> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
>
Hello… | Log in or sign up
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Review

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Review

To say that Cyberpunk 2077 got off to a rough start would be an understatement. However, since its initial release in 2020, developer CD PROJEKT RED has worked on constant free updates to squash all the bugs and improve the gameplay. Cyberpunk's latest free patch — the 2.0 update — not only adds a wealth of new gameplay tweaks and additions but also releases alongside the game's first (and only) paid expansion: Phantom Liberty. Basing my presumptions solely on the dev's previous expansions for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I had high hopes for my return to Night City. Both Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine were absolutely incredible additions to what was my favourite game of last gen. But we're here to talk about V's — not Geralt's — latest adventure, so let's get on with the review!

cyberpunk-2077-phantom-liberty-screenshot-0

This review won't be getting into spoiler territory for either the base game or Phantom Liberty. You'll get the prompt to begin the expansion, so long as you've finished a certain mission early on in Act 2, or you can jump right in from the main menu with a level 20 character. Either way, Phantom Liberty takes V to Dogtown, a shady, closed-off portion of Night City and the centre stage for the exciting spy-thriller narrative that unfolds. After being contacted by new character Songbird, you're thrust into a densely-packed story revolving around saving the NUSA President after her orbital shuttle is shot down.

The premise sounds simple, but Phantom Liberty's story (set across 13 main missions) is anything but. It's absolutely jam-packed with interesting new characters, morally ambiguous choices, and some genuinely emotional moments. It's no secret that CD PROJEKT RED is able to write some truly compelling tales, but this latest one may be one of Cyberpunk's best plot lines yet. Important choices are littered throughout, including one early on that will entirely shape how the rest of the expansion plays out; missions, locations, and enemies will all be different, which then changes how Phantom Liberty ends. Not only that, but it also adds an entirely new ending to the base game!

One of the new characters featured — and my personal favourite — is Solomon Reed (played by Idris Elba), the tough-as-nails veteran FIA agent now living in Dogtown, who's willing to help out V during the course of Phantom Liberty to keep the President safe. Not everyone's motives are quite as clear as Reed's, however, with Songbird in particular being a character who may or may not be trustworthy. Luckily for fans of the breathtaking one himself, Keanu Reeves returns as Johnny Silverhand and once again provides a captivating performance.

Dogtown can be seen just as much as a main character along with the actual cast, as it's absolutely dripping with personality. What was once a planned luxury haven for the social elite is now nothing more than a dilapidated walled-in city taken over by sinister gangs and unsavoury characters. It felt like the upper and lower plates of Midgar from FINAL FANTASY VII merged into one, with glimpses of beauty hidden amongst the toppling ruins of partially built skyscrapers and ramshackle markets. Despite being located in Night City's Pacifica district, Dogtown has its own rules and regulations, or rather a distinct lack of them, thanks to the arms dealer Kurt Hansen running the show. If you think you've seen the roughest areas of Night City, then you're in for a big surprise!

cyberpunk-2077-phantom-liberty-screenshot-5

Although the gameplay in Phantom Liberty is largely the same as the core game experience, there have been a number of additions that make this so much more than a story add-on. For starters, almost right off the bat, the Relic skill tree is unlocked, offering new perks whilst being adjustable to a specific style of play. Whether it's the Emergency Cloaking ability for stealth-based players or Monowire for the hackers, there are plenty of new skills to unlock. But that's not all when it comes to skills and abilities, as almost all the base game's perks have been redesigned and improved. Some of these feature unique animations (which really put extra impact in finishing moves), while some are completely new altogether, the Air Dash being just one such example.

With the addition of firing your weapons when driving in Update 2.0, Phantom Liberty introduces some seriously mean cars with mounted guns. Vehicular combat felt great, mainly thanks to the auto-aim assistance, and Dogtown and its many side-missions allow for ample use of this new feature. In fact, the optional missions are more than worth your time, with not a single one of the side quests or gigs disappointing. These mini-stories are just as detailed and rewarding as those found in the base game.

Finally, the amount of additional content such as weapons, vehicles, clothing items, and consumables found in Phantom Liberty was much, much more than I was expecting. Usually, a DLC expansion will offer one or two new outfits, or a cool (if hugely overpowered) weapon, but everything here felt natural to the overall game, nothing game-breaking or cheap.

cyberpunk-2077-phantom-liberty-screenshot-9

Phantom Liberty is just as much a worthwhile, hefty expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 as Blood and Wine was for The Witcher 3. Coupled with the 2.0 update, it can, at times, feel like a whole new experience, and is a far cry from the game's tumultuous launch. The many characters you'll meet are often morally grey, with their own agendas and motives for helping — or going against — V and their quest to rescue the President. Dogtown is a lawless shantytown with secrets around every corner just begging to be explored. And the narrative? Well, the thrilling espionage action had me gripped from start to finish, and I'd wager a good amount of Eurodollars that many of you will feel the same.

9.50/10 9½

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is, quite simply, a must-play. With an engaging narrative and fascinating new locale, this thoroughly gripping expansion will be sure to delight anyone looking to dive back into Night City.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

COMMENTS