Cyberpunk 2077 is more than just bugs and Keanu Reeves

V is held up at a ramen bar
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Over 10 years have passed since CD Projekt Red promised us a cutting-edge cyberpunk RPG to run around in, and it’s been one heck of a journey since. Cyberpunk 2077 went from a hype-saturated development cycle to a tumultuous release. It is only recently that we have started to see a renaissance for the once-troubled game. 

It’s been two years since Cyberpunk 2077 was released. I’ve played through the game twice, once at launch and then again over the winter break. With both experiences firmly fixed in my mind, I’m prepared to declare that I’m ready to love Cyberpunk 2077 again. I’m ready to get lost in the winding neon streets of Night City. I’m ready to look forward to the Phantom Liberty expansion, set to release later this year

However, as I muster this readiness, I do so as a wiser, more reserved creature. Cyberpunk 2077 may now not only be playable, but it’s a delight. However, its tumultuous, bug-ridden release casts a long shadow. 

 The Keanu-ing 

Here is the first trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, which was released over 10 earth years ago. It’s melodramatic, violent, and edgy as all hell. In just 260 seconds, CD Projekt Red lays bare the transhumanism, trauma, and violence at the heart of Cyberpunk.

Alone, this stylish trailer would have turned heads, but it wasn’t coming from just anyone. CD Projekt Red had started had made a name for itself with The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings and expectations were building for its sequel. When The Witcher 3 launched two years later and was recognized as one of the best RPGs ever made, all eyes were on the studio. Cyberpunk 2077 had some serious shoes to fill. 

For years, CD Projekt Red showed nothing of Cyberpunk 2077. Expectations only grew in that vacuum. Enter Keanu Reeves and the 2019 E3 trailer. Compare the two and you can see a dramatic change, where once there was a high production value, gentle, slow motion trailer, we’re now exposed to a dramatic cinematic exposition that not only spoils the first act of the game but also introduces us to Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand – Night City’s baddest bad boy. 

By now, things have snowballed significantly. What was once a speculative sci-fi RPG from a well-respected, but relatively modest studio was now being pitched as a global entertainment phenomenon, with all the excitement and scrutiny such a project entails. To watch the 2019 Cyberpunk 2077 trailer is to watch a trailer for “one of the most expensive [games] ever made” (via Barron’s). 

CD Projekt RED didn’t deliver on the promises of Cyberpunk 2077. The studio’s co-founder, Marchin Iwiński, even apologized for the state of the game, saying in a video “The console version of Cyberpunk 2077 did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet”. Though I enjoyed my time with Cyberpunk 2077 on its release, I was only able to do so by contorting my gameplay around the game’s numerous bugs. At times, it was like tap dancing in a minefield.  

A hard-won renaissance 

A woman deciding which lower jaw to wear

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

However, over the last 2 years, Cyberpunk 2077 is enjoying something of a rebirth. Now at version 1.6, Cyberpunk 2077 has been patched a great deal and, although it is not exactly bug-free, it feels like a “finished product” in a way it simply didn’t at launch. 

The title can now be appreciated for what it is: a very well-written open-world romp that, while not reinventing the wheel, offers a compellingly bleak account of 2077’s grim, dystopian future. Without bugs to stymie the product, players are free to enjoy the refreshingly philosophical dialogue, nuanced storytelling, and gritty open world. It is far from a perfect game, but it is, at last, a fully realized cyberpunk RPG. 

It is far from a perfect game, but it is, at last, a fully realized cyberpunk RPG

It’s no secret that the release of Netflix anime series Cyberpunk Edgerunners caused skyrocketing Cyberpunk 2077 player counts. However, though the release of Edgerunners did coincide with a large spike in players that has since petered off, the game still boasts roughly double the number of players it had before the anime’s release (via This staying power indicates a shift in terms of both what Cyberpunk 2077 has to offer and in terms of how the title is perceived.

With this in mind, I am willing to hope again; not for a revolutionary expansion or another bombastic global media event. Rather, I’m excited for more of what we already have. Phantom Liberty doesn’t have to be a radical departure from the Cyberpunk 2077 formula. Now that the game is in a good place, “more of the same” would be absolutely fine by me.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on,, and, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.