Cyberpunk 2077 initial release which was the textbook example of gaming companies promising what they could not deliver. Making players pay AAA prices on a game that is not ready for release in any shape or form. That release is known as one of the worst gaming releases in history.
After release the developers tried to fix the game. They released patch after patch for months fixing issues within the game. The damage had already been done though. It was buggy, broken and just a complete mess. It was so bad the company behind Cyberpunk 2077 was actually sued and gave refunds to players that wanted it.
Enough with the history lesson now.
I will begin by saying that I was a big fan of Cyberpunk 2077 since the first few patches that made the game playable. Do not get me wrong there were issues, occasional crashes, the joke of the police system but there was nothing for me as a PC gamer that made the game unplayable.
Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty: Honest Review The Excellent Story
To unlock the expansion Phantom Liberty in game you have to progress the story up to a certain point. Once you have unlocked it you are sent to a new area of the City “Dog Town”. This district of Night City is a self Governed area that allows no police or interference from the mega corporations within the game.
It is ruled over by a renegade Colonel of Militech. He had taken over the district after the War and has ruled it with an iron fist ever since. Upon entering dog town I saw what I was expecting, thugs with guns ruling over the masses.
The story grasped me right away. The voice acting was spot on and the atmosphere really made me think I had better sneak around and not draw attention to myself. It continued to deliver even after the intro quest. It always had me wanting to continue and find out what was happening or how we would react to a given situation.
During the story you meet several new friends and colleagues you work with, each of them has an interesting backstory and has a lot riding on your decisions. It makes you feel for each of them and want to help them however you can.
Classic Cyberpunk though, there is no happy ending. You cannot save everyone or be the hero.
From start to finish you can feel the pressure of your choices. It keeps you engaged and always wanting to continue.
This is where things begin to go wrong.
Cyberpunk 2077 Patch 2.0 Giving us the Game They Had Promised Three Years Later.
With Phantom Liberty release came a massive patch fixing many of the long standing issues within the game. Making the police system better, reworking the skill trees, fixing a multitude of bugs and making driving in game better.
Straight off the bat before I even got the Phantom Liberty I could see massive improvements across the board. The police no longer just appeared randomly at your location. They were now hackable. Driving made the mini map bigger so you could see where you needed to go on the map, it did not crash as often. I still had two crashes to Windows during my playthrough but no way near as bad as it was previously.
Over all this was the game they had promised on release back in 2020 were my initial thoughts. I was not a massive fan of the skills rework but that might just be because I was used to how it was before and took me some time to get used to it.
The new skill tree is more streamlined with the skills making sense with where they are and what areas you might want to focus on.
Enemies finally level with you now as well. Previously they just stayed the level they were throughout the game no matter what level you were. This made the combat boring and gigs and NCPD calls feel pointless. No more, now the combat is engaging and fun throughout the game.
Phantom Liberty, The Eternal Waiting Game
As I said the story is excellent, it keeps you engaged and wanting to push forward and continue. Find out what happens next or what happened to your friends after the last mission, but you can’t.
After every single main story mission you have to wait until you can do the next one. You need to wait for a phone call or text telling you your friends have got the information they needed or got the item or just they are ready.
This breaks the immersion within the game in terrible ways. Even after completing all the gigs available to me I was still waiting for phone calls at times. I would have to go to an apartment and just sleep and then sit there 5-15 mins until I would get the call. Or I would go and continue a side quest from the main story.
This made Phatom Liberty become nothing more than a side mission and quite frankly at times tedious. I honestly really struggled to complete Phantom Liberty due to it. I loved the story, I loved the area, I loved the characters but I could not continue it because I was always waiting. I would spend 20-40 mins doing a mission then the same time again waiting for the next mission.
It got to a point where I just no longer cared about it. I had to force myself to go back after driving to the other end of the city to do a mission for Rogue or Johnny or someone else. I no longer felt the urgency because of the ridiculous continual waiting for the next mission.
Phantom Liberty the Multitude of Enemies
I am not sure if difficulty affects the amount of enemies you face in the game or just makes them more difficult but Phantom Liberty really kicks it up a notch. In Night City there are already a truck load of baddies to fight but in Dog Town there are several truck loads.
Each mission where you fight has a massive amount of baddies, far more than at any other point in the game except perhaps the last mission. It is amazing fun and means you actually have to think strategically to win at times even at the end game when you are massively overpowered.
To me this was great fun and made the combat really enjoyable again rather than just walking in and slaughtering everyone.
Fixer: Hands and his Hands Down Best Gigs
I love the fact that you met the fixer Hands three years ago in Cyberpunks initial release, you only ever got one gig off him but you did meet. If like me you also searched for his location as well it is amazing to finally get more info about him, more gigs and information.
Gigs are small side missions given to you by fixers throughout Night City. Each fixer has a separate city district they work in and each gives you unique jobs or gigs.
Phantom Liberty really improved the gigs given to you in and around Dog Town. The previous gigs were simple, go here, do this and so on. The gigs from Hands are amazing in comparison. Each gig has several ways to do it and each one has consequences and effects things with the story as well.
If you do the gigs well, Hands is more receptive and gives you better rewards. Your previous gigs are also bought up further into the game from him. He will gain more political power if you do the gigs how he wants and each gig will change small things within the game.
Where’s my LOOT?
Before patch 2.0 every enemy dropped loot, you could take their weapons from their bodies as well as other bits and pieces. In the 2.0 patch this has changed and not always for the better.
You can no longer loot weapons from enemies’ bodies. Instead you have to search for them on the floor around where they dropped. This is stupidly annoying. On other lootable items if you scan you can see a small square above a lootable item. With weapons dropped on the floor there is no mark or indication where it is.
When you have just cleared out a gang hideout and are trying to find loot in a badly lit area it is an annoying and terrible design that you cannot find a simple weapon on the floor.
Another new feature is that many weapons become broken now when you defeat enemies, this is not actually a bad feature since there used to be far too much loot. These weapons are automatically broken down into components when looted which is also nice since if you want to upgrade your cyberware you are going to need a lot of components. Again the issue is you cannot find them though.
Cyberpunk Phantom Liberty’s Cyberware
With Phantom Liberty came a massive amount of new Cyberware along with the potential to become a cyber psycho. If you spec into the Tech tree you can overload your body with cyberware and it gives you a chance to go into a rampage increasing all damage for a short period.
Previously the cyberware was simplistic and easy to use or understand. Each ripper doc had different upgrades and unique parts that required you to visit that specific ripper to get. Not so any more.
It seems that every ripper now has the same cyberware so you no longer have to go and find the correct one for the correct piece. There are slight variations, very minor. One ripper might have gorilla arms that are Cool based increasing sneak damage, another Int based increasing Quick hack Damage.
Ripper docs no longer each have their unique style or modifications though and it makes it feel pointless to visit each ripper to see what they have in stock.
You now have a limit on how much cyberware you can install at once so have to decide which suits your play style better. The secondary stats on the cyberware is a very interesting modification though and can help your build become a lot stronger.
Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty: Honest Review Conclusion
I have always loved Cyberpunk 2077. Even on the initial awful release. I loved the gritty dark world they had created, I really liked the characters and choices and how dark the game was.
So on Phantom Liberty and 2.0 release I wanted nothing more than to say how amazing it was. To come here and write about how they had released a masterpiece with amazing actors and story in. I am devastated to say only half of that is correct.
The story was great and the voice acting and graphics were amazing. The continual waiting though just destroyed it completely for me. It made it extremely difficult for me to finish the game and I had to force myself to continue rather than wanting to. When I completed Phantom Liberty I was not upset I had no more to do, I was relieved I could finally leave this behind.
The waiting just destroyed any sense of urgency and immersion I had when I started the expansion.
Saying that though when i was actually able to play the story after the wait i did enjoy it, the new area is amazing with loads more enemies, the graphics are awesome and the actors are amazing along with their animations. I am just not sure that makes up for the negative, in a game meant to be fueled by the story and urgency of your situation.
Patch 2.0 has fixed loads of the issues and annoyances that previously bugged Cyberpunk making the entire game far more enjoyable and worth your time and money to play. It is just a shame it took three years after the initial release for them to fix it.
I will give these two separate scores, one for Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 and one for Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty.