Image via CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 did something no game has ever done for me before: it made me come back to it after not really enjoying it the first time and changed my entire opinion around it. Though examples of other titles having a redemption from its initial launch exist, such as No Man’s Sky, I never had the motivation to give these games a second chance. But this changed with the Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty DLC, as CD Projekt RED finally made good on the promises the RPG made when it was originally released in 2020.

Even for those who don’t purchase the Phantom Liberty DLC, you’re in for a treat, as the base game feels much more exciting than ever before with the Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 update. For example, a big improvement is the police wanted system, which honestly should have been in the game from the start. Law enforcement in Night City now reacts smartly to your actions, scaling their hunt for you depending on your wanted level.

The visuals of the game also look sharper and smoother on PS5 as well, giving me more consistency in performance throughout Night City, especially in the new areas. NPCs and enemies react much better now in combat, providing more of a smart challenge than before. CD Projekt RED has even overhauled Cyberpunk 2077‘s progression system, completely changing how the perk trees work.

Given that I spent more than 30 hours in the base game without ever finishing it, the Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 update finally gave me the motivation to keep going to complete the Johnny Silverhand storyline. But above all else, the Phantom Liberty DLC is by far the tightest and most impressive piece of the entire Cyberpunk 2077 package.

All cyberpunk 2077 2.0 changes explained
Image via CD Projekt Red

It feels like CD Projekt RED specifically addressed all of the major criticisms players had with Cyberpunk 2077 in this DLC expansion. The new area of Dogtown feels so alive and is visually striking compared to the other parts of Night City. With the vehicular combat, airdrop missions, and new characters, I had more fun exploring this new location than any other area that had previously been available in the base game.

Phantom Liberty is anchored by a fairly linear but action-packed main story that feels like it was made on an extremely high movie-level budget. Idris Elba’s Solomon Reed is a standout character, as you might expect. But there are others in the cast who surprise, such as the extremely talented Christine Minji Chang, who portrays Song So-Mi.

Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Phantom Liberty Review 2
Image via CD Projekt Red

The story starts out with a bang, as the player has to rescue the President of the United States herself. The campaign never really slowed down from there during my time with Phantom Liberty, with car chases, heart-pounding battles, and spy movie-level sequences all following the opening section. There is even a major choice players can make partway through the story that radically changes what ending you get.

This alone is enough reason for Cyberpunk 2077 fans to replay the Phantom Liberty DLC multiple times. Better yet, this new expansion also adds to the base game beyond what the 2.0 update has to offer, with a new ending for you and Johnny Silverhand. As a result, I ended up trying out a brand new character to experience Cyberpunk 2077 in its entirety, and this is the best way to see all of the new content, in my opinion.

Speaking of Johnny Silverhand, I was happy to see Keanu Reeves reprise the role once more. What I found interesting was his voice acting sounded improved, and his character was better written all around in the expansion. Sure, he was the best part of the base game, but his iconic performance is elevated even further with Phantom Liberty. This could be a result of the storytelling improvements or comfort with the character, but if you’re a fan of Silverhand, you’ll find even more to love here from your trusty companion.

Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Phantom Liberty Review
Image via CD Projekt Red

Overall, I adored my time with Phantom Liberty so far. Everything from the action sequences to the terrific performances to even the storytelling, this is what I hoped Cyberpunk 2077 would have been from the start. I enjoyed my time with the DLC, and the 2.0 update changes so much that I actually plan to finally beat the base game and see the new ending now. If, like me, you’ve been on the fence about this game or were disappointed in the RPG in the past, I recommend giving Cyberpunk 2077 a second chance.

Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 is available for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Phantom Liberty releases for current-gen platforms on September 26, 2023.

Cody Perez

Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.