Cyberpunk 2077 On A High-End PC Is The Real Next-Gen

I’ve been lucky enough to try both of the most powerful next-gen consoles – PS5 and Xbox Series X. Each has its own benefits and there’s no clear winner in the console war for next-gen superiority. In comparison tests, the two consoles are basically neck and neck on performance. PS5 has the incredible DualSense controller and launch exclusives, Xbox has Quick Resume, Game Pass, and Smart Delivery.

While the 3D audio and visuals of the Demon’s Souls remake impressed me, and I was a big fan of console ray tracing in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, next-gen has lacked the wow factor compared to previous generations. It’s a step forward in performance, with most games getting a smooth 60fps mode, rather than a leap forward in visual fidelity.

I’ve had a decent PC for years now, which means, like Shania Twain, frame rates don’t impress me much. I’ve already seen how much better multiplatform games look on PC. I built my first gaming rig for The Witcher 3 and I couldn’t believe how smooth it was. Nowadays that locked, stable 60 isn’t as impressive. I’ve had that for seven years. In the lead up to Cyberpunk 2077, I decided it was time for a new PC. It felt right after building my first for the last big CD Projekt Red game. Especially since the proper PS5 and Xbox Series X patch for Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t release until next year.

My new PC has the best GPU you can buy – the RTX 3090, which is capable of 4K visuals, ray-tracing, and everything cranked up to max. That’s backed up by a ten-core i9-10850k from Intel, as well as 32GB of RAM. My PC is a beast.

Firing up Cyberpunk 2077 for the first time was the experience I wanted from PS5 and Xbox Series X – the slack-jawed awe you felt when consoles jumped to high-definition for the first time: impossible draw distances, a razor-sharp image, thick smoke, and natural lighting and shadows. It looks incredible. Then there’s ray tracing, which allows light, shadows, and reflections to appear on materials in a realistic manner. Cyberpunk 2077’s rain-soaked, neon-tinged cityscape is the perfect showcase.

Let me share some screenshots of the game maxed out (unfortunately squished down so they don’t crash the website).

In this Photo Mode screen, I’ve used depth of field to highlight the details on the Porsche – the way the sun bounces off the metal, and how you can see the bottom portion of the car reflected in the puddle as I pass. But even with the background slightly blurred out, you can see the detailed devastation of the game’s Pacifica district.

One mission sees you creeping into a parade to take out snipers as holographic fish and sci-fi floats fly down an alleyway. In this shot, you can see how the ray-traced reflections capture NPCs, lights, environmental details, and even the holograms as they fly overhead.

This one is a bit of an optical illusion – there’s only one row of square lights, two blocks across here. What you’re seeing is the lights reflected in the shiny, obsidian surface next to it. In-game, these lights flip between a range of different colours.

Unless you’re looking in a mirror, you won’t see your character’s reflection in the world – presumably because they aren’t animated to look right in third-person. But switch to Photo Mode and even your avatar gets ray-traced reflections. Here I’m out in the dusty, expansive Badlands beyond Night City.

It’s not just puddles either. At night, every single light source in Night City is reflected in the roads, bouncing off surfaces in a natural way.

Here you can see how the red lighting on the left and the blue tint on the right bounce off the carpet and reflective border material on the ground. The lighting conditions completely alter the look of materials in every scene.

Out in the city itself, the world is packed with detail – you often stumble upon strange sculptures and intricate public spaces. The backgrounds here are beyond what you see in the main missions in other games. On PC, the details really pop.

There’s no Photo Mode here – this is just a snap of the Badlands careening past, Night City in the background, as I look out the window of a car from the passenger seat. Notice how the close objects have a natural motion blur to them – like looking out of an actual car window.

I adore the details in the character models, too. You can see the pain in this character’s face, and I love how her hand clasps around her oversized sleeve.

This campfire scene captures how light and shadow react to the character models, creating deep shadows on their clothes and showing off blemishes on the skin.

Obviously, getting a PC like this is expensive, but I also tried Cyberpunk 2077 on a 2080Ti and it was almost as impressive – still far beyond what the game looks like on console. If you can afford to, Cyberpunk 2077 is best by far on PC – preferably an RTX card.

Next: Cyberpunk 2077 Review – Future (Almost) Perfect

Cyberpunk 2077 is available for PC on GOG.COM, Steam and Epic, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Stadia from December 10, 2020. When you buy Cyberpunk 2077 on GOG.COM, 100% of your money goes to CD PROJEKT Group and supports their future projects.

These articles are posted in affiliation with GOG.COM. TheGamer received compensation from GOG Sp. z o.o. for affiliating these articles with their brand.

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Kirk is the Editor-in-Chief at The Gamer. He likes Arkane games a little too much.

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