Cyberpunk 2077 Running at 72p Is Impressively Horrible

If you like high fidelity graphics, you should probably avoid this video from Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) running at 72p. Yes, you read that right, it’s 128 x 72 pixels. Kryzzp of zWORMz Gaming called this an April Fools joke, but as crazy ideas can sometimes be, there’s something about it that’s appealing.

He starts the video by running the game at 2560 x 1440 and then scales everything down by a factor of 10x to hit 144p. To unlock the 10x downscale he had to edit the config file and set the min and max resolution to 10%. The game also required AMD FSR to be enabled, which clearly has its work cut out, especially when it comes to trying to enhance the image.

Since 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 say whether these reflections are actually working or not, but you can convince yourself that they are, and that’s probably all that matters. In case you’re interested, the frame rate isn’t particularly high, as the game is CPU-bound at this point, with the GPU hitting 50% utilization.

“It’s just a blurry mess” is a pretty good description of what’s happening on screen, especially when he abandons driving through Night City in favor of attacking the Maelstrom in the initial mission called “The Pickup” with Jackie. It doesn’t go well, as the darkened interiors reduce everything to a blurry, dark absurdity. You can follow what’s happening on the screen, but that’s mostly down 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% scale that things get really blurry. “I actually counted the pixels, because you can see them” is not something you’d expect to hear when talking about PC gaming in 2022.

In the same Maelstrom quest, you can’t tell the difference between friend and foe, or even between friend and a pile of crates. It shouldn’t surprise you that he dies. Quite. In fact, it’s unplayable. Even when returning to a previous save, driving is a whole new kind of challenge, with the added flicker of an engine that is simply trying to do its best.

Still, it highlights just how impressive modern PC gaming engines are. Cyberpunk 2077 might be a graphical masterpiece on its max settings, but the fact that you can lower the resolution this far and still play it (sort of) is a testament to the engine. Just don’t do it alone, your eyes won’t forgive you.

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