The Tuesday Inbox enjoys more video game references in The Mandalorian, as one reader has the temerity to enjoy their new PS5.
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The long wait
I have a copy of Cyberpunk 2077 on the way for Christmas, for me to play on my standard PlayStation 4.
Perhaps you can help clarify something here.
I have seen the extent of the problems with the standard console versions. Is this an unsolvable problem due to machine power or will the patches eventually tidy it all up?
Am I ever likely to get to play a working texture mapped version on my PlayStation 4 or do these problems now suggest that an update to a PlayStation 5 is required? (Updating to a Pro seems a bad investment now).
Problems aside are you able to comment on whether there is a dramatic intentional reduction in graphics on the PlayStation 4?
GC: There’s no way of telling unless CD Projekt offers some more details, but the first major patch isn’t out till January so it’s not going to be properly fixed by Christmas.
Duty of care
I would like to know how much responsibility GC readers feel Microsoft/Sony should take in the Cyberpunk debacle? Obviously CD Projekt carry the majority of the responsibility, given they developed the game and knew exactly how bad performance was but Microsoft and Sony saw the game ahead of release and were obviously well aware of the issues.
Microsoft and Sony have excellent QA departments and rigorous technical requirements checklists (TRCs) to make sure games are released in an acceptable state. Cyberpunk 2007, however, has made a complete mockery of these once stringent processes and clearly executive decisions were made that completely undermined the QA process.
Have Sony and Microsoft not got a duty of care to their players to ensure a game meets a certain level of performance? They should have been strong enough to force CD Projekt into delaying the Xbox/PlayStation 4 versions in spite of the huge financial implications for all involved. I am glad to see players have reacted angrily to this situation and hopefully all parties have learned a valuable lesson for the future.
No straight answers
Can I ask why the PlayStation 4 version, according to the Inbox, looks so bad? God Of War came out two years ago (I think) and it looked fantastic. How can Cyberpunk look as bad as people are saying? Can a patch save it or is it a disaster of Fallout 76 proportions?
I haven’t bought it, luckily enough, and going by the way people are hating on it I don’t think I will till next year at least.
Can I also ask, which type of monitor is best? Not brand but the type of screen. Should I get a TN, VA or IPS screen. I’ve googled it but as usual a straight answer is not forthcoming. I’m hoping to get at least one that can do 2K and 144Hz but the choice is mindboggling.
What do you guys use at GC HQ?
GC: Just as with a TV it depends how much you want to spend. We’ve always found BenQ monitors very reliable but also have an Asus TUF VG289Q.
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Firstly, please let me wish everyone who works at/reads GC a very happy Christmas. I hope you all get some time to spend on whatever console(s) or game(s) you choose!
Now, I was lucky enough to make it through the queue at ShopTo and last week received my PlayStation 5 (partly for my young children, mainly for me!) I am not a hardcore gamer particularly, my favourites over the years have generally been puzzle/walking sims (I may have bought Edith Finch on at least four occasions now), however I have had consoles on and off since the Master System 2 back in the early 90s, when I was just entering double figures in age.
My first impressions were mainly based around where the hell I’m going to keep the behemoth, however once set up I and having transferred everybody’s profiles and data over from the PlayStation 4 quickly enough I was able to launch Astro’s Playroom and start having fun.
And my word, what a nostalgic throwback to the fun I had when I first got a PlayStation 3! Immediately I felt the innovative use of the new DualSense made me feel just as I did back when I tried Super Rub ‘A’ Dub nearly 15 years ago. The approach to gaming for this seemed just as innocent and pleasurable as Super Mario Odyssey and I haven’t shifted this happy feeling all weekend.
My kids (both 4+) love it too and are able to navigate through the basic levels easily enough. I know it’s probably considered very easy by most gamer standards but when it’s so much fun, I don’t care one bit!
Anyway, I know I’m a little late to the party but I just wanted to praise the work at Sony that has clearly gone into designing this super piece of hardware. I look forward to the Sony first party games (and maybe others) utilising the fun interaction with the DualSense even more in the future.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Last last gen
I am still a fan of the PlayStation 3, especially when it comes to the Uncharted series and The Last Of Us. The graphics are so awesome! I would just love to play a PlayStation 4, if only long enough to see the difference between the games mentioned.
I have enjoyed them but the next generation of PlayStation 4 is calling. In fact, I bought the Uncharted game thinking about when I could afford one. I see and now read WHY they are still expensive! Kind of glad about how the PlayStation 5 isn’t as good as it seems.
GC: Where did you get that impression from?
You know, they say that the games that really show what hardware is capable of only comes towards the end of its life cycle…. turns out that this is true for at least one of last gen’s mid-gen refresh consoles too.
After only dipping in and out of gaming for quite some while, I recently bought myself a few new games. All games are being played on the Xbox One X. The games are: Watch Dogs: Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Immortals Fenyx Rising, and Cyberpunk 2077. As the keener reader would no doubt spot, three of these games are very recent Ubisoft games.
Now Ubisoft get a lot of stick. But these three games are some of the slickest I’ve ever played. Visually, Valhalla is really very handsome, and Watch Dogs is so crisp. Both games have huge draw distances and I’ve found no bugs, and I really have enjoyed myself (so far) immensely.
But I really must draw attention to Immortals Fenyx Rising. This game is so beautiful I may actually walk straight past Jennifer Lawrence in the disco of my dreams tonight, and quite calmly sit down in the corner for another game! While it’s a looker, the game itself is great too, and I implore GC readers not to sleep on this game because it really is an excellent Zelda: Breath Of The Wild inspired adventure. For these three, count me very much back in the Ubisoft fan club.
That’s all, but a final comment of Cyberpunk 2077. It actually plays pretty well and looks better after turning of all the optional stuff in the menus, like chromatic aberration, motion blur, and lens flare. No slow-loading textures, or any other major problems. It has frozen twice for about three seconds. And the frame rate, at times, has a little chug-along. But it’s very playable, and, therefore, quite far away from what I’ve read about other console versions.
GC: We agree that Immortals is easily the best of those three, but it’s sold much less, which is a real shame.
Quacks like a duck
The most disappointing thing about the whole Cyberpunk 2077 fiasco is how predictable it was.
Once the release date was moved so close to Christmas the writing was on the wall. You knew the game was going to be released one way or another, whatever state it was in. The question of why CD Projekt Red wouldn’t show the game running on the base PlayStation 4 or Xbox One also turned out to have the most the most obvious answer: they couldn’t, because it doesn’t. I always find that in gaming, if a project sounds overly ambitious, then it essentially always is, and that has certainly proven true here.
I wouldn’t think I’ll ever play it, the critical consensus seems to be that it is very good but not essential, and the way the whole thing has been handled has left a really sour taste in my mouth – especially the stuff about forced overtime, which you never want to see.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. The likes of Street Fighter 5 and No Man’s Sky were patched/updated into exponentially better games than they were to begin with without ever shaking off the ignominy of their troubled launches, and I would imagine Cyberpunk will leave a similar legacy behind, CD Projekt have certainly earned it if so.
GC: Yes, there was no other reasonable explanation for not showing the console versions. And when the review copies were purposefully held back, we knew that meant only one thing.
This is not fine
So, having played a couple of sessions of Cyberpunk 2077 (maybe four or five hours’ worth in total – enough to get to the end of the third main mission) on a PlayStation 5 with the first couple of update patches applied, I think I’m done for the moment. At least until the general state of the game wholly improves.
I was prepared for the fact there would be bugs – even on this next gen machine – and have played some very buggy games in the past (Skyrim on my PlayStation 3 groaning along at under 10fps stands out), so I thought I was ready for what would come. What has most surprised me is the range and regularity of the bugs.
On initially booting up the game, I observed the surrounding environment of the world thinking, ‘This doesn’t look so bad’, movement was smooth and the texture details were quite impressive. There were some last gen, janky shadows but ‘I can live with that’ I told myself. Then I noticed the dialogue subtitles (which I had turned off) had frozen on the screen. A checkpoint restart didn’t fix it, so I rebooted to the very start of the game – problem solved. Climbing a structure early game, I was distracted by the fuzzy, graphically noisy edges between the holes in the structure where the background could be seen. Again, ‘That’s OK’ I thought to myself.
When I reached the city for the first time, I was initially impressed by the way the lights bounced around and the smoothness of the frame rate. But then all the character shadows disappeared. Restarting the game from the same checkpoint didn’t fix things. ‘I can live without shadows’, another acceptance of a fairly major flaw. And then I hit crash one, requiring a restart and some lost progress, characters merging into the background, text stuck on the screen again, an inability to leave a mission because of a glitch, HDR issues, empty environments, glitchy mixed-res character models, low-res textures on objects in the world and further crashes just driving round the streets.
Perhaps I’ve been overly spoilt by some truly stunning next gen visuals and gameplay over recent weeks and have become more sensitised to these glaring issues as a result? After all, I did enjoy the one combat encounter I experienced. But consistency in performance has to be a key part of that overall enjoyment and this aspect is woefully and disappointingly lacking at present.
I felt like I was forgiving more and accepting more than I was getting back in return. I feel sure the game will improve and become more stable. I look forward to returning to it when this happens, perhaps with a next gen update too but, for now at least, I’m done with making excuses for this game.
Anyone notice another major reference to a video game in the new Mandalorian? Operation: Cinder was the big pivot point in the story campaign of Star Wars: Battlefront 2!
RE: Cyberpunk 2077 I’ve been waiting as the same as everyone else for this game and don’t get me wrong, it looks good. Also, it can be so much better but when I can’t load it or it’s jumping about and causing me major problems I feel so disappointing, I am hearing about a refunds on the ‘net also still want to play the game, etc.
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, who asks what’s the most money you’ve ever regretted spending on a video game related item?
It can be an early mistake from your children or a more recent purchase but what game, hardware, or merchandise do you really wish you hadn’t bought?
Do you blame the game or item itself or misleading marketing or reviews – or did you simply get the wrong idea about what it was? Did the mistake change your attitude at all and have you made a similar mistake since?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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