Is Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 and Xbox One so bad or can we save something? - article

Is Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 and Xbox One so bad or can we save something? - article
The facts follow one another quickly. CD Projekt Red recently promised to work to solve the problems that plague Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 and Xbox One, admitting to having released the game underestimating them. With a message to the players (and an emergency meeting with investors) the developer has made it known that he is working to improve the situation, fixing bugs, glitches and crashes. A patch has already been published, and the second is now in the pipeline, while for January and February we expect more full-bodied updates. In short, things are moving.

"After three postponements, we managers were too focused on getting the game out," said co-CEO Adam Kiciński. "We underestimated the complexity of the problems and ignored the signs that pointed towards the need for more time to clean up the game on last-gen consoles. The approach we took was the wrong one, and we went against our philosophy. In addition, on the marketing side we showed almost only the PC version. " br>
CDPR hopes that their renewed efforts will allow "to rebuild lost trust", but it is true that the road that led to this mess is surprising, a true failure of all the control steps a game goes through before to be branded as ready for the market. Usually, in fact, finished titles are submitted to the judgment of the platform holders who check if they meet a series of quality criteria, and send them back to the sender in case of problems.

That's how Cyberpunk 2077 runs on last-gen consoles, with an eye on Xbox One and Xbox One X.

Watch on YouTube. Putting aside the negative performance of the code for a moment, we must say that such an unstable game (and let's talk specifically about the various crashes) usually fails to pass the certification. Instead, Cyberpunk 2077 made it. During the meeting with the investors, CDPR clearly ruled out Sony or Microsoft's responsibility, saying they were the ones who assured the two console makers that the problems would be solved. Developer Rami Ismail also went into depth on how the certification process works, saying that hardware manufacturers can let some problems pass in some cases and that it is not so uncommon for non-perfect games to arrive on the market, but it is true that the case of Cyberpunk 2077 is so spectacular that maybe something should be rethought.

We have tested every available version of the game, but given its size and the fact that it is present on so many different platforms, we don't want to give you the impression of having results carved in stone in hand, we only have data. The gameplay experience varies from player to player, and from system to system, but what we do know is that the problems begin when you enter Night City. Even areas already seen in the various demos (and which therefore should be particularly refined) present problems. That said, a misjudgment in the analysis of the situation seems plausible, as the future patch plan suggests we are dealing with a game far from complete.

Our first report on Cyberpunk on PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. For now, it looks like Sony's Pro console is the best of last-gen.

Watch on YouTube. Other than that, the impression is that the generally accepted definition of "serious problems" does not match that of CD Projekt Red. In his statement on what's in the works, the developer didn't mention performance, just crashes or bugs. During the meeting with the investors, CDPR then said that we must have realistic expectations regarding the performance, albeit through a rather curious comparison with the PC and next-gen versions of Cyberpunk 2077.

Nobody expects to see 60fps on Xbox One, so to speak, but we think focusing on performance and ensuring a frame-rate that isn't as dramatically between 15fps and 30fps is just as important as fixing bugs. Perhaps this is what CDPR means when it says that patches will not allow the code to run as if it were on PC, but that they will at least make the two experiences closer. There is a bit of vagueness, though: entire areas of the game run at 20fps (or even less), and then CDPR only talked about the basic consoles, not mentioning PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, where the problems are not lacking (especially on Microsoft's machine).

So, besides bugs, crashes and glitches, what are the problems that plague last-gen versions? Everything we've seen so far suggests there are multiple bottlenecks. Xbox One S is the least powerful of the last-gen machines and in fact has more problems than the others, with performance even lower than that found on the PlayStation 4 (despite fewer effects, and a resolution that seems to be around 1200x675). At the antipodes we find PlayStation 4 Pro, probably the most stable of the last-gen, where the frame-rate seems to exceed that detected on Xbox One X even by 5fps. They are not many, perhaps, but the starting point is so low that they make themselves felt. The image below highlights the problem: wandering around the city or driving at high speeds causes hiccups on all consoles of the past generation.

It's not just the base consoles that suffer, even PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X have several problems to solve. In asking us about the origin of these problems, the hook could give us the next-gen versions which, in fact, run the code developed for the last-gen (with some improvements). On PlayStation 5 we find the PS4 code at frame-rate unlocked, while on the Xbox Series X and S we find the Xbox One code with some additions regarding NPC and vehicle density, and ambient occlusion. Xbox Series S has a less powerful GPU than Xbox One X, but is paradoxically more consistent and stable in the experience it offers.

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Our deductive process, therefore, suggests this: first of all, the lack of memory of the last-gen versions does not seem to be the main problem since Xbox One X has 9GB of RAM available and still hiccups. Then, on Series S the game is more stable despite the smaller amount of memory. The fronts on which the next-gen clearly has an advantage are those of CPU and storage space speed. The tests available to us point the finger at the CPU: Cyberpunk 2077 is particularly demanding in terms of computational power, which is evident during the driving phases. Even on next-gen, Stadia and PC there are problems. However, even this theory is not perfect, as the Xbox One X on paper should beat the PS4 Pro CPU, but the Sony console guarantees greater performance in various respects.

Most of our surveys have been made on the launch code, while now version 1.04 is already available and seems to have improved the situation of some bugs that broke the game. Performance for now does not understandably seem to be the focus of CDPR, as first of all you have to make sure that the game at least does not close unexpectedly. But clearly stated, the challenge the developer is facing is enormous. Knowing that frame-rates drop below 20fps in some cases, we imagine that the effort to make the game smoother on older Jaguar CPUs will be extraordinarily demanding.

Looking back, we can say that The Witcher 3 has improved a lot over time, and areas like Novigrad or the hag swamp have become less problematic, so we have a certain degree of hope. But frankly, the idea of ​​doubling the frame-rate or increasing it by 50% seems to require phenomenal effort, although especially on Xbox One it would be necessary. For now we can say that Cyberpunk 2077 seems really too next-gen to be able to run on last-gen, but clearly we hope that over the months CD Projekt Red will be able to prove it wrong, also giving those who play on PS4 and Xbox One a stable code, bug-free and at 30fps.

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