Far Cry 6 – Review

So I just beat Far Cry 6, well that’s not true, I did this all last December. Because I’m awesome I completed the story and got the platinum trophy for it just to show off. I was really hesitant on playing another Far Cry game, especially if Ubisoft wasn’t going to change up the formula in some drastic way. I just felt like I was tired of the formula. I was tired of these styles of story and tired of running around a big open world where I had to collect shit every 15 feet. So what changed? I guess it started when I finally decided to go back to Far Cry New Dawn a little bit ago, I started it a long time ago on PC and just stopped completely. This time I decided that I’ll just skip all cutscenes and try to liberated the bases and complete the story, that’s it. I hated the story in 6 and New Dawn, so skipping the story made me appreciate the gameplay more. It made me realize that I do love the gunplay in these games, it feels good to snipe and headshot people in video games, who would have thought?

Best way to take out an anti aircraft gun, fly in with a wingsuit, switch to your parachute, pull out your NASA rocket launcher and blow it up from on high.

So that was the start, I then had to wait for a good enough sale to even consider getting this game. Ubisoft games always go on sale soon after release and we had black Friday coming up, so it was in one of those game hauls that I got this game. I picked it up for just 35$, not bad.

This game surprised me, a lot. The biggest surprise I had was that I actually liked the story. It’s not the greatest thing ever, but I didn’t skip the cutscenes when they happened. I guess I wanted to see where things went, even if I didn’t care about a good amount of the characters and their arcs. That was a big win for me, I get really tired of the villain’s in these games, they’re made out to be such legendary characters, like Vaas was ever this great character (he wasn’t). Or let’s look at Far Cry 5 and the whole religious cult aspect, that’s a trope I just can’t stand, I don’t want to hear people preaching in real life let alone a video game.

In Far Cry 6, you start out picking a gender for your character, of course I went with female. She’s a beautiful woman named Dany Rojas that has probably murdered over a thousand people, so she’s a bit of a mass murderer. Just try not to hold that against her. After that you start getting set up on the plot and what’s going on in this world, they give you a small island, which is actually big, for you to run around and get your bearings in. You get a taste of everything the game has to offer here. Your weapons start out pretty basic and you can craft parts to customize them, starting with cheap suppressors that stop working after a few shots.

I enjoyed the introductory area of the game, but then it breaks off into the meat of this chalupa, the big island. Here is where the freedom really kicks in. The main island is broken down into three major areas, that you’re free to roam between, with each group being lead by different resistance fighters. Your job is to go to each group, help them out, and try to convince them to join Libertad to take down the big bad guy, Anton Castillo. He’s basically using the population of the country as slave labor to grow and produce a cancer medication that is only found on this island.

The world of Far Cry 6

What I actually love about this game is something that I sort of hate about this game. Now that’s something intriguing! I feel like you’re hooked now, so let me explain. Maybe a third of my way into my playthrough I had a rifle that I added different modifications to, it had a nice suppressor on it, armor piercing rounds, things like that. (Check the pic below, it’s the gun pointing at the bulls balls.) I’d mess with the scope to try out different ranges, and I’d changed the ornament that hung off the side all the time, so that was fun. The hang up is that I loved this gun so much because of what it could do. I could literally scope out a compound and headshot enemies, killing each one in a single shot to the head. It was a click-delete tool. Having armor piercing rounds, which are very easy to unlock, equipped, meant that any of the higher ranking enemies would get all the armor blown off their head in one shot and the bullet would hit their dome. There was rarely a moment when an enemy would survive a clean shot to their head. Perhaps I just needed to up the difficulty level or something, but it felt so good so stop judging!

My favorite gun looking at sum bulls balls. nothing to see here.

It’s hard to really argue with the feeling you get from head shotting people with a rifle in a Far Cry game. I’d love to see a stat on how many headshot kills I got, the ratio must be insane. I would eventually equip a nice little handgun with a suppressor and use that as a backup. I don’t like that I was able to stick to my setup for so long, it carried me all the way to the end of the game. The only things I switched out were my explosive weapons, which were critical for destroying anti aircraft guns and helping with tanks. I’d also need to pull out my heavy machine gun to deal with the annoying ass helicopters.

Early into the game you’re given what’s called a Suprimo weapon, it was a big selling point in all the media leading up to release. It’s a big ass weapon that you have strapped to your back all the time. It can do various things like launch rockets or create an EMP depending on the model you have equipped. I only really used them in the beginning of the game, before I started using a six shot grenade launcher, after I got that I really had no desire to even try my Suprimo anymore. Again, maybe on a higher difficulty setting I’d need to rely on that more. It’s not a big knock to the game, just a weird inclusion considering how inconsequential it was is to my gameplay.

Graphics

The first thing I just have to talk about in regards to the presentation of this game is that there was so much screen tearing. I don’t think I’ve seen a game tear this much in a long time, especially on console. I was playing on PS5 and it felt like it was hitting a clean 60fps at all times, I really do think it’s a rendering error on the game engine and not because the console is struggling to keep up with the frames. A lot of people are reporting this issue on all the consoles so I don’t see why Ubisoft still hasn’t patched this out, it’s not a good look. (I wonder if the VRR update fixed this issue)

What is a good look though, is the way this game looks! It’s a really pretty looking game. The vistas stretch out as far as you can see, you can hop into a helicopter, fly all the way up, jump out and glide across the map and seamlessly land in a completely different area of the island and it all looks seamless. The guns are highly detailed, the character models all look really good, the animation quality is pretty good for a Ubisoft title. It did feel like a step-up from the last game and I can’t wait to see what a proper next generation Far Cry game will bring to the table.

It’s the final countdown!

Final Score 8.8

This is not a revolutionary title in open-world shooters, it’s not even a crazy take on the Far Cry formula, but it is an enjoyable experience that gives me hope towards the future of the series. I really did like this game, something I thought was not going to be possible due to burnout on the series. I liked the character I played as, I liked taking over bases, something anyone close to the series will understand. I actually felt a connection to the weapons I customized and used for hours on end. It would have been nice to not have a bunch of collection trophies, but I was able to use a guide and fast travel around the map to clean them up relatively quickly, which was a bonus of the next gen consoles. I wish the expansions for this game weren’t based on the villains’ of the old games, that just makes me not want to play them. I would think about playing this game on a harder difficulty in coop with my brother though, that could be really fun.

Supremo weapons and a butt.

Oh! One last thing, I nearly forgot. This game has no big drug hallucination scenes in it like all the prior games. That was something I was really tired of doing and was not looking forward to. Let’s fuck up the screen and have you fight invisible animals and shit while a disenchanted voice speaks to you, fuck that. I mean, there is one point that I remember where you do have to shoot at a ghost image of a person because you got a little poisoned, but it only lasted like 20 seconds and you just run through it all. So that’s an improvement we should mention.

Cyberpunk 2077 – Review

You could call the last month with this game a train wreck in how not to release a title, a wild ride, or just another video game that was released. I haven’t delved into all the drama of this games release because it didn’t really affect me that much. I wrote about how I bounced out of the PS4/5 version of the game just before launch and decided to play it on my PC. I got a refund before it was even launched, talk about a trend-setter. That was clearly the right choice to make and I don’t want to take anything away from the struggles and shitty experience players on other systems are experiencing. We can see now that this title was clearly meant to be played on PC and I’m lucky enough to have the ability to do just that. The big thing I want to go into is, did this game live up to my expectations, and is it a masterpiece that will forever change role playing games.

The Start

I went into the game wanting a challenging and rewarding experience, so I decided to start on Very Hard difficulty. I wanted my decisions to matter as much as possible and I didn’t want to blow through enemies like they were nothing. That was my mentality going in and I’ll dive into if that actually lived up to expectations. I also picked the Corpo path since it felt like the more “cyberpunk” route to go. Having finished the game, it does feel like my character really was a Corpo. It makes me wonder more and more about the other two paths and how those affect the gameplay and dialogue choices. It’s engrained in who my character is and the game did a great job at implementing that choice.

The game has a decent character creator, where I was allowed to make my female V. I gave her a vagina and the perfect size breasts and an attractive face with an edgy hairstyle. She looked pretty cool to me. There wasn’t a lot of body customization as I thought there was going to be. No changing arms into robotic parts, coloring sections of your skin, or really having a wild time making a synthe’d out V that is super unique. It’s all a bit locked up and slightly disappointing in that regard. It makes me want to create a mod with a bunch of different options for others to mess with. You’ll come into contact with other characters that have modified their bodies in more extreme ways, but none of those options are given to you.

Have a drink for your choom!

Graphics

I’m going to jump right into the graphics section of this review since I spent a lot of my early time with the game doing just that. I’ve never spent this much time in a games graphics menu. For reference, I have a 12 core 3900x CPU and an RTX 2070 Super with 64GB of RAM and a 3440 ultra-wide GSync monitor.

For the longest time I jumped into the graphics and turned ray tracing on and off while changing the amount of DLSS used. The issue is that I could turn on ray tracing in one scene, either just a setting like reflections or every RTX option available, and the game would give decent frame rates that felt playable. I’d go like 10 minutes and be in a new area and drop to 20 FPS all of a sudden. So I’d have to jump into the menu and turn off ray tracing and my frames would jump up to 75. I would constantly go back and forth between ray tracing and using optimized settings, I wanted to see what the experience was like with RTX on and how playable it really was.

Ray tracing on the right. The lighting helps ground objects into the environment, also notice the improved reflections.

I found that the game really does need more granular controls of how ray tracing works. Instead of just having a reflection slider that turns it on and off, add another slider under it that controls the amount of rays used for reflections, allow me to only use a quarter of the rays, apply a filter on them and smooth out the reflections a bit. I’ll still get the affects of ray traced reflections but at a less dramatic hit to the resources of the card. It would be a similar situation to how Battlefield changed the resolution of their reflections after the game came out. These RTX cards are only at the beginning of the technology and could use a bit more help to make the game really playable at a decent frame rate.

A good thing about the graphics is that it’s so easy and fast to change any of the settings, turning ray tracing on and off is instantly applied and you can just get back into the game. There’s a bit of a hitch and the graphics have to switch over from full rasterization to ray traced but it’s not bad at all.

One of the more drastic differences of having ray tracing enabled.

One thing I immediately noticed and was worried about is how blurry your character looks in the menu and in reflections. I found that if you run the game in with DLSS on, your character is being rendered at a lower resolution, even with reflection quality turned all the way up. So if you play with ray tracing and DLSS to gain a bit of performance back, your character will look like a blurry mess in mirrors and the menu. This might not bother some, but I had an issue with it. This actually started putting me over the edge in the ray tracing and I would eventually just turn it off completely (for the most part). I just wanted my character to look crisp and clean and having RTX off allowed me to put DLSS at quality or even off with playable FPS.

I noticed in those reflections that my character was definitely not as good looking as I thought she was. There was definitely a disconnect between the character creator and what you see in mirrors and when you look down at your body. The way the lighting works on the face just made her look a little jacked up, which was not what I wanted.

I’ll just leave that reflection right there.

The games graphics are really nice as an overall package. It’s great knowing that this game can’t just be played at maxed out settings on my computer. That means when I upgrade to a future graphics card, if they’re available at MSRP, that I can get an even better product and gives me more of an incentive to replay the game. PC games need to be pushing the envelope a lot more often. It’s a little sad when Doom comes out and you can immediately crank up all the settings and get 200 fps. They’re leaving a lot on the table and the title could have looked that much better, both now and in the future.

Don’t feel too bad if you can’t do RTX shadows.

What Is This Game?

The biggest question I had when starting this game is how is it going to be played, what’s the meat and potatoes of it all? Does it resemble other games I’ve played or are we talking about a completely revolutionary title that pushes the envelope?

This is where my first real disappointment of the game stems from. The game is basically a Fallout style game combined with Deus Ex. That’s kind of it. I really did not expect this from the game. I did not expect to free roam a map, find a mission, enter a building and kill everyone while picking up everything in the room. Selling items I collected for cash, or scraping them for resources to use in crafting.

If I was to honestly describe what I thought the game would be, perhaps I was fooled by the hype I built up from the trailers, but I thought it was going to be the most immersive game ever made. I was expecting an insanely in-depth mechanical game where story and characters were intertwined at every move. Think The Last of Us crossed with a completely open world. Where character animations blended smoothly with every environmental interaction. Romance options with characters that had depth and complexity unlike anything I’ve seen before. Fight mechanics that used “cyberpunk” tropes to create unique and engaging combat scenarios that made me truly feel like the character of V. Scripted combat sequences were enemies would team up and use cool cyberpunk mechanics to try and destroy me.

All I can say to all that is that the game is a video game. It doesn’t transcend any of those areas I mentioned. It is not the genre defining game that shakes the industry and raises the bar for what this style of game can be. While I’m disappointed in saying that, the game we got is more realistic in the hype scale and was still enjoyable to play, so I can’t be that upset at it.

Characters

The character models in this game are all great. It’s pretty amazing that a game of this type can have so many great looking character models that are completely unique from each other. Every important character in the game is their own unique model, no Fallout style character creator people to worry about here.

What I also found impressive about the character models are the random NPCs that fill out the city. While interactions with these characters are comically limited, the look of them are all way above board. I found myself just stopping to check them out, look at their clothes and the quality of their models. It feels like a new standard was set by this game in this regard, I only wish the lighting was a tad better on these characters.

Immersion

The amount of immersion you feel when playing this game is really uneven for me. Just take one example of visiting Vik, one of your ripperdocs that can alter your body to improve different aspects. The first time you visit him he makes a modification to your body and he’s talking to you and performing the “surgery” using his special ripperdoc equipment. It makes you feel like your character is really changing. People spent time on this scene and it’s important for your character development, it means something (Again, this is also a scene shown in previous trailers). If you leave him and go to any ripperdoc in the world, or even back to Vik for that matter, for another upgrade, all you do is select one from a menu and your done. There is no animation or talk about the mod, how it will change your body. The attention to detail and world building ends there. Why not add some flavor text, have the doc talk about how you’ll feel with these upgrades, or express concern for your health if you make too many changes. Just think about watching Ellie in The Last of Us 2 working on her guns at the upgrade bench and how that attention to detail brings you in and makes the experience of your weapon evolution more personal.

Not every location is this dense, this is from a section used in the demo.

To help turn that around, perhaps they should had 90 percent less pickups in the environment, but make the ones you find that much more important. Make super unique items that mean something and have specific lines or dialogue and animation. Give it a history. Make the lake wider, not just as deep as possible. Bring a level of immersion reserved for a bespoke small game and expand it to a game the size of Cyberpunk 2077.

While there is a lot of dialogue in the game, the recording quality seems to fluctuate to a degree as to become distracting. I don’t remember ever playing a game where the tone in dialogue changes so frequently from line to line. I can only imagine that the dialogue was recorded out of order over a long period of time with little care to the overall scene. It feels like an AI did the dialogue at some points. One sentence will portray a laid back tone and the next will just be yelling because that’s where the tone was supposed to be shifted in that line reading. It doesn’t present in a natural way were an actor reads the lines and gradually ramps up the anger. Instead, you can feel the mechanics of the dialogue process. It’s like I know how they recorded the lines and I can see the process behind it, there is less craft and more mechanics.

If only the whole game was at this level of immersion.

Side Missions

One of the best aspects of the game and the reason I put over 80 hours into it over the last month or so is the side missions. I did every single one of the side missions before even attempting the last mission of the game. In fact, once I got to that point I only had one mission to actually break off and do before returning.

What’s so great about the side missions are that they all involve a specific building or area in the game world. They feel like these little single-player levels where you have to clear out a building or get to a computer terminal to upload a virus or something. If I wanted to be sneaky I found that I could always get away with it without getting spotted, or if I wanted to perch up somewhere and do some sniping then I could do that also. There are typically multiple ways to do any side mission and it just depends on the way you spec your character. I kind of thought there should be more, but perhaps I’m just living in a weird time period that is distorting reality for me.

It’s a big world out there, look to hidden surprises on the rooftops.

Those missions are almost always provided to you by going near a particular building, where you fixer for the area will hit you up and give you a little exposition on what the situation is. It makes for a fairly straightforward affair that is easy to jump in and out of without worrying about anything else. Makes for picking up and playing a bit each day an easy and satisfying affair.

The issue I had with side quests that made me feel a little let down had to do more with The Witcher 3 and what I got from that game. I remember so many more side stories from a game I finished years ago that this game I just finished. It has to do with the way it was so much about the characters, people like the Bloody Baron, were so integral in every aspect of those quest lines. They were also more fleshed out, their stories felt personal and they stick with you in a way I feel like Cyberpunk 2077 never truly achieves. This is because of the writing, sure, but also in the way the game tells its narratives.

Here you can meet with a person who will tell you a bit about your mission, perhaps you’ll sit in a chair in front of them and pick some dialogue options to get started on your mission. There are no cinematic camera angles, everything stays in first-person perspective. This would be okay if they instead did more with character and facial animation of these NPCs in your quests. I was never once sold on a performance as I am in games like The Last of Us or oven The Witcher 3. Jackie was probably the best this game offered in that regards, and probably because he was in the early demos (sense a pattern?). There is too much of a disconnect between the players character of V and the environment around you and the interactions you have with other main characters in the game.

I should have been able to steal this.

While this maybe seems like a bit of a nitpick to some, it truly is where I feel this game lets me down the most. You take the mission shown in the gameplay reveal, where you find the naked woman in the bathtub in the shitty apartment building and have to extract her to the medical team on the balcony. The player character gets into the bathroom, notices the woman is in the tub and is animated moving the male body off her and holding her, V then jacks in and eventually picks her up from the tub, there is movement and expression. Your partner Jackie throws a medical device to you and you use it on her, all animated together immersing you into the world and the characters at the same time. This is the immersion I expected the whole game to convey and express, it just isn’t the case in the slightest.

Listen, I get that this stuff is hard. It’s a lot of work that needs talented people and a lot of time to animate and implement. I just thought the massive scale of this games development and the incredibly talented people working on it would have brought this level of immersion to the table. Let me take that back a bit, the people working on the game are not to blame, they’ve crunched an insane amount on this title and I’m sure they did their best. The higher-ups are more to blame, they should have given more time, planned better, and even outsourced more (if that was the game they wanted to make).

Most of the side missions are brought to you by a fixer, with each section of the city having a different fixer for their respective turf. Your interactions with these fixers, which are supposed to take the place of people like the Bloody Baron (I’m guessing), don’t live up to that level of immersion and care. It works as a method of delivering great nuggets of side missions but they don’t truly draw you into your character and the world. They end up just being this little characters in a box yapping at you, telling you that you did a great job and your eddies should be in your account shortly.

Romance

It feels like I’m just shitting on this game left and right and now I have to talk about the romance in the game. Listen, I played as a female V and I fell, I mean my character fell, madly in love with Judy Alverez. She’s clearly the sexiest and coolest person in the game and is my one and only. I was able to hang out with her on multiple occasions and even had a romantic night by the lake with her were we finally went all the way. It was a great night and she even invited me to use her apartment whenever I wanted. I went to visit her there, wanting to spend some more time with her, It’s a game and I wanted to role play. She’s now my girlfriend and we can enjoy each others company and continue our wild romance, it wasn’t even out of some pervy “let’s have sex because this is a video game” thing. I really do just like Judy and wanted our story to get deeper.

Judy Judy Judy

Turns out Judy wasn’t having any of it. Check out her (our) apartment, we have one little bed in the bedroom and the other room is used for her computers. Every time I go over to visit her, and I’ve done this at multiple parts in the story to see if anything changes, she’s just chilling by the window. Go up and talk to her and her dialogue boxes are all greyed out since we’ve already talked as much as we can. There’s literally nothing else to learn about her. We can’t sit on the couch and watch TV together, be intimate together or anything. I can’t even kiss her again. We had one crazy night and then that’s it. Not including what happens at the end of the story (no spoilers) and doesn’t really count for anything in my mind.

It’s a huge letdown when I realized that every time I went to her place it would just be the same thing. If felt so pointless, you feel this connection and then you just run into a wall with it. Perhaps you’re just supposed to find another person to romance and work towards that instead, but I didn’t want to cheat on my girl. I get that this game isn’t a dating simulator or something like that, but they could have at least gone just a little bit further with the dialogue or something.

Inventory System and Crafting

The inventory system in the game needs to be discussed, mostly because you’ll spend a lot of time in it so it deserves some attention. I don’t really have an issue with it overall, I just think it could be improved a lot and that’s where my discussion will focus because it will cover a few key areas. The first issue is something I poked at earlier, the resolution of the character when you’re in your inventory, it made me turn off DLSS or keep it to the quality setting so my character looked sharp. Perhaps DLSS doesn’t work in the menu and that’s what’s happening, not sure but interesting.

I spec’d into the crafting system because I wanted to craft those juicy legendary weapons and all that. The issue was that I only maxed out my crafting tree at the end of the game. So I really just did a little extra at the end for the last mission. I wish I had more of an opportunity to craft more and use all those skills. I get that it’s partly my problem and if I went about things in a different way I could have gotten more of a use out of the skill tree. Also sucks that I don’t have any more side missions to do because what’s the point of crafting bomb ass weapons if you’re done with the game? New game plus?

One of the better head pieces, others are really ugly.

Let’s also let players mark your items as junk so that when you hit up the shop you can sell it all with a press of the button. We need way more variety in options, take a page out of the Diablo 3 playbook. Have me lock favorites so they can’t accidently be sold or scraped, mark others for scraping and so on. Instead, you’re going to spend a fair bit of time going through you inventory every time you hit encumbrance and digging through that backpack finding what you want to sell and scrap (if you care about crafting that is).

I don’t know if I just missed a bunch of stuff, but I really wish there were more full body outfits, these are clothing items that that ignore the other items you have and only provide an aesthetic look to your character. They override your whole look and give you a single style. I think I only found like 3 or 4 of them in my playthrough, and they all sucked. It could just be a part of future DLC, but who knows when that will drop now. The hats in the game are some of the ugliest things imaginable, and you can’t even hide them! If you’re giving me all these stats from wearing a hat and it’s ugly as shit, why not give me the option to hide its visibility? Instead, you have to remove it from your character completely.

The last thing I’ll touch on here is the weapon variety, which I don’t think there really is much of. You might contest that there is a decent amount of different weapons, and you’re partly right, but hear me out. As you spec out your character, you can go into any three routes with your guns. You can go into Power, Smart, or Tech. I chose the Tech weapon route because who doesn’t want to fire a gun through walls? It’s probably the most overpowered skill in the game and almost breaks the whole power structure of every fight. So okay, I’m a primarily Tech weapon user, now you can choose to go into shotguns, handguns, submachine guns, or rifles. I’d carry around a handgun, rifle, and sniper rifle. That was my loadout and it worked wonders for my V. The rifle and sniper that I carried were dictated by the Tech tree, which meant I only had a very small pool of available weapons to carry around. Get this, the first Tech rifle that I started using and loving was identical in appearance to the one I finished the game with. That really doesn’t feel satisfying in this style of game. A game where you’re constantly picking up new weapons and seeing how their stats improve like a Borderlands game. I would have expected 3-4 times more weapon models than what was offered. Everyone was using the same thing and it got a bit boring.

Bugs

I started playing this game on the PC at launch and finished up in the second week of January so I know a bit about the bugs in this game. My experience wasn’t that bad overall. I felt like the game itself was solid as a rock. I didn’t get any crashes or corrupted saves (none of my saves went over 8MB), loading was always surprisingly fast and the menus felt snappy.

My big bug issues had to do with just random jank in the world. The worst thing that happened was during a scene were a friend was dying in front of me a gun they were holding was just stuck inside of their head as they die. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the developers had intended to happen in that scene. It just sucked since this was supposed to be a really emotional and I’m just looking at this gun sticking out of both ends their head, just silly. Of course you’ll get the common T-pose characters, or you’ll pop out of your car as you drive and T-pose above it. The more annoying things would be the items you can’t pick up because they are embedded just into the ground a little too far, luckily none of those pickups were mission critical for me.

Now that would hurt.

There’s a bunch of little menu and zoom issues, which were often resolved by going to the menu for a second. I think this game gets more of a pass from me because it’s technically more advanced than a Skyrim or Fallout, perhaps if those games didn’t have loading screens to enter a building I wouldn’t have dinged them that much, because that’s some old school shit right there.

I played this game through the Epic store, and apparently they have achievements support now. Granted, I only popped 4 of them in my whole time playing. That’s because my achievements were clearly bugged out, which was really annoying. What year is this? It feels like an early PS3 game or something. Also, let’s sync Playstation and Epic achievements/trophies. That’d be nice. Should do something with that Sony investment.

My Playthrough

This is what the game is all about here, what was my playthrough of this game like? I easily got max (50) street cred and hit level 48 on my character, which is just shy of the level 50 cap. I could probably jump in and fuck around for a bit to knock that out, just not sure if I have it in me right now though. I went in wanting a challenge and to get immersed into this world of Cyberpunk. I started the game on very hard and kept it there the whole time. It started out hard but quickly became a fairly normal difficulty level with a few cheap deaths thrown in randomly.

My weapons became a destructive force of nature. I could shoot through walls and extinguish life without ever being seen. Enemies would run around after my first shot trying to find cover, but I would ping them or hack a camera so their outlines were ever present. I hold down my rifle’s trigger to charge a shot, headshot after headshot tearing through the walls as they drop, one by one. The game would feel too easy if I continued on this way so I would stealth through levels, sneaking up on my prey and choking them out, sometimes tossing their bodies into the bins to hide them from their friends.

A really cool looking bar with a fitting title.

I wished at times that my prey would become smarter, or find technological ways to counter my overpowered weapons. Perhaps it’s simply impossible for them to handle my gaming acumen. The combat and weapons were fun, I had a blast running through side missions, each a small puzzle to be solved or blasted through. I tried to live in the world, to be my V as much as I could. I wanted to like this experience and for the most part I did, the game succeeded in that aspect for me.

The story found a way to carry me through my journey. The inclusion of Keanu Reeves as a guiding construct of rocker glory, providing insight into my character and the history of the world and it’s characters was an unexpected and brilliant inclusion. I felt like his character grew throughout the game and my connection to him also grew in the same way that felt natural. This is perhaps one of the strongest relationships the game offers, which makes sense since it’s the central pillar of the story.

Instead of going in the front door, look for a snipers perch and pick people off. One of the cool opportunities available to those who explore a bit.

The love and hate came from my romantic relationship with Judy. I felt like the game did this wonderful job of cultivating my relationship with her that by the end it felt wrong what they did. Why put in all that work? Having specific side missions to gain loyalty and to learn about her past and forming an emotional and romantic bond with this woman, only to sleep with her and that’s it. It feels like a game from 10 years ago where you put in all this work just to see the sex scene and get a little bit of nudity. Hey developers, be better than that, have more respect for your characters and for the players. They literally do the smallest amount of work in making your relationship feel real after you sex them up. Try texting your girl or boyfriend and have all the same options, or visit them and they’re standing in the same spot waiting to say the same thing, day after day. Don’t think you can go out on a date, romance them again, kiss them, hug them, or even talk to them. That part of the game is done you idiot, try romancing another person and get their sex scene instead. What a wonderful decision.

Trying to come to a conclusion about this title is really hard. You wrestle with the enjoyment you got out of it, the ways it fights against you, and the expectations you had coming into it. It’s not the game I thought it was going to be. It’s not this monumental achievement in gaming that only a studio like CD Projekt could bring. It’s a video game that had a lot to live up to, and with reports of it’s development coming out in the past few days, it wasn’t in development as long as we thought and it wasn’t as smooth either.

To all the broken hearts.

I can’t wait to see the patches and add-on content that they release in the next year or two. Build on the game and give me reasons to come back and enjoy this world that I loved. At the end of the day, I did enjoy the time I spent in the game. I might focus on a lot of the negatives I had but that’s because I was a little surprised to be experiencing them. Hope crashing against reality.

It will be fascinating seeing how the next gen ports of this game will hold up. I don’t know if my second playthrough will be on an upgraded GPU on my computer or on PS5 like I was expecting. I’d love to get some trophies for this game, but for me to platinum it they’re going to really have to get in there and massage some stuff.

The combat is a blast, I enjoyed sneaking around and shooting people. I wish enemies were a lot harder and forced me to use my weapons in combination with each other and with my skills to take them down. Instead, I felt like if I got in a tough spot I could just shoot people through walls and not even think about it. The fun came from forcing myself not to use that skill and try to silently take down every enemy in the building.

Final Score – 8.9

This was a flawed gem of a game. I think you should definitely play it, but only on a system that can play it correctly. Don’t even think of the last gen options as anything viable. Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that should look better in the future when graphics cards with better RTX support come out and you can really max the settings and resolution, so it gives you a reason to look forward to new hardware. The planned DLC and online stuff, I hope is interesting. It’d be cool if they were 20 hour DLC story packs like the Witcher 3 had. Of course, none of that has anything to do with this review, just things to look forward to. This game isn’t perfect, but I had a really enjoyable time in the 80+ hours I spent in the world. I’ll happily go back to Night City and chop it up with everyone and clear some buildings.

I can see my score changing in 6 months or a year from now. Perhaps when more is DLC is added. I have a positive outlook on this game. I do like the developers a lot and feel like they do understand where and how they fucked this all up. Perhaps companies shouldn’t be forgiven, but people should. I’m hopeful for more and can’t wait to see what they have to offer their customers to gain our good will back. Would people like a new game + option? How about a realistic mode like Fallout had?

Finally, the Start of Next Gen

With the leak of the Microsoft Xbox Series S, the price of 299 USD, and Microsofts confirmation of the leak, it has started the final stretch into the next-generation of console gaming.

It’s an interesting proposition to have a 300 dollar console alongside the flagship “real” release. I have a lot of feelings about all of this so I’ll try to do my best in organizing them.

Naming

The name is dumb and confusing. Granted, I don’t find much value in the Xbox ecosystem currently, so I’m not all invested and playing their console everyday. I do follow gaming and the news very closely and I still mix up the names of these consoles. I get that they’re still trying to course correct from all the dumb naming they did before, but god damn people.
(perhaps I should try and figure them all out right now and write them down!)

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox One S
  • Xbox One X
  • Xbox Series S
  • Xbox Series X

Okay, doing it like that makes it make more sense I suppose. So this new generation they are cutting out the ‘One’ from the title and adding ‘Series’ to show that it’s new. I must have forgot this over the months. The Series S that they announced is going to be a less powerful machine that will serve the people sticking to their 1080p TVs and don’t have the cash to truly upgrade to next-gen. It’ll be hilarious reading about the confusion people have with all this bullshit.

What This Means

The leak is kind of a great thing for the consumers. It’s also a good thing that Microsoft has confirmed it so quickly. This means that they can finally start getting the ball rolling and stop playing chicken with Sony, since Sony seems to be holding out until the last second to announce any sort of price or features. So let’s get a video drop showing off the systems interface (please make it better!), how the suspend works, and some launch games! I hope they have some good launch games now that Halo was delayed. They can’t rely on 3rd party releases, unless they drop large sums of money to lock one into an exclusive deal, which doesn’t seem like their strategy.

Here’s what needs to happen for Sony now. They need to come out and put the all-digital version of the PS5 for 399 USD and have the disc version at 499 USD. While there should only be a 50 dollar difference in the price (ideally), this will help offset the lost revenue for putting out the 399 console. Since Sony will probably will be losing a little on each unit sold, make up for it with the disc version that people who care about their physical games of the PS4 generation will buy, like myself.

Microsoft will then, most likely, have their 299 USD budget console and then a 499 USD Series X. Microsoft and Sony will battle back and forth about the most powerful graphics in a console, which will be won by Microsoft, while Sony will brag about having a 399 USD truly next-generation console with amazing load times at the best price available. They each have something to market and that’s all good and well for them. The launch games and the launch window games of Sony will most likely be killer, I’m also hoping for a patch for games like The Last of Us 2 which would be smart.

Prediction Time!

So just for fun and so that I can see how it plays out down the road, I’ll make a couple predictions.

Going with the strategy I laid out earlier, and being optimistic about it all, here’s how I see this going down.

Series S – 300
Series X – 500
PS5 Digital – 400
PS5 Disk – 500
First year sales – Xbox – 5 mil
First year Sales – Sony – 12 mil

Xbox’s lack of first party titles and the fact that you can play their games on PC will diminish the sales of their console. They’ll talk more about game pass than console hardware sales, so this number may never even be announced. I’ll pick up game pass for PC for a month or two at a time and play their games, but wont keep an ongoing subscription. The Sony numbers are a little conservative. It depends on if they really did order more units as was reported. I could see them doing more than this if the 400 USD that I predicted is true and the supply is abundant in the first year. That and having an economy where people can afford new consoles during a global pandemic. With that, the Sony number can go from 10-14 million in the first year of sales.

The Witcher 3 Gets Free Next Gen Upgrades

It was just announced that The Witcher 3 will get upgraded graphics and features to take advantage of the hardware of next-gen consoles. This will include support for ray tracing and increased load times. I’m sure they’ll also bump the resolution and max out a few of the other settings, I hope. It would be nice to have a couple graphical options, perhaps a 120 fps mode, 60 fps mode, and resolution vs dynamic resolution settings.

You have to just love CD Projekt Red and their business practices. They seem to always put the consumer first. Remember when you bought the physical copy of The Witcher 3 and it came with a map, stickers, and a thank you note from the company? That was at a time when all companies stopped putting physical items of any sort inside of their physical game cases.

After the developer, or more importantly the publisher, of Control just announced that you need to buy the “special edition” of the game to even be eligible for the next-gen upgrade patch that will come at a later time. Which is complete bullshit, why can’t someone who has the game and the DLC get a free patch? Why do you need to sell another copy of the same stuff for current-gen to be eligible for something in the next-gen?

This just got me excited to play the game again. I own it for both PS4 and PC and would love another reason to get back into that world. It’s an interesting strategy, give the consumer reasons to play your games. Make your games stay current with the hardware by supporting new features like quicker loading and ray tracing. People will notice this and be more willing to support your new releases, like Cyberpunk 2077, because they know that they’ll be taken care of and that their purchase will stay relevant in the future.

The Witcher 3 came out over 5 years ago on PS4 and it’s still getting supported.

Control came out just over a year ago and they’re already trying to nickle and dime the people that supported them most. These are the people that bought their game and DLC the earliest, they’re the ones that are being targeted to buy another copy of the game and DLC just so they can get features that were included in the PC version.

I know who’s more likely to get my next 60 dollars.

Rocksteady’s Finally “Reveals” Suicide Squad

Today, Rocksteady finally revealed a new trailer for their game, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The trailer was a whatever thing to me, considering that it was just CG and didn’t include actual game footage.

The most insane thing about this whole reveal is that their last game was in 2015! They did work on the Batman VR game that came out in 2016, but that’s not a whole studio working on it type of project. Even if it was, this is an insane amount of time to work on this game. It took them 4 years to put out the 2015 game, which is still a decent amount of time, but understandable because of the console generation shift that happened.

So let’s speculate on the extended development cycle. Why add 2-3 years for a game that will most likely still utilize the Unreal Engine and the tools they developed for their Batman games? I think they must have had a restart in there, probably around the 3 year mark. Perhaps that’s when they moved the development to the next gen PS5 and Series X platforms. Covid may have had a factor towards the end, or they may just have added an extra year to the release because of Covid and so they wouldn’t have to delay the game when it got near its announced release date. Or the extra year is to manage all the sexual harassment allegations that have been blowing up their spot in the news lately.

The crew

I’m hoping they’ve moved to the Unreal Engine 5 build and are utilizing as many advanced features as possible. I can’t wait to see how the city looks utilizing the PS5 features and hardware. While I wish the game was coming out sooner, it’s been such a long time since we were able to play a new game of theirs.

Hey Rocksteady, get your house together, get rid of the trash humans you have working for you, use Unreal Engine 5, and make your new game shine as hard as it can.

The waiting is the hardest part.

The Last of Us 2 – Delayed FOREVER!!!

What an interesting time to be alive.

The Last of Us 2 has been delayed once again, this time it’s for an indefinite period of time. That just means they don’t know when they want to put it out. It’s an interesting strategy, that’s for sure.

To me, it does seem like more people are playing video games, Steam players just hit their all time high, network speeds have been decreased on PSN and XBox. People are stranded inside and are trying to social distance as best they can. A lot of people might also be getting laid off, whether that’s because it’s more prudent to get unemployment benefits when your job can’t take care of you through all this downtime, I’m not sure. It might just because a lot of businesses are shutting their doors for good. Either way, for now it seem like consumers are playing a lot of video games. Are they also buying new ones? I guess the sales data on Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal will be a good barometer on that. Actually, Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be even more interesting.

My assumption would be that Sony is worried about physical copies of their games not making it to market in time for the release. This would then cause those gamers that only play with physical copies to get pissed that this massive game they’ve been waiting for might potentially get spoiled by others. It’s an interesting premise that Square Enix feels differently about with the release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake coming out in just a week. They just said “fuck it”, others might not get physical copies right away but they they’ll try their best. You could also just download it too.

Perhaps The Last of Us 2 is just too big of a game for Sony, that having a divided audience, or even forcing others to just download it when perhaps it’s not their preferred method of game delivery is too much.

What’s really interesting about this is that Sony is now encroaching on the PS5 timeframe with this delay. That is if they are still planning on releasing their console this year which is another interesting topic of discussion. Should they? If the PS5 is released on time I would love to see the game released on launch day so that I could just play it on my PS5. Hopefully they implement dynamic resolution scale and an unlocked framerate so it could just hit 4k 60fps out of the gate.

This feels like a bold choice to me. I wonder how Ghosts of Tsushima is going to fair with its release window now. Naughty Dog is reported as working from home currently, their support studios around the world must also be affected by this virus. Makes it all interesting as to whether the game really is near complete or if they’re struggling to take it to greatness. Time will tell, as always. Time and how long we all have to quarantine, seems like we keep fooling ourselves on the time-frame involved with that one too.

PS5 “Predictions”

So I’m just going to list a few “predictions” for what’s going to happen with the PS5. Take them with a grain of salt or just believe that I’m right. Who’s to say?

Cost

500 USD

Release date

In November. If I had to pick a specific date it would be November 12, 2020

Launch Game

Horizon Zero Dawn 2
Gran Turismo

PS4 Game Backwards COMPATIBILITY

Yes

PS4 and PS4 Pro Price Drop

PS4 will drop to 200
PS4 Pro will drop to 300

PS5 Back Compat for PS4

No

Missing anything?

Let me know and I’ll drop the scoops.

The Next Console War is Already Over

Here is my opinion, I’ll open it up right in front of you to see. I believe that the next “console wars” are already over, and Sony won. That’s a pretty shocking statement, I know. 

I don’t say this lightly or out of a sense of fandom for Sony or malice towards Microsoft (Nintendo doesn’t count either). I think there are some clear reasons why this is the case and that it might only affect this next generation of consoles. 

My theory is that, if you look back at last generation, it’s true that Microsoft went ahead with a steady lead as the preferred console for the majority of multiplatform releases, especially first-person shooters and playing online, which were a major selling point for the platform at the time. That advantage would later be chipped away by the first-party offerings that Sony started to roll out as the console matured and would eventually lead to the PS3 outselling the XBox 360 in total sales by the end of their lives. It never really felt like they had the lead mind you, most of the discussion stayed focused on 360 as they carried their earlier lead. Where it really started to change in that generation was at the end, Sony’s first party games kept hitting big and often and ended on a high note with The Last of Us. It started to show a weakness in the first party offerings Microsoft was putting out for their platform.

With that in mind, this current generation of PS4 and XBox S/X, is the one that I feel is determining the outcome of the next “war”. What I feel is the largest factor that is shaping what the next generation of gaming looks like from a winner/loser perspective is the digital marketplace of the current gen of systems. That combined with the backwards capability of the new consoles. 

Sony has been pretty horrible with their backwards capability of the PS4 while Microsoft has been going hard and have been spending the money to get their older games working on their consoles, it’s a major investment and a true value add to their ecosystem. I just feel like they still lost the war on this front, even with the poor effort of Sony as of this writing. Will the PS5 be backwards compatible with the PS4? Certainly it will, without a doubt. Will the PS5 be backwards compatible with the PS3? I’d bet on that being a no and I’d also bet that it won’t matter to the majority in the long run. The switch to digital in the current generation, along with the 106 million consoles Sony has sold of the PS4 means that the backwards compatibility that will really matter is the next gen being backward with the current gen. That’s what customers will really care about. They want to know that the digital games they purchased digitally for the PS4 or XBOX S/X will just work, and hopefully at a faster framerate. 

Microsoft has recently revealed that their games, for the first two years will not be focused on the next gen hardware specifically and will instead be focused on the whole line of current XBox systems. They also are focusing on releasing their games on PC which pushes people like me to never even consider buying one of their consoles when I could just play them all on my PC. 

Microsoft really needs to get their first party developers to push out some amazing games at a consistent pace. I still have no trust in 343 and what they can do with Halo, I still think their track record is spotty. Can Microsoft keep pushing out Gears games and think they’re selling consoles based on that fact alone? 

What does this all mean? If I had to place a bet I’d say that Sony sells 3 times the amount of consoles than Microsoft does, at least. That basically keeps the current sales of this generation to be the same as next. With Microsoft’s move to subscription based revenue streams, that will be more of the metric they depend on. I can see playing XBox games through their subscription on the Switch which would be a great move for them, if the streaming doesn’t suck that is, sorry Stadia (RIP). 

In the end, Sony will keep to the more traditional business of a new console and dominate the generation because of it. Microsoft, still playing catch-up, will sway into streaming and subscriptions to try and carve out a new market that they can find prosperity in.