While most of us try to forget the problems that plagued Cyberpunk 2077 when it first launched, there’s no hiding the fact the damage had been done and hurt both the game and CD Projekt Red considerably. Thank goodness the company owned up to it and have been steadily fixing the game over the past few years to get it where it was supposed to be.
Now nearly three years later, they’ve not only fixed it and revamped a lot of the core gameplay to be better than ever, but now have a nice little DLC side story added in the mix in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. Lots of quality of life changes and some other cool features make this version of the game the best time any choom can have in Night City.
Dubbed “Version 2.0”, this revision of the game fixes nearly all of the problems that has plagued it for some time while also revamping a lot of the core mechanics to make things more fun and interesting. For example, pedestrians and police now react more realistically should you decide to unleash your inner GTA and start shooting, driving over stuff, and such. They’ll scream, run out of the way, and of course the police will be all over you like white on rice, especially if you keep doing bad things to the point flying ships and mech-like suits will be called in to stop you.
Even simple things like movement, combat, shooting, and driving feel a lot more tightened up and more responsive, giving instant gratification of doing any of those for returning players. Most of those who play will be excited to know that the old skill tree system has been retooled from the ground up which is now called the perk system.
Gone is the slew of confusing, passive, and tiny upgrades to V and their skills that now gives way to a much more cleaner and manageable upgrade system. There’s things like an “Intelligence” tree should you want to focus on hacking objects and enemies to disable or kill them (or if you’re really twisted, make them kill themselves). Or if you love melee combat, you’ll want to check out the “Reflex” tree that let’s you dash around at superhuman speeds and deflect bullets back at enemies with bladed weapons.
Whatever your playstyle, Cyberpunk 2077 has you covered, and with this new DLC you can either start from the beginning and get used to all of the core game changes and improvements, or jump right into Phantom Liberty with a slightly leveled up V and change around your skill perks later. When you’ve finally made it to a certain point in the story or choose to start right from the expansion, Phantom Liberty has V getting hacked by a master netrunner named Song So Mi that goes by the name Songbird.
Thankfully she only hacked V to get their help, as she and the president of the New United States, Rosalind Myers, are aboard the president’s airship that’s under attack and falling fast into the worst part of Night City called Dogtown. This place is bad news, as in so bad that the police don’t go there and it’s treated like a quarantine zone with checkpoints when you drive in and out of it. Guess there’s a reason one of the crucial NPC’s you come across calls it the “ass wart” of Night City.
So it falls on you to get to the president’s crash site and escort her to safety, and in return Songbird vows to help V get the relic chip out of their head so they don’t die, which sounds like a win-win situation. Of course it’s not going to be easy as the ruler of Dogtown, Kurt Hansen, is the head of a private military that now uses it to control the area is hunting you and the president down. Toss in losing communication with Songbird when things go south during your rescue mission, and it’s one misadventure after another getting the president to safety.
This is where Idris Elba’s Solomon Reed character comes into play, as president Myers asks you to seek him out and request his help to find Songbird. You can already imagine that V and Reed are going to have a time getting through Hansen’s goons and all the other criminals in both Night City and Dogtown to find out what happened to Songbird and rescue her.
As I made my way through the story, I’m glad to report the game looks and sounds better than before as well, as there’s plenty of graphical and audio improvements to immerse you deeper into the world of Night City. This is definitely the case when playing on a high-end PC, but even playing on the PlayStation 5 with the review code I was sent and dealing with the limits of playing in 4K with all the Ray Tracing trimmings at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps, the game still looks and sounds better that it ever has.
With new and improved gameplay, loads of quality of life changes and revamps, and a nice sidestory that can also open up a new ending to the main game, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty has everything fans could want to have them flocking back while also showing newcomers why it’s so popular. I recommend my fellow chooms to throw down the eddies for this one, as it’s worth it and then some.