Uhh, what?

Stadia is the best way to play Cyberpunk 2077 at launch

The streaming platform's edition of the game currently looks better than the console version — and is more convenient than the PC copy.

I have three saves for Cyberpunk 2077, one for each lifepath, all on different systems.

I started my first playthrough on Xbox Series X as a street kid. I was happy to see that the game ran at 60 fps, but was let down by the game's low-detail textures and sub 1080p resolution, especially after the last month of playing next-gen games in 4k at 60 fps.

My second playthrough (as a corpo) on my gaming PC ultimately provided me with better visuals, but it was a tricky road to get there: consistent crashes, multiple complete system reboots, and the need to disable ray-tracing, a problem that I've seen plague many PC users online. According to CD Projekt Red's own website, my rig should be more than capable of running at 1080p on ultra settings with maximum ray tracing turned on. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the reality.

For my final save, I decided to give it a shot on Google Stadia, a service I have been incredibly critical of in the past. Jacking into the nomad lifepath, I came away mightily impressed.

A mix of quality and ease of use — Stadia allows for two different visual options, one focusing on higher frame rates and the other on resolution and texture quality.

The performance mode hits the same 60 fps as the Xbox Series X, but the visuals are very clearly improved over the dedicated hardware. It isn't quite on the level of the high and ultra options found on my PC, but it's much closer to what I imagine the game will look like when it gets a patch for the next-gen consoles in 2021.

I experienced zero hitches running Cyberpunk on Stadia

Switching over to quality mode definitely gave a slight bump to the visuals with improved textures and shadows, but I don't think it was worth it for the massive drops in frame rate — which only worsened during driving portions of the game and combat. Performance mode is the way to go on this platform. After a few minutes of being immersed in the gameplay, you forget all about the drop in quality.

It shines on mobile — A way to also reduce any qualms about quality is to play on a smaller screen, thereby compacting the pixels per inch. Running it on a Samsung Galaxy Note 20, it was, visually, the closest I had seen the game perform to CD Projekt Red's own presentations on any of my devices.

Viewing this running at 60fps on a six inch screen was the best I had seen the game yet

That said, the Stadia controller certainly isn't my favorite input device but the game still played well, with minimal bumps in latency after attaching the Razer Kishi controller grip to the phone.

There are some caveats — Of course, none of this would be possible without a great internet connection, which I am very fortunate to have. Over a slower connection, or mobile data, I would not have achieved the high-fidelity, seamless experience that I did.

On top of this, Cyberpunk 2077 will be receiving full, next-gen updates for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 early next year (barring any delays). Not only will those, theoretically, massively improve the visuals on console, hopefully patches between now and then will have ironed out the many, many bugs the game currently suffers from. Perhaps one day I'll even be able to use ray tracing on my expensive gaming PC.

But until then, and in the early days of Cyberpunk 2077, I would say for those with the internet connection for it and the lack of desire and/or funds to build a multi-thousand dollar gaming computer, right now Stadia is the best platform to experience the game on.