The Cross-Generational Bottleneck: Cyberpunk Edition

Cyberpunk 2077 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Review by Destin Legaire for IGN

While I had just as much fun playing Cyberpunk 2077 on PC as Tom did playing for his review, on the base PlayStation 4 or Xbox One it is a different game entirely. It fails to hit even the lowest bar of technical quality one should expect even when playing on lower-end hardware. It performs so poorly that it makes combat, driving, and what is otherwise a master craft of storytelling legitimately difficult to look at. It is not an exaggeration to say that I’ve felt nauseated after playing because of the terrible frame rate. It really is that bad, and it’s very suspicious that CD Projekt Red refused to provide console review copies ahead of launch.

I’d say it is more than suspicious. It was downright intentional. They knew the state the console version of the game was in, deliberately showed PC-only footage, and took people’s money anyway. CD Projekt Red figured it would be easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

Seeing is believing though.

This is the type of bottleneck I feared for cross-generational games. Cypberpunk 2077 “runs” on 11 different platforms (PS4, PS4 Pro, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PC, and Stadia). From a business perspective, I understand wanting to launch on last generation consoles. There are 165+ million PS4 and Xbox One consoles out in the world. I think it is safe to say the vast majority of purchases this past week were for those platforms. CD Projekt Red spent a lot of goodwill this past week.

Halo Infinite is supposed to run on nine different consoles. I think Xbox will slowly kill off their cross-generation support by running out the clock for the promised two years of support. Sony may have made the right call by not promising all their games will be cross-generational and instead announcing them as they see fit.

I bought Cyberpunk for a couple of my friends for Christmas and now I’m starting to think coal would’ve been a better present.

– Logan Moore via Twitter

I was one of the friends. If he bought me coal, at least it’d work as intended. Thankfully, I can wait until the proper PS5 version is released in 2077.

Breaking Bad Every October

I wrote this two months ago on October 1, 2020. It never left the notes app on my phone, but I am finally nearing the end of this year’s rewatch, so I figured it would be a good time to actually post this. 

Seven years ago today I started a 10 day binge of all of Breaking Bad. The finale had aired two days prior. I had tried the show previously, but wasn’t feeling it. People would just not stop talking about it though. I decided to give it another shot. I’ll never forget the rush of those 10 days.

Every year since, I rewatch Breaking Bad in October. Not in 10 days, I’m not a freshman in college who can afford to bomb an astronomy test anymore, but I still watch it all the same.

Of course, Breaking Bad has spawned some of the critically best television out there, not only within itself, but also in Better Call Saul and El Camino. It means more to me than some incredibly well written and shot TV though.

During the 10 day binge, my then ex-girlfriend and now wife, were rekindling our relationship. Her love of the show and my rapidly growing obsession became a point of connection for us. We’ve watched Better Call Saul with our dear friend Kevin every week it airs. We drove over an hour away to see El Camino in a movie theater. For better or worse, I see my own relationship dynamics with my brother in Saul and Chuck. All the Breaking Bad things are intrinsically tangled together with my own marriage and friendships (however healthy or unhealthy that may be).

So now that it is October once again, I dive back into the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico and watch a broken man build an empire. I am certainly not the biggest fan out there, but I’d wager I’m one of the more rigidly scheduled ones. 

Why is it so Difficult to Emulate Apple IIGS Games?

I am practically at my wits’ end. I just want to play three Apple IIGS games, two of which seem to be exclusive to that particular iteration of Apple’s famous computer. Search after search has led my to various apps and emulators that either run Apple IIe tier games, are not 64-bit compatible, or require odd web browsers and extensions.

Maybe I don’t know enough about older computing commands, coding, etc. I can’t even really figure out if something like the Raspberry Pi can emulate the Apple IIGS and its games. Maybe this kinda of emulation is easier on Windows PC (which would be ironic to say the least).

This strikes me as so odd for this sort of game emulation to be so convoluted. It is easier to jailbreak an iPhone, install emulators, and play Nintendo DS games on the phone. Why does this era of early home PC gaming have such a technological hurdle to even attempt? I’ve even looked into Amiga ports for the games I am looking at and the emulation doesn’t seem any more clear on that front. Maybe it is due to having to emulate an operating system underneath the game’s code?

These past two or so weeks have been incredible frustrating for this little side project. I just want to play a few obscure Apple IIGS games? Is that too much to ask for?

PS5 at First Blush

Next-gen is finally current-gen. With both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X in the house, I feel extremely happy and excited for the future of gaming. I don’t think it is any secret that I was more excited to get my hands on the PS5 than the Xbox Series X. Finally having the white, curvy monolith standing next to my TV makes the future of gaming a reality to me. Here are my first impressions after having a PS5 for a few days.

The Console

After a tantalizing reveal process led to a surprising console design, the white and black design has grown on me. I think the PS5 is sleek and sexy. It reminds me of the original PS3 with its shiny and curvy exterior.

The disc drive resonates in a low hum when copying data from the disc to the SSD. It’s actually much more prominent than I hoped for. When playing a PS5 game, the disc is solely used to verify the game since all the data is required to run off the SSD. I tried The Last of Us Part II (shocker, I know) and the disc seemed to be constantly running, which left the hum. This somewhat surprised and disappointed me. If you’ve got your speakers turned up or play with headphones, you’ll never notice this while playing. I haven’t put a disc inside my Xbox Series X yet, so I’m not sure how loud it may or may not be.

11/16/20 Update: Turns out that The Last of Us Part II had not finished installing entirely. I realized this when I had to download a patch for Spider-Man: Miles Morales this morning. Turns out that The Last of Us Part II had 30GBs remaining to install. That is why the disc drive was running constantly. I let the game finish installing and after booting the game, the disc drive went silent.

Outside of the disc drive, the PS5 sounds whisper quiet to me, which is exactly what I expected.

The UI reminds me of a fusion between the PS3 and PS4. The biggest change is that pressing the PS button on the controller brings up a small XMB switcher instead of taking you to the home screen. Lots of muscle memory is going to have to be broken to get used to this new UI.

The DualSense Controller

Holding the DualSense for the first time, it makes a killer first impression. Even without powering it on and feeling all the new tech inside, the heft and material quality is top notch. I could easily see this becoming an all time great in the Game Controller Hall of Fame.

Then you play a game and feel the new haptic motors and resistive triggers. This is like the HD Rumble in the Switch Joy-Con but amped up; if it had a marketing name, it might be called 4K rumble. I haven’t been this immersed with a controller since the Wii Remote. Simply magical.

Speed

Spider-Man loaded from the PS5 menu to gameplay before I could finish sipping my orange juice. – Me

Set Up

Set up was smooth. The PS5 also lets you use your phone to log in, just like the Xbox Series X. One cool part was being able to install a disc-based game while the console did its own updates. Makes it much easier to jump right into playing once set up is done.

Astro’s Playroom

2018’s Astrobot’s Rescue Mission is not only one of PS VR’s best games, but VR as a whole. Now the next Astrobot game comes with Astro’s Playroom preloaded on every PS5.

There has not been a pack in game this delightful since Wii Sports. It proves how unique the DualSense controller is. It also doubles as a wonderful celebration of PlayStation’s history. Every reference I recognized and connected with slapped a silly grin on my face. Asobi Team proves their innovative platforming design once again. Never underestimate the power of PlayStation.