After eight years, multiple delays, and 800,000 cumulative lifetimes’ worth of reported crunch, Cyberpunk 2077 is out in the wild. It’s a whole lot of game, brimming with gear, side-quests, and map icons that make you compulsively go, “Ooh, what’s that?” As with any massive game, there’s also an overwhelming amount of settings, many of which can fundamentally change how you experience the game.
Some are obvious. Some, less so. Either way, if you’re hopping into this neon-soaked role-playing game for the first time, here are some settings you can play with for a more user-friendly jaunt. Of course, such things are always a matter of preference. I’ve just found the following tweaks to be helpful while exploring seedy Night City and its unrealistically zoned districts.
Under the Gameplay menu, you’ll find an option to skip cutscene dialogue by each spoken line or continuously. The first one — which is also the default — means you have to hit B (on Xbox) for each individual line of dialogue. You won’t be able to skip through the non-chatter cinematic moments; it’s limited to dialogue only. Switching to “continuous skip,” however, means you can hold B to fast-forward through entire scenes, including that cinematic filler. By letting up on B, the scene will flick back to standard speed. You can switch this on or off at any time, even during cutscenes.
Cyberpunk 2077 allows for robust customisation of your heads-up display, with more than a dozen tweakable options in the Interface menu. Most of them are worth leaving on, at least at first, when you’re learning the ropes. But some are more distracting than anything else. Consider switching off background chats, which cause subtitles to pop up over non-player characters. Those bit parts don’t often say anything interesting, and any given frame of Cyberpunk 2077 is already busy enough as is. You don’t need the extra visual clutter. (Under the Sound menu, the “Overhead” option also controls whether or not subtitles pop up over NPCs. As far as I can tell, these two settings do exactly the same thing? Mysterious.)
Yes, you can turn it off. Rejoice!
Six decades in the future, the pervasive, persistent problem of tiny video game text apparently hasn’t gone away. By default, Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t much better than The Outer Worlds. The plus side is that, under the Sound menu, you can customise how large or small your text is from six font-size options. Ah, much better.
Disable Copyrighted Music
As Kotaku reported last month, Cyberpunk 2077 has an option that allows you to disable licensed songs that appear in the game — a boon for streamers who might face trouble with DMCA takedowns. You’ll find this setting under the Sound menu. (For console players, this mode apparently turns on automatically.)
Depth of Field (and other graphical settings)
Cyberpunk 2077’s visuals are all over the place. On high-end PCs and next-gen consoles, it looks pretty good. On the PS4 and Xbox One, though, things are currently rough. You can’t magically enhance the resolution or crank up the framerate. But you can play with the settings in the Graphics menu and make the game look a bit less busy and cluttered.
Screenshot: CD Projekt Red / Kotaku, Fair Use
Depth of Field: Activate!
Screenshot: CD Projekt Red / Kotaku, Fair Use
Depth of Field: Go away.
The first thing you should disable is the Depth of Field. Film buffs will know what that is, but, for everyone else, depth of field blurs background objects in favour of sharpening the focus on something in the foreground, thus drawing your eye to the primary subject of a scene. It’s a lovely touch! It’s also not a necessary one, especially if you don’t care about recreating a cinematic feel. In fact, you could argue that on lower-powered machines the visuals are already blurry enough at long draw distances. (Exhibit A right here.) If you want to sharpen your image, flicking this off is the best thing you can do.
After that, turn off Film Grain. It’s another nice cinematic flourish, one that mimics the semi-grainy look of a film recorded on, well, actual film. It also creates more visual noise — an unnecessary aesthetic distraction. Finally, consider switching off the Motion Blur, a visual effect that muddles the background to make you feel like you’re moving at a faster speed than you actually are. You’ll notice it most when driving or sprinting. It’s really just more visual clutter. Some users also suggest turning off Chromatic Aberration, which refracts light around the edges of your screen. This one’s a matter of preference. I quite like the effect, and found that the other three settings were more effective at clarifying what was on my screen, but maybe you’ll get some better mileage from turning it off. (For reference, I’ve been playing on Xbox Series X.)
Damage Numbers Mode
There are a whole lot of numbers in Cyberpunk 2077. Changing your Damage Numbers Mode — a setting in the Interface menu — can make it so there are fewer numbers. Setting it to “individual” will show each bit of damage you deal, while “accumulated” shows a total. “Both” shows, well, both. “Off” is, in my mind, the best. (Enemies have unmistakable health bars as is.) If you want to see numbers fly off heads, Borderlands and Destiny are right there!
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