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Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 and Phantom Liberty Review

Source: Pexels.com
Source: Pexels.com

Cyberpunk 2077 is a name that any gamer will recognize. Cyberpunk 2077 is most known for its lengthy development and its atrocious launch, and that quickly after, many dropped the game and it was given mixed reviews. 


Even after this, Cyberpunk’s developer, CD Projekt Red, did not give up hope. Since its launch, Cyberpunk has received many new updates and bug patches. Now, almost 4 years after its release, Cyberpunk has been fixed. 


Update 2.0


Update 2.0 is the biggest thing to happen to Cyberpunk 2077 since its release. 2.0 made drastic changes and improvements to essentially every mechanic to the game. 


What’s good about 2.0?


2.0 made many changes to the combat, skill tree, netrunning, and cyberware systems. The skill tree system received the most drastic changes.


Originally, the perks on the skill trees were incremental percentage increases, instead of actual perks. Now with 2.0’s release, the skill tree feels like an actual skill tree. The perks are interesting and fun to use. 


Throughout my playthrough, I found that the reflex skill tree was the most fun and most in-tune with my playstyle. The majority of my perk points in my first playthrough went immediately into the blades and agility subsections of the tree. 


The combat system saw many changes in 2.0. The stamina system saw a complete rework. Prior to 2.0, running consumed stamina. Now, shooting and attacking with melee weapons consumes stamina. While you can still attack with no stamina left, you do decreased damage and are less accurate. 


The cyberware system saw some of the biggest changes. Originally, you could equip as much cyberware as you had free slots. Now, with 2.0’s release, the amount of cyberware that you can equip is tied to your progression, body skill tree, and technological ability skill tree.


I am personally very fond of the changes to the cyberware system because I believe that it makes more sense in terms of the game’s lore.


 In the Cyberpunk universe, installing too much cyberware can cause a person to go Cyberpsycho, and become increasingly violent. In the base game, it felt that you were just ignored by the rules that every other character seems to follow. 


What’s Bad About 2.0?


There aren’t many negatives to 2.0, but there are a few issues that I have been having with the game.


On launch, Cyberpunk 2077 was notorious for its game-breaking bugs. Even though the developers have been striving to fix these, a few slip through the cracks. 


In my time playing 2.0 and Phantom Liberty (twenty-six or so hours), I have experienced numerous bugs. They range from simple graphical glitches to game-breaking ones that cause me to restart. In addition, I have had numerous crashes. 


Some of the changes to the combat system I have found are odd. The changes to the grenades and healing system stick out the most to me. The fact that players have infinitely refilling grenades and healing items takes me out of the immersive experience that RPGs strive to offer.

These changes make the game feel like more of a Call of Duty style shooter than an RPG. Some people may argue that these were made to balance the combat so people don’t spam grenades and healing, completely bypassing challenging sections. To this, I say that you are wrong. 


Numerous RPGs allow you to craft grenades and healing items. I think, instead of adding the cooldowns, they could instead change the crafting system to balance it out. 


A huge issue I have with 2.0 is the poor optimization for PC players. Cyberpunk 2077 has never been considered an easy game to run, but now, with 2.0 and Phantom Liberty, it has become even harder. In Dogtown and other intensive regions I have seen the frame rate drop down to 30-45 fps on 1080p medium  (I have an RTX 3060, a Ryzen 7 5700x, and 16 GB of RAM). 


For this reason, I recommend not playing the game on a PC unless you have a good PC, or performance does not matter to you. For those not willing to spend ludicrous amounts of money on a gaming computer, I would recommend playing on a console. 


Story (Spoilers Ahead)


Cyberpunk 2077 has one of the best stories that I have ever played. The game follows V(Vincent/Valerie depending on which gender you choose) throughout the crime-ridden streets of Night City. V is a cyberpunk, striving to make a name for themselves and survive in Night City.


Depending on which life path you choose (Corpo, Nomad, or Streetkid), the first thirty minutes of the game are drastically different. The best life paths to choose are Corpo and Streetkid. From my experience playing, these are the most fun to play. 


After the prologue and your introduction to Jackie Welles, you are given a job to steal an experimental biochip from Arasaka, one of the leading megacorps in the world. After everything goes awry, Jackie dies and you are shot in the head, which causes the biochip to malfunction. 


After this, the psyche of the terrorist and rocker boy Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves) is stuck in your head. Now you must find a way to remove the biochip before Silverhand’s Engram overwrites your personality. 


The endings for the game are phenomenal, and each one is equally heartbreaking. If you go the Arasaka path, all of your friends treat you as a traitor and you are still fated to die. If you give Johnny your body, he befriends a child who is an aspiring musician and leaves the city. 


You can also unlock different endings based on your romance options in the game. When you reach the end of the game you can choose to go with Panam Palmer or Rogue. Personally, Rogue’s ending is my favorite, because it is the most combat-heavy, and you get to play as Johnny. 


The characters in the game are amazing. Johnny Silverhand is played amazingly by Keanu Reeves. Silverhand is an antagonistic narcissist who pops in occasionally to insult you and educate you on his personal beliefs. Adam Smasher, while his boss fight is abysmal, is a great villain. 




There are several different ways of fighting in Cyberpunk 2077. You can choose to be a stealthy netrunner, killing your opponents from a distance using your advanced hacking skills, or you can choose to be a gung-ho cybersamurai and run in guns blazing. 


The weapons in Cyberpunk 2077 are some of the best weapons that I have ever used in a video game. There is tons of weapon variety as well, from normal power weapons to cover-piercing tech weapons to smart weapons that fire homing bullets. 


The combat cyberware feels phenomenal to play with as well, with lots of variety to it. You can choose to use the time slowing Sandevistan, or the power-boosting Berserk operating system. The various arm equipments make a huge difference to the gameplay as well. Descending from the heavens and tearing a poor Scav to bits with Mantis Arms is definitely my favorite thing to do in the game. 


Similar to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Cyberpunk 2077 has a wanted system. You can obtain these wanted levels by committing crimes (killing civilians, stealing cars, killing cops) around Night City. One thing that differs from GTA is that at level 5, a MAXTAC unit spawns in. 


MAXTAC is the in-universe equivalent of Seal Team 6. In the games universe, MAXTAC is called to handle rampaging Cyberpsychos. MAXTAC is terrifying, and is definitely my favorite addition to the game. There is nothing scarier than hearing their sirens and watching them drop down from their AV’s after you have been tearing through the NCPD.




The soundtrack for Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the better soundtracks I have heard in a video game. It is an amazing mixture of techno, industrial, and metal. The ambiance for the game is also phenomenal. It is very reminiscent of the soundtracks to Bladerunner and Hotline Miami. 


My favorite track from the base game is definitely “Adam Smasher.” It is a perfect theme for the scariest character in the game. My favorite track from the DLC would definitely have to be “Bravo Foxtrot Golf.” 


The theme song forPhantom Libertyis phenomenal. The vocals by Polish Singer-Songwriter Dawid Podsiadło are amazing. The song is very reminiscent of themes from James Bond movies, and it leans heavily into the spy-thriller theme that the DLC is trying to produce. 


The ambiance of the game is also phenomenal, with songs like “Bells of Laguna Bend sticking out above the rest. The songs in Cyberpunk 2077 help create the perfect atmosphere. The songs are equally as heartbreaking as the story.


Phantom Liberty:


Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty’s story is phenomenal. It is a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish. The game starts with Song So Mi (Songbird) reaching out to V through the Relic, seeking their assistance in rescuing the president of the NUSA from a crash in Dogtown. 


After the crash, you are tasked with guiding President Myers to a safe location in Dogtown. When there, you are tasked with finding NUSA Special Agent Solomon Reed (Idris Elba). After this, your primary objective is to locate Songbird. 


Songbird is held in the Black Sapphire, a massive unfinished tower in Dogtown. This tower is the crown jewel of Kurt Hansen’s empire. Kurt Hansen is the leader of Barghest, a military faction that rules over Dogtown. When you meet Songbird at the Black Sapphire, it is revealed that she betrayed the NUSA to strike a deal with Hansen. 


Songbird and V are both dying, so Songbird offers a deal. If V helps her use the Neural Matrix to cure her from her Blackwall infection, then she will help V with the Relic that is slowly killing them. From here on out, the player can choose to side with Reed and the NUSA, or to side with Songbird and betray the NUSA. 


Phantom Liberty was some of the most fun I have had with a video game. The story grabs you and never lets you go until the end. I found myself genuinely saddened with the deaths of some of the characters.


In my first playthrough, I sided with Songbird. This ending did not really appeal to me. It is basically pointless, because Songbird betrays you and unless you surrender her to Reed, you basically accomplish nothing. If you do surrender her to Reed, he uses his NUSA contacts to help cure V. 


In my second playthrough of the game, I sided with Reed. Most of the game is the exact same, except for the second half. I found this playthrough more satisfactory. Most of Songbird’s path is just waiting for her to call you, but in Reed’s path, you actually do stuff. 


After betraying Songbird at the Petrochem arena, she goes cyberpsycho and is detained by MAXTAC. It is up to V and Reed to break Songbird out of a MAXTAC convoy. I found this part of the game extremely fun, the fight with MAXTAC is very fun. After you break her out, she escapes to an underground Militech facility.


The gameplay in this section felt more like a game from the Resident Evil franchise. You are being chased by a Blackwall-possessed robot, and you must de-activate terminals throughout the facility to progress. Once you find Songbird, you are given the option to turn her over to the NUSA, where she will live out the rest of her short life in service to them. Or, you can honor Songbird’s last wishes and put her out of her misery. 


Overall, Reed’s ending is a more satisfying conclusion for the DLC. In terms of gameplay, it is superior to Songbirds Path, and in terms of story, it is superior. The ending throws numerous ethical dilemmas at V, and it is up to you to solve them.  


Cyberpunk 2077 is a phenomenal adventure through a dystopian future. It creates a beautiful, yet horrifying atmosphere, and paints a picture of what our future could look like. For enjoyers of RPGs, I would say that Cyberpunk 2077 and Phantom Liberty are a must-play. At the end of the game, I found it disappointing that there was not a happy ending, but upon playing further I realized that there were no happy endings in Night City. 


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  • R

    Ronan CulbertJan 21, 2024 at 4:59 pm

    Having played the game in its earlier stages and now post 2.0, I find myself still wrapped up in just how exciting of a turnaround this has been for CD Projekt Red and the players of this fantastic game. Replaying the story, catching the bits that I missed the first time around, appreciating the writing/dialogue and actually playing without nearly as many glitches have been some of my favorite things to do within this game recently.

  • M

    Matthew WirwiczDec 16, 2023 at 7:19 am

    This is a game I’ve seen everywhere but never bought because I’ve heard of all the bugs and bad reviews. Reading this and hearing how good the storyline is changes my view of the game. I might consider making a purchase for myself!

  • A

    AdamNov 21, 2023 at 11:53 am

    This is a wonderfully crafted article, Jonah! Cyberpunk seems like a very interesting game and I would like to play it. I wanted to buy it but ultimately decided not to due to all of the negative reviews of the game. Maybe I will give it a shot soon based on your analysts of this update.

  • J

    Jack RauNov 16, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I think the update to Cyberpunk is a massive step into making Cyberpunk something of a household name in gaming. When it first released, Cyberpunk definitely felt like an overpriced fan game that somehow made its way onto Steam from a lot of hype from the community. This update makes Cyberpunk more of a balanced game (even if it’s not perfect), and as a result, more people will have an overall better experience with the game. Continuing from the last part of ”What’s Bad about 2.0?”, the decision of choosing a console from a PC is not, by any means, justified by performance issues and a certain user’s budget. PC users have a lot more options when it comes to how their system runs games such as Cyberpunk, while console players don’t have much at all to work with. I would go further into other topics such as the plot line, combat, DLC, etc., but my experience originates more from my knowledge of computer engineering and less from actual gameplay. With that said, I have not fully developed my opinion on the game yet.