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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cyberpunk 2077 running at 72p is impressively hideous

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If you love high fidelity graphics, then you should probably avoid this video of Cyberpunk 2077 running at 72p. Yeah, you read that right, that’s 128 x 72 pixels. Kryzzp of zWORMz Gaming set this up as an April Fool’s joke, but as can sometimes be the case with whacky ideas, there’s something in this that is appealing. 

He starts off the video by running the game at 2560 x 1440 and then downscaling everything by a factor of 10x to achieve 144p. In order to unlock the 10x downscale, he had to edit the configuration file and set the minimum and maximum resolution to 10%. The game also demanded that AMD FSR be turned on, which clearly has its work cut out, especially when it comes to trying to sharpen the image. 

As the game is running on an RTX 3080 Ti, everything else is maxed out, including setting the ray tracing to the highest “Psycho” mode. I’ll be honest it’s pretty hard to tell whether those reflections are actually working or not, but you can convince yourself that they’re, and that’s probably all that matters. In case you’re interested, the frame rate isn’t particularly high, as the game is CPU limited at this point, with the GPU topping out at 50% utilization.

“It’s just a blurry mess” is a fairly good description of what’s happening on screen, especially when he ditches driving around Night City in favour of attacking the Maelstrom in the early mission called “The Pickup” with Jackie. It doesn’t go well, as the darkened interiors reduce everything to blurry, dark nonsense. You can just about follow what’s happening on-screen, but that’s mainly thanks to your brain trying to fill in the blanks.

It’s when he drops the resolution to 1280 x 720 and hits the same 10% scaling that things get really murky though. “I actually counted the pixels, because you can sort of see them”, is not something you expect to hear when talking about PC gaming in 2022.

Screen queens

Best gaming monitor: Pixel-perfect panels for your PC
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In the same Maelstrom mission, you can’t tell the difference between friend or foe, or indeed between friend and a pile of boxes. It shouldn’t surprise you that he dies. A lot. In fact, it’s unplayable. Even when returning to an earlier save, driving is a whole new kind of challenge, with added flickering from an engine that’s simply trying to do its best. 

Still, it highlights how impressive modern PC gaming engines are. Cyberpunk 2077 may be a graphical masterpiece at its maxed out settings, but the fact that you can drop down the resolution this far and still play it (sort of) is a testament to the engine. Just don’t do this yourself, your eyes won’t forgive you.

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