CDPR will most likely never be able to shake the stench of Cyberpunk 2077’s failed launch, but what a way to go out. Phantom Liberty’s new sector, Dogtown, with its cast of CIA analogues, militants, and ne’er-do-wells allowed the game to end on a high note, with a thrilling story that straddled the line between a slow-burning thriller and a balls-to-the-wall action film. You get to meet the president of the NUSA and, more crucially, Idris Elba.
The developers wisely incorporate this expansion into the main game rather than adding it at the end or making it a solo adventure, allowing it to raise the rest of Cyberpunk 2077, a game that is lightyears ahead of the launch edition thanks to the accompanying (and free) 2.0 upgrade. Proper police pursuits, a progression system that distributes interesting talents on a regular basis, and a revamped cybernetics system—this is Cyberpunk 2077 at its best.
While CDPR stated that this would be the final major update, it hasn’t been able to stop itself from releasing yet another meaty patch that adds yet more vehicles, repeatable races, the ability to hang out with your love interests in your pads, and—finally!—a metro that’s more than just a fast travel option.
Phantom Liberty succeeds where Cyberpunk 2077 failed when it first debuted. CDPR spent a long time honing their storytelling skills in this setting, and it shows. Phantom Liberty has a clear grasp on the kind of daring storytelling that made The Witcher 3 great, using both the world’s technical brilliance and the team’s outstanding writing to focus its fractured cast of individuals. It’s refreshing and mature in ways that no one anticipated this game to be.