I’ll be honest with you all, my dears. I have not stepped back into the gritty underbelly of Night City since ‘CyberPunk 2077’ was released back in 2020 (Cyberpunk 2077 – Review). While this grand-scale adventure RPG had technical issues, I loved that at the heart of it was a beautifully crafted story by the team over at CD PROJEKT RED. I wanted to be a person in Night City, I wanted to live in a world like Night City, I wanted Johnny Silv… but alas, I couldn’t wait a long time for patches so I pumped my 90 hours into it and moved on.
Cyberpunk is back in 2023, with its newest spy thriller DLC, ‘Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty’. Time to ‘Wake Up, Samurai’. We have a city to burn… again.
Fortunately, Phantom Liberty can kick off right where you left it in Cyberpunk 2077, straight before your final mission, or you can begin this new epic tale with a new character having it integrated into the current main story.
Each provides you with the same experience as you meet a new intriguing Netrunner, code-named ‘Songbird’. She infiltrates your cyberware and wants to fix the ticking time bomb in your head… the ‘Relic’ aka Johnny freaking Silverhand (returning role by Keanu Reeves), who you have been carrying as your confidant and companion this whole time.
Nothing comes free though in Night City, and roped into a reconnaissance mission to save the president from a guerrilla leader, Kurt Hansen, and V might be deeper than they ever expected this time. The story is of top-tier quality, pulling me into one more ‘last’ mission before I got off, over and over again. CD PROJEKT RED knows how to spin an epic tale and this DLC is no different.
The well-written dialogue in this DLC is extensive, and while it drives the story perfectly, the action does tend to take a little of a backseat. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of gunplay, but it does tend to focus more on what is said and how you respond than your actual actions.
While the gameplay is the same, this DLC introduced a range of features as it falls right before Cyberpunk update 2.0. This alone brings a range of revamps and quality-of-life updates in itself, from Police AI to hairstyles and new animations, to even the hacking system that plays such a vital role in most encounters.
In the DLC, you will be given a whole new area to explore called Dogtown. Dogtown itself is a nefarious underworld of ruffians with its own set of rules and ideals.
Being an RPG you have free range of this area and resources. This is where you meet Solomon Reed, voiced and stylised around the actor, Idris Elba. This character is amazingly fleshed out by Idris, a character that definitely fills the shoes that our dearest Jackie left behind.
Along with new characters, you will find new gigs, quests, and boss fight opportunities. This DLC brought a plethora of new cars, weapons, and clothing options too, so I was forever in my inventory styling myself, because you can’t look like no schmuck in Dogtown.
There are new side missions too, especially pleasing since we meet my new Cyberpunk daddy, the fixer, Mr Hands. These missions might be as simple as couriering around for the recurring character El Capitan, or fighting off goons at the newest type of mission, an ‘Airdrop’. These were fun at the beginning but quickly became cumbersome and ignorable when the drops often would end up in the same locations.
A new perk tree is also introduced based around the ‘Relic’. Only specific points can be placed in this tree that can be downloaded at various data terminals scattered around Dogtown. These skills and their new look add extensive abilities that switch up combat making you faster and stronger.
The graphics are also as remembered as when I first stepped into Night City, but one can’t help but notice that everything is more refined. The graphical glitches are pretty much non-existent now on the Xbox Series X. Shadows are rendered beautifully, light bounces off chrome, and every freckle on a face or seam in some clothing adds detail to this rich environment.
The music too complements the graphics perfectly, using a range of styles from synthwave and techno to even hip-hop-like beats to build tension and connect the city to an atmosphere that only this futuristic universe could produce. It’s everything every great Sci-fi movie encompasses.
Overall, the DLC Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is a perfect addition to the universe CD PROJEKT RED has envisioned and built. Diving back into this extra content reminded me of why I was so infatuated with this game in the first place.
The rich storytelling, the fabulous weapons and gameplay, and the expertly written dialogue and characters will not have you disappointed. This DLC and patch proves that a phoenix definitely does rise from the ashes.
Amazing dialogue and voice acting
Dynamic character relationships
Improved fun as hell combat
Vast weaponry and loot
Simple to navigate menus
Easy to use RPG elements
Unique modding and upgrading
Meticulous soundtracks and music
Visually stunning and detailed upgraded environments
Detailed new area
In-depth customisation of nearly everything
Quality of life patches
Some missions a little repetitive
Very dialogue and stealth driven