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Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty – Review

Image from Dot Esports

Cyberpunk: 2077 had a rocky launch to say the least. Well rocky is definitely and understatement a better phrase would be historically bad. Playing the game on PS4 at launch I saw the games core truly shine although I was consistently thrown off by the poor technical performance on last gen consoles. However, the fact of the matter was that I still loved Cyberpunk: 2077. 

Night City was a fully realized Cyberpunk dystopia that was brimming with personality and love. Playing as a mercenary named V you set out to make it to the big leagues. However, you soon learn what the cost of being a legend truly entails. The story and its characters gripped me and its themes stayed with me long after I put down the controller. There’s a reason I dropped every current game I had been playing to play this game again.  I never finished Cyberpunk. I stopped playing because I wanted to wait for the updates that would “fix” the game.

Three years later, CD Project Red announced Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty along with its 2.0 update. This would bring changes that would fix the game. Delivering players what the game should have been on launch as well as packing in a whole new storyline. 

Gaming has seen a surge in “redemption” stories as of late. I know it’s hard for some gamers to forgive and forget. I personally don’t think that the forgetting part of that equation is ever applicable. However, there is endless merit in developers getting their product to what was promised. Even if that promise takes three years to fulfill.

So to properly review Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty I want to look at what the 2.0 update has done to fix the core game. Then I feel I can truly dive into the exceptional Phantom Liberty expansion. Here is my review for Cyberpunk: 2077 and Cyberpunk: Phantom Liberty.

Image from Steam


The 2.0 update has brought many changes and updates to the base game. So much in fact that I completely started a new save to experience the full extent of these changes. The difference is completely night and day here. I finally could truly experience what bugs and bizarre technical performance had hampered.

Gunplay in the base game was never a weak spot for Cyberpunk. However, changes to the combat makes it feel even better. V’s character upgrade system has been completely scrapped and re-worked. Skills feel like they actually affect gameplay in a meaningful way. If you put skills into reflexes per se you will gain abilities that allow you to zip around the battlefield. If you put skills into strength then you can become a powerhouse that tanks damage and is a force to be reckoned with. Some of these things were able to be achieved before this update but here it’s been dialed up to an eleven here.

I myself put more of a focus on being adept at blades and assault rifles. The added functionality with blades in this update makes for preem firefights. Blades can now deflect bullets and you can unlock cool finishers for enemies. I feel like with this playstyle I got the best of both worlds but I can see so many other possibilities for V such as being a Netrunner, an expert at hacking enemies and controlling the battlefield without lifting a finger or specializing in stealth and blade throwing moving through combat arenas like a ghost. It’s a testament to the game design on display here that gameplay is capable of being so diverse.

2.0 has also reworked driving. Pre-update it was sort of comical how the handling on cars were. You would skid around Night City with no sense of weight and it was akin to sliding around on an ice-rink essentially making cars undrivable which made me rely heavily on motorbikes which at least handled with some sort of believability. The new update has completely resolved these issues. With the new focus on unlocking cars through side jobs cars feel like an essential part to Cyberpunk again.

Visual improvements are on display here as well making Night City “The City of Dreams” look even more spectacular than it did on launch. Overall, I have had a greatly improved experience as far as technical performance goes. The occasional bug still reared its head and I have had two hard crashes playing on day one. However, after a quick patch I have not had any more crash issues. The Cyberpunk 2.0 update has revitalized Cyberpunk allowing for its excellent core game to shine through.

Image from windows central


Before I get into Phantom Liberty I want to talk about my thoughts on the base game of Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk 2077 is really good at making you feel as if you are living in a fully realized world. Night City as a setting is a true gem of an open world that I don’t feel has been topped since its original release in 2020. The lights, the architecture, the fashion, the ads, Night City is the futuristic city of my dreams. I always just find myself stopping to stare at the dazzling setting that’s been created here and that’s a testament to the games superb world design and environmental art.

 The story took hold of me and never let me go after an opening hour that really gets its hooks into you. You connect with V and understand their plight. The set pieces are never a slouch as you will go from breaking into the most dangerous of corporations to navigating the treacherous depths of Cyberspace. The way the main characters in the story come to life through top notch animation and voice work is a sight to behold. The way they move around spaces as they talk and the subtleties of their animations is top of the line stuff.

The score and overall sound of this game is also exceptional. The game’s OST is a beautiful cocktail of synth undertones that are both hopeful but sad. Perfectly fitting the themes that Cyberpunk is going for.

This may seem like I am fanboying over this game, but it truly is exceptional stuff. It does have its negatives mostly relating to its technical issues, some of which are baked in the game so deep no amount of patching would be able to fix it. However, the good stuff about this game shines so bright it manages to overcome these issues. Cyberpunk 2077 is a piece of art, a labor of love, that has a lot to say. It’s almost perfect in my eyes. Which is compounded by the exceptional Phantom Liberty DLC.

From Xbox Wire


Cyberpunk: Phantom Liberty first and foremost is a spy thriller. Picking up around five hours into the main storyline of 2077 you will get a call from the mysterious Songbird. Shortly after you will enter a new section of the map called Dogtown. Songbird will promise V that she is able to save their life from the biochip that is killing them, but only at a price. This will set you on a mission that involves saving the President of the New United States of America (NUSA). Consequently, this drags V into a plot of espionage and high stakes action. The opening hour of Phantom Liberty, like the base game, is simply superb and stands among the best set pieces in the entire game.

I absolutely adore what CD Project Red did here. Without spoiling anything Phantom Liberty explores what spies for the government go through when their governments have decided to throw them away and like any good spy thriller it asks the question. Who can you trust? Idris Elba plays Solomon Reed, an undercover FIA agent called back into the fray and he adds substantial star power and gravitas to this storyline.

The story itself is pretty chunky, taking me around 26 hours to beat. This included starting my character from scratch and getting to the point in the story where Phantom Liberty unlocks. The plot will take you through bombastic side missions with plenty of twists and turns, oh and a healthy amount of betrayal. Some of my favorites were a multi-stage infiltration into a high society party and another where you have to try your skills at classic spy impersonation where you actually have to remember details about the person you impersonate. I think that Phantom Liberty works best when you don’t rush through and complete the base story of Cyberpunk alongside it which is what I did. This takes the steam out of Phantom Liberty a little but it’s such good stuff that I feel you should savor every bit of it.

The choices you make in Phantom Liberty matter and heavily influence the direction of the story. This consequently affects which endings you get of which there are four. Every ending feels earned and fits in with the themes of a Cyberpunk espionage story. Everyone doesn’t get a happy ending in the world of Cyberpunk: 2077. The ending to Phantom Liberty doesn’t pull any punches. The ending I got was bittersweet and left me thinking about it long after the credits rolled.

Phantom Liberty also adds gameplay expansions to Cyberpunk. Lots of new side gigs and other side content populate Dogtown. Along with the newly updated skill tree from 2.0 Phantom Liberty adds in another branch of the tree called the Relic tree. This gives some pretty substantial upgrades to V’s skillset. Another thing that’s added is airdrops. These airdrops rain all over Dogtown and hold valuable loot for V if you choose to fight your way through the goons that get there first.

Overall Phantom Liberty is a more than worthy expansion for Cyberpunk: 2077. It adds a lengthy all new storyline along with meaningful side content and gameplay additions.

From Game Informer



Cyberpunk Phantom Liberty along with Cyberpunk’s 2.0 update is a worthy ending for this game’s journey. I think as time goes on people will look back at Cyberpunk and not think of its launch troubles but think of how good the game is now and how well it ended. I had a blast jumping back into the world of Cyberpunk and eagerly await the announcement of its sequel.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is available on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Don’t miss Caitlyn’s review of  Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward. For everything else geeky stay right here on The Geekwave.



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About the Contributor
Ronny Hammond
Ronny Hammond, Director of Online Publication
Ronny goes by he/him pronouns and is a Junior at the U. He loves to read and write and is currently obtaining his Bachelors degree in English and Game Design. He has a deep love for video games and would always be up talk your ear off about The Last Of Us. You can read up on his game reviews and listen to his guest appearances on the Crimson Gaming Corner and Wishful Thinking podcasts right here on Geekwave.