CD Projekt RED promised a major patch for Cyberpunk 2077 in January and the studio duly delivered, with version 1.10 promising a slew of bug fixes, stability improvements and – for PlayStation 4 at least – the promise of actual performance upgrades. And this is crucial because we have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that crashes can be rectified and glitches removed, but the fundamental issue is this: does last-gen hardware have the horsepower to deliver a consistent level of performance that’s much closer to the target 30fps? Performance analysis of version 1.10 gives us optimism in some respects, but there’s still a mountain to climb.
Of course, version 1.10 has since been updated with patch 1.11, which essentially delivers a hotfix update to correct a couple of bugs, but the main optimisation and stability push introduced memory management improvements, and addressed a large array of bugs. What’s curious are the platform-specific optimisations: there’s talk of crowd optimisation for PS4 Pro and PlayStation 5, but surely the base PS4 should improve too? And why wouldn’t these optimisations also improve the situation for Xbox One users. For its part, the Microsoft platform saw memory management changes, specifically around character creation, mirrors, camera scanning and much more.
Curiously though, our tests suggest that there are further improvements – and since it’s the vanilla PS4 and Xbox One that really need a lot of work, those are the platforms we initially chose to take a look at. Something we can report straight away: we didn’t see the game crash, or lock, or drop back to the front end at all. That’s not to say we didn’t encounter glitches and bugs – we definitely did – but cleaning up crashing problems and delivering a more stable experience is likely the number one objective of CD Projekt RED. Obviously, our testing is limited to a small area of the game, but we’d chalk this up as a significant step forward for the game.
Playing on the standard PlayStation 4, we also noted a couple of improvements that don’t seem to have been revealed in the patch notes. First of all, image quality seems to be noticeably improved. Even with the compressed video you’ll see on this page, the boost to clarity here should be self-evident – perhaps CDPR has tweaked the temporal anti-aliasing component of the renderer, tweaked post-TAA sharpening or dialled back the intensity of the post-processing pipeline. Regardless, it does look cleaner. Getting a lock on native resolution in this game is a challenge owing to how rapidly pixel counts shift, but our impression is that actual rendering resolution remains unchanged from the launch code – Cyberpunk 2077 just looks cleaner.
In select scenarios, we also noted improved performance too on PS4 – anything up to five or six frames per second, which is quite a feat, a significant leap in percentage terms. Interestingly, we saw this happening in scenarios like the vehicle shoot-out with the scavengers after the first mission – where CDPR’s stated crowd system optimisation is unlikely to have made any impact whatsoever. Again, image quality remains clearer and the suite of effects remains the same, so this is genuine progress. But it’s clear that we’re still some way off an agreeable experience. Other areas of the game basically run the same as they did before and performance issues remain. In frenzied shoot-outs, it’s still possible for Cyberpunk 2077 to dip beneath 20fps on PlayStation 4, while hitching from streaming related issues is still present. It’s still very difficult to recommend this game to users of the most popular console of the last generation.
Where does version 1.10 leave the Xbox One S? Well, it looks like the improvement to image clarity seen on PlayStation 4 applies to the vanilla Xbox One too, but beyond the improvements to overall stability, all of our test clips revealed no noticeable boost to performance compared to patch 1.02. The often prolonged stutters are gone, the improvements in stability are also present, but the actual way the game plays out remains as unsatisfactory as it was previously. Xbox is also where I experienced one particularly major glitch – and an issue I’d like to see CDPR address is the way that playing on one kind of Xbox can impact the experience if you switch to another. For example, if you play on Series X in quality mode, switching over to Xbox One or Xbox One X sees frame-rates drop to around 15fps. This can only be fully resolved by wiping all game saves from affected Xboxes. I’ll leave you to watch the video to see some of the other weird bugs and odd glitches I encountered on both platforms.
Similar to our work on The Witcher 3, we do aim to chart the progress of Cyberpunk 2077’s various patches and upgrades across time, so having completed work on the base machines, our gaze moves over to enhanced consoles. In our initial tests, PS4 Pro – while still possessing grave issues in some scenarios – seemed to be the pick of the bunch when it came to playing the game on last generation systems. However, impressions so far suggest that beyond stability improvements, it’s still the same experience overall – our test cases involving crowds (an area singled out by CDPR as the focus for optimisation work in 1.10) showed inconclusive results, and certainly no game-changing improvement.
Ultimately, our takeaway from Cyberpunk 2077 patch 1.10 – and indeed 1.11 – is pretty straightforward. Steps have been taken to eliminate game crashes and to improve stability overall – the kind of fundamental improvement that must take precedence, but while there are some improvements to the way the game runs (on base PS4 at least), it doesn’t answer the question we had when we saw the very first demo: is it actually possible to run this smoothly on a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? On the PS4 side, there is the sense that some genuine improvements have been made – but at the same time, if there were fundamental optimisations here, I’d have expected to see some kind of improvement on the Pro side too.
Based on prior PR, CDPR’s plan is to deliver another major patch in February, so we’ll be reporting back on that as and when the upgrade arrives.