It’s truthful to say that, with the discharge of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, the comeback story shall be virtually full.
Cyberpunk 2077 joins the ranks of No Man’s Sky and Last Fantasy 14 as a byword for a recreation that launched in flames and wanted a colossal apology tour to make issues proper.
Even with the large 2.0 replace that was launched to all gamers alongside Phantom Liberty, Cyberpunk 2077 continues to be not what many gamers had hoped it was going to be.
Nevertheless, this DLC – which doubles as a farewell to the sport as developer CD Projekt strikes on to a full sequel – serves as not solely a make-good for the errors of the previous, however the most effective content material that’s ever taken place on the streets of Night time Metropolis.
Phantom Liberty takes place in Dogtown, a brand new space of Night time Metropolis beforehand unexplorable in the primary recreation. Dogtown is affected by shanty cities and opulent buildings falling to items and, crucially, simply as V arrives, the President of the New United States crashes all the way down to earth.
Inspired by a mysterious new determine, V finds themselves entangled in an online of intrigue with FIA agent Solomon Reed, performed by Idris Elba. This is only one approach through which Phantom Liberty offers in Hollywood spectacle: There’s an actual bells-and-whistles really feel to the primary thrust of missions, which when performed sequentially, might simply rank as one of many strongest single-player experiences of the yr.
Dogtown itself flew previous as we pursued the primary narrative thread, a difficulty the sport appears to acknowledge with a clunky roadblock that forces you to interact with the less-than-sparkling facet jobs.
Missions are diverse in not solely their exercise but additionally their pacing. There are a number of missions through which not one shot is fired, and the spy-thriller espionage vibes are turned up all the way in which. These are absolutely the highlights of Phantom Liberty and a component of the sport we wished was explored additional.
That is truly a theme of the DLC – mechanics which are all of a sudden launched after which dropped seemingly simply as rapidly. It appears like there’s scope for a for much longer growth right here, however alternatively, the comparatively brief size implies that Phantom Liberty by no means outstays its welcome.
It’s a boxset you end in a weekend and wish extra of, relatively than a turgid grind with few highlights. Nevertheless, this does imply some whiplash between missions the place you’re doing the relatively boring base-Cyberpunk fashion capturing gallery missions, and Cyberpunk’s neon-James Bond capers.
“There are a number of missions through which not one shot is fired, and the spy-thriller espionage vibes are turned up all the way in which. These are absolutely the highlights of Phantom Liberty”
Talking of the bottom recreation, notable by his relative absence is Johnny Silverhand. Relegated to extra of a jumpscare when he seems relatively than a recurring annoyance, his enter is way more measured in Phantom Liberty. The remainder of the solid is pleasurable, even when Idris Elba’s American accent takes a transatlantic vacation from time to time.
The general narrative of Phantom Liberty is much stronger than the bottom recreation of Cyberpunk 2077, and though there are just a few twists and turns which are closely telegraphed, the method of getting there’s at all times pleasurable. Even characters that solely seem for a mission or two are way more memorable than a lot of that discovered within the authentic. A few boujee French netrunners that encounter V at a Roulette desk are a specific spotlight.
Dogtown isn’t massively memorable as an open-world atmosphere, however the brand new interiors that Phantom Liberty introduces are very sturdy. They’re not solely visually attention-grabbing areas to inhabit, however very similar to the primary recreation, they appear completely unimaginable. The sport continues to be such a visible showpiece, and on PC we bumped into only a few points working the sport on Extremely: Ray Tracing, exterior of some screen-tearing when shifting from very darkish to very vibrant environments.
Whereas it’s not tied to the DLC itself, the large 2.0 replace that releases alongside Phantom Liberty is without doubt one of the most transformative we’ve seen in a single-player RPG of this dimension.
Not solely is there a way that this replace made positive to cowl just about each nitpick that followers had at launch, however sensible adjustments like divorcing the garments you put on out of your armor stat, a very revamped talent tree, and an abundance of how to spec your character make this 2.0 replace really feel virtually sequel-like in its adjustments to the Cyberpunk components.
There are clearly limits to how this could manifest within the recreation, as you’ll be able to solely change a lot in regards to the nuts and bolts of how a Cyberpunk mission works (as CD Projekt seemingly acknowledges on this farewell piece of content material). Nonetheless, the two.0 replace is the most effective incentive to present Cyberpunk 2077 one other strive that the studio has ever provided up.
Pair that with a pulpy spy thriller full of wonderful set items and powerful characters, and Phantom Liberty is Cyberpunk 2077 at its most well-realised.
There’s a component of disappointment to it, fascinated about what might have been if the launch recreation was as much as the usual Phantom Liberty is right now, however on the very least, it implies that CD Projekt can transfer on to its subsequent challenge secure within the information that Cyberpunk 2077 was left in a wonderful state.
Simply how a lot goodwill the launch recreation needed to make as much as every participant is completely different, particularly when you think about the acute distinction in expertise that PC gamers and last-gen console gamers obtained at launch.
And whereas there’s nothing that Phantom Liberty might have achieved to make it as much as these console gamers who obtained a damaged recreation after a decade of hype, it does a minimum of sail a lot nearer to the sport that was promised all these years in the past.