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‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Is Still the Vaporwave King

Now that ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ is a disaster, ‘Grand Theft Auto’ fans are doubling down on crowning ‘GTA 5’ the GOAT

While nearly everyone attempts to make sense of the utter disaster that is Cyberpunk 2077, diehard fans of the nearly 25-year-old Grand Theft Auto series say they smelled a fraud from the start. “Cyberpunk was made out to be this unprecedented open-world game with an amazing, neon vaporwave aesthetic,” says Jeremy, a 26-year-old in California. “For the eight years it was in development, people went nuts over that idea, when Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is pretty much exactly that and came out 18 years ago. I never understood the hype.”

Even before Cyberpunk became a glitch-filled letdown, GTA fans like Jeremy weren’t shy about holding back their opinions. On the game’s subreddit, for example, they recreated Cyberpunk’s splashy trailer in Grand Theft Auto:

Cyberpunk fans try to say that the game is totally different from Grand Theft Auto in that it’s more of a [role-player game] than it is an open-world game like GTA,” Jeremy tells me. “Which is true to an extent, but you can’t deny that Cyberpunk 2077 was basically marketed as a Grand Theft Auto clone. So it feels like they’re trying to defend their shitty game on a technicality.”

Cyberpunk has such great graphics caw caw from GTA

“Playing Cyberpunk made me realize Rockstar Games should get more credit for their attention to detail in making a world truly believable,” adds Brian, a 23-year-old in Connecticut. “The [non-player characters] in Grand Theft Auto truly appear to be living their own lives in this world. Meanwhile, Cyberpunk’s missions are fun and unique, but the moment you step foot outside the scripted mission, the immersion is broken. The NPCs are basically mannequins, like they might as well be fans in the stadium for Madden on PlayStation 2, which isn’t the case in GTA.”

Ghost Driving in GTA IV vs Cyberpunk 2077 from GTA

Cyberpunk 2077 feels familiar from GTA

“To be fair, there’s probably a lot of nostalgia going on,” Brian admits. “Many of us played Grand Theft Auto when we were young enough that the illusion of open-world gaming felt like such a high. Like it was a groundbreaking thing we’d never experienced before, so now that we’re grown up, Cyberpunk loses points because that sheen is gone.”

That said, he’s still adamant that “we’re seeing a strong regression in terms of game physics, interactivity, A.I., and most of all, immersion in favor of graphics, which is definitely the case for Cyberpunk 2077.”

And that, more than even stolen valor, is what makes GTA fans most annoyed. Yes, Cyberpunk threatened to overshadow one of their favorite games, but many of them wanted it to live up to the hype. “Given the advertising, I sincerely hoped that Cyberpunk would be the next huge leap in gaming, like GTA IV was in 2008,” Brian admits, “but it was nothing but a smokescreen.”

Not that Quinn, a 23-year-old in the U.K., has totally given up hope yet. He says watching Cyberpunk 2077 slowly get upgraded and fixed is “like watching a really good sci-fi movie with an awesome story, world and characters, but the DVD that movie is on is a shitty 240p rip with scenes taken out and the DVD blows up your disk drive. It needs lots of work and more content added, but I seriously think the base-level content is pretty good.”

Whether Cyberpunk gets fixed before Rockstar finally releases Grand Theft Auto 6, which has been rumored to be in development for roughly three years, is another matter. Until then, though, Jeremy and GTA diehards are perfectly content saving their money and booting up their seven-year-old copies of Grand Theft Auto V instead. “Why spend money on an unfinished, glitchy game like Cyberpunk?” he asks, punctuating his point. “GTA V has backwards compatibility with the Xbox Series X — so with the faster load times and better graphics, it’s like playing it for the first time all over again.”

It’s only 720p resolution but 60fps makes a HUGE difference! I love that I can play this again. from XboxSeriesX

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