Phantom Liberty is here, and before I play it, I want to go over some of the free changes that have come alongside it. For clarity’s sake, the changes included with the 2.0 update, which completely overhauled the game, are considered completely separate from Phantom Liberty’s release. You do not need the new DLC to enjoy these changes. And with that, let’s begin.
The 2.0 Update
The free update that CDPR has released overhauls everything in the game save for the most fundamental of quest progression, dialogue, and combat mechanics. Everything else, for the most part, has been reworked in some way, and on paper, it seems for the better. For the smaller things, players can rejoice in knowing that miscellaneous, low quality loot, which plagued every single battlefield post-victory, has been limited or replaced with leveled loot to decrease the overall opportunity cost of claiming the spoils of combat. Vendors now scale to the player’s level. Vehicles have been given some quality of life updates, such as destructible tires. Additionally, the police system has been reworked to resemble a more lively and dangerous reality for law breakers.
Now onto the most important changes in CyberPunk’s 2.0 update:
- Perk Tree Rework: The perk trees have been reworked into a smaller number of perks for each skill that change gameplay in a more drastic way than before. Players can expect a little more from spending their perk points aside from simple damage increases. A good example is Killer Instinct, from the Cool perk tree, which gives players 25% increased damage with stealthy weapons when not in combat, rewarding an unseen pattern of play. The perk trees also interact more with consumables and give bonuses to vehicles, which have seen an overhaul in how they function with the game.
- Consumable Rework: It wouldn’t be fair to mention the consumables without touching on their changes. Before the 2.0 update, Cyberpunk played like a resource collection game where by its mid stages you’d have acquired an effectively infinite number of healing goods and grenades that you could spam to no end, making boss fights tedious and mostly safe. From now on, players will have a set number of grenades and healing goods that they can draw from before needing to wait for them recharge. So if you’re capped at two healing goods and you use two, you’re out for an allotted amount of time.
- A Leveled World: I have an article talking about the nature of leveled worlds, if you’re interested in diving deep into what they are, but the essence of this change revolves around the enemies you encounter. Before, Cyberpunk’s world had enemies scattered throughout that were leveled in association with their location. So if you were in a high leveled area, the enemies would be higher leveled. Now, enemies will be leveled to the character at all times, so matter where you are, be it a late game area or an early game area, the enemies will have a consistent challenge across the board, where variation in difficulty will scale with the enemy’s preset rank as opposed to a flat level that you are either prepared or unprepared for. The loot they drop, too, will level with you, so you can expect an easy-to-follow path for your weapon upgrades.
- Armor Rework: Moving forward, only some clothing items will provide slight bonuses in armor, and will serve primarily as a cosmetic choice. Instead, players will be able to pick up their armor bonuses through attribute allocation, skill levels, and primarily, CyberWare stat modifiers. Most players see this as a welcome addition to Cyberpunk since much of the clothing previously sought for their armor bonuses looked kinda dumb. Now, there’s no more choosing between fashionscape and protection, just take both.
The changes brought in by the 2.0 update give Cyberpunk a fresh coat of paint and a host of new ways to play. Many of the more tedious aspects of the game have been removed or streamlined in a way that makes them unobtrusive. Despite this, the core gameplay is still the same, and the writing and story development have been mostly untouched, so if you didn’t like the game for those reasons before, you still won’t like them moving forward.