Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty & Patch 2.0 cap off an incredible comeback. Offering up new paths, abilities, skills trees, and releasing alongside a transformative patch, Phantom Liberty kicks some serious ass. This review will be a mix, 2.0 and what’s new in the expansion and my impressions, spoiler-lite of course.
Cyberpunk is a massive open world RPG played from the first-person perspective. One of my earliest reviews covered it on the site, and I loved it on Xbox Series X. This, of course, was before we saw how broken it was on the Xbox One and PS4. There was a lot missing as well, things such as no police system, driving mechanics, easily exploitable leveling mechanics that trivialized the combat, and more. It was a mostly great game with some serious faults, and in the nearly three years since launch the devs at CD Projekt Red have been working hard to finally deliver the game that their executives promised.
First up, all the major changes in patch 2.0:
Redesigned skill trees and perks
New cyberware system
Improved combat AI
An Actual Police System
Vehicle combat and chases
Numerous UI and UX fixes
New Radio Stations
On September 20th everyone got access to these changes, and they are transformative to the experience that is the base Cyberpunk experience. Night City was always an incredible site to behold, and a place I wanted to live in. With these various improvements and brand-new systems, it finally feels like one I can. I hope that modders pick up the abandoned CP2077 online game themselves and build something wonderful around all of these new mechanics. The new skill trees are easy to read and offer up more control in how you play. There were dozens of prior patches to 2.0, adding various new systems and content as well. Listing it all would take a very long time, just know that the game has improved a lot since launch.
This is the latest (maybe last major?) patch released by CD Projekt Red for free in their continuing efforts to turn the game into what their executives and marketing promised us back in 2020. Performance on both Xbox Series X, my main platform for the review, and PC were fantastic. Running a 5800x and 7900xtx I held a constant 60fps at max settings and high raytracing while using FSR 2.1. Series X performance was mostly locked outside of the most hectic, smoke and particle effect filled areas. The game is still stunning, with some of the best character models you’ll find around. Whether you’re 5 playthroughs+ deep, haven’t played since launch, or still are yet to play the game, this is finally the time to play Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, it’s coming out in the middle of one of the busiest, and greatest, years of video game releases ever.
Alongside patch 2.0 is the first and only expansion for CP2077, Phantom Liberty. V and Johnny find themselves recruited to Dogtown where they are tasked with saving the President of the New United States after her plane crashes in the district. That is the starting premise of the expansion, and I won’t go much further into detail on the story itself. Suffice it to say it’s a political spy-thriller, where you’ll meet Idris Elba’s impeccably acted Solomon Reed. Over the course of anywhere from 5 to 25 hours, depending on how much of the excellent side content you want to do, you’ll shape the future of all those involved with choices that deeply impact where the story goes.
No spoilers, just know that when major choices are obviously coming up you’ll want to have a hard save. I went back after seeing the game’s new ending and played things out differently, finding myself playing through multiple incredibly long and amazing main quests that led to an entirely different outcome. Just getting to that point can play out wildly differently depending on your actions, and skill checks. The new ending goes alongside my favorite from the main game, being a satisfying conclusion to things if you choose to go down that particular path.
For those who do purchase Phantom Liberty (or already own it from the Season Pass) you’ll get the following:
Access to Dogtown
The expansion’s main and side quests
Tons of new gigs and boss fights
Vehicle missions which are a bit repetitive but highlight the new combat system well
The Relic Skill Tree
Tons of new weapons, cyberware, cars, and clothes
Level Cap raised to 60
Dogtown itself is a mix of beat out old war zones and thriving clubs and hotels. It’s a nice mix of the desert and happening areas prevalent outside of and in Night City, while still maintaining a feeling all its own. The Relic skill tree adds some fun changes to a few of your abilities, though nothing major. The choices are limited and the way you find them can be a bit annoying. You’ll have to run around Dogtown listening for a certain chime, and then the final three points are tied to main quest progression. I hit level 50 by the time I wrapped things up, having used my review save file from years ago.
Even max level I still ran into numerous tough fights, and you can choose to load a generic save directly to level 20 if you want to jump right into the expansion from the main menu. If it is your first time playing the game you’ll have to clear the first act to gain access to Phantom Liberty, and it is smoothly added into the rest of the game. One path allows you to keep playing after, while the other is a point of no return, similar to the original main quest. Also, without spoiling much the new characters in the game from the President to Idris’ character and more are all excellent. They’re deep, complicated, and extremely well-written.
I did run into a few issues with the game, mainly crashes on PC (while playing a beta review build), and a bug where one of the final missions in the game wouldn’t start. Eventually after waiting the in-game equivalent of nearly a month and then just sitting there for 35 minutes in real life it kicked in out of nowhere. Series X had no issues for me, and PC gaming can be a massive p.i.t.a. so your mileage may vary on issues at expansion launch. Patch 2.0 hits all versions of the game, while Phantom Liberty is only releasing on the new generation of consoles and PC.
If this is the game that CD Projekt Red had been able to deliver at launch then it would have been lauded as a Game of the Generation candidate. Cyberpunk has a scope that few games can match. The writing cuts deep, aided by excellent voice acting and incredible music. Patch 2.0 and Phantom Liberty finish off what has been a miraculous comeback story. While the final score is for Phantom Liberty, know that Cyberpunk 2077 is now a true masterpiece.