Cyberpunk 2077 was one of, if not the most anticipated game of the last decade. However, the launch itself didn’t exactly go according to plan for CDProjektRed. Despite being an incredible game, the release of Cyberpunk 2077 has been riddled with controversy.
Back in 2012, when it was initially announced, the PS4 and Xbox One weren’t even out. 8 years later, we already have the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. With such a massive delay though, it seems like CDProjektRed might have gone way too ambitious for what it wanted its game to be. And, as a result, Cyberpunk 2077 is perhaps too big and power-hungry for the last-gen consoles.
Cyberpunk 2077 is broken on the PS4 and Xbox One
To call the game broken on the base PS4 and Xbox One would be an understatement. Even if you ignore all the game-breaking bugs and glitches, Cyberpunk 2077 is simply unplayable on these consoles. From the poor texture streaming and quality to the insanely bad framerates that linger around the 20 FPS mark, this has to be one of the worst AAA launches of all time.
Not only that, but the worst thing about this whole debacle is the fact that CDProjektRed didn’t even disclose this information prior to release. No review codes were given out to anyone for the PS4 or Xbox One and neither was any footage shown online of the game running on these. Hence, people only found out the hard way that the game that they had been waiting for isn’t even playable on their consoles.
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This, as expected, resulted in review bombing and a social media campaign against the company. And rightly so, since CDProjektRed had done its fans a disservice by allowing the game to be released in such a broken state. And, according to a lot of people, simply not releasing the game on last-gen consoles until it was ready would have been a better choice.
CDProjektRed had to release an official statement
But alas, the damage has already been done and the complaints have grown to such an extent that CDProjektRed has had to release an official statement on one of its infamous yellow backgrounds. In the official statement, the company recognized that it had botched up the game’s launch on PS4 and Xbox One.
However, while the statement did reassure everyone that big patches were coming in January and February, it also included the fact that unsatisfied customers can indeed opt to get a refund for the game instead.
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) December 14, 2020
The framerate issue isn’t the only thing holding back Cyberpunk 2077 though. Even on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, the game just doesn’t look the way it should. The resolution can drop down below 1080p and the overly aggressive anti-aliasing turns the entire world into a blurry mush. Not only that, but the texture pop-in is also incredibly distracting and is a massive immersion breaker for anyone playing on last-gen.
And lastly, Night City just feels empty and lifeless on the PS4 and Xbox One. There aren’t enough NPCs or traffic around to really make the world feel alive. This is in stark contrast to the Xbox Series X or PC version, which, while still not being stable, at least provide a good enough experience for those looking to delve themselves fully into the game.
Aggressive visual filters make Cyberpunk 2077 look bad
Having said that, not all of the problems pertaining to the Cyberpunk 2077 graphics are unfixable. As soon as the game came out, many people pointed towards the aggressive post-processing filters that the game was applying to the visuals. These include things like Chromatic Aberration and Film Grain among many others.
Yes, these filters are very common for games and can be seen on most graphically impressive modern console games like God of War. So, what makes them particularly bad on Cyberpunk 2077? Well, it is the implementation.
Apparently, to hide the lower resolution and bad texture streaming, CDProjektRed has tried to put aggressive filters on top of the image. This, however, just makes the game feel noisy and blurry. If you turn these settings off though, you can get a massive boost in visual quality and the game doesn’t feel as mushy anymore.
Optimal Graphics Settings for Cyberpunk 2077
So, If you want to improve the graphics and visual quality on a PS4, Xbox One, or even other platforms, just follow these steps:
- Launch Cyberpunk 2077 and head over to the game settings.
- Navigate to the Graphics tab within the settings. You’ll see that this only has a few options in the console version of the game.
- Now, under the basic option, turn off Film Grain. Film Grain is the noise filter applied on top of the image. It is usually applied to give a cinematic feel to the image. However, the implementation here is horrendous and just makes the image look noisy.
- Keep Chromatic Aberration on. This gives off that 3D color-shifting effect between greens and reds. It might look distracting at first but since Cyberpunk 2077 is full of bright neon lights, this option adds to that effect.
- Turn off Depth of Field. This option makes farther objects blurry as you aim down sights, which can make textures look strange in Cyberpunk 2077. Usually, though, this is a good option to have and hopefully, CDProjektRed can fix it in an upcoming update.
- Enable Lens Flare as the vibrant lights in Night City reflecting off the lens of your camera look absolutely fantastic.
- Disable Motion Blur as the implementation here is also poor. When done right though, motion blur can work wonders in games. Hopefully, an update can fix this as well.
These settings still aren’t enough for Xbox One or PS4
Earlier this week, CDProjektRed released a hotfix that patched up a lot of bugs and visual glitches within the game. Paired with the graphics settings given above, it should at least look visually adequate for most players. However, this still doesn’t exactly solve the texture streaming or framerate issue. For that, you’ll have to wait until January for the big update. And, while installing an SSD does improve the loading times and texture streaming, it still isn’t significant enough to make a difference.
Are last-gen consoles just too weak for Cyberpunk 2077?
According to many people though, the Xbox One and PS4 just aren’t capable enough to run a game like Cyberpunk 2077 smoothly. They are right to some extent but there are a lot of factors at play here. Firstly, it is true that Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the most resource-hungry games out there. Yes, we’ve seen incredible visuals on the PS4 with games like Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, and The Last of Us Part 2. However, those were all very different games.
Red Dead Redemption 2 generally had a pretty empty open world and rarely had dozens of NPCs on screen at once. The other two are just linear experiences with baked-in lighting, shadows, and much more. In contrast, Cyberpunk 2077 is a dynamic world with a city that is packed with life including NPCs, traffic, and things to do. The closest thing that comes to Cyberpunk 2077 is GTA 5, which, to be fair, ran pretty well on even an Xbox 360 which really shows the incredible achievement of Rockstar.
So, yes, Cyberpunk 2077 should work properly on last-gen consoles, especially when you consider the fact that CDPR started development on it probably for the PS4 and Xbox One initially. Are we hopeful for the game’s future on Xbox One and PS4? Well, if you look at the history of games that CDPR has released over the years, you should be optimistic.
The future bodes well for Cyberpunk on last-gen though
Back when the Witcher 3 launched on Xbox One and PS4, it was also a hot mess much like Cyberpunk 2077. You had consistent crashes and frame drops below the low 20s, which is very much like it is with this game. In the end though, after a series of patches and fixes, the Witcher 3 was finally able to reach stable framerates and performance on both the Xbox One and PS4. So, there’s no reason to believe that the developer won’t be able to replicate its past success this time around.
Having said that, CDProjektRed has really put doubt on its reputation as a likable studio. Even after months of delay and intense crunch, the game still came in very hot in a completely broken state and a longer delay would have absolutely been the right thing to do. Furthermore, the stick that the developer is getting from gamers around the world for concealing the game’s broken state is also justified and hopefully, this will be a learning experience for everyone hyping up a game for months and for the developer as well.
The famous saying that a delayed game is always better than a rushed game applies here as well. And, if the Xbox One and PS4 versions of Cyberpunk 2077 aren’t fixed within the next few weeks, the damage that this whole controversy to CDProjektRed’s reputation could be irreversible.
Cyberpunk 2077 is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.