CDPR’s latest “New Ways to Play” trailer reveals a major overhaul to gameplay mechanics, and a slew of new features coming to Cyberpunk 2077 via Update 2.0 and upcoming spy-thriller expansion, Phantom Liberty.
Starting with what we already know, Phantom Liberty promises a new action-packed campaign featuring our protagonist, V, the return of relic construct and revolutionary rockerboy, Johnny Silverhand voiced by Keanu Reeves, alongside Solomon Reed – a new character played by Idris Elba – who recruits V into the wonderful world of government espionage.
The expansion is a spy-thriller set in the futuristic Cyberpunk universe, and brings with it a new Dogtown district, as well as a significant overhaul to the open world and gameplay mechanics. Not forgetting to mention, Update 2.0 does not require the purchase of Phantom Liberty, and will be entirely free upon release. Fresh playthrough, anyone?
Now onto features. The trailer is split into five specific sections detailing vehicular combat, an NCPD overhaul, redesigned cyberware and perks, a unique relic skill tree, and finally, combat AI overhaul. Let’s dig in.
Vehicular combat was decidedly lacking outside of carefully-crafted set pieces scattered throughout the campaign. It made driving through night city quite a boring chore. Even if you messed with the gangs, and escaped, they couldn’t give chase, ensuring an easy getaway and making the open world pretty much pointless and stale. That all changes in Update 2.0 with the addition of mounted weapons, and evasive quick hacks akin to what you would experience in something like Ubisoft’s Watchdog series.
The one we’ve all been waiting for. Police play a major role in an open-world game, your transgression should be met with consequences, it makes the game ten times more fun when police give chase, or you get into massive street shootouts with the boys in blue, it’s the foundation that makes games like GTA extremely fun even hours after the main campaign. Yeah, Cyberpunk 2077 NCPD was a broken mess, embarrassingly so.
Well, Night City’s finest will now have a chip on their shoulders. Depending on the mayhem you cause the police force will now respond in kind. Police are more aggressive depending on your actions, while the overhauled wanted system introduces a new NCPD MacTac elite squadron with heavier fire power. AI has also been overhauled with police able to setup roadblocks and actually give chase in vehicles this time around, instead of magically spawning behind you like before.
Redesigned Cyberware and Perks
Revamped and redesigned. There are new perks added to the skill tree for each attribute you acquire. These range from the ability to deflect bullets, a new mid-air dash, and a variety of uber-cool takedown moves, to name but a few. You’ll now have to choose your cyberware implants wisely, because having too much “chrome” will negatively impact your stats, and eventually lead to cyber-psychosis. The new cyberware system also directly correlates with V’s armour stat, which should give players more freedom in choosing what they wear and add credence to specific playstyles.
Relic Skill Tree
The relic section in V’s skill tree is no longer greyed out and locked away. Besides killing V from the inside, Johnny Silverhand’s construct now grants players unique perks and abilities. Seems we’ll have to wait to see what this entails, as not much else was revealed. Exciting, nonetheless.
Combat AI Overhaul
Last but certainly not least is the overhaul to AI enemy combatants; no longer will they be bullet sponges. Enemy difficulty has increased with more dynamic attacks, both in ranged and melee combat. They also appear to realistically seek cover when being fired upon, and I’m hoping this translates to Night City’s non-combative denizens, who wonder around the open world without want or direction. A personal pet peeve that instantly breaks my immersion.
Other highlights include a slew of new weaponry, clothing, vehicles, and side gigs for players to discover and enjoy. That’s about it! Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and Update 2.0 will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC on September 26. Hopefully, I’ll be done with Starfield’s main campaign by then.