Nothing says disappointment like everybody’s darling studio putting out a flop, at least, compared to their previous work. That’s exactly what happened with Cyberpunk 2077‘s release.
When CD Projekt RED launched Cyberpunk 2077 in 2020, it was met with mixed reviews and a plethora of technical issues, marking a turbulent chapter in the company’s history. However, the studio’s commitment to redemption has been nothing short of remarkable. The release of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty changes everything. With an OpenCritic score of 89 and an overwhelming recommendation rate of 97% from critics, this expansion has reinvigorated the cyberpunk universe. We can’t help but agree.
How Phantom Liberty makes Cyberpunk 2077 better
The expansion, developed and published by CD Projekt RED, serves as a spectacular example of how a dedicated developer can turn a troubled title into a gaming masterpiece. Phantom Liberty introduces a gripping spy narrative set in the heart of Night City, expanding upon the already vast world of Cyberpunk 2077. Here, players must race against time to save the president and navigate a web of intrigue and betrayal.
One of the most significant enhancements brought by Phantom Liberty is the addition of Dogtown, a new district in Night City. The visual splendor of this locale is simply breathtaking, adding a layer of depth and immersion to the game that players will appreciate. The expansion rekindles the neon-lit, dystopian ambiance that made the base game so alluring.
The Phantom Liberty DLC boasts an impressive cast, including the charismatic Idris Elba as Solomon Reed. Elba’s portrayal of this interesting character elevates the expansion’s storytelling to new heights, breathing life into a complex character that players will both love and loathe. Speaking of love, you might find the romances more enjoyable now that the game’s been overhauled. The compelling performances across the board reinforce the engaging narrative.
Much needed overhauls
Beyond its captivating story, Phantom Liberty brings substantial gameplay improvements. The expansion addresses long-standing issues and overhauls various mechanics, making Cyberpunk 2077 a more refined and enjoyable experience. The perk tree overhaul, vehicle combat, and an overhauled police system contribute to a smoother gameplay flow.
Does the game actually run this time?
The original release of Cyberpunk 2077 was plagued with performance issues. The game’s new DLSS 3.5, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, improves frame rates especially when coupled with Nvidia’s Frame Generation. The combination of DLSS and Frame Generation pushes frame rates notably higher at all resolutions, making it a key feature for players seeking better performance without sacrificing graphics quality.
DLAA (Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing) also showed promise. While it provided results similar to standard rasterization in most cases, it saw substantial performance gains when paired with Frame Generation. However, it’s important to note that DLAA seems more effective when used in conjunction with Frame Generation to create AI-generated frames.
On PC, we found that the game maintained temperatures well within acceptable ranges during benchmarking. However, Path Tracing with DLSS saw slightly higher temperatures, possibly due to the technology’s experimental nature.
Of course, this is all YMMV (your mileage may vary) depending on your PC.
In the gaming industry, redemption stories are few and far between, but Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is one of the lucky few. CD Projekt RED has not only addressed the game’s initial shortcomings but has also expanded upon its potential, creating an experience that fans and newcomers alike can savor.
If you’ve been on the fence about Phantom Liberty and Cyberpunk 2077 as a whole, now’s the best time (so far) to jump into Night City. And if you gave up on the game last time? It’s time to give it another shot.