Hands-On Review News : Turns out Stadia is a pretty good way to play Cyberpunk 2077

By | April 26, 2021
Hands-On Review News : Turns out Stadia is a pretty good way to play Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 is available on Stadia for $60 right now, and no subscription or special hardware are required to play it. If you pick it up by December 18, Google will even throw in a free controller and Chromecast Ultra so you can play on your TV.

As far as I can tell, visuals are about on par with the console versions of the game, and performance is actually better than on the last-gen Xbox One and PlayStation 4. If you have a PS5, an Xbox Series X, or an up-to-date, powerful gaming rig, you should go ahead and play Cyberpunk 2077 there.

Cyberpunk 2077, if this is somehow the first you’re hearing of it, is the newest game out of CD Project Red, the Polish studio most famous for the Watcher series of action RPGs. It’s set predominantly in Night City, a future tech-dystopia with a Blade Runner/Ghost in the Shell/Deus Ex flavor, where people with high-tech prosthetics grafted onto their bodies commit crimes at each other. Also, Keanu Reeves is there.

Despite the game’s first-person perspective and all the guns, Cyberpunk is not a traditional first-person shooter. Like the Watcher series, it’s an RPG, complete with experience points, levels, and player and item stats.

Voice performances are less impressive, though. The masculine variant of player character V in particular is played as a paint-by-numbers tough guy, and Keanu’s performance feels a little wooden, too (although that’s not really uncharacteristic). They’re not bad, certainly not by industry standards, but they don’t hit the transcendent highs of, say, a good Rock star game.

Stadia’s been able to secure precious few high-profile day-and-date multiplatform releases since its launch last November — Doom Eternal, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and not many others. This week, the service landed its biggest yet: the hotly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. It’s an enormous and ambitious game that’s already developed a reputation for running poorly on most hardware. But while Stadia definitely isn’t the best way to experience the sci-fi epic, it turns out it’s far from the worst.

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After spending a few hours with the game on Stadia, it’s clear this version is not the boundary-pushing experience you’d get on a high-end gaming PC, but it’s a surprisingly competent port. The bugs are there, obviously, but frame rates are stable and load times are mercifully brief. You’ve got the option to play in modes that prioritize either graphics or performance; graphics mode is capped at 30 frames per second, performance can hit 60.

Because Stadia always streams at the highest resolution allowed by your display and settings and always captures screenshots at 1080p regardless of the resolution your game is rendered at, I can’t say with 100 percent certainty what the resolution in graphics mode is, but eyeballing it on a 4K TV, I’d guess 1080p (update: I’ve since learned that graphics mode maxes out at 4K, but it frequently downscales).

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