I was unfortunate enough to play Cyberpunk 2077 on the PlayStation 4 when it first launched, and yeah, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience – so much so that I completely dropped off almost immediately. Fortunately, CD Projekt Red put the work in, and by the time it launched on the PlayStation 5, they had completely turned it around to the point that it has become one of my favourite releases of the last few years. It’s one hell of a comeback story, and now, with the release of Phantom Liberty, Cyberpunk 2077 is better than EVER.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Phantom Liberty takes place somewhere in the middle of the Cyberpunk 2077 campaign, so you’ll have to have put a little bit of progress in before you can dive into the content. Its story is based around the President of the New United States of America, who finds her craft downed in the midst of a new district in the game, Dogtown. You’ve been asked to help save her from the dangerous locale by a Netrunner named Songbird, but there’s one heck of a reward in it for you: a cure for the condition that has been slowly killing you throughout the game. What follows is an exhilarating caper that blends together the destructive sci-fi chaos players would’ve been used to with high-stakes espionage thrills, with almost everything you do throughout Phantom Liberty feeling like it ups the ante ten-fold.
It’s exciting, it’s got some clever twists, it sets a different tone to that seen in the base game, and, of course, it features Idris Elba playing the role of an agent named Solomon Reed… what more could you want? How about an extra ending to Cyberpunk 2077 that’s unique to Phantom Liberty? Yep, it really does have it all, with the narrative proving to be one of the best aspects of the experience.
Phantom Liberty brings with it thirteen main missions, so it’s pretty meaty. Whilst you can tackle these missions how you please based upon your playstyle, they’re cleverly designed to offer a satisfying blend of all-out action, insane set pieces, dramatic decision-making, and also moments that slow the pace down by encouraging the player to take a less ‘noisy’ approach. Of course, you’re able to play how you please (let’s just say I’m rarely subtle in my approach), but each mission is carefully designed to keep the player on their toes. There are also some very unique moments to be found too, and whilst I won’t spoil anything here, it certainly helps differentiate Phantom Liberty from the base game.
“It has been a bit of a bumpy ride, but Phantom Liberty is the perfect way to cap off what has been one of the best comeback stories in the world of gaming.”
There are also a whole ton of side activities to dive into, some of which are very substantial and explore some unique (and at times disturbing) themes that feel befitting of the overall Cyberpunk 2077 universe. One of the greatest strengths of the game came with the stories interwoven into the city itself, so it’s cool to see that Phantom Liberty still leans heavily into that and ensures that there’s always a story to be found around every corner.
It’s clear then that Phantom Liberty stands out as an impressive expansion for Cyberpunk 2077, with a lot of the missions and set pieces easily trumping those found in the main game. It feels like CD Projekt Red have really figured out what clicks in the game world and leaned heavily into those elements, and in doing so have ensured that this is a must-play piece of DLC. The Dogtown setting is equally enthralling, with it bringing plenty of intriguing landmarks and eclectic folk to meet as well as an even darker tone than that found in the main game. I’d have never said that Night City was ever a city full of joy and hope, but compared to Dogtown? It feels like a paradise. That’s what makes the locale feel so exciting to explore though, and whilst it might have been nicer if Dogtown had a more unique aesthetic to help it distinguish itself from the locales you’ve explored in the main game, it feels like it fits the vibe of Phantom Liberty perfectly.
There’s also a new Relic system included in Phantom Liberty that allows players to unlock a variety of new upgrades that complement their playstyle and equipment. Whether it’s boosting the effect of attacks, giving players an advantage when detected by enemies, or simply allowing you to make a quick getaway when needed, they can be really useful. Admittedly, I didn’t have as much fun unlocking the Relic upgrades as I did perks in the main game, but they’re still a neat addition to the experience.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Phantom Liberty is absolutely brilliant, but I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 has also recently launched a 2.0 update that improves upon a LOT of different aspects of the game. There’ve been improvements to the UI across the board, there’s a stronger emphasis on vehicular combat, the police AI has been improved to make them feel like they’re REALLY keeping on top of crime in the city, loot and enemies scale to your level, and, most substantially, the perk system has been completely reworked and brought some new additions. Whilst a lot of these changes may not feel like game-changers, they really do make Cyberpunk 2077 feel like a more substantial and deep experience, with even basic things like combat scenarios bringing with them higher stakes than before. It even brings with it extra content to find across Night City, whilst there’ve also been improvements to the visuals and a lot of bug-fixing (though you’ll still find the occasional glitch here and there). CD Projekt Red had already made a ton of improvements to the game over the last year or so, but this 2.0 update has brought an impressive evolution to what was already an excellent experience.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Phantom Liberty is a brilliant addition to the world of Cyberpunk 2077, with the intriguing narrative and exciting missions playing to the game’s strengths perfectly. Add to that the fact that the recently released 2.0 update has brought an impressive evolution to the core gameplay experience and it’ll be easy to see that Cyberpunk 2077 is better than ever right now. It has been a bit of a bumpy ride, but Phantom Liberty is the perfect way to cap off what has been one of the best comeback stories in the world of gaming.
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S