Cyberpunk 2077 shines on next-gen consoles and Stadia, but older hardware struggles

Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t just one of the biggest games of the year; it’s also one of the most technically demanding. CD Projekt Red’s ambitious roleplaying game takes place in a huge, dense open world, and — as anyone who has ever played a Bethesda game can attest to — technology is often a step behind the designers in these kinds of experiences. Glitches and bugs are not uncommon occurrences, and early demos are far cries from what the game may look like on the standard hardware most players have in their living room.

Cyberpunk is also somewhat unique in that it’s releasing across a number of different platforms at launch — nine, to be exact. We initially reviewed Cyberpunk on PC, where we ran into a handful of glitches that were annoying but didn’t exactly render the game unplayable. Since then, we’ve been able to test it on two additional platforms to see how it fares, while also looking at reports from the community at large. The consensus? If you’re playing on older hardware, you’re going to want to wait for some fixes.

PlayStation 5 and other consoles

The first thing to note is there isn’t actually a PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077 — at least not yet, as full next-gen upgrades aren’t expected until next year. Instead, I’ve been running the PS4 Pro version on a PS5. Performance-wise, it’s been great.

After four hours of play, I haven’t noticed any major frame rate drops, and the visuals are incredible. Unlike on Xbox Series X or Stadia, there aren’t any performance options on PS5 — many modern games let players choose between having a higher resolution or frame rate — but it hasn’t been a huge loss in my experience. Even during extremely busy moments, like a massive shootout or a walk through a tightly packed street market, the game chugged along just fine.

It’s important to note that this is definitely not the case on older hardware. While I haven’t been able to test this, early reports point to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Cyberpunk being something of a mess. Choppy frame rates, weird physics, and intense screen tearing have all been reported. Here are a few more PS4 screenshot comparisons, courtesy of Eurogamer, and some on Xbox One from Kotaku. If you haven’t upgraded to a new Xbox or PlayStation, you may want to hold off — or try Stadia — until these issues are ironed out with a patch.

That said, I still ran into a handful of technical hiccups during my time with the game, including one hard crash, and another mission I was forced to restart because my AI companion forgot to follow me out of a building. Other issues have been more cosmetic: characters walking through doors, pixelated textures on billboards, and people walking into walls. At one point, I couldn’t drive my car because a poor streetpunk became embedded in it. —Andrew Webster

Google Stadia

It may be hard to believe, but the Google Stadia version of Cyberpunk 2077 may be the best way to play for most players right now. Unless you have a 20 or 30 Series Nvidia GPU or comparable AMD card or you were lucky enough to get a PS5 or Xbox Series X / S, this game will not be performing anywhere close to how it was designed to. That means going the cloud gaming route is a surprisingly viable option if you’re concerned about performance and you also want the added benefits Stadia provides, like playing across multiple devices and not having to download the game or any subsequent updates to get right to playing.

I’ve played through the first few hours of the game on Stadia, and I’ve been very impressed with how well Cyberpunk 2077 is holding up. Unlike the PS5 version, the Stadia one has graphical presets to prioritize either resolution or frame rate. And it runs smoothly and looks almost indistinguishable from the console version in my experience on a 50 Mbps-plus internet connection, even over Wi-Fi. (I’ve also been testing the game on PS5.)

Now, depending on your internet connection and display, you’re most likely not going to get anywhere near the same level of graphic fidelity — at least not consistently — as you would on a next-gen console or a PC running it at medium to high settings. (And no platform can remotely compare to running this game on ultra with ray tracing on PC.)

I’ve also encountered the occasional crash, visual lags and skips, and some audio issues. But the fast boot and load times and the ease with which you can sink into the game from a Chrome browser on a MacBook Pro has me seriously reconsidering the primary way I want to play this game going forward.

With Google promising iOS support in the coming weeks, the Stadia version of Cyberpunk 2077, which requires you have only a Gmail account and pay the $60 to own the game and nothing else, could be a fantastic iPad game if you don’t have a big TV and Chromecast Ultra to enjoy it on otherwise. And while I’m not entirely sure I would play something with this level of complex in-game menus and on-screen text on my iPhone, I could certainly see the benefit of getting in a quick session for a side mission or two if you’re away from home or not near your computer.

All of this is possible with Stadia, which is an exciting prospect given how accessible the platform is now as a free service. —Nick Statt

Update December 10th, 3:50PM ET: Clarified that the version of Cyberpunk 2077 that runs on the PS5 is the PS4 Pro version. Also clarified that the PS5 does not have in-game graphics settings, as the Stadia and Xbox Series X / Xbox One X versions do.

Comments

Glad to see some positive press about Stadia, I’ve been using it for a couple months now and have had basically no issues. Very impressed with it. Two other things to note:

1) If you buy Cyberpunk on Stadia by December 17th you get a free Chromecast Ultra and Stadia controller (While supplies last apparently but it seems there’s no real limit).

2) You didn’t mention one of Stadia’s biggest perks, no downloads. The game came "preloaded" with the day one patch so once it was available, Stadia players were already on the day 1 patch that Steam users had tons of issues getting installed from what I saw.

I hopped on the free stadia with YTM sub last month and have been super impressed. I’m not a gamer, so a console is not of interested to me, but have been having a blast playing free and cheap games on Stadia (just picked up NBA 2K21 for $10).

Congratulations, you’re a gamer. You game, no matter how casually. No matter how much hardcore gamers want you to not be included, you are part of it. And now, you’ve paid money for games where you were less likely to do so before, because a platform made it easier for you. You’ve changed gaming with this very small gesture, believe it or not. Moviegoers (although it’s only used in articles whereas gamers is more complicated in it’s usage) is not some convoluted term. It’s simply movie going audiences. There should be no stigma with someone who games.

Lol, this is really lighthearted, at least it’s intended to be. Sorry if it sounds too serious, but just wanted to state that point. Glad you’re enjoying some games.

Lol. Probably should have said I wasn’t a gamer, and definitely didn’t intend to stigmatize at all. Anyway, Google’s marketing did it’s job on me with their giveaway.

Lol, yeah I figured I went way too HAM on that.

I also hopped on the YT free stadia promo last month. I used to love videogames but I’m 40+ with kids now and don’t really play games anymore, but wanted the free chromecast. That said, I tried out a few stadia games and was very impressed with how smooth, simple and fast the experience is. My last experience with gaming was when I tried downloading the free Call of Duty battle royale game earlier this year and it took days on my internet connection to even get it on my laptop. And only then did I realize my laptop didn’t meet the minimum requirements to play

Lol. Literally my same story. My 4 year old loves playing Monster Truck Titans and Steamworld Dig. A buddy of mine also hopped on the deal and we’ve played a few games while chatting.

nice, i wish i had some friends who also had one so i could try playing with them. i tried getting my daughter to play bomberman with me without much luck. but yeah, i might just be a bit out of touch with tech these days but it was borderline amazing to me that i could play these games from my browser with no installs, lag or loading delays.

forgot to mention my COD experience also involved downloading and installing a battle.net installer (???) and signing up for an account.

i might just be a bit out of touch with tech these days but it was borderline amazing to me that i could play these games from my browser with no installs, lag or loading delays.

Yeah. I can play on my Surface Pro anywhere in the house.

Same here. I haven’t played video games since I borrowed a PS1 when I was a teenager to play FFVII – until this summer when I got a 3 month free sub with Google One to Stadia Pro. Thought my kids might like it. Ended up playing it myself. I’ve now bought 7 AAA games and a couple of indie ones and I ordered my free Premier Stadia kit from my Cyberpunk pre-order today. It’s been quite a fast change of habits and one that I just slipped into – thanks to Stadia’s incredibly low barrier for entry. Never thought I would be someone who games like this.

Same here. The last console I owned was the PS1.Played a ton of Cool Boarders, Tony Hawk, Twisted Metal, Oddworld, Silent Hill, Siphon Filter, etc. I’ve just kind of ignored video games for the past 20 years, but the combination of free access and the pending pandemic winter has me bought it. I’ve now purchase 10+ games (mostly stuff that’s super discounted) and pre-ordered Cyberpunk because I wanted another controller to play local 2-player games with the fam. Google should probably put us in an ad or something.

2) You didn’t mention one of Stadia’s biggest perks, no downloads

And as a result, no ownership. You’re not "buying" Cyberpunk on Stadia, you’re paying full price for the privilege of streaming it for an undefined period of time.

Your post honestly reads like a Stadia ad or spokesperson comment.

And how is that any different than the fifty downloaded games I have on my Xbox One? I don’t own those games either and they require an internet connection to validate so the same goes for those except I have to use my own time to keep them updated.

And, thanks? Maybe I should pivot my career path to marketing…. But seriously, it’s a good product that has been getting very little positive publicity which hurts it’s future prospects. Any hype I can help drum up about it to make sure that developers take it seriously I’m more than happy to do.

Xbox has been around a while. Microsoft has a good track record now. It’s not going anywhere. You can still play 360 downloads without issue. Even without an internet connection you can play the downloaded games on Xbox. Authorization servers can be kept running for basically nothing in perpetuity.

With Google’s track record, the literal odds that Stadia will be gone in a year are probably double digits. And when Google shuts it down that’s it, your access is immediately revoked.

Goal post: moved!
Point being with Stadia you spend zero time patching and downloading, maybe this was not clear in the beginning. It is a perk. Wish I can say the same for MSFS day 1 download shenanigans, for instance. Nobody says there are no drawbacks with Stadia. The issue is people like you are fixated only on the drawbacks and don’t see the perks.

With Google’s track record, the literal odds that Stadia will be gone in a year are probably double digits. And when Google shuts it down that’s it, your access is immediately revoked.

You literally made the ‘gone in a year are probably double digits’ up off the top of your head. Google has shut down almost zero paid services (merges don’t count), they have announced 400+ titles going through at least 2023, and Stadia has seen significant growth in the past quarter and will likely continue to do so as next-gen consoles are extremely hard to come by. Also, in the unlikely event that Google did shut down Stadia, they said they would likely move your games over to another cloud service. But seeing how much cloud-gaming in general is taking off, I doubt this will be an issue.

Isn’t Stadia a free service now?

Stadia is free like G Drive is free—there are still things you pay for in Stadia.

There’s a free tier, but you’re still indirectly paying for Stadia because Google gets a 30% cut from game sales. This is definitely Stadia money

Check out Nest.

You really don’t need to defend Google and Stadia in every article about them.

A year ago many "knew" it was going to be put down in a year. A year later, the timeframe still seem to be "in a year". I’ll guess we get the updated odds… in a year.

Microsoft has a much worse track record of keeping products and services alive than Google. The Xbox division itself was on its last legs while the company was going through reorganization a few years ago (and the Xbox One launch was a mess), but thankfully Phil Spencer was able to take over and keep it alive.

For a lot of people like me the "ownership" doesn’t matter. AFAIK, Stadia is currently the lowest barrier to entry for anyone with decent internet. No need to own an expensive console or a stack of games.

It will matter when stadia gets shut down, but I "bought" the game people will cry.

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