A thirteen year old game puts CDPR’s 2020 open world RPG to shame.
In recent weeks, we’ve compared Cyberpunk 2077 to open world megatons like GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, and CDPR’s own The Witcher 3, and it hasn’t been a very good look for the new open world game. What’s surprising, however, is that it gets shown up in many ways even by a much older title. GTA 4, which is almost 13 years old at this point, is full of tiny little details and flourishes that are missing in Cyberpunk 2077, which contributes significantly to the immersion factor in any open world title. Here, we’re going to take a look at fifteen such details.
Given the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 is set in a dystopian feature where crime and corruption are rampant, you’d think that actually being able to do major crimes in the open world would be a thing. Sadly, that’s not the case. For instance, there’s no way for you to rob a store. While GTA 4 had proper store robberies where you could hold up store owners on gunpoint and take them for everything they had, in Cyberpunk 2077, there is no such system in place.
NPCs REACTING TO CARJACKINGS
NPCs reacting to your actions is probably one of the most disappointing aspects of Cyberpunk’s open world. Even the way they react to something as basic as you robbing their vehicles is disappointing. Most of the times, all they do is crouch down on the road beside their vehicle immediately after carjackings (while some occasionally run away as well). In GTA 4, things are far less predictable, and from NPCs running away to trying to violently take their vehicle right back to even hanging on to car doors while you drive away, they can react in any number of ways.
FALLING FROM HEIGHTS
There’s a lot of high points in Night City to fling yourself off to the ground from, but the results are always disappointingly tame. V’s reaction to falling from heights is almost non-existent, the falling animations may as well not even exist, and the impacts lack that oomph. In GTA 4, Niko will scream his lungs out and desperately wave his limbs in the air as he’s falling through the air, and crash into the ground with crunching impact.
BUMPING INTO NPCs
Here’s another example of how reactive NPCs are to even the simplest of things you do in GTA 4, and how that is definitely not the case in Cyberpunk 2077. Walk and run into them in the latter, and they will have no reaction to you whatsoever- they’ll just stand there and blankly stare at you with dead eyes. In GTA 4, thanks to the game’s physics engine, they’ll stumble, fall over, roll down stairs, or even have some choice words to say about Niko.
SIDE ACTIVITIES AND MINIGAMES
GTA 4, like any other GTA game, is full of side activities and minigames to partake in, from throwing darts to, of course, going bowling. None of that is present in Cyberpunk 2077, though you might spot things like pool tables and what have you in certain locations, there’s no way to actually interact with them.
SETTING YOURSELF ON FIRE
It’s honestly surprising that in an open world game releasing in 2020, the main character doesn’t even react properly to being set on fire. V doesn’t take any damage from standing in flames, and has no reaction to the same whatsoever. By comparison, if Niko does the same, he’ll start screaming and fall over to the ground while taking damage.
BUYING FOOD FROM VENDORS
The way Cyberpunk 2077 handles vendors is yet another one area where its open world disappoints. In GTA 4, you could head to bars, restaurants, and hot dog vendors to purchase food and drinks, and you’d see Niko physically consuming those items in the open world. In Cyberpunk 2077, you can, of course, interact with vendors, but all that does is take you to a menu where you can add consumables to your inventory.
This is a very small and specific thing, but it’s a perfect example of how ahead of its time GTA 4’s physics engine was, and how disappointing Cyberpunk’s is. To be more specific, we’re talking about how the main character reacts to the force of the streams of water shooting out of destroyed fire hydrants. In Cyberpunk 2077, the jets of water that shoot out of the ground are gone in a couple of seconds at most, and don’t have any physical effect on… well, anything. Those same jets of water in GTA 4 stick around for much longer, have a physical impact on Niko, and can even partially lift cars off the ground.
DAMAGING VEHICLES WITH MELEE WEAPONS
This is one of the most basic ways a game can react to what you’re going. Take your fists or a baseball bat and any other melee weapon you can get your hands on, and you’ll see that attacking vehicles with it in GTA 4 will yield appropriate levels, with cars getting bashed up, dented, scratched, and what have you. In Cyberpunk 2077, it’s like you’re swinging at nothing, and vehicles barely even get a single scratch.
And what exactly do the drivers do when you’re banging up their cars? Well, in GTA 4, they do what you’d expect them to do. They get out of their vehicles and engage Niko in fistfights to try and stop him. In Cyberpunk, they just stay inside their cars, and might occasionally raise their hands in fear.
DRIVING YOUR CAR INTO WATER
If you’re playing an open world game with cars, chances are, you’ll eventually wind up driving your vehicle into a body of water. If you do that in GTA 4, your car will float around in the water for a bit before it slowly starts sinking to the bottom. Meanwhile, in Cyberpunk 2077, where water isn’t so much of an actual physical force as it is set dressing, your car will simply plop right in and drop right to the bottom with zero resistance.
Getting into massive, bone-crunching accidents and car crashes in GTA 4 was never not fun, owing to the hilarious things that would ensue thanks to the game’s excellent physics engine. Getting into crashes while driving bikes was particularly fun, because of the wildly different ways Niko would go flying through the air or crash into the ground upon impact. Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t have that kind of a physics engine going for it- or any physics engine, for that matter. Every single crash, regardless of speed or momentum, triggers the exact same animation, and it gets old very quickly.
DRIVING BIKES ON STAIRS
Here’s another tiny little impressive detail in GTA 4 that’s missing in Cyberpunk 2077. Try driving a bike up a set of stairs in GTA 4, and you’ll see its wheels and suspension reacting appropriately to the bumpy surface. Meanwhile, in Cyberpunk, bikes drive up and down stairs like they’re flat surfaces, and if you look closely, you can even see the edges of their tires clipping through the steps.
NPCs REACTING TO RAIN
The relative lack of dynamic weather systems in Night City is another one of Cyberpunk 2077’s open world’s disappointing elements. In fact, even the weather systems that are in the game are mostly just there for aesthetic reasons. For instance, when it rains, NPCs won’t have any reactions to that whatsoever, and will simply keep going about their listless walks around the city as they normally would. In GTA 4, when it starts raining, NPCs will bring out their umbrellas, running across sidewalks to get to their destinations quickly, and even using things they have in their hands (like newspapers or briefcases) to cover their heads.
DRIVERS REACTING TO CAR CRASHES
Finally, let’s end with yet another example of the disappointing reactions NPCs have to the things you do in Cyberpunk 2077. Crash into their vehicles while driving your own, and they’ll do… nothing at all. They’ll just keep sitting behind the wheel and wait for you to drive out of their way (since they don’t know how to drive around you either). Hell, sometimes, they don’t even spawn until after you’ve crashed into them. In GTA 4, NPCs will hurl curses at you if you crash into their cars, get out of their vehicles to inspect the damage, or might even die if you hit their cars hard enough.