There’s only one thing anyone’s been talking about in the gaming circles this week; Cyberpunk 2077’s release. Or, more accurately, all the issues with Cyberpunk 2077’s release. It seems hard to believe, but CD Projekt Red (CDPR) seems to have botched one of the most awaited titles after an 8-year wait. New problems continue to come to light, even as CDPR keeps promising new patches to alleviate most of the players’ complaints. It doesn’t help that no other open-world gaming title since Watch Dogs back in 2014 has suffered from all the constant comparisons. Another comparison that doesn’t reflect well on Cyberpunk 2077 is 2018’s God of War. Fans had to wait 7 years for it too, but the difference in the end product seems to be night and day. How so? Learn more in this Cyberpunk 2077 vs. God of War comparison below:
The Long Wait
This is the primary element common between Cyberpunk 2077 and God of War. Fans had to wait 8 and 7 years for the two games, respectively, for two completely different reasons. Cyberpunk 2077’s initial teaser came out back in 2012, with the developers promising the game would release “when it’s ready.” It might have sounded chic then and continued to do so until December 10th, 2020 when the game released. With its plethora of bugs, frequent crashes, and unplayable quality on current-gen consoles, the game was clearly not ready.
On the other hand, God of War was an established franchise back in 2011. The God of War: Ascension had just come out, delving deep into Kratos’ backstory. The lukewarm reception forced Santa Monica Studios to go back to the drawing board. The task was to develop a new character arc for, arguably, the PlayStation’s most recognizable character. Fans finally got to see how that all turned out at the 2016 E3 conference. With a scared body, a grizzly beard, an axe as a weapon, and a new young companion, this Kratos was both familiar and a stranger. Upon the game’s release, fans and critics alike enjoyed this new chapter in Kratos’ life. It was a perfectly synergized game that combines the traditional aspects of the previous God of War games with contemporary elements such as a smaller HUD, an open-world map, and more. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to criticize its 7-year development cycle. That’s a significant accomplishment in its own right.
Reading most of Cyberpunk 2077’s reviews, it’s clear that it’s not a bad game. The storyline is more than decent. The graphics (when the game isn’t randomly crashing) are fascinating on proper hardware. The endless activities for players to do in Night City are all that Cyberpunk 2077 promised. However, none of that can salvage the game if half the audience, i.e., the console players, can’t play the game properly. Players that have reported their crash issues being fixed after a massive 43 GB first-day patch said that the PS4 and Xbox One graphics are laughably bad. Judging from the end product, Cyberpunk 2077’s team will have a hard time justifying its 8-year development cycle.
God of War did not follow the tradition of just showing some demo footage. The creative head, Corey Barlog, was there playing the actual game on a PS4. And that gameplay was being shown to the audiences simultaneously. It was an honest reveal for the players about what they could expect from the end product. Additionally, it helped Santa Monica promise further improvements considering the game wouldn’t be released until 2018. Upon its release, God of War won numerous plaudits while nabbing the illustrious Game of The Year title.
As I mentioned earlier, the difference in the games’ reception after such a long wait was night and day.
Critics & Fans’ Responses
I should mention right off the bat that God of War has a massive advantage over Cyberpunk 2077, considering it was already a well-established franchise when the game was released in 2018. True, the game was supposed to be a “soft reboot” that saw the titular character travel from Greek mythology to Norse mythology. However, it didn’t have as herculean a task as Cyberpunk 2077. Cyberpunk 2077 had to convince its target audience that the game had a decent story to tell, that its single-player-only theme was justified, and that they’d still have exciting things to do within the game after completing the main story.
This is a crucial aspect of why God of War holds such universal acclaim among fans. The latest entry in the franchise adds to a larger story that has been going on since 2005. There’s an entire generation that has grown up with the character. Considering how one of God of War’s primary tones is transformation through time, fans found it more relatable. Cyberpunk 2077’s promises, bold as they were, cannot compete with nearly 13 years of storytelling.
Moreover, God of War is a PlayStation exclusive. Hence, its dev team did not have to face similar optimization issues that Cyberpunk 2077 did. Perhaps more importantly, the critical reviews for both the games mirror the fans’ response perfectly. God of War has a perfect 10/10 on IGN, a 5/5 on GamesRadar, and an almost unbelievable 94% rating on Metacritic. Conversely, Cyberpunk 2077 is 4/10 on IGN, 5/5 on GamesRadar, and a shambolic 52% on Metacritic.
It’s been nearly 3 years since God of War’s release in late-February 2018. And yet, the game continues to receive plaudits every time a new open-world game is released and fails to fulfill its promises. It’s hard to pinpoint precisely what makes it such a perfect game since it’s equally hard to point out any flaws. The background score, the story, the weaponry, the pace, the setting, the additional characters, and the dialogues, everything is, for lack of a better word, flawless.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a story of wasted potential. It could easily have been one of the greatest games ever, not just for this year but of all-time. Unless it can somehow miraculously fix the piling issues on its PS4 and Xbox One versions, it’ll go down as a cautionary tale of exuberant ambitions.
There’s perhaps no bigger indictment for Cyberpunk 2077 than the general feeling within the gaming community that it won’t be able to compete with God of War’s sequel in 2021, a game that doesn’t even have any demo footage as of yet.