Cyberpunk 2077 Embarks on a Journey of Redemption Years After Its Tumultuous Launch
Mind-Blowing Cyberpunk 2077 Transformation! You Won’t Believe What’s New in the Latest Update!
I found myself pleasantly surprised upon revisiting Cyberpunk 2077, courtesy of its substantial new update. My initial encounter with the game took place during the turbulent days following its rocky launch in December 2020. At that time, my assessment leaned toward it being just passable. I cherished the moments of stealthy netrunning, infiltrating enemy systems with grace. However, several issues plagued the experience, including cringe-inducing dialogue, a clunky clothing and gear system that compelled me to wear ridiculous outfits for optimal stats, and the irksome zoomed-in mini-map.
Fast forward nearly three years, and many of these grievances have been rectified. After dedicating over a dozen hours to the latest update 2.0 and the Phantom Liberty expansion, I’m eager to continue my exploration of Night City.
While vehicular combat feels like a missed opportunity not present at launch, my preference for avoiding conventional weaponry led me to utilize my netrunning abilities even during encounters behind the wheel. I often disembarked from my vehicle to take cover and dispatch adversaries remotely, utilizing abilities that allowed me to detonate enemy cars before making a swift getaway. There’s also a new police system in place, but as someone who generally adheres to the law (excluding the multitude of missions involving criminal activities), it didn’t significantly impact my experience.
The numerous changes introduced in update 2.0, which you can find detailed in a GameSpot video breakdown, build upon previous improvements like optimizations for next-gen consoles, an enhanced mini-map, and seamless cross-saves that effortlessly transferred my Xbox Series X save to the PS5. I did encounter a few bugs along the way; during a critical Phantom Liberty boss battle, a tutorial prompt became stuck on the screen, rendering the boss immobile midair. Nonetheless, Cyberpunk 2077 now stands much closer to my initial expectations, and I can finally wholeheartedly recommend it.
In 2019, when CD Projekt Red, the Polish video-game company, announced the imminent release of their next project, Cyberpunk 2077, for the following year, it came as a shock to some of their own employees. Many believed it to be a jest. They argued that to fully realize the ambitious vision for this sci-fi role-playing game, it would require until 2022 at least.
When the game eventually launched in December 2020, following numerous delays, it 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 more details emerged about the game’s troubled development, Cyberpunk 2077 became a symbol of the industry’s issues, including overworked staff, understaffed teams, and rushed game releases.
However, redemption tales are universally appealing. Post-launch, executives issued apologies, and developers diligently released a series of updates and bug fixes. Some critics cautiously began to argue that Cyberpunk 2077 had become… good. A substantial patch in early 2022, the year when at least one CD Projekt Red developer had initially predicted the game’s release, brought significant improvements to combat, the game world, and more. A Kotaku critic even posited that the game “might finally be complete.”
Yet CD Projekt Red wasn’t content with stopping there. In September 2023, the Cyberpunk 2077 saga is reaching its conclusion with two major releases:
- The 2.0 patch, released on September 21, which fundamentally transforms core game mechanics.
- Phantom Liberty, an expansion featuring Idris Elba, scheduled for release on September 26.
Both offerings appear to be exceptional. Phantom Liberty introduces a new section of the dystopian Night City and weaves a gripping heist narrative in which players collaborate with the president and government operatives. Critics have showered it with praise, with IGN describing it as the pinnacle of Cyberpunk 2077.
While new content is undoubtedly exciting, it’s the 2.0 patch that makes the most profound impact on Cyberpunk 2077. The moment you launch the game, you’ll notice a cleaner menu interface, a streamlined loot system, and a character-building experience transformed by a revamped skill system, enabling more diverse playstyles. Players can now specialize, crafting characters into stealthy ninjas, agile assailants, or cybernetic hackers.
Cyberpunk 2077’s most significant issue, aside from the bugs, was its identity crisis, wavering between being a Deus Ex or Grand Theft Auto-like experience. It struggled to define itself as either a deep role-playing game or a systemic open-world sandbox, ultimately falling short of both standards.
The new patch doesn’t definitively choose a side in this debate, but it fortifies both aspects. The revamped level system invites the kind of experimentation RPG enthusiasts had hoped for in Cyberpunk 2077. Elements such as loot and crafting have also undergone substantial refinement.