This game had such a terrible launch but I kept seeing people comment on it saying it was good, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I got it in the last Steam sale and went in with fairly low expectations and to be honest, I was kind of blown away.
I didn’t expect the story and characters to be engaging. I didn’t expect most of the side quests to be actually interesting, and not just fetch quests or “go kill these rats in the sewer”. I found myself wanting know more about what was going on with the mayoral candidate and his wife after their story ended. A character called “Lizzy Wizzy” had a story that started off normal and went in a totally different direction than I expected—in the end it was so much darker and interesting than some main-line quests in other games. I didn’t expect my favorite NPC in the game to be an AI cab company!
By this point it seems like most of the crazy bugs have been fixed. I did have some janky things happen but nothing that you haven’t seen in any other open world game. I think the funniest bug was on a side mission where I got in the car with some NPCs and as we drove away their voices stayed behind, getting quieter and quieter until I just had to read their subtitles. I played for 75 hours and the number of bad bugs I saw could be counted on my fingers. I never saw anything that lost me progress or caused a mission to fail.
The game isn’t perfect though, and you can really tell which parts never quite got smoothed out. I thought the weapons upgrade/crafting system was pretty lame. It’s almost never worth it to upgrade until the very end since you’re constantly picking up higher and higher dps weapons from enemies. And you can’t craft the really good weapons unless you max out your Tech stat. The perk system was ok but fairly early on I felt like the only perks open to me were uninteresting, and I kind of picked things randomly or just held on to them until I needed something specific. I played on PC and the driving was just atrocious and it didn’t seem to be configurable in a way that made sense to my hands—I could not drive straight for the life of me (as a consequence I didn’t even attempt any of the racing side missions).
The open world map was cool but unnecessary for the story they were telling. I think I’d rather it be open than level based just for the feel of being in a real place, but it was underutilized. This is not really an open world game, even though it has an open map. It’s more Deus Ex than Cyber GTA.
The dialog was fine, but it walked a fine line. I could see some people hating their future slang and feeling that it was cringey. I’m a sucker for future sci-fi slang so I was ok with it.
The thing that really surprised me though, was that all my complaints didn’t matter in the end. There were rough edges but they somehow didn’t sink the game. The main story had enough meat and interesting ideas (parts had a very good SOMA vibe) that I came away not thinking that it was let down by its shortcomings, but that if (when?) they make a sequel it’s probably going to be really good (think Witcher 1 → Witcher 2 → Witcher 3). I can hope at least.