Cyberpunk 2077 on Surface Go 2: Part 2

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a combination of low-life and high tech. Notable examples include novels Neuromancer (1984) and Snow Crash (1992), movies Blade Runner (1982), Ghost in the Shell (1995), The Matrix (1999), and the computer game Deus Ex (2000).

The tabletop role playing game Cyberpunk was written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988, followed by the sequels Cyberpunk 2020 in 1990, Cyberpunk V3.0 in 2005, and Cyberpunk Red in 2020.

The computer game Cyberpunk 2077, based on the tabletop game, was announced in May 2012 by developer and publisher CD Projekt Red. Trailers for the game were released in January 2013, at E3 2018, and at E3 2019 where an initial release date of 16 April 2020 was announced. The game was delayed to 17 September, then 19 November, and finally 10 December.

The game was widely criticised for failing to deliver on promises of deep character customisation, branching plot lines with meaningful choices, and a vast open world full of lifelike non-player characters. Sony removed the game from sale on the PlayStation store and offered refunds due to terrible performance on the PS4.

For gamers who have a powerful gaming PC and can ignore the bugs and missing content, Cyberpunk 2077 is still one of the best games of this year. And with ray tracing enabled it becomes one of the most visually impressive games ever made.

Can Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 tablet PC run Cyberpunk 2077?

Short answer: No.

The game launches, character creation works, but as soon as the actual game starts it will crash out after rendering a few frames. It seems to be a low memory problem, since this device only has 8GB RAM with up to half of that available to the GPU.

In my last post I showed how you can set up a personal cloud gaming server to stream high-end games to a low-end PC. Here is the result: Cyberpunk 2077 running on a cloud server with Nvidia Tesla T4 with DXR ray tracing enabled, streaming to my PC over the internet and wifi. And for comparison, the same scene running locally on a gaming PC with AMD Radeon RX 6800 without ray tracing.

After three rounds of video compression (streaming, capture, youtube) it’s hard to see the difference between game footage from the remote cloud server and the local gaming PC. In reality the local PC provides a smoother frame rate and sharper image. One thing that does stand out is the difference in lighting. Certain parts of this game (especially dark rooms with dim lights) appear unnaturally dark without ray tracing. CD Projekt Red has promised that ray tracing will eventually be supported on all DXR-capable GPUs and next-gen game consoles with future game updates. For now, playing Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing requires a Nvidia GPU, and paying by the hour for an Amazon server is a surprisingly good way to do it.