Tuesday, December 8th 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 Game and Performance Review Roundup—The Antidote to 2020?

The most anticipated (read: hyped) PC game for several years now—Cyberpunk 2077—from CD Projekt Red, is almost here, and several gaming publications posted reviews of the game, as well as the way it handles on the PC. Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world action-adventure RPG set in the near-future, with a non-linear adventure plot-line joined by dozens upon dozens of main- and side missions—not unlike GTA or RDR. What sets Cyberpunk's premise apart has to be its beautiful world that seems sufficiently futuristic to seem "plausible," and doesn't get carried away by futuristic tropes set by sci-fi franchises like "Star Trek." There's also plenty of social commentary from the creators through the game, which points to where we are likely headed.

As of this writing, review aggregator Metacritic rates Cyberpunk 2077 at 91, based on 44 critic reviews; while OpenCritic bases its bases its Top Critic Average at 91. The single player campaign consists of a main quest with innumerable optional quests. Night City and thereabouts, the fictional post-apocalyptic megapolis the game is based on, is a sprawling techno-concrete jungle with plenty to explore and unravel. Your skill-tree and abilities are based on cybernetic body implants and weapon mods. Critics highly praise the gameplay, the main quest, and the production value of the game—what you're paying for. At the same time, technical reviews point to the game still being extremely heavy on even the latest "Ampere" and "Big Navi" graphics cards, and despite CDPR taking its own sweet time releasing the game; it's still riddled with bugs and glitches that the studio will spend weeks—if not months—fixing.
Gameplay Reviews
Cyberpunk 2077 is easily the year's most engaging game if you go by top critics; although it seems to fall short of being a "magnum opus."

Tom Marks from IGN writes "Cyberpunk 2077 kicks you into its beautiful and dazzlingly dense cityscape with few restrictions. It offers a staggering amount of choice in how to build your character, approach quests, and confront enemies, and your decisions can have a tangible and natural-feeling impact on both the world around you and the stories of the people who inhabit it. Those stories can be emotional, funny, dark, exciting, and sometimes all of those things at once. The main quest may be shorter than expected when taken on its own and it's not always clear what you need to do to make meaningful changes to its finale, but the multitude of side quests available almost from the start can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the options you have when you get there. It's a shame that frustratingly frequent bugs can occasionally kill an otherwise well-set mood, but Cyberpunk 2077's impressively flexible design makes it a truly remarkable RPG."

Right off the bat we see ominous signs that the game is riddled with bugs at launch.

Richard Scott-Jones from PCGamesN writes: "Groundbreaking, but not quite as much as you're hoping it is. Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't surpass its brilliant influences, but in Night City, Johnny Silverhand, and its chilling vision of hyper-capitalism, it claims territory of its own."

Cyberpunk 2077 evokes a 1980s retro-futurist core-aesthetic. Think about the Detroit city depicted in the original RoboCop. Throughout the '80s futurists imagined crime-infested cities run by mega-corporations where democracy is an illusion at best and a delusion at worst, and corporations settle their differences through street gangs as their proxies.

Despite its technical flaws, Cyberpunk 2077 lives up to its expectations of being a remarkable RPG which you'll be playing for long after you've finished the main quest, says Spanish reviewer Víctor Rodríguez of Areajugones "Cyberpunk 2077 gives the player the ultimate freedom to play. A video game that takes the best of modern RPG, first-person shooter, stealth and open world games and masterfully blends it into a single product. If Skyrim and GTA V represented a turning point for their genres at the beginning of the 2010s, Cyberpunk 2077 is called upon to do the same in 2020, despite its technical flaws."

Daniel Van Boom of CNET writes: "Plenty of gamers will find Cyberpunk too much. It has a slow start -- you'll play for about four hours before even seeing the "Cyberpunk 2077" title screen -- and sometimes the main story moves at too slow a pace. Additionally, the roleplaying elements allow for varied combat, but some may find them needlessly complex, or simply overwhelming. A lot of people don't want to spend 50 hours playing one game, much less 200 hours to 100% it, and would rather a more linear, streamlined experience. Even with its shorter main quest, Cyberpunk is unlikely to sustain this type of player from start to end." Van Boom remarks that that Cyberpunk 2077 isn't meant for people looking to run through its quest, but rather people looking for the ultimate escape. "Anyone who's followed the game knows what they're in for. Players keen for a world to get lost in, a game to sink untold hours into, will be satiated by Cyberpunk 2077," he adds.

"Separated from its marketing, hype, and expectations, so far Cyberpunk 2077 just feels like a huge, scope-ambitious video game, with tons of attention paid to its lore and scenery and lots of dramatic things to do. It's not the best game I've ever played, as so many fans seem to hope it will be." writes Riley MacLeod from Kotaku. "Despite the controversy that's swirled around it and its own missteps, it hasn't yet inspired me to immediately consign it to the trash heap of retrograde video game shit. In many ways, it feels like it's about itself—its genre and source materials, the work that went into it, the flexibility it wants to give the player—from its character creator to its in-the-moment play. Saying "it's just a video game" doesn't quite explain what I find compelling about it, nor what I find complicated. But after all the hype, and despite a certain disappointment of my own hopes, I'm also relieved to find that it's just a video game," he adds.

Cyberpunk 2077 more than manages to be a game where you blink and hours go by IRL, notes James Billcliffe from VG247. "In the midst of such intense anticipation and scrutiny, it's easy to get carried away with what Cyberpunk 2077 could have been. The final experience might be more familiar than many predicted, with plenty of elements that aren't perfect, but it's dripping with detail and engaging stories. With so much to see and do, Cyberpunk 2077 is the kind of RPG where you blink and hours go by, which is just what we need to finish off 2020."

So, should you play Cyberpunk 2077 on the merits of its artistic content and gameplay? Considering that it's being sold at the same price as your annual Call of Duty fix; absolutely! But can you? To answer this question, Tom's Hardware did a technical review of the game, focused purely on how it plays on various current-generation graphics cards, and how certain settings such as real-time raytracing and DLSS affect performance.

Technical Aspects and Performance
According to Jarred Walton from Tom's Hardware, who tested a wide selection of graphics cards, resolutions, and combinations of game-settings; a GeForce RTX 2060 or Radeon RX 5600 XT should set you up for comfortable 60 FPS gameplay at Full HD (1080p) with Medium settings. 4K UHD with Medium settings takes at least an RTX 3080, even the RX 6800 XT is bogged down, and averages 55 FPS—and we're not even running the highest settings or raytracing!
4K UHD with Ultra settings is devastating on most graphics cards, with the game being barely playable at 33 FPS with an RX 6800 XT, barely above 40 FPS with the RTX 3080, and no more than 46 FPS with an RTX 3090. The various DLSS presets come to the rescue of NVIDIA GPUs, adding 40-60 percent performance; however, AMD users won't have any such luck, with FidelityFX Super Sampling still being a unicorn.
Another interesting observation by Walton has to be their CPU testing. An RTX 3090 paired with a 3-year old i7-7700K barely loses 1-2% performance compared to a Core i9-9900K, which has double the muscle. Both chips have an identical IPC as their individual cores are derived from the same "Skylake" microarchitecture; however you're barely gaining 1-2% going from 4-core/8-thread to 8-core/16-thread. This should mean that with Cyberpunk 2077, IPC is king, and if you're building a PC specifically for this game, you should allocate more of your budget on the graphics card, than the CPU.

Update 08:25 UTC: As one of our readers correctly pointed out, the performance preview was tested on graphics cards without day-one performance-optimization drivers; and you should wait for technical reviews with these launch drivers. The preview version also uses Denuvo DRM, which probably impacts performance, the release version won't come with Denuvo.

All in all, Cyberpunk 2077 seems like a game that you should definitely check out, considering it costs the same as your yearly Call of Duty fix.
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105 Comments on Cyberpunk 2077 Game and Performance Review Roundup—The Antidote to 2020?

#1
Vya Domus
Damn, pretty bad performance dare I say unacceptable for a game in development for so long. The fact that core scaling is so poor makes me wonder how did they even got the game running on old gen consoles, it must go into slideshow mode in certain instances.
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#2
Flanker
Yikes, tons of bugs will ruin people's days if this is true.
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#3
Chomiq
Looks like everyone's jumping the gun trying to come up with content before the game even releases. Do a preview performance summary and then another for day 1 patch, and so on. It's clicks that matter, right?
AMD and Nvidia are also working on driver improvements, and the preview copy includes Denuvo protection.
Important bit that you missed @btarunr
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#4
Flanker
Chomiqpreview copy includes Denuvo protection
I can feel the panties twisting already

Edit: nvm the actual game sold will have no DRM
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#5
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
ChomiqLooks like everyone's jumping the gun trying to come up with content before the game even releases. Do a preview performance summary and then another for day 1 patch, and so on. It's clicks that matter, right?


Important bit that you missed @btarunr
Thanks, updated.
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#6
TomTomTom
The Witcher 2 & 3 were also big hardware hogs in the first 2 years since their release and were always used as benchmarks on various sites, CP2077 is no exception.
waiting for the in-depth performance analysis!
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#7
Vya Domus
ChomiqLooks like everyone's jumping the gun trying to come up with content before the game even releases.
Though sometimes performance does improve with a driver update or two after release it's never really radical. And that only applies to GPU performance, everything else is going to remain the same.
FlankerI can feel the panties twisting already
I was convinced this will have DRM, there was no way they'd let one of the most hyped games in history butt naked like that.
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#8
R0H1T
Vya DomusDamn, pretty bad performance dare I say unacceptable for a game in development for so long.
Maybe that's just the way it's meant to be played?
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#9
Chomiq
Vya DomusThough sometimes performance does improve with a driver update or two after release it's never really radical. And that only applies to GPU performance, everything else is going to remain the same.



I was convinced this will have DRM, there was no way they'd let one of the most hyped games in history butt naked like that.
They were informed that preview build differs in performance from Day 1 patched version.

Also, CDPR openly stated that DRM is only included with preview builds. Full release won't have it.
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#10
the54thvoid
I saw a cool CDPR vid which explained how they put bugs into the game (admittedly, TW3) to ensure the player doesn't confuse it with real life. :roll:I'm sure they've simply done the same for Cyberpunk 2077.

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#11
HTC
ChomiqLooks like everyone's jumping the gun trying to come up with content before the game even releases. Do a preview performance summary and then another for day 1 patch, and so on. It's clicks that matter, right?


Important bit that you missed @btarunr
To elaborate further:

[MEDIA=twitter]1336066826233651202[/MEDIA]
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#12
Vya Domus
R0H1TMaybe that's just the way it's meant to be played?
Could very well be the case.
ChomiqThey were informed that preview built differs in performance from Day 1 patched version.
How much can it possibly differ though ? 5-10% ?
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#13
Rares
The Denuvo protection has nothing to do with bugs, maybe performance is affected. After reading some reviews my thought is to wait for serveral months until they fix this game.
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#14
Night
There is no protection, it's on GOG owned by CDPR. Steam might add its launcher, the low level protection.
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#15
kayjay010101
Hopefully 4K High with DLSS perf mode at 60 fps should be obtainable with my 3070. I have no hopes for Raytracing enabled, though, judging by the sub-30 that the 3060 Ti gets. Oof. Maybe with RT low/medium?
NightThere is no protection, it's on GOG owned by CDPR. Steam might add its launcher, the low level protection.
The reviewers have stated the review sample they were given had Denuvo DRM on it. That specifically hampers CPU performance often, so the 1080p figures will be lower than what we'll see at launch. For release the game is DRM-free.
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#16
Night
kayjay010101Hopefully 4K High with DLSS perf mode at 60 fps should be obtainable with my 3070. I have no hopes for Raytracing enabled, though, judging by the sub-30 that the 3060 Ti gets. Oof. Maybe with RT low/medium?

The reviewers have stated the review sample they were given had Denuvo DRM on it. That specifically hampers CPU performance often, so the 1080p figures will be lower than what we'll see at launch. For release the game is DRM-free.
Suppose that Denuvo was included just for the sake of the preview not being shared around. Denuvo didn't leave a big footprint on DMC5 www.techpowerup.com/review/denuvo-performance-loss-test/
though I'd like to see FPS numbers of the preview with Denuvo, and then the DRM free release on this hardware taxing game.
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#17
watzupken
ChomiqThey were informed that preview build differs in performance from Day 1 patched version.

Also, CDPR openly stated that DRM is only included with preview builds. Full release won't have it.
I too wonder how much performance gain will you see with the patch. Even if its 10%, looking at the numbers in the preview build, doesn't look too good either.
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#18
The Quim Reaper
So, on my 2080, 1440p @ Ultra settings & with RT, a locked 30fps seems perfectly doable.
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#19
Vayra86
Really, TPU? (Or just bta?)



TL DR, you've wasted another few minutes on reading clickbait, but thanks.

No AMD GPUs tested, and a ripped Toms piece that actually turned out just as clickbaity.

Quality level zero. Can we please do better than bottom barrel internet feed? I don't see why I shouldn't just use the internet for that already. I come here for more, and its becoming a trend not to find it - at least not in the news/headlines section.
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#20
kayjay010101
NightSuppose that Denuvo was included just for the sake of the preview not being shared around. Denuvo didn't leave a big footprint on DMC5 www.techpowerup.com/review/denuvo-performance-loss-test/
though I'd like to see FPS numbers of the preview with Denuvo, and then the DRM free release on this hardware taxing game.
Denuvo has made a big impact in the past. Monster Hunter World being a notable example where Denuvo was especially taxing, but that was a worst case as Capcom just slapped on Denuvo at the highest level they could without any optimization. They toned it down massively and the improvements were in the range of 40-50%.
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#21
Vayra86
How about not speculating over nothing. You're looking at unpatched prerelease perf

You're also looking at launch GPU drivers - all of the pieces are still moving. You can't say anything about performance today...
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#22
lZKoce
I love it when the initial technical performance is on spanking new GPUs and on the bottom GTX1060. I am just gonna wait for a review from a "low" spec gamer out there. I am still not bitten by this game, but I like the merchandise, especially the concept art work. Hopefully, those art books/graphic novels won't reach super-premium status as it happened with Homeworld remastered art book.
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#23
lexluthermiester
NightThere is no protection, it's on GOG owned by CDPR. Steam might add its launcher, the low level protection.
The Steam and Epic versions will not require the Launcher to run. It'll still run on it's own.

The Denuvo addition is for the PREVIEW copies ONLY. Retail release will not have it. This was done to control the distribution and limit access to reviewers only.

It should also be noted that the Preview copy is a version several months old. Many, if not most, of the bugs/glitches reported by reviewers are fixed.
Vayra86Really, TPU? (Or just bta?)



TL DR, you've wasted another few minutes on reading clickbait, but thanks.

No AMD GPUs tested, and a ripped Toms piece that actually turned out just as clickbaity.

Quality level zero. Can we please do better than bottom barrel internet feed? I don't see why I shouldn't just use the internet for that already. I come here for more, and its becoming a trend not to find it - at least not in the news/headlines section.
While you make valid points, I think you're being a little bit harsh. This is a news update with some updated info and a lot of it is good stuff.
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#24
Night
lexluthermiesterThe Steam and Epic versions will not require the Launcher to run. It'll still run on it's own.

The Denuvo addition is for the PREVIEW copies ONLY. Retail release will not have it. This was done to control the distribution and limit access to reviewers only.

It should also be noted that the Preview copy is a version several months old. Many, if not most, of the bugs/glitches reported by reviewers are fixed.
Pretty sure you need to have Steam running to play the game, that was the case with numerous DRM free games that ended up on Steam, it's still kind of a DRM, while GOG has offline installers without the necessity of GOG Galaxy game launcher (something I'd consider completely DRM free).

You're right about the preview being old and unoptimized, it's comparable to nothing.
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#25
Upgrayedd
Vya DomusDamn, pretty bad performance dare I say unacceptable for a game in development for so long. The fact that core scaling is so poor makes me wonder how did they even got the game running on old gen consoles, it must go into slideshow mode in certain instances.
Are you referring to the core scaling at 4K or 1080p? They are much different.

82fps gain to 105fps by adding 4 cores and 8 more threads seems like scaling to me. Even then it is still CPU bound. Im curious to how many cores it takes until you see a significant drop in performance gained from adding cores and then how close you can get to those figures with less cores but higher clocks.
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