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Reviewing CP2077 Night City Wire Episode 01: Nitpicking Central

How would you rate Night City Wire Episode 01?


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B-universe

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Mar 23, 2020
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After the timely thread How can developers receive legitimate feedback from communities? and in the spirit of practicing what you preach, I thought CDPR could use detailed feedback.

For reference, here's the new trailer:


And here's a compilation of yesterday's footage:



The Good

1. Art direction

CDPR, give the art directors a pay raise. They're the best in the industry. This is by far the best art direction I've ever seen in a futuristic-looking videogame. From vehicles, wardrobe, hairdos to tattoos, everything looks varied, stylish and congruent. Examples:

Screenshots:







Conept Art:








2 Graphics

The IQ seems to have improved considerably over what was shown last year. The blurry mess is gone, thank goodness. Lighting looks great overall. Both the sunny Badlands and the rainy dusky backstreets were very impressive.

A lot of complaints about chromatic aberration being voiced, but I don't seem to mind it. Plus, it probably can be turned off. Head-to-head comparisons between 2018 and 2020 scenes also convey a marked improvement. It definitely comes across as an upgrade.

3. The city

NC looks fantastic. It does feel like a plausible urban environment (save for two aspects), varied and interesting, so much so one would want to spend countless hours exploring everything from plazas to back alleys.

4. The UI

This iteration looks much better than last year's. Hopefully it's customizable, in particular font size. The only minor aspect I didn't care for was the AoE half-sphere when throwing that hand grenade. It looked too obtrusive. Perhaps they could make it more transparent.

The So-so

1. Shooting

It's very difficult to grasp how it feels without getting your hands on the controller, but it looked competent, with visible recoil, and good loading animations.

2. Driving

As with shooting, it's hard to evaluate just by watching. It looked acceptable. It's getting mixed reviews by influencers. Most seemed to have enjoyed it, but at least one criticized it.


The Bad

1. Crowds

To me, this is the single most disappointing aspect of the latest footage.
What happened to the crowds?

I understand NC might not be the safest of places at night, but it looks so empty. It really does. Compared to the 2018 demo, whose main selling point was the crowd density, the 2020 forage feels especially depopulated. Even the few shots that did showcase more than a couple of NPCs had them crossing the street as though inside an invisible corridor with hardly anyone else outside it.

Maybe real dancing has gone out of fashion by 2077 and everyone's into Braindancing instead, but where are the disco dancers?

2. Traffic

Likewise, where have all the cars gone? NC is conspicuously traffic-free at night. 2018 footage showed a packed highway during daytime. The 2020 intro featured a very moderate stream of vehicles viewed from a distance and flowing thought the cityscape. None of the former liveliness seems to have made it to Night City Wire Episode 1.

While cruising around, you were practically the only one driving through the district. It doesn't look authentic and consistent with the kind of vibrant bustling 24/24 metropolis Night City promised to be. This is also dispiriting.

3. Voice acting

TW3 featured wonderful voice acting. Even lowly hillbillies had good VA.
I really disliked male V's performance. It has this phoney quality to it that's off-putting. This, unfortunate, seems pervasive. I counted a grand total of two NPCs whose VA I liked.

4. Writing

TW3 has some of the bet videogame writing. I haven't lost faith in CDPR's abilities, but so far CP2077 hasn't managed to convince me either. Everything sounds so on the nose. Some of the dialogue is very cheesy and the VA only worsens the problem. I get the bravado's in line with the Cyberpunk as a style, but maybe they could iterate it further or dial it down a bit.

5. Braindance

The concept sounds great but the execution seems lacking. That was the only part of the demo that bored me. It felt like a tutorial, which is probably what it is, but nevertheless could use some streamlining. The whole interaction sounded very stilted.

6. Hacking

Hacking wasn't featured this time around. But from the previews, it seems it hasn't changed. You're still moving hex codes around, which strikes me as uninspired and bound to get old really quick.

7 Melee

Fist-fighting looked rough, with little impact, odd postures and footwork. The animations seemed in need of extensive polishing, especially the transition from idle to ready stance. The Katana footage wasn't too great either.

final score:

As a vote of confidence, I give it a 8/10: Great.
RTX 3000 it is then.
 
Last edited:
Sep 29, 2011
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After the timely thread How can developers receive legitimate feedback from communities? and in the spirit of practicing what you preach, I thought CDPR could use detailed feedback.

For reference, here's a compilation of all of yesterday's footage:





The Good

1. Art direction

CDPR, give the art directors a pay raise. They're the best in the industry. This is by far the best art direction I've ever seen in a futuristic-looking videogame. From vehicles, wardrobe, hairdos to tattoos, everything looks varied, stylish and congruent. Examples:

Screenshots:







Cocnept Art:








2 Graphics

The IQ seems to have improved considerably over what was shown last year. The blurry mess is gone, thank goodness. There seem to be a lot of complaints about Chromatic aberration, but I like it and you can probably turn it off. Head-to-head comparisons between 2018 and 202 scenes also convey a marked improvement,

Lighting looks great overall. Both the sunny Badlands and the rainy dusky backstreets looked very impressive.

3. The city

NC looks fantastic. It feels like a believable environment (save for two aspects) , dens, varied and interesting, so that one would want to spend countless hours exploring everything from the plazas to back alleys.

4. The UI

This iteration looks much better than last year's. Hopefully it's customizable, in particular font size.

The So-so

1. Shooting

It's very difficult to grasp how it feels without getting your hands on the controller, but it looked competent, with visible recoil, and good loading animations.

2. Driving

As with shooting, it's hard to evaluate just by watching. It looked acceptable. It's getting mixed reviews by influencers. Most seemed to have enjoyed it, but at least one criticized it.


The Bad

1. Voice acting

TW3 featured wonderful voice acting. Even lowly hillbillies had good VA.
I really disliked male V. VA. It has this phoney quality to it that's off-putting. This, unfortunate, seems pervasive, I counted a grand total of two NPCs whose VA I liked.

2. Writing

TW3 has some of the bet videogame writing. I haven't lost faith in CDPR's abilities, but so far CP2077' hasn't managed to convince me either. Everything seems on the nos. Some of the dialogue is cheesy and the VA makes it worse. I get the bravado is part of the urban culture, but maybe they could iterate it further.

3. Crowds

What happened to the crowds?

I understand NC might not be the safest of places at night, but it looks so empty. Compared to the 2018 demo, whose main selling point was the crowd density, the 2020 forage feels especially depopulated. Even the few shots that did showcase more than a couple of NPCs had them crossing a street as though inside an invisible corridor with hardly anyone else outside it.

Maybe real dancing has gone out of fashion by 2077 and everyone's into Braindancing instead, but where are the disco dancers?

4. Traffic

Same with cars. Where have they gone? NC is conspicuously traffic-free at night. 2018 footage showed a packed highway during the daytime and even the 2020 intro featured a decent stream of vehicles viewed from a distance and flowing thought the cityscape. None of that seems to have made it to the streets. While driving though the district, you're were practically the only one doing it. That doesn't seem authentic and consistent with a vibrant environment.

5. Braindance

The concept sounds great but the execution seems lacking. That was the only part of the demo that bored me. It felt like a tutorial, which is probably what it is, but could use some streamlining. The whole interaction sounded very stilted.

6. Hacking

Hacking wasn't featured this time around. But from the previews, it seems it hasn't changed. You're still moving hex codes around, which strikes me as uninspired and bound to get old really quick,

7 Melee

Fist fighting looked rough, with little impact, odd stances and footwork. The animations seemed in need of extensive retouching. The Katan footage I saw didn't look great either.

Final score:

8/10 Great
RTX 3000 it is then.
Good post! I mostly agree with everything you said. Only real disagreement pertains to the image quality - I still think it's too soft/blurry in the videos. Some of that could be due to the video itself, I suppose. Also, there's almost always options that can be tweaked in cdpr games or post-processing sharpening that can be applied (on PC, of course). Oh, and the noticeable pop-in during the driving scenes (probably my biggest pet peeve in any game).
 
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b0uncyfr0

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It still looks quite blurry to me. Also comparing what we saw to those screenshots is a big no-no in my opinion (Until we see raw uncompressed footage), i'm holding my belief it wont look anything that good.

Performance is also something i'm not sold on - 2080ti at 1080p with RayTracing. Not even 90 fps, but 60. Granted most ppl said it was 'smooth', maybe there was more in the tank but they capped it for 'smoothness' sake.

Aliasing is very noticebale (to me) in some areas - esp the bar. I hope they improve that. Perhaps's that why the presentation looks generally soft, to hide it?
 
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M1chl

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What is driving so claustrophobic? I mean it feels like Sleeping Dogs when you driving, somehow, I don't find that...nice...
 

Rikkori

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The official presentation was so-so tbh (shit trailer, meh brain dance) but the gameplay footage of the playthroughs was great! So I guess it depends on how you count it.
 

GymWolf

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7+

The graphic was solid in some parts, rough in others.

Shooting and combat looked mediocre\acceptable, hacking and investigation looked boring and kinda complicated.

But the art style is ACE and the city seems alive enough (rdr2 still looks more alive to me)

Not a gigantic fan of the writing or the protagonist male voice.


Still, an unmissable day one purchase for me.
 
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Bottom of the barrel.
I'm all in. Thought it was a great presentation. I think you make some very good points. The only one that I'd perhaps disagree with is the Braindance stuff. I've always loved that sort of "detective vision" style crime solving stuff. I thought that looked like a fun diversion between other quests and stuff.

The main thing that looked less than stellar to me was the combat. The guns looked a bit weak and seemed to lack impact or recoil. Of course, until we actually get hands-on then we won't know the actual "game-feel"

Hopefully there are more viable options rather than just having to use guns. The "overheat" power looked pretty cool.
 

B-universe

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Good post! I mostly agree with everything you said. Only real disagreement pertains to the image quality - I still think it's too soft/blurry in the videos. Some of that could be due to the video itself, I suppose. Also, there's almost always options that can be tweaked in cdpr games or post-processing sharpening that can be applied (on PC, of course). Oh, and the noticeable pop-in during the driving scenes (probably my biggest pet peeve in any game).
I will post Gamersyde versions if and when they surface.

Regarding pop-in, I noticed it during night-time, when driving. Lights did pop in not too far away from the player. But let's be honest. Pop in won't completely disappear till engines get rewritten to take advantage of PS5-like SSDs and, more importantly, we shell out the appropriate dough to buy them.

I remember TW3 having aggressive pop-in before launch and it getting better afterwards.
Fingers crossed,
 
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MiguelItUp

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Really a big fan of the event and the previews I've seen. I rated it an 8 as well, because I'm in regardless, but there are questions I have, and some slight concerns. Nothing that ruins my expectations though. Can't wait for the next episode!

I really want an RTX card by the time of its release.
 

Hudo

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I know they really give it their all to have this level of production for their videos but I'd rather have just a uninterrupted view of the gameplay which can be commented. I don't want to see interviews of people and people's faces. People can talk over gameplay footage, if needed but every time they cut away from the game to show some dude/dudette talking is not fun.
 

MiguelItUp

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I know they really give it their all to have this level of production for their videos but I'd rather have just a uninterrupted view of the gameplay which can be commented. I don't want to see interviews of people and people's faces. People can talk over gameplay footage, if needed but every time they cut away from the game to show some dude/dudette talking is not fun.
There are multiple previews available that do/did it a bit better than the event itself. At least in the gameplay portion of it. I'd personally love to see one that's straight gameplay from beginning to end.
 
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Kuranghi

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It still looks quite blurry to me. Also comparing what we saw to those screenshots is a big no-no in my opinion (Until we see raw uncompressed footage), i'm holding my belief it wont look anything that good.

Performance is also something i'm not sold on - 2080ti at 1080p with RayTracing. Not even 90 fps, but 60. Granted most ppl said it was 'smooth', maybe there was more in the tank but they capped it for 'smoothness' sake.

Aliasing is very noticebale (to me) in some areas - esp the bar. I hope they improve that. Perhaps's that why the presentation looks generally soft, to hide it?
I'm sure you saw it but in case you didn't DF said that it wasn't really using much RT at all, nothing really heavy anyway, so that made me think the performances isn't really the best since thats a £1200 GPU and its only getting 1080p60. I don't want to play games in 1080p anymore so I'll sacrifice 60 fps for it, but going by scaling i don't think I can even get to 4K30 on my GTX 1080, which is a bit disappointing since the graphics are really very nice but not revolutionary like how I felt about Arkham Knight or AC: Unity back then. Or going forward how I feel about UE5 PS5 demo and the Hellblade 2 target render.
 
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B-universe

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I'm sure you saw it but in case you didn't DF said that it wasn't really using much RT at all, nothing really heavy anyway, so that made me think the performances isn't really the best since thats a £1200 GPU and its only getting 1080p60.
Digital Foundry updated their statement.
In the description box of their CP2077 YouTube video, they state:

UPDATE: After recording this video, new details emerged of the RTX features in Cyberpunk 2077 - scroll down for full details:
...
Nvidia press release on Cyberpunk RTX features: Ray-traced ambient occlusion - Ambient occlusion is a shading and rendering technique used to calculate how exposed each point in a scene is to ambient lighting. The result is a diffuse shading effect that darkens enclosed and sheltered areas and enhances the rendered image's overall tone. In Cyberpunk 2077, ray-traced ambient occlusion additionally can be used with local lights to approximate local shadowing effects where shadows are missing. Ray-traced diffuse illumination - This technique is used to capture sky radiance as well as emissive lighting from various surfaces, which is difficult to achieve with traditional rendering techniques. Ray-traced reflections - In Cyberpunk 2077, ray-traced reflections are used on all surfaces and can trace ranges for up to several kilometers. They are present on both opaque and transparent objects to simulate the way light reflects from glossy and metal surfaces by tracing a single bounce of reflection rays against the scene. This includes smooth natural mirrors like window glass, but also rougher surfaces like brushed metal. Unlike screen space techniques which can only reflect what’s on screen, ray-traced reflections incorporate the entire scene around the character, and can accurately represent objects outside the camera view or facing away from the camera. Ray-traced shadows - Cyberpunk 2077 preview supports directional shadows from the sun and the moon. These shadows aim to be physically accurate and even account for light scattering from clouds. Shadows may be enhanced in the final release to support other types of light sources where it is needed. Ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS 2.0, are expected to be available at launch on November 19, 2020.
 
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Hudo

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There are multiple previews available that do/did it a bit better than the event itself. At least in the gameplay portion of it. I'd personally love to see one that's straight gameplay from beginning to end.
Yeah, I've been watching some of those instead. They give a much better feeling for the game (IMHO).

Heck, even Kotaku have done a good no-commentary video
 
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B-universe

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@Pagusas ,

Another concept:



There are multiple previews available that do/did it a bit better than the event itself. At least in the gameplay portion of it. I'd personally love to see one that's straight gameplay from beginning to end.
-Upon reaching it, I think their PR made almost rookie mistakes.
In Night City Wire Episode 01, they announced what they were about to show, showed it and then recapped , all within half an hour. That's very odd.

-Regarding braindance, that feature is cumbersome. Please consider simplifying the interface, showing just one track , expandable to three. Consider including timestamps. Consider replacing the ugly green halos in the audio track with, say, concentric simple circles.

- Dr. Victor, I liked him better without the shades.
 
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lefty1117

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Does this game have cyberspace, like Neuromancer style where you jack in and you're in a matrixy computer world?
 
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No third person, no buy. Will get it a year later. The character seems "generic", everyone kinda is. There´s no "connection" with the world, like in The Witcher 3 with Geralt.

The braindance, i don´t like that at all. 7+
 

Denton

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Cyberpunk is combination of GTA and Deus Ex, taking place in much cooler world than those two, as designed and written by writers of Witcher 3.

Therefore, potentially the best game ever made, from that description alone.

That does not mean it will necessarily have better driving than Asseto Corsa, better melee than Street Fighter, better stealth than Thief 2, better shooting than Destiny 2, or better swordfighting than Mordhau.

Because guess what. It's a god damn RPG, and RPGs are hardest fucking things to make because they contain multitude of genres all in one.
 
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B-universe

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Recent NvIDIA Screenshots



Brand new NvIDIA Screenshots


I'm sure the lack of NPCs is to better showcase raytraced environments, but, although great-looking, they still suffer from the absence.