The original version of Cyberpunk 2077 had a beautiful city, an interesting atmosphere, and a good performance from Keanu Reeves. There was also a strange amount of bugs and it seemed like many of the game’s systems were not developed or were not developed properly. In many ways, the “living city” Night City was technically inferior to Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto 3. And in 2023, everything will be different.
One bug I personally encountered at the time was that if you broke the law in Cyberpunk, the police would appear out of nowhere and start shooting. Sometimes an officer would appear In the wall He fired his bullets from there while he was immune to my weapons.
CD Projekt Red has clearly brought the cops back to their academy because the police now behave as you would expect in an open world: they react to your behavior and the more cheerful you make it, the higher your “wanted rating” and the more ferocious it becomes. reaction. . In fact: the game system already existed in 2001.
I mention this because the police’s behavior was a sign of trouble: the game was simply not over. It was as if the set designers had created an impressive backdrop, and the actors had their costumes and makeup on, but underneath that outer beauty the depth you would expect from such a beautiful world was missing.
This would have been a problem that could not be easily solved. For a long time it seemed that developers were able to fix technical problems without improving the actual game. With Phantom Liberty, CD Projekt Red proves that fear is unfounded. Because the new content and update 2.0 finally bring the game to the level it should have been upon release in 2020. Cyberpunk’s gameplay is now very much in line with the visual taste and ambition of the creators.
No, it’s still not a perfect experience and there are still bugs. During the first walk through the new Dog Town area, several of the computer characters made somewhat strange walks, starting their “sitting” animations quite far away from the chair. At some point a pedestrian also ended up in the car’s engine. But compared to that first version, where cars automatically flew miles in the air, this is a solid and stable experience.
But enough about the past. The present presents us with a game that has changed so much that anyone who picks up an old save to delve into the new content will receive a message that all skills in the skill tree have been reset. This system has been completely changed. Whereas previously investing skill points provided mainly “passive benefits” (slightly better aim, slightly better protection), the new points actually provide new skills. This means that you’ll immediately notice something about your choices, which is much more fun: after all, you’ll instantly get new toys that you can use in the game world. This is especially noticeable if you choose several hacking options. Cyberware is now more fun with more options and more effects that can be unleashed on enemies and the environment. These skill tree improvements are available to all players, but anyone who purchases the expansion will receive a new skill tree. You can unlock this when you enter Dog Town.
The expansion offers the opportunity to start a new game as you instantly reach level 15 in the world to dive into new content. It’s a relief to start Phantom Liberty this way, because CD Projekt clearly learned a lot about what a Cyberpunk game should be, and how to bring the player into the story.
Gone is the confusing parade of characters who quickly “bring you up” on the situation in often ambiguous colloquial language. Instead, it begins with a phone call from a mysterious hacker named Songbird, who asks you to meet him outside “Dog Town,” a part of Night City isolated from the rest. It soon becomes clear what’s happening: the new President of the United States is on a plane about to crash in Dog Town, and it’s up to you, V, to save her from there. This setting is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s classic film Escape from New York, and Dog Town, like New York in that film, is its own island of chaos.
As mentioned earlier, the short introduction will quickly lead you into Dog Town and you’ll be fully immersed in the action within minutes. This also means that if you haven’t played the main campaign (or haven’t played it in a long time), you’ll have to figure out how everything works. There is no tutorial for new players who want to skip the old game. Honestly, for the best experience, this is also recommended no To enter Phantom Liberty honestly. Yes, at the loading screen you get a quick summary of the story so far, but it’s really a shame to ignore the beginning of the game, considering everything you learn about the characters and systems. However, the rest of the game (minus a large number of initial quests) can be accessed if you start empty with the Phantom Liberty. It’s a bit like only joining the second season of a TV series.
the second season
This “Season 2” has a much better story than the original. Phantom Liberty is a spy thriller in which you try to navigate action scenes like Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible and always have to choose who you can and cannot trust. Particularly interesting is the new character, spy Solomon Reed (fantastically played by Idris Elba). The choices in the game have a huge impact on the story and ensure that everything you do has meaning. In the end, the expansion has two endings, and an additional ending is added to the main story.
There are two reasons why the Phantom Liberty story works so much better than the original. The first is that it gives you more opportunity to play a role. Your character feels less fleshed out than in the original, and because you always have to deal with immediate danger and the consequences are more quickly visible, it feels like a better experience than the sometimes abstract, colloquial-filled information dumps. Original story.
The second reason is that there is a lot of momentum, without losing the thread. Your motivation for doing something is always crystal clear, although your opponents’ plans often remain a mystery until their major development emerges.
However, not everything plays equally well. Phantom Liberty offers vehicular combat that’s quite a questionable experience. Whether it’s because the frame rate is less stable at high speeds or because the controls are (still!) a bit wobbly, you’ll never feel like you have everything under control during these handheld battles. This doesn’t make it unplayable, but it doesn’t make it very fun either.
The same goes for the way stealth sometimes works implausibly. If you try to sneak past something unseen and an enemy sees you, you will immediately hear a warning sound and the enemy will be on extra alert. But it is clear that the alert enemy has a poffertje memory, because they often do not really look at the place where they saw you. If you move quickly in and out of their field of vision several times, they will respond briefly with “Was there something?”, and then ignore you completely.
On the other hand, the gunfights are better, the hacking is (a lot) more fun and the game as a whole plays well without any argument. This is a very big improvement.
Much has been written about Cyberpunk 2077’s graphics; It’s still great thanks to the art style. Dog Town has a lot of personality and there is so much to discover in the area that you can almost play it as a walking simulator to learn more about the world through all the details and conversations between the characters.
But the sound design in particular is (again) exceptional. It’s hard to describe, but the sound seems higher quality than what I’m used to from a game. There’s a tremendous amount of detail in the environment, but also the way the actors can be heard and the wonderfully augmented music provides a unique soundscape that does at least as much of a “being in the world” feeling as the visuals.
What’s more obvious than playing the expansion (and the original game) in its current state is CD Projekt Red Good Can. And this Cyberpunk setting delivers the gameplay that fans have been hoping for for years. Phantom Liberty appears to be the final expansion for Cyberpunk 2077, which after all the work and improvements might be a good fit. Cyberpunk 2077 is now “finished” in every respect.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is available now for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
The new Dog Town is a joy to explore, as new characters and a fascinating spy story take you on a fast-paced journey through all kinds of unexpected twists and turns. Even more so than in the original game, you get the chance to play a role with meaningful choices. The new skill tree also gives you new skills with every decision, instead of boring passive upgrades. Although stealth has not yet reached a global level, the whole is finally greater than the sum of its parts. Cyberpunk 2077 is now a great role-playing game that finally does justice to its setting.
Plus minus points
Skill trees are more important
Minor bugs and glitches remain
“Lifelong zombie fanatic. Hardcore web practitioner. Thinker. Music expert. Unapologetic pop culture scholar.”