Into the Shadows: Exploring Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Review – A Riveting Comeback

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Into the Shadows: Exploring Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty
Release Date
September 26, 2023
CD Projekt
CD Projekt
Our Score
Where to buy

The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 made an indelible mark on the games industry, regardless of how one chooses to view it. Some saw it as a cautionary tale, a reminder of the perils of releasing a game prematurely, while others pointed to the concerning issue of workplace crunch. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the game achieved remarkable feats in terms of its expansive world-building, captivating characters, and cinematic storytelling. However, it did face technical challenges, struggling to keep up with its own ambitious scope.

Personally, I did not encounter many of the bugs that plagued others, only experiencing minor visual glitches that did not detract from the overall impact of the game. I was left in awe, and that feeling continues to persist. With the release of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and the 2.0 update, CD Projekt RED has once again delivered on their promise to create the most immersive open world ever. There is no denying that this DLC is truly remarkable.

The highly anticipated 2.0 update has revolutionized an already incredible game, introducing a game-changing injection of pure gold. However, the true star of this update is the DLC, a captivating new story that can stand alone or seamlessly integrate into the main campaign. The implementation of this DLC is truly exceptional, surpassing all expectations.

Regardless of your progress in the game, whether you are just beginning or on the brink of an irreversible decision, the onboarding process to this enthralling tale of espionage and intrigue is flawlessly executed. In fact, even if you choose to start afresh with a new character, you can dive straight into the mesmerizing world of Phantom Liberty without any prior gameplay.

At that pivotal moment, just before reaching the point of no return, I found myself reflecting on my journey thus far. It was as if time had frozen, allowing me to contemplate the choices I had made throughout the game. Forty-five hours had passed since I first dove into this immersive world, and although I had rushed through some quests to complete the main campaign, there were still a few loose ends left untied.

As I controlled my character, V, standing outside the imposing Arasaka Tower, a bewildered expression crossed my face. I couldn't help but question my motives and the direction I was heading. Just as confusion threatened to overwhelm me, V's phone rang, breaking the silence. It was Songbird on the other end, ready to guide me further into this captivating adventure.

She's a Netrunner, a figure of mystery and intrigue, her legendary status only eclipsed by her masterful ability to conceal her true identity. Now, she urgently seeks our assistance, and so V and I embark on a perilous journey to meet her at a clandestine rendezvous. As we arrive, Songbird appears before us, a manifestation of enigma and power. In a feat that seems impossible, she silences the restless voice of Johnny, seizing control of the coveted Relic for a mission of utmost importance.

The Infiltration Mission

The President of the NUSA has been mercilessly targeted and shot down in the treacherous confines of Dogtown, a military stronghold within the confines of Night City, ruthlessly governed by Kurt Hansen. Hansen, an ex-military arms dealer, reigns over this walled-off district with an iron fist, commanding a personal army that stands ready to execute his every command.

Revelations and Revolution: Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 & Phantom Liberty

Our job is anything but simple: get in, and get the President out. Everything else can wait, too, because in exchange for V’s help, Songbird offers a genuine cure for our condition. So… President in danger, madman with a private army, mysterious benefactor, a chance for survival – even in Cyberpunk 2077, the stakes have never been higher. All of which leads directly to working with Solomon Reed, an ex-FIA super agent played by Idris Elba. And let’s be honest, if you’re looking for an actor who can match Keanu Reeves for effortless cool, you couldn’t pick a better candidate.

In the world of Phantom Liberty, our job is far from simple. Our mission is clear: infiltrate and extract the President from imminent danger. But this task is not without its own rewards. Songbird, our enigmatic benefactor, promises us a genuine cure for our condition in exchange for our success.

As the stakes reach new heights, with a madman commanding a private army, we find ourselves working alongside Solomon Reed, a former FIA super agent portrayed by the incomparable Idris Elba. With his unmatched charisma and effortless cool, Reed proves to be the perfect counterpart to Keanu Reeves' iconic performance. Together, we navigate a treacherous world where survival is not guaranteed, but the promise of a cure keeps us determined to complete our mission.

Phantom Liberty delivers a gripping and exhilarating spy thriller experience that manages to captivate with its unique blend of futuristic elements and classic espionage intrigue. Set in the year 2077, the game effortlessly immerses players in a world where danger lurks around every corner. The campaign is filled with heart-pounding shootouts and breathtaking set-pieces that will leave players on the edge of their seats. However, what truly sets this game apart is the palpable sense of paranoia it creates, as players are constantly left questioning the trustworthiness of those around them.

As players embark on a daring infiltration mission, they are treated to a thrilling display of blueprint-scanning and meticulous pre-planning, reminiscent of the nail-biting moments often associated with Ethan Hunt's missions. And just when players think they have seen it all, they find themselves caught up in a high-stakes game of roulette at a glamorous party, surrounded by a mesmerizing music and light show. Phantom Liberty successfully manages to transport players into a world where nothing is as it seems, keeping them on their toes and craving for more.

The High-Stakes Collaboration

In the midst of the gripping and intense Phantom Liberty story, players have the unique opportunity to shift between working alongside Reed and delving into V's previous mission to liberate herself from Johnny Silverhand. Despite having a slightly reduced role, Johnny's presence remains impactful and intrusive, largely thanks to Keanu Reeves' deadpan delivery and perfectly timed appearances.

Furthermore, Phantom Liberty presents an entirely new and distinct ending, allowing players to temporarily pause its conclusion until they have completed the main game, effectively tying together both campaigns. Although the ending may not align with expectations, it is a compelling approach to merging narratives and showcases the hard-fought journey players have embarked upon.

While I thoroughly enjoyed playing Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, my only complaint lies with Dogtown itself. Those expecting a significant visual overhaul may be slightly disappointed as Dogtown bears a striking resemblance to the rest of Night City, with only a few notable landmarks such as the remembrance tree in Longshore Stacks. Throughout the game, I found myself spending a considerable amount of time at a bar called the Moth, situated in Dogtown. However, despite its presence, Dogtown felt rather small in comparison to other districts and failed to offer a truly fresh experience.

Nevertheless, this lack of novelty may have been intentional, as Dogtown seamlessly integrates into the existing backdrop of Night City. While there were a few bugs here and there, such as minor visual glitches and a peculiar instance where a floating corpse resembled a helium balloon tied to a chair, they were infrequent. They did not significantly hinder my overall enjoyment of the game.

Phantom Liberty Game-Changing Updates

The 2.0 update for the game has brought about significant improvements that greatly enhance the overall gameplay experience. While it is important to acknowledge that the update is separate from the DLC, it is impossible to discuss the DLC without considering the impact of the update. One notable change is the improved behavior of the police in Night City. They now respond to crimes they witness, and citizens have the ability to call them when players engage in destructive activities like a Cyberpsycho. Gone are the days of police officers magically appearing out of thin air; now, they arrive in a more realistic manner.

While the police won't typically interfere with players eliminating gangs, if they witness players causing mayhem on the streets, they will actively try to apprehend them. The wanted level system functions similarly to that of popular games like GTA, with the level escalating based on the severity of the crimes committed. At the highest level, players will face MaxTac, a formidable squad of super-augmented individuals with a range of powers and abilities, essentially turning the encounter into a challenging boss fight. These quality of life improvements truly elevate the game and provide players with a more immersive and engaging experience.

Car combat in the game provides players with a plethora of options for causing mayhem and destruction, allowing for a more dynamic and thrilling gameplay experience. Additionally, the revamped Perk Trees offer new choices and abilities that further enhance the car combat mechanics. Moreover, car combat seamlessly integrates into the game's new Gigs and repeatable jobs, providing players with exciting missions and challenges that are directly tied to this adrenaline-fueled activity. Furthermore, the improvements made to the handling of vehicles enhance the overall driving experience, making it more immersive and enjoyable for players as they navigate the bustling streets of the city.

Perks, Cyberware, and Augmentations

One of the most significant changes in version 2.0 of the game is the overhaul of the Perk and Cyberware systems. Upon logging in, players are prompted to reallocate their Perk and attribute points, allowing for a fresh start and the opportunity to refine their character's abilities. For me, I chose to continue investing heavily in Technical, Intelligence, and Cool, which transformed my character into a skilled Netrunner and adept bounty hunter.

The Perks now have a more noticeable impact on various aspects of gameplay, such as damage output, survivability, hacking, stealth, and melee combat. These enhancements feel more essential and meaningful, and they truly have the power to alter the way the game is played. Additionally, the introduction of a new Skill system provides passive upgrades based on individual playstyle, making it more viable to pick a particular style and fully immerse oneself in it. Overall, the rebuilding of the Perk and Cyberware systems in version 2.0 has revolutionized the game and made it even more engaging and dynamic.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Review - A Riveting Comeback 22

The integration of armour with Cyberware implants has revolutionized the concept of clothing in the world of technological advancements. Clothing has now become purely cosmetic, with only a few items offering minor benefits. The Cyberware system has been revamped to make more sense, with each implant having a specific points value. There is now a set limit on the number of implants one can have, regardless of character level, and this limit can only be increased by finding special Shards or investing in the Technical tree.

This new system forces players to carefully consider the balance of their augmentations and allows them to specialize in specific abilities. Personally, I have chosen to compensate for my low Body and Reflex attributes by equipping multiple implants that enhance my defensive capabilities, such as extra armour. Additionally, I have implants that enable me to spot cameras, hack devices, and even manipulate time when I am detected. Furthermore, my bionic legs allow me to effortlessly reach high ledges, providing me with a tactical advantage in various scenarios.

Atmosphere and Immersion

The atmosphere in Phantom Liberty is relentless, never giving the player a moment to catch their breath, even during moments of relative calm. This game injects a powerful dose of raw cool directly into the veins of Cyberpunk, leaving players in a state of perpetual shock and awe. The level of narrative design is truly remarkable, immersing players in a world of unprecedented scope. From the neon-lit streets to the sprawling megacorporations, every detail is meticulously crafted to create an unforgettable experience. Phantom Liberty takes Cyberpunk to new heights, pushing the boundaries of what a game can achieve in terms of atmosphere and immersion.

The original release of Cyberpunk 2077 left me in awe with its multitude of captivating elements. Its immersive and vibrant city, filled with life and color, combined with a story that effortlessly blended irreverence, grittiness, humor, and emotional depth, truly blew me away. However, the Phantom Liberty expansion and the subsequent 2.0 Update have taken it to a whole new level. This expansion introduces a plethora of quality of life improvements that greatly enhance the overall gameplay experience.

Moreover, it delivers a tense, thrilling, and exquisitely written campaign that keeps players on the edge of their seats. The addition of Idris Elba and the talented ensemble cast breathes life into this new chapter, further immersing players in the world of Cyberpunk 2077. The seamlessly integrated DLC effortlessly weaves in and out of the main story, making it feel both essential and compelling. Night City has never been more explosive, exciting, or inviting, making this the perfect time to embark on this electrifying journey.

Into the Shadows: Exploring Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Review
The seamlessly integrated DLC effortlessly weaves in and out of the main story, making it feel both essential and compelling. Night City has never been more explosive, exciting, or inviting, making this the perfect time to embark on this electrifying journey.
Immersive Espionage Thrills
Idris Elba's Stellar Performance
Enhanced Gameplay Dynamics
Occasional Minor Visual Glitches
Limited Clothing Customization
Some Districts Feel Underdeveloped
Where to Buy