather a part of a larger narrative about how games are launched and managed these days. I think a lot of people see Cyberpunk as the game that broke the camel's back, figuratively, but I think instead it's treated as more of an outlier than it really is.

It's clear at this point that the industry is not going to change unless consumers make them, and it doesn't seem like consumers plan to do so. People are still pre-ordering games (I am guilty of this myself from time to time) despite how busted a lot of them come out and despite the fact that on PlayStation there's no reliable way to refund them even if they're busted (PC and even Xbox are a bit better about this.) Even as the quality of launch software has gotten worse consumers have gotten fewer and fewer rights. I'm old enough to remember when almost all games were boxed retail products and most stores would take them back soon after launch even for quality reasons, and almost always if you said that they didn't work on your system. Now you can buy games that flat out don't work or delete your saves and the only recourse is often to wait for a patch.

The discourse around Outriders is that it's a fun but flawed game and a good fit for Game Pass. More attention should be paid to the fact that it's a broken mess that could delete your progress after 100 hours. Those things are being said, but they are a much smaller part of the discourse than Cyberpunk's issues were around that game. We should not lose our outrage just because a lot of us got it on a subscription service or because we anticipated less for the product.

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Efesell

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Yeah I think you're right on the mark with the hype aspect. The combination of promises and the fact that the Witcher 3 had made CDPR ascendant among The Gamers was always a tragedy in the making.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#2  Edited By ll_Exile_ll

In my experience, Cyberpunk was less broken than any Bethesda Game Studios game I've played at launch, and I think it's overall a better game than Fallout 4 by a fair bit.

However, the expectations are that Bethesda games will buggy to an insane degree and that the worlds will be fun to explore despite poor writing in the quests and dialogue. My expectations for Cyberpunk were a lot loftier than a slightly less broken and better playing Fallout 4 with better writing.

I enjoyed Cyberpunk well enough, but considering The Witcher 3 is probably a top 5 game all time for me, Cyberpunk being pretty good was not nearly what I was hoping for.

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navster15

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Cyberpunk ran ok on the pro consoles and current gen, even from the jump. But the base last-gen performance was truly abysmal. I tried it briefly on a launch Xbox One and it truly is unplayable at times. At least in December, the glitches were many, the framerate sunk into the single digits, and texture pop-in made everything look like a janky PS1 game. Hopefully the patches brought it up to snuff, but my experience was really bad.

And to be clear, I’m not saying that as a “60 FPS or it’s unplayable” PC jerk. I’ve been playing a ton of PS3 and Wii games this year with 720p or less resolutions and shaky 30 FPS targets, and those have been fine. I can deal with low spec gaming normally, but Cyberpunk goes below my admittedly low standards.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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#4  Edited By sparky_buzzsaw

I'd say whichever glitched and showed the most dong won that particular Razzy.

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TensionHead

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#5  Edited By TensionHead

Was just thinking about this, as I recently purchased AC: Valhalla and have been blown away at the lack of polish compared to Odyssey and Origins (which had their own problems but this is completely different). The AI and battle scripting in many of the larger raids and quests is almost non-functional, the soldiers just stand still and look lost when too much is happening. My horse's hooves don't make sound, which is a known PS5 bug. Is it because it was hard to get PS5 devkits to people's work-from-home setups? It's a fun game, looks great with HDR, runs at a smooth framerate. Could possibly be my favorite of the 3 newer ACs but it makes Odyssey look like RDR2 in terms of bugs and polish, which is a bummer. I just hope they get around to really fixing it.

That being said, I could count on PS5 Cyberpunk to crash every hour and could almost anticipate when it could happen. It didn't matter how many 20GB patches they dumped onto it. It just crashed all the time. I got used to it, even. NPCs were scant, traffic failed to materialize unless it was ugly impostor cars on a distant freeway. The wanted system and physics were horrendous. Etc, etc. Ran at a nice framerate though! Combined with that freight train of unrealistic hype, it's just a different ballgame to me. I also liked the game despite itself.

Funny thing is, all 4 of the games you mention are games I have played/want to play. Ironically enough, I decided to wait for Watch Dogs to get patched more and Outrider's servers to get ironed out. This has definitely become its own "New Normal" and I don't know how to feel about it, especially because I enjoy these games underneath this unprecedented Nu-Jank that we're all noticing.

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bigsocrates

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@navster15: I haven't played Cyberpunk on a base 8th gen console (I have tried it on an Xbox One X) and I am willing to accept that it's very broken on those consoles. Some people have definitely reported it being playable and finished it on base console but it's definitely in bad shape (and not in great shape on 9th gen or PC)

But is it being utterly broken for some people better or worse than things like Legion deleting hours of progress or Outriders being unplayable for many at launch, having a lot of crash problems itself, and erasing people's equipment? I'm not really sure. Perhaps you can argue that Outriders will likely be fixed sooner and I think that's potentially a fair argument if it happens. But Legion literally had no multiplayer mode that it promised for many months, in addition to its other bugs.

Is multiplayer not being playable for anyone better or worse than single player being very broken for some subsection of players? Again, I think they're comparable, if not the same.

@tensionhead: Confirmed, PS5 can't do hoofbeats, PS5 super weak, Xbox Series X more powerful, Microsoft wins console war.

I'm sorry that PS5 Cyberpunk was that crashy for you. I have heard other PS5 players had better luck but have no experience on that platform myself. The other problems you mention were endemic to every version and are big issues, but some are just game design flaws (the wanted system is working as it was designed, it was just designed badly and on the cheap) rather tahn technical issues.

I am sure Covid has something to do with how broken a lot of games are right now, but it's not an entirely new phenomenon. It's been happening for a while to a lesser or greater degree.

@sparky_buzzsaw: Only CDPR has the bravery to employ full rendered gential tech in a mainstream game. These other games only don't have genital clipping because they don't have the GUTS to properly model junk. Even when you lose all your equipment in Outriders you still have underwear because People Can Fly lacks the vision to allow characters to remove all their clothes.

People may be able to fly, but how do they pee when they can't remove their underwear? HOW DO THEY PEE? And don't give me some "they're altered so they can just teleport the urine out of their body." Maybe the trickster, and maybe the pyromancer can vaporize it, but the Devastator? No way.

That's why nobody wants to group with Devastators. They smell like peepee.

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BladeOfCreation

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People may be able to fly, but how do they pee when they can't remove their underwear? HOW DO THEY PEE? And don't give me some "they're altered so they can just teleport the urine out of their body." Maybe the trickster, and maybe the pyromancer can vaporize it, but the Devastator? No way.

That's why nobody wants to group with Devastators. They smell like peepee.

First of all, as a devastator main, screw you. :-) Secondly, while you jest about the ways that Altered may have had their bodily functions changed, there is at least one piece of lore that discusses this:

No Caption Provided

Yeah. God, this game is dumb.

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GTxForza

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To me, the developer appears to more focused on the PC version when it comes to optimization.

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imhungry

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More or less agree with you, though I'd probably characterize Cyberpunk's problem less as community created hype and more their massively outsized marketing budget that they chose to do bad marketing with.

On the specific problem of Outriders servers being busted though, I don't think that has anything to do with hype or perception but more with the fact that servers crashing at launch has not only been an incredibly common problem for many years but is also a more easily understood one. It's much easier for consumers to be understanding of a game crumbling under larger than expected server load at launch than it is to be understanding of how a game in development for nearly a decade ships with a ridiculous amount of bugs.

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brian_

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#10  Edited By brian_

I have not played Watch Dogs, but I have played Cyberpunk and Outriders, and I think the issues with Cyberpunk are infinitely worse than Outriders. I think Outriders forcing the entire game to require internet is stupid, and it's server issues is prime evidence of that, but that's something relatively easy to remedy by just throwing more servers at it. The previous gen versions of Cyberpunk are a disastrous mess of garbage, that has taken months to fix, that they knew about, released anyways, and were actively deceptive about in it's marketing. Cyberpunk is not only broken physically, it's broken morally.

EDIT: Also, I have yet to see a scene in Outriders that is near identical to one meant to induce epileptic seizures in people.

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Efesell

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I think the performance on last gen consoles with Cyberpunk does represent a sort of breaking point but I will say that if you have just a regular ass launch PS4 there are way too many games that are deeply unpleasant to play on that console.

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noboners

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I think that because the majority of the Outriders bugs are server based, people give them the benefit of the doubt that they will be fixed. We've seen so many games come back from server issues. (I'm not commenting on their need to even make it always online, something @bigsocrates has already eloquently done). Also, I don't know the numbers, but Outriders just doesn't seem nearly as big as Watch Dogs or Cyberpunk, so less people are even aware of it.

Also, Cyberpunk was one of those games that transcended typical gamers. I had old friends who don't play games often ask what was up with it. A few friends built their first PCs just to get ready for it. So as was mentioned, hype amplified the bugs when so many who weren't as used to bugs in games saw it first hand. But on top of that, people felt that Cyberpunk just wasn't as advertised which allowed people to dogpile on top of it for sure. Especially once it was delisted from the ps store.

As for Watch Dogs, I didn't even remember Multiplayer was announced prior to launch...so I'm not really gonna speak to what bugs occured at launch.

It definitely seems like the general consensus was that there is a tipping point for bugs, determined by how much fun the game was between the bugs. People still didn't think Cyberpunk was what was advertised on top of the performance issues.

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apewins

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#13  Edited By apewins

Speaking of bugs and critical reception generally, I will say that it is a very dangerous path to assume that bugs will get fixed later. I generally play older games and frequently encounter bugs in games that have been out several years.

Take GTA V for instance, that game is 8 years old, one of the most best-selling titles of all time, that is still making money and is being heavily promoted, having just re-appeared on Game Pass for instance. There is a bug where you go to do a certain story mission, but the mission marker disappears when you get close to it, so you just stand there like an idiot with nothing happening. I originally assumed that maybe it's time-specific and I just got there a little too late, so I tried it a couple of more times, always with the same result. So I took to the forums and sure enough there is plenty of discussion about that bug. The solution is to take a taxi and then fast-travel to the mission, so the mission marker won't see you coming and doesn't have time to disappear. If you can't start a story mission I'd say it's a game-breaking bug, even if there is a work-around to get past it.

I'm absolutely certain that this bug exists in some of Rockstar's trackers, but being that they make most of their money from GTA Online, they don't care enough to fix it. Big companies don't care about fixing bugs once they're past the initial launch window where those bugs affect their sales. It's different for indie games, for example VVVVV, a game made by one person that came out in 2010, a game that costs $5 when it's NOT on sale, just recently got an update.

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bigsocrates

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@brian_: You say that the Outriders issues are easy to fix by throwing more servers at them but the game has been offline for hours several times and had disconnection issues at other times. Maybe it's permanently fixed now, and that would be good, but just saying "oh it's something they can fix" when clearly it wasn't that easy to fix it isn't really fair. Also there are a lot more problems than just servers. Crossplay is busted. The PC version has a lot of severe performance issues. The equipment wipes. These are not just simple server issues and they were baked into the design. Yes they make for less funny Internet videos than the Cyberpunk stuff and yes we do not know (and I do not expect) that they will last as long, but they're still serious and made the game inoperable for people, and wiped out dozens of hours of progress with no hard word on how and when that could be fixed.

But of course it's not Outriders specifically that I'm talking about. You can agree or disagree about a particular comparison, but there's a general trend.

@apewins: There are so many games that just never got fixed. It's incredibly shameful when you have a multi-million or multi-billion dollar company that often will continue selling these broken games without addressing these serious issues. It's almost impossible to make a piece of software perfect so rare bugs and crashes happen and I accept that, but games that have known progression breaking issues that just never get fixed make me irrationally angry.

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#15  Edited By kcin

I dunno man, I don't think this is an equivalent comparison. I get the point you're making about the state of games at launch these days, and yes, not being able to save progress is unarguably a game-breaking bug. That said, the sheer diversity and severity of Cyberpunk issues, ranging from entirely textureless and featureless NPC blobs at 15FPS to game-breaking script issues throughout, far outweigh the issues in other Ubisoft games

Playing Cyperpunk around launch was so profoundly broken that it was laugh-out-loud funny. I had so much fun glitching and sliding through a dizzying, surreal bugged-out cyberscape, NPCs dropping out of the sky like gory rain, and cars simultaneously stuck for blocks in single-lane gridlock on a four-lane street and soaring overhead for no explicable reason, that the only reason I stopped was because I actually wanted to take the game seriously. Utterly incomparable, and unlike any AAA experience I've ever had in my entire life.

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anywhereilay

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It's the hubris, all the overkill marketing, and that dreadful hat in hand apology.

I do think a part of it was how marketing attracted a lot of people who were looking for a GTA, which it wasn't going to be. But from the marketing you'd maybe believe it would've been without context.

Yeah, other games release all kinds of fucked up. But the context here is key. Remember those pre-release videos of it running on ps4 pro and one x? Every time somebody brings up cyberpunk, I slowly remember the catalogue of fuck ups and bad decision making that continued long before and after the actual release.

Outriders wasn't labelled as the next generation of open world. And where I'm at it is getting a not insignificant amount of stink. But its issues also weren't as meta as cyberpunk's.

Discloser: I only skimmed this thread, and I think you mention something about expectations, so I think I probably agree with everything you said.

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Ryuku_Ryosake

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Cyberpunk definitely had some other factors going against compared to these other titles. It was announced in 2012 before the last gen consoles were even in the works. So at least perception wise this game seemed to have basically an infinite amount of time to develop in comparison to AC and Outriders. Plus delay after delay for the game to come out right. It makes any call for if only if we have a little more time fall on deaf ears when the announcement cycle spanned more than a single console generation.

Also the game gave a reviewer seizures which is unforgivably bad state for your game to be in after it past cert. Which I don't believe the other two had that problem.

Also yes throwing all the platforms under the bus with the refund thing is definitely a whole other layer.

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#18  Edited By Nodima

I'd have to strongly disagree with you based on my experience on a baseline PS4 purchased in 2014. Cyberpunk was the ugliest, mangiest dog I've played in my 25+ years of console gaming. I've never experienced anything like that outside of trying to play games on my family's brief dalliance with a Gateway PC running Windows ME in the early 2000s that were produced anytime after the brief window of games that system was setup for (basically, Allied Assault and Call of Duty 2 on the lowest settings and little else).

It shook to my core the understanding I'd had for decades as a console gamer that however else the game may "underperform" in comparison to its PC version, at least it would be able to run and not be at the whim of however certain lines of code interacted with certain drivers or hardware parts. The AI was broken, the missions were sometimes unlaunchable, the graphics looked like a Seurat interpretation of a Monet done blindfolded at times (granted, this was maybe kind of cool, sometimes) and oftentimes textures, ambient detail, lighting and just about anything else you could name that creates atmosphere just wasn't appearing. You know how weird it is to look up footage of a game you played 12-ish hours of and realize it has billboards all over the place? Or that those underground operation labs had, like, actual surgical lighting and stuff strung up in the operating rooms? They weren't supposed to just be dull, gray rooms?

If you own a PC, I assume you're used to this kind of random operation failure but I could not believe my eyes. Outside of edge cases during console transitions that just clearly should not have been made for the previous platform, I've never seen anything like it. The brokenness and badness of it all was so brazen. At least back in the PS1/PS2 days, developers would have the good nature to outright tell you the previous generation game was practically a different game (sometimes, it was a completely different game, too!)

Disco Elysium is a game that's also currently unplayable or damn near it on my PS4 and I haven't considered asking for refund because its issues seem simple enough given time. Cyberpunk was the easiest refund I ever asked for, and I have no interest in repurchasing it if and when it's back on the Playstation store. I'm also unlikely to buy any other CD Projekt game in the future, tbh.

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Dareitus

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I put roughly 100 hours into CP2077 and I've got about 40 into Outriders.

*MY* experience has been quite different but there are a few reasons for that:
I expected Outriders to be Trash and it turned out to be B-Tier
I expected CP2077 to be B-Tier and it turned out to be Trash
I played Outriders 3 days after it came out and missed the server issues.

I was an early "hater" of the CP2077 hype, wary of the devs dismissive rebuttals of legitimate complaints around the "Mix It Up" ads, and skeptical of the games ability to live up to it's lofty promises when I hadn't actually seen anything new in gameplay footage. I told anyone that would listen "It's just going to be an extremely pretty Deus-Ex game (the more recent pair of games) with more RPG elements." I was mostly right, except it wasn't even as good as the Deus-Ex reboot and the RPG elements were 90% passive stat boosts. And then the technical issues: constant crashes and sub-60 framerates when running on a RTX 3090. Not just some, "me buy big card and put in box" build either, I mean a EVGA FTW3 3090 with the Hybrid AiO cooler in a system with an 10900k and all the fixins. I eventually found a sweet spot to get the game stable but ran into endless glitches from minor UI bugs and unresponsive AI Enemies to loss of progress, bugged quests, stuck in world, missing NPCs, and mis-match responses from NPCs and events that had or hadn't taken place. The game couldn't even meet my lowered expectations.

Outriders on the other hand had been completely written off as lame Division/Destiny/Gears hybrid by the people who thought Bulletstorm needed Duke Nukem in it. And again, I was mostly right except it actually plays pretty decent, especially after you make it past the garbage story and into the much more intense "Expeditions" endgame mechanic.

But that's all a really longwinded way of saying I both do and don't agree with the OP's sentiment. I definitely think Outriders gets a bit of a pass as a kinda throwaway game from a lesser known studio and Cyberpunk gets a bit more heat because of how hard it was hyped up. However, I do think Outriders is a "better game" at launch. Network issues aside (which, while worsened by their claims that its "not a service game", isn't the end of the world IMO) Outriders works. I never had a single crash or error the entire time playing once the initial wave of server issues passed. Cyberpunk's issues go beyond it's bugs to the police not being even remotely close to realistic or acceptable and the traffic being fake. A perfect working CP2077 is still a disappointment at best.

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Dareitus

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TLDR:
Cyperpunk Marketing:
THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Actuality:
B-Tier game with bugs

Outriders Marketing:
"Oh us? Uh, yeah we have this B-game! Its offline! We swear!"
Actuality:
B-tier game that is definitely online

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LapsarianGiraff

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Yeah, no.

We've shared many words about this, so I'm not going to repeat what I've said in other threads, but Cyberpunk 2077 was totally more busted than the average release at launch. Even on PC, there was hardly a frame of that game untouched by bugs, large or small, in a way that undermined my entire experience. Even in the very last moments of the game, in the space heist ending, my character's long nails were clipping through the gloves of the space suit, sending my friend and I into a hysterical fit as even this last dramatic moment was punctured (literally) by a basic clipping issue they didn't bother to resolve. Obviously a small thing, but at the tail end of every other more severe issue in the game, that was just a too-perfect coda. This is not to mention the state of the base console versions they sold.

I agree that games in general have gotten buggier and buggier at release, but even in that context, Cyberpunk is an outlier in the severity of its bugs. "But what about server issues in online games at launch, though" is a weak comparison to Cyberpunk. And Bethesda gets plenty of crap for how they launch their games.

PS: Best bug in Cyberpunk was easily when a sidewalk NPC accidentally spawned as a stripper in one of the night clubs. That random construction guy seductively swinging his hips on a pole will stick with me for a loooooong time.

But then there were the nonstop crashes and progression blocking mission bugs, sooooooooo

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bigsocrates

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@nodima: First of all, I'm sorry that your experience with the game sucked. Full stop.

That being said, I do think that there was wildly variable experiences even, it seems, on base 8th gen consoles. Some people played it on a base 8th gen console and said it was mostly okay with some glitches. Some said it played like it was actively falling apart at all times (that unfortunately sounds like your experience.) I actually have played other console games that felt like they were breaking in ways kind of like that, but not for a long time and not a big ticket release like this (they tended to be either very late cross gen titles or cheap shovelware.) So for some people it was uniquely broken.

Meanwhile for me on Xbox Series X...the game had bugs and glitches but was mostly in decent condition. It ran pretty well.

So how do you average that out? I'm not sure. Do you just go with the worst experience? The worst experience with Outriders is also pretty bad. I linked to a Jim Sterling video in the OP and that detailed their experiences with the game, which was a broken mess (more in a 'you can't play it at all' way than a 'you can play it but it's very broken' way.) Likewise:

I don't know how long this issue will last for Jeff (maybe he's already fixed it) but I think that just not being able to launch a game is worse than a game running like melted ice cream, it just isn't as memorable because you play something else except for trying to power through.

There are a lot of people experiencing very serious issues.

@dareitus: I think that the game's quality is a complicated issue that's kind of beyond the scope of this comparison. I've written a lot about that in comment threads on this site.

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@dareitus: Thank you. I ran with a similarly stupid rig, (3090 and 5950x) and yeah, this thing is near impossible to get at a smooth 60. If I hear one more person go "oh but the PC version is fine," I will riot, because it is so not.

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@lapsariangiraff: Whoa whoa whoa. I never said that it was no worse than average. That would be a crazy claim. Most games launch in decent condition. I think it's comparable to certain specific games, but none of those are average. The average game doesn't fail to save your progress or delete all your equipment when matchmaking goes bad. I played Immortals: Fenyx Rising, and that game had some bugs but you know what? It was in pretty good shape. Dirt 5? Pretty good shape at launch. We're talking the bad end of the pool here, not the average.

And Outriders problems are NOT just server issues, and it's minimizing to claim they are. That was one example of just locking you out of the whole product, but there are other problems including broken matchmaking, a busted PC version that won't launch for some people and is extremely crash prone for others, including apparently dumping tens of gigabytes of crash data into a folder on their hard drive (which is pretty bad in the days of SSDs, which tend to be small), and deleting all of some people's equipment. Deleting your equipment is prettttty bad in a looter shooter.

Now Cyberpunk may have had more graphical bugs and glitches, but you have to compare severity along with quantity. The game was pretty crash prone for some people (as is Outriders for some people) and there were some progression blocking bugs that are mostly fixed and mostly weren't permanent, especially in a game where you could role back saves, as opposed to Watch Dogs just not storing a save file at all.

They're broken in different ways to some degree, but I don't know if I'd say they are different levels of broken.

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Efesell

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#25  Edited By Efesell

I mean my experience with Cyberpunk on PC was like...barely any noteworthy bugs at all so it's hard for me to really come down too hard on it since it's just not my experience with the game.

Watch Dogs Legion on the other hand for me was just straight broken. I could not play that game any further than like 2 hours because I hit a spot in my save file where if I drove for 20 seconds in any direction from where I was then the game would just crash to desktop.

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LapsarianGiraff

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@bigsocrates: The difference is, as some people have pointed out, there's a pretty clear end in sight for the issues with Outriders, because many games have experienced those kind of online issues. Broken matchmaking? Always-online-games revealing how frail they are when that functionality doesn't let you play? I remember complaints about these things from as early as the PC version of Assassin's Creed II that needed to be always online for DRM, or more recently, Hitman. It's a problem, but it's a known quantity.

The almost Impressionist levels of broken geometry, textures, and slow streaming in Cyberpunk on the PS4 and Xbox One, though? That's bold new territory, even for the increasingly busted medium of video games.

My bad reading that as "the average release." Even limiting it to Watch Dogs: Legion and Outriders, I'm noticing a through line in your arguments from the other thread and here -- "Well, Cyberpunk's problems are no worse than some other games coming out these days!" Instead now we're talking about its bugs, instead of the overall quality of the game. And I would argue a game whose technical issues prevent a playthrough for months (just look at all the people who have put it aside until they get it ready) is more severe than 4 or 5 issues that can quickly be patched out in a couple of weeks,if Outriders follows the same trajectory as most other games with these issues.

I guess I just have to ask -- why spend the energy "whatabouting" other games when it comes to Cyberpunk? This position of "I'm not defending Cyberpunk's bugs, but here's a few paragraphs implying it's not any worse than these other games, so why is it getting more crap?" is exhausting. I have to lay out these labyrinthine comparisons and split hairs any time we talk about this game, lol.

It's very broken. And for a lot of people, myself included, it was more broken than their time with Watch Dogs. We can keep going down the philosophical "well what kind of bug is worse" or "how do we weigh different experiences" route you laid out if you want, but that's the baseline I'm coming from.

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bigsocrates

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@lapsariangiraff: You say there's an end in sight, and there might be for Outriders (which seems like a simpler game in many ways) but their first patch didn't fix the issues and there are lots of games with problems that linger a long time. As far as I know @efesell did not say that their Watch Dogs problem ever got resolved. Valhalla keeps introducing new bugs with their seasonal stuff and old ones don't get fixed. There's no guarantee.

I don't want to rehash our disagreements about Cyberpunk's content because I think we hashed those out sufficiently so I'm just going to address why I made this post and what I was thinking. I think the post and my subsequent comments make these points, but the title of the post might frame it somewhat differently and maybe wasn't the best choice.

Basically this post wasn't inspired by Cyberpunk so much as it was Outriders, and specifically the fact that it's being treated as a "normal" game despite some pretty heinous technical issues. These issues are being reported, but they're not dominating the discourse around the game the way that Cyberpunk's issues did. I was thinking about why that was, and I think I ran through a bunch of it in the post. but I was also disappointed that Cyberpunk didn't change the way these things were perceived.

I thought Cyberpunk was in some ways seen as a watershed moment where gamers, the press, and even the platforms were pushing back against the practice of launching games that were profoundly broken. Then we get another one that comes out really really broken in numerous ways, and we go back to the old ways. Discuss the bugs, discuss the game, don't talk too much about the business practices (there's been almost no talk about that around Outriders) and just sort of assume everything will get fixed and talk about the game in those terms.

I wish that this conversation would be more like the Cyberpunk conversation, which I think was good. What you perceive as "whataboutism" is the opposite. I am not defending Cyberpunk, I'm saying that we need to take stuff like games being unplayable, deleting equipment, dumping tens of gigs of junk data on people's hard drives without notice, just as seriously as the dumb bugs where penises clip through pants, or the other ways Cyberpunk was broken.

Looking at it as "Cyberpunk got the treatment it did because it had even worse issues" is, I think, wrong. I think it was about a lot of expectations, perception of CDPR and its marketing, and other issues that Cyberpunk had (in terms of game quality and politics) that were all valid, but amplified people's anger about the fact that the product was broken.

But we should always be really angry when these products are sold broken. And the fact that some of them get fixed quickly (though not all do) should not do that much to change that. Obviously nobody's perfect and we all have to accept that sometimes there are issues that need to be fixed. But Outriders didn't need to be always online, and they made it that way and it didn't work for much of its first week and then it deleted people's equipment. People should be angry! Watch Dogs failed to save, didn't include manual saving or local saving, and was broken in other ways and delayed modes that were promised at launch (different from delaying a game because once the game has launched they have your money and they need to deliver). People should be angry!

Some are, but in a different way than they're angry at CDPR, where people are swearing that even if it's fixed they'll never buy a game from them again, which I think is reasonable given how broken the product was. But I think it would be reasonable for Ubisoft or Square too.

I'm not really blaming individuals here, but the system and the industry practices are broken, and every time those broken practices spit out a busted product that dumps 20 gigs of junk data on people's hard drives we should talk about it the way we did Cyberpunk.

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Dareitus

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@bigsocrates: How are you going to start a post about Cyberpunk being treated unfairly and then say it's quality is too complicated to judge while directly comparing it's quality with other games?

It really isn't complicated. It's a videogame. It isn't remarkable in anyway other than the fact that it was marketed extremely aggressively and flopped that much harder as a result. The game itself isn't any more or less complicated than anything else in genre. It's a videogame, and not a particularly good one.




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bigsocrates

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@dareitus: Because this post is about the technical problems not the aesthetic quality. Aesthetic qualities are much more difficult to judge than technical issues, and I've discussed those to death on Cyberpunk anyway.

As a consumer rights issue, aesthetics aren't really applicable. A lot of people hated The Last Of Us Part II (I'm not one of them) and thought it was bad, but as a technical matter it ran fine and most people didn't think anyone was due a refund.

It's like if you go to the movies. If the movie is bad, that sucks and you can condemn it (though some might like a movie that others hate, which is what makes it complicated) but you likely won't ask for your money back.

If the movie is out of focus and there are reels missing and the sound system keeps cutting out every 5 minutes, that's a totally different issue than whether or not the film is aesthetically good.

That's the difference here.

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Dareitus

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While I didn't experience the connection issues completely preventing play, I'd argue anyone who did get those issues will get to play the game they expect to play when they do get it working (or will get a refund)

As for Cyberpunk, I think it's fair to say that most people came away disappointed even if they did like it. (With 100 hours in myself, it's hard for me to argue there weren't things I liked even if I came away with a generally negative take).

I guess, more importantly, if a friend asked if they should buy Outriders I'd say hell yeah, I'll help you level. If a friend asked if they should buy Cyberpunk I'd tell them to wait til the end of the year at least. If they made it this long they aren't missing out on anything.

But that's just me *shrug* I get why not being able to play at release would put someone off a game for good - being part of the zietgeist is a big part of these online centric games (Its not a service game TM)

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Dareitus

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#31  Edited By Dareitus

@bigsocrates ^inb4 your reply

While I certainly don't have numbers I'd have to imagine the majority of refunds came from last-gen consoles and as someone who has seen first hand CP2077 running on a One S that shit wasn't even close to what was advertised. Colonial Marines levels of shit. Coupled with them intentionally not showing it to anyone you couldn't help but feel like they knew what they were doing.

Now, no one should have expected it to look 100% like the ads since they were upfront it was mostly PC and some Series X footage (That Series X version that still doesn't exist BTW) this wasn't some like lower graphics settings downgrade it looked like some kind of 360 game in alpha and couldn't maintain 30fps. I understand it worked "fine" on upgraded consoles (haven't seen it myself) but still looked like ass. Regardless, the lower-end consoles are the biggest market. You make it work for them then scale up not the other way around. The noise was loudest because the biggest audience got the most busted version. You get the added nonsense with Sony pulling it because of politics and how they handled refunds more than the actual quality of the game. It was deserving of refunds and Sony wasn't in a place to handle it so had to make an example of CDPR for making them look bad after Sony surely gave them exceptions on cert. [Edit: That is to say, Sony made a bad situation worse by not having proper refund policies and procedures in place and used CDPR as a scapegoat for their own failings]

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@bigsocrates: For sure, I didn't mean to come off so incendiary, the framing just seemed like a weird thing to pick at. The very thread title and topic kind of invites this weird fantasy sports vibe comparing how bad some game launches are, when it sounds now like you're trying to get at a much more holistic "we should call this out for every game," which I can unreservedly get down with.

I agree completely that people should be pissed every time a game is broken. I just think we have a different perception of how pissed people have gotten -- it's part of why I brought up Bethesda. I do think players are getting better at calling this stuff out when it happens. We've been beating the "games shouldn't come out broken" drum for a while now, at least on the GB forums. For Joe Gamer who doesn't peruse GB forums and buys maybe 1 or 2 games a year at maximum, I'll agree that the general word of mouth hype around Cyberpunk probably influenced his disappointment and the scope of the furor around the game.

But I do think that the issues in Cyberpunk were worse than we've seen before, and that's just something we'll have to disagree on. And not even the main point of thread apparently, so (shrug)

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imunbeatable80

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#33  Edited By imunbeatable80

I apologize if someone said this already, but with the hype of cyberpunk came people who were not "gamerz" buying into that hype as well. So when that game fell, it fell hard because there were people who don't have the experience of broken games getting acclimated very quickly to the state of what we might deal with every few game releases.

Cyberpunk was billed as the new best thing since sliced bread. It had celebrity appeal, a huge budget, and was done by a company with real cred from witcher 3. People were excited well outside the gamesphere, and then crushed and very vocal about it. With outriders and watch dogs, they may have been "equally broken" but they didnt garner that same attention from outside the game world.

To be fair i have only played 1 of the 3 games and only about two hours (watch dogs legion)

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@lapsariangiraff: I called the post a "hot take" right in the title, which at least implies that it's being framed in a slightly incendiary way. Why? For the lulz! FOR THE LULZ!

I don't think that it's possible to have a "more broken" Olympics here because none of us know exactly how many people experienced what bugs or when any of this stuff will get fixed and to what degree at this point. It's possible that in 6 months Cyberpunk will run well and Outriders will still be a mess. Do I think that's the likely outcome? Of course not. But it's possible.

I think people have complained about Bethesda and about Outriders and Ubisoft but not to the degree they did about Cyberpunk. It doesn't dominate discussion or coverage of those games or companies. Someone mentioned that Cyberpunk had the epilepsy issue too, and that's very true, but Square Enix not only released Outriders broken but also released a game (Balan Wonderworld) that also had a potential epilepsy trigger in it (both were addressed in day 1 patches.) Of course nobody cares about Balan Wonderworld and the only person on earth who has played it is Jeff, who is not prone to epilepsy, so nobody get hurt, but I haven't seen a general attitude like "Square Enix has been grossly irresponsible this month and needs to be held accountable." Obviously again CDPR is much more closely tied to Cyberpunk than Square Enix is to Outlanders and Balan Wonderworld, but that all gets back to my original post.

I think Cyberpunk needs to be seen as representative of the problems games seem to be going through right now rather than this bizarre outlier.

@imunbeatable80: My original post notes that hype may have a lot to do with it.

Also this means that Cyberpunk or Outriders may be the greatest game and it could be some time before we find out. That's a lot of responsibility. I assume that Watch Dogs Legion is not the greatest game because if it were the greatest game you likely would have played more than 2 hours of it. Unless it was so great that you became afraid of finishing it so you're putting it off because you don't want to ruin other games.

Oh snap. Did I just deduce that Watch Dogs: Legion is the greatest game? I'm like Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (also possibly the greatest game) over here.

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imunbeatable80

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@bigsocrates: Ha.. its true that i will have to put all these games through their paces in order to rank them.. but I wouldnt read too much into my playtime with the game. I bought it on sale, played it to see what jeff was talking about on a bombcast and then put it down with the belief i will play more later. It just hasnt come up for official consideration.

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@imunbeatable80: Somehow I always imagined that the greatest game would not be one where you go "well I've played 2 hours and I saw what Jeff was saying, time to put this aside indefinitely."

Wouldn't you think that the greatest game would be one where you'd play compulsively and think about it all the time and not be able to stop yourself from playing more except to like eat and sleep and stay employed?

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#37 sweep  Moderator

This is hardly a hot take. Apologists have been claiming that the level of quality control in Cyberpunk is on par with other games pretty much since day one.

It may have been given a harder time than most other games which people argue are comparable, but personally my patience for open world jank is monumentally low and I swing hard the opposite direction; I would argue that all open world games with that lack of polish should receive the same critical treatment that Cyberpunk did. It shouldn't be about hype or managing expectations, it should be as binary as whether a product is broken or not when it's released, and for the vast majority of players Cyberpunk was extremely broken. I didn't buy Valhalla either, and I'm still waiting on Baldurs Gate 3 for the same reason.

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I mean you're right,but Legion is a boring mess, and Outriders is a terrible version of The Division. This was supposed to be the next game from the folks that brought us Witcher 3, and the amount of marketing that misled many of us to a purchase makes it even more egregious.

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The word "sensational" springs to mind, what if the next Elder Scrolls is a massive let down that would be craaaazy, we've now seen what disappointment of that scale looks like and the world ate it up.
I don't blame anyone for the end result really, the game (sans bugs) is exactly what the original gameplay footage looked like, i knew it would be a mediocre shooter with some Deus Ex elements and i got what i was expecting. I actually look back on the game with somewhat rose tinted glasses because i did have some fun with it, it wasn't terrible by any means it just wasn't... you know... the best game ever made, which is what marketing and the developer would lead you to expect, but gameplay footage never lies (except when it lies).

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This is a bad hot take. The game was absolutely worse than Watch Dogs Legion and Outriders, neither of which I saw significant issues in. Jeff wasn't even sure he got the right ending for the game. What is the purpose of this post?

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I think I'm with you on this. Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 was a hot mess in many ways and that's bad. CD Projekt RED deserved all the backlash it got and to offer refunds.

I actually had a worse time playing WD:L on my Xbox Series S because it refused to consistently autosave and had no manual save functionality.This didn't get fixed until December 10th, almost a full month since the launch of Series X/S. That's pretty insane.

Bottom line: store fronts need to offer refunds (and probably tighter cert.) for these situations because clearly publishers are unable or unwilling to release a stable game on day 1.

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Translation - Cyberpunk earned its pr nightmare, but let's distract with other games that are bad but for which are not nearly as many lies were told leading up to release, because getting distracted wrt to bugs is easier to defend against that the blatant lying they knowingly did.

Other games being crap doesnt distract from the total source of the bad PR, even if you want to engage in some corporate bootlicking.

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I dunno I've personally couldn't play Cyberpunk on a PS5 because it kept crashing every 30 minutes of active playtime personally. Yet everything I hear about the Outriders issue seems to me like it was very much a game that became an always online thing at the very last minute, that or the game was like the second launch of FFXIV where more people were coming in than prepared/expected. FFXIV had to be taken down from the PS3 store for a while because the game was getting hit so hard.

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@lapsariangiraff: i wonder if its an issue with the newer 30xx cards??

since 30xx cards and ps5s are impossible to buy, i still have a slightly older machine. 3700x and 2080ti. but it will run cyberpunk at over 100fps most of the time at 1440p. it will drop below 60 on occasion in areas with tonnes of NPCs but its not often enough to be an issue.

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@strijd: The majority of the time I'm around 70ish, which I can take at 4k. The problem, as you mentioned, are the areas with tons of NPCs, which are -- most of them. It feels less like a GPU issue and more like a CPU and streaming issue. I'd be curious what settings you ran at -- I'm talking max settings aside from RTX here.

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strijd

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@lapsariangiraff: well that's that explains the fps difference, im doing 1440p not 4k. but i am also on max settings. i also agree it with it being a CPU and streaming issue. i dont think the GPU is taken into account here. i still think it could be better if those areas were optimized better. its not like our CPUs are shit lol

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The harsh dunking on Cyberpunk came both from how broken it was and how critics and game industry folks were treated when they wrote reviews about how broken the game was. It’s been a long time since I saw such a toxic launch of a game that lead to so much harassment of people who dared to criticize the game’s edgelord marketing and lackluster performance at launch. And that isn’t getting separated from the game for a long time, because CDPR courted that level of hype and investment year almost half a decade.

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The problems with Cyberpunk is industry wide and has been for a a good decade or so at this point. The thing is usually they are not a huge disaster and by the time a game of this scale gets released it is at least in some ways finished. This was a game that just was not fully realized or finished by any means. There were clearly problems internally far before this game was even scheduled to be put out years before this game had a release day and mismanagement on top of that lead to an absolute face plant of a release.

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@efesell said:

I think the performance on last gen consoles with Cyberpunk does represent a sort of breaking point but I will say that if you have just a regular ass launch PS4 there are way too many games that are deeply unpleasant to play on that console.

Yeah. Same for the launch Xbox One. I fired mine up a couple years back to test out gamepass on it and some of the games just ran horrifically bad. Outer Wilds on the launch Xbox One was a straight up bad experience for some of the game. Some parts, especially the black hole planet, ran what had to have been sub-20 FPS. Like N64-levels of choppiness.

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I don't really care which game wins "most broken at launch," but here's a little Outriders story for you:

I beat the game a week or so ago. Then I started going back and doing side missions. Well, I thought for sure the historian's missions were bugged, because the icon for the last historian mission never showed up when I looked at the world map. I also knew that the end game has repeatable "expedition" missions, but I didn't see those unlocked anywhere. There's also an end-game achievement that didn't unlock for me. I searched online for the historian quest and couldn't find anything.

I just replayed the last boss to see if I could get some good drops. Guess what happened? I unlocked expeditions, I now know where to go for that last historian quest, and I got the achievement for beating the game. See, what had happened before was during the credits, I got that "can't connect to servers" message. As far as the game was concerned, I hadn't finished it because I got disconnected before the credits ended (I always let the credits play the first time I finish a game). This is bad design.

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