CD Projekt RED released the first expansion Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty on September, 23 2023.
CDPR have been working hard to make Cyberpunk 2077 the game it was always meant to be for the last three years. Unfortunately, Cyberpunk 2077 launched disastrously and numerous issues broke its immersion. Hence, CDPR announced that while fixing the game, they would release expansions and DLC for Cyberpunk to keep fans playing.
Finally, Cyberpunk received another chance after giving countless updates and bug fixes, along with bringing in their anime, Cyberpunk Edgerunners.
This expansion seems like it could have been its own game. Cyberpunk is a race against time, a revenge story, and a tense action-packed spy thriller. Trust, betrayal, and morally questionable outcomes? This will tickle that itch.
Phantom Liberty: A Brand New Chrome Polish
Before we talk about Phantom Liberty itself, we need to talk about how the recent 2.1 patch. Released on December 4th, the patch not only improved some bugs and glitches, but also added new features. Since Phantom Liberty released only on the current-gen consoles and PCs, we’ll be looking at those and ignoring the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports.
The Metro is now a fully functional train ride rather than another waypoint. This allows you to ride out around Night City and take in the sights. A few scripted events even await you, if you decide to stick through the whole ride.
Speaking of rides, CDPR added street races along with a new version of Johnny Silverhand’s Porche. Fans enjoyed the races in The Beast in Me missions, after all. Now there are more races around Night City to play around with. There are even some new motorcycles to discover and the mechanics to use them have improved. Now you can pop wheelies and flip.
These races bring neat interactions, too. Gangs and cops come after you on the road. On a newly opened highway, shootouts blaze and gangs become more aggressive as you attack them. Oh, and now there’s an implant that allows you to listen to the radio while you walk out of your car. You have been bested, Fallout.
Mercenary to Spy
Players access Phantom Liberty one of two ways. Either start it right at the menu so you can skip most of the base game entirely, or you can trigger it after completing Act 1 of the base game. When you do trigger it, a mysterious woman named Songbird. calls She knows about you and Johnny and is willing to offer a hand.
After an attack, the President of the NUSA and Songbird are stranded in Dogtown. Dogtown, sectioned off from Pacifica, claims itself as a city within Night City. The leader, Kurt Hansen, sends in his Barghest soldiers to get the President. You must save her and help her escape Night City, with the help of a sleeper agent, Solomon Reed.
V is then sworn in as an agent to the NUSA. You and Reed work together to help the President and eventually find out what happened to Songbird. What happens becomes a never-ending sprint of cloaks and daggers when the line between trust and deception becomes increasingly thin. What happens to everyone in and out of Night City now lies in your hands.
Phantom Liberty: Dog Eat Dogtown
If you played Cyberpunk before, you know very well how Night City looks. Dogtown captures an atmosphere that feels realistically both both technologically advanced and increasingly derelict.
At first glance, this small town feels like something out of Akira or Blade Runner, with people from all walks of life in colorful attire walking around carrying on their day.
Aside from the Barghest soldiers, gangs like the Voodoo Boys and the Scavs also run Dogtown. Barghest serve as the police around here. They make it very clear that NCPD is not welcome.
Your new surroundings offer you new weapons and armor. A special vendor in Dogtown greets players right off the bat by separating himself from the others in appearance. This vendor also sells most of the legendary gear that you come across in Night City. Thus, so long as you have the cash, you can finally finish your collection in V’s stash.
Hello to Phantom Liberty’s New Friends
As was showcased in the trailer for Phantom Liberty, V interacts with many new characters with during their spy adventure.
Idris Elba portrays Solomon Reed. Indeed, Reed feels very Idris Elba, all the way down to his likeness of his character model. Solomon partners with you during most of your time in Dogtown. There will be times when you feel like he’s a genuinely good guy. That is, until you start to see the other side of the other agents.
Without many spoilers, there will be times when you have to decide who you want to believe and whom you side with the most. This can not only affect your attachment to some of the characters, but also will affect one of the multiple endings to the game.
Oh yeah, did we mention that this expansion has four different endings, on top of the ones in the base game? Have fun with that.
More Side Gigs
It wouldn’t be a Cyberpunk game without some side missions. Not that we’re complaining. Side missions get you some cash and new gear. This time, two of your fixers, Mr. Hands and El Capitan, will give you more missions. Phantom Liberty especially fleshes out Mr. Hands. In the base game, he only gives you one mission.
As for El Capitan? He gibes fans of Grand Theft Auto some nostalgia. Players receive a chance to steal cars for El Capitan, either in Dogtown or in Night City. These missions involve racing the clock and fending off some gangs on your way.
In addition, there are also more cyberpsycho missions and hit missions where you have to take down a specific target in Dogtown. Completing these missions gives you new gear. Sometimes you get even some cyberwar to play around with, too.
Don’t Trust What You See in Phantom Liberty
Phantom Liberty equips you with some awesome”spy tools” right off the bat. If you want to upgrade even further, a new skill tree from the Relic offers you just this chance. Plus, a new cyberwar records the voices and behavior of a target when you interact. Another gives you the ability to transform your appearance and voice to look like someone else.
The problem with the cyberware, however, is that you only ever get to use them in just a couple of missions. Afterwards, there’s never a need to play around with them. Hence it’s kind of like they’re giving you a new toy to play with, but you can only play with it once.
This brings us to the bigger part of the issues with Phantom Liberty. Frankly, this expansion could be its own game.
Phantom Liberty takes anywhere from twenty to forty hours to get through, depending on how far you’ve already gotten through the base game. Once you finished its campaign and the side gigs, Dogtown had very little to offer after that. Overall, though, the expansion doesn’t overstay its welcome and ends where it needs to.
Baby It’s Worth It
Phantom Liberty demonstrates that CDPR cares about their fans. After adding in all the bug fixes and even adding in some gear from Edgerunners, Cyberpunk was a game that was improved upon but was never needed to.
On a Reddit post that was upvoted, there were tons of comments that talked about features in Cyberpunk that were never discussed. Things like a police system, flying cars, and dozens of other features that never existed. Even when CDPR’s development team went to these posts to tell them that none of these were true, they were downvoted and yelled at by the community themselves. Never change, Reddit.
Ever since the PlayStation 2 era when it was announced, Cyberpunk 2077 has aimed to be a very ambitious game. People expected too much of them.
Frankly, it would have been so easy for CDPR to just ignore loud fans. Yet CDPR proved tough enough to listen to the fans. Over the course of three years, they slowly but surely turned Cyberpunk into the game fans always wanted. Phantom Liberty proves just how well this works.
The CyberSpy Who Loved V
Overall, Phantom Liberty is a great expansion. It deserves the attention it has garnered. With a great cast of characters and amazing missions, it’s like the James Bond meets Blade Runner crossover we never knew we wanted. Plus, this crossover comes to us in the form of a video game. With different paths to explore and multiple ending, players have endless possibilities to turn V into the ultimate spy.
If you wanted more out of Cyberpunk but didn’t want to resort to more mods, then this is something to buy for the game. It’s not DLC, it’s a game enhancement. For half the price of the base game, you get twice as much.
While we wait for a proper sequel, Cyberpunk 2077 and Phantom Liberty will keep the fans happy for years to come. Now if we can just find a way to get CDPR to bring David, Rebecca, and Lucy back, then we’ll all be happy.