Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty review: Returning to Night City


Ever since Cyberpunk 2077’s release in 2020, I have been a hardcore believer in this game’s potential. Sure, there were copious bugs and glitches, especially one where your wizard’s sleeve or your meat candle would dingle-dangle outside of your clothes. It was a nightmare for streamers but a delight to everyone else. Most players couldn’t see past the long list of issues, but not me.

I knew this game had a heart of gold underneath and I was right. With multiple updates, not only is Cyberpunk 2077 playable but it’s fun to boot. Now with the release of the 2.0 update and the new DLC, it’s time to lock and load to burn the city down. After all of the problems, is Phantom Liberty worth making another trip into Night City?

Phantom Liberty can be accessed about 35-40% through the game. You receive a call from a woman named So Mi aka Songbird, who requests your help in saving the President! Songbird informs you that President Myers is on the plane and only you can help get her safely out of Dogtown (the new map that is included in the DLC). She offers you great motivation to get the task done. What’s that motivation, you ask? Why survival, of course! She offers to get that damn  shard out of your noggin and you’ll live to boot. That’s a tasty morsel of a quest.

Unfortunately, it goes pear-shaped when the leader of Dogtown decides to shoot down the President’s plane. Everyone on board dies but the Prez but So Mi is kidnapped. Now you and some of So Mi’s past compatriots (including Idris Elba) must find her, your very life depends on it.

Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty

Dogtown is as its name portrays. It’s a part of the city filled with buildings that are broken and falling apart, security up the wazoo and shanty towns. You make your way through the crumbling buildings to save the President but then  the rest of the DLC is focused on Songbird and what her kidnapping means for her and for you. This DLC opens up a new ending options for V but as a fan of this game, I don’t think these are great endings even if it’s the kind of endings people have been asking for. Its bittersweetness leans more heavily on the bitter side(I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying) and they go down like an uncoated Tylenol. True, the Tylenol is what you thought you wanted but it tasted like crap all the way down.

With the Phantom Liberty DLC coming at the same as the 2.0 upgrade, Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t even feel like the same game. The completely remade skill system with new skills, abilities, weapons and mods make V feel like a verified superhero, slowing down time and throwing bodies into other bodies to turn your enemies into gore flavored slushies. Or, if you’re a simpleton like me, you like to stick to netrunning and good ol’ fashioned guns, which have also improved. In Phantom Liberty, Alex (one of the agents you meet along the way to assist in saving Songbird) gives you Her Majesty, a wicked pistol with a silencer that can quietly pick off your enemies. You can clear out a room before anyone even notices.

Gone are the game-breaking bugs and introduced are gunfights via vehicles. There are more vehicle options and now you can make the vehicle your own special death machine or you can choose to just stick that arm out the window and shoot. The choice is yours. The vehicular homicides aren’t as easy or as satisfying as the other fights you find yourself in but at least you can defend yourself on the road without a cutscene.

Phantom Liberty provides a ton of new content and a whole new area. Coupling it with the update and you have about 100 reasons at least to don some new cyberware and head once again into Night City to make your name one among legends. Don’t expect to be super pleased with the new endings. There are no true happy endings in Night City. Cyberpunk 2077 may have started as an empty, buggy mess but it has evolved into a rich and vibrant game with a story that sucks you in and breaks your heart and a world you wish you could be a part of while simultaneously hoping you never do. In terms of DLCs, Phantom Liberty is going down in my books as one of the best.