It’s time to write a take so hot my keyboard melts while I’m typing. GTA 5 is literally the most popular game of all time, selling 150 million copies and debuting with rave reviews when it arrived in the PS3 / Xbox 360 generation. The game has been alive and well since. , in part thanks to the success of GTA Online which prints money for Rockstar and has allowed the game to live on three generations of consoles now.
And yet, for me, the famous Cyberpunk 2077 disaster is actually a better game.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, meditating Why Exactly GTA 5 has been this acclaimed and selling well for so long, and why, despite all the negatives, Cyberpunk 2077 has been stuck in my brain since its launch last year.
I have to make a big caveat here, the idea that I will ignore the technical challenges that Cyberpunk 2077 has come up with. I’m talking about its thousands of bugs that had to be fixed after launch. Or the performance issues that persist to this day, especially on the latest gen consoles, where the game probably shouldn’t have been designed for those systems in the first place. Cyberpunk 2077 being explicitly broken in many ways at launch, that’s a big part of why it got so much bad press. But the game itself? I think you can do the case.
Night Town> Los Santos
Night City is a beautiful and beautifully done place, possibly one of the most beautiful futuristic cities that I have seen in video game space. Los Santos and the wider San Andreas area may be vast, but I don’t think they hold a candle to the Night City design aesthetic, and it’s just not that interesting of a place. Night City has yet to realize its full potential, and if it had a decade to develop as GTA, I think it would be even more pronounced. I know there is technically more to do in Los Santos, minigames, properties to buy, and yet Night City is still a place I want to actively spend time, which I can’t say is true for the world of GTA.
V> Franklin and Michel
The idea of GTA 5’s triple protagonist has always kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and I’m willing to say that V, especially the female voice V, is a better main character than at the very least, Franklin and Michael, two-thirds of the main roles in GTA. Trevor is a unique case and I think he’s fantastic because of Steven Ogg’s performance, and yet I think Cyberpunk did a great job of fleshing out V as a protagonist as you. rarely see in first person games.
Cyberpunk Support Cast> GTA 5 Support Cast
Panam, Judy, Kerry, River, Jackie, Takemura, I would list them all as a better supporting cast than anyone GTA 5 has to offer. I can’t really remember anyone of GTA 5 off the main tracks and this guy with glasses that helps you plan missions. Cyberpunk has established a slew of new iconic characters outside of its lead that are better than anything GTA has to offer, and you are able to develop a real relationship with them as a player character. I also maintain that GTA’s brand of comedy hasn’t worked in a long time, and the Cyberpunk script is overall better, despite a storyline missing here and there, cut for time.
Cyberpunk Combat> GTA Combat
This one can be controversial. I will obviously give combat car to GTA 5 because it is terrible / nonexistent in Cyberpunk outside of the scripted segments. But in the field, in person fights? I think it fits Cyberpunk with its varied playstyles, guns, stealth, melee, hack, and it’s better than GTA’s run-and-gun style with instant aim. Cyberpunk missed the mark in some areas, but combat was not one of them.
So where does Cyberpunk lose? A few areas for sure. Anything with vehicles, races, fights or whatever. Anything to do with enemy AI, be it gang fighting or police. And of course Cyberpunk doesn’t have a GTA Online mode at all to compare for a multiplayer option (not yet, anyway).
But in the end, despite all the issues, I would consider Cyberpunk 2077 a better game than GTA 5, despite the praise, despite the sales, and despite Cyberpunk being there last year for various reasons. I absolutely think CDPR messed up releasing the game a solid year earlier with all of its technical issues, too promising and under-delivered, but basically there’s a great game in there, and in fact, one that I would consider. as one of the best in this kind of sandbox town.
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