Revisiting Cyberpunk 2077 in the wake of its significant 2.0 update has been a pleasant surprise for me. When I initially played the game shortly after its rocky debut in December 2020, I found it to be decent but marred by various issues. While I enjoyed the stealthy hacking mechanics as a netrunner, I couldn’t ignore the cringe-inducing dialogue, a clothing and gear system that forced absurd fashion choices for optimal stats, and an overly zoomed-in mini-map, all of which detracted from the overall experience.
Now, nearly three years later, many of these grievances have been addressed. After spending more than a dozen hours immersed in the new update 2.0 and the Phantom Liberty expansion, I am excited to continue exploring Night City.
The addition of vehicular combat, while a feature that probably should have been present at launch, didn’t particularly appeal to me since I preferred using my netrunning abilities to dispatch enemies. I often exited my vehicle to take cover behind it while utilizing my netrunning powers, including the ability to remotely detonate cars, before making a swift getaway. There’s also a revamped police system, but as a generally law-abiding citizen (except during numerous missions involving criminal activities), I didn’t notice its impact.
The numerous improvements introduced in update 2.0, including optimizations for next-gen consoles, a vastly improved mini-map, and seamless cross-saves (which effortlessly transferred my Xbox Series X save to the PS5), have been welcome. Admittedly, my experience wasn’t entirely bug-free; during a pivotal boss fight in Phantom Liberty, a tutorial prompt became stuck on the screen, rendering the boss immobile and making the fight quite easy. Nevertheless, Cyberpunk 2077 now aligns more closely with the vision I had when it was first released, and I can now confidently recommend it.
Back in 2019, when CD Projekt Red, the Polish video-game company, announced the release of Cyberpunk 2077 for the following year, it took many by surprise, including some of the company’s own employees. Some even thought it was a jest. They believed that to fully realize the game’s ambitious vision, it would require until 2022.
Upon its release in December 2020, after numerous delays, Cyberpunk 2077 was plagued by bugs and felt incomplete. The console version was so problematic that it was removed from the PlayStation Store for six months. As details about the game’s tumultuous development emerged, Cyberpunk 2077 symbolized the issues of overworked staff, understaffed teams, and rushed game releases within the industry.
Nevertheless, redemption tales always captivate audiences. Following the game’s release, company executives issued apologies, and developers released a series of updates and bug fixes, prompting some critics to cautiously declare that Cyberpunk was now… good. A substantial patch in early 2022 made significant improvements to combat, the game world, and more, with a Kotaku critic suggesting that the game might finally be considered complete.
However, CD Projekt Red wasn’t finished yet. In September 2023, the Cyberpunk 2077 saga is concluding with two final major releases:
- The 2.0 Patch: Released on September 21, this patch overhauls many core mechanics of the game. It brings a noticeable transformation to the game, with cleaner menus, a streamlined loot system, and a revamped skill system that allows for more diverse playstyles. Players can now specialize and mold their character into a stealthy ninja, a swift assailant, or a cybernetic hacker.
- Phantom Liberty Expansion: Set to release on September 26, this expansion, featuring Idris Elba, introduces a new area within the dystopian Night City and weaves a captivating heist narrative in which players collaborate with the president and government agents. Critics have praised the expansion, with IGN hailing it as the pinnacle of Cyberpunk 2077.
While new content is certainly a welcome addition, it’s the 2.0 patch that leaves the most significant impact on Cyberpunk 2077. Immediate changes are apparent upon starting the game, with cleaner menus, a less convoluted loot system, and a reimagined character-building experience that allows for distinct playstyles. This addresses one of Cyberpunk 2077’s major issues, its ambiguity between being a Deus Ex or a Grand Theft Auto-style game. The new level system fosters the kind of experimentation that RPG enthusiasts had hoped for in Cyberpunk 2077. Other elements, such as loot and crafting, have also undergone substantial refinements.