Game Reviews

Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty review

Big changes with big tech

from ₹ 2,999

₹4,498 with Phantom Liberty DLC

The whole fiasco with Cyberpunk 2077 was something no one expected. It was the most controversial launch which ricocheted CD Projekt Red’s ambition off a cliff. Thankfully, things are much better now and we’ve finally got our hands on the first-ever paid DLC — Phantom Liberty. 

Although, besides Phantom Liberty and the additional content it brings, CD Projekt Red has also released Update 2.0 which is a massive overhaul to the entire game’s mechanics, skill tree, NPCs and graphics.

So wipe the dust off those mantis claws and rip your way into Cyberpunk 2077 because everything is smoother and meatier than ever before.

The Phantom Liberty brings a new playable area called Dogtown which is heavily fortified with guns, turrets, people with guns, people with turrets, cars with turrets and dilapidated buildings. Yeah, not the safest place for a Presidential chartered flight to crash land but that’s how the story goes and it’s one heck of a crash land. In Korean drama terms, this is in the literal sense of Crash Landing on You! However, keep those rom-com fantasies in check because Idris Elba who plays Solomon Reed, is not up for a beer or a scuba dive into a drowned city. Reed’s character is filled with mystery and the surrounding city of Dogtown makes it even more interesting to explore all sides of the story.

Keanu Reeves and Idris Elba in one game is too much to handle for our collective minds but past all the bling (literally, Ray Tracing is absolutely jaw-dropping here), Phantom Liberty brings a proper spy thriller that goes from shooting down three-storey-tall six-legged military robots to carefully selecting a nuanced dialogue for getting things done your way. The story keeps you entertained and thoroughly engrossed with mystery, intrigue and bombastic action sequences. 

It will take you 15 to 18 hours to complete the main missions and if you count in side quests, it could be longer. Although Dogtown rarely threw in any interesting side quest. The main mission is where the good stuff happens.

The Update 2.0 has also completely changed most of the Perk tree progression. If you’re jumping in after a long time, be prepared to spend some time reassessing your build. Your skill points (Attribute and Perk points) will be refunded to spend as you want and there’s a new branch as well called Relic. Skills from Perk Tree are also locked behind the Attribute level. Say you want to jump out of a car in pure Rajnikant fashion and shoot the enemy in the face, it’s possible but only after you reach a certain level of a particular Attribute for that perk to unlock. 

Cyberware, you know, where you go to the doctor to swap bones for titanium? Yes, that’s locked behind Attribute progression as well. So side missions are the best way to gain some experience and unlock everything for the perfect build. Honestly, it’s more rewarding this time and you don’t feel like you’re grinding a lot because you can also increase Attribute points by collecting Shards which enemies drop.

Police are also more aggressive this time. Chasing you like the GTA cops depending on the severity of the crime and your wanted rating. There are a ton of bug fixes and changes which will take forever to note down so it’s best you follow this list of changes by the dev team on this link to know more.

Cyberpunk 2077 is also the place where the Nvidia GPU can truly stretch its legs. It’s one of the first games to have DLSS 3.5, Path Tracing and DLSS Ray Reconstruction. All of these settings are what’s new to Nvidia’s new Ray Tracing smarts and it’s packaged along with DLSS Frame Generation, DLSS Super Resolution and DLAA. We ran the game on Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 and Zotac GeForce RTX 4080. Our RTX 4090 was running the game at 35FPS with all Nvidia sampling settings turned off meanwhile all the Ray Tracing and other graphic settings were turned up to the highest possible settings. That’s not ideal but that’s the ‘brute force’ way of generating frames here. However, things get interesting when you turn on DLSS 3.5 (DLSS Super Resolution in settings) with DLSS Sharpness set to 0.80. The frame rate almost doubles which we saw earlier with DLSS 3 as well. We got around 68 average FPS. If you opt for Path Tracing, which is a tech preview for Cyberpunk 2077, the frame rate doesn’t really change as such but the image quality gets a bit smudgy. Path Tracing is still in a nascent stage so it's best to keep off. 

The Nvidia DLSS Frame Generation pushes the frame rate to 130FPS on 2K resolution. It’s downright mindboggling and the game doesn’t really glitch at all. It’s a much better and more refined execution of what we saw during the launch period. However, it looks better when you’re away from your screen and on 4K resolution. On 2K resolution on a monitor, you can see artefacts and shimmering on character faces. Even DLSS Ray Reconstruction brings some softness and shimmering to the picture quality. You should best stick to DLSS Super Resolution. However, we constantly switched to DLSS Frame Generation for action scenes and fast-moving gameplay for fluid motion and better frame rate. Typically parts of the game where frame rate was a priority.

Our Zotac Gaming Nvidia RTX 4080 churned out an average of 22fps on 4K resolution with Nvidia sampling settings turned off while all Ray Tracing and other graphics were set to 'Psychotic' or High. We got similar results to our test on the Nvidia RTX 4090 when we turned on DLSS 3.5 with Sharpness set to 8.0. This time the frame rate shot up to a healthy average of 55FPS! That's more than double, and remember this is on 4K resolution. Sure there were occasional drops to 44fps but for the most part, it remained above 50! Things improve further, albeit slightly, when you switch off 'Film Grain' 'Lens Flair' and 'Motion Blur'. The game dynamics appear much cleaner and smoother and the overall result is a more enjoyable gameplay.

Oh, and Impulse 99.9 radio channel features a completely new set of songs remixed by Idris Elba. 

You can read our old review of the game down below which highlights the main campaign.

Stuff says - 4/5 stars

More than just a DLC, this is Cyberpunk 2077’s 2023 revival and it’s the best time to jump back in!

Cyberpunk 2077 review

For many, it has been a disastrous few weeks with the game. Bugs, glitches and all that nasty stuff is still plaguing CD Projekt Red’s ambitious game. It’s not the most polished gaming experience and even with several patches, Cyberpunk 2077 is still a couple of patches away from being totally bug-free. That said, we reviewed the game on PC and after the first hotfix, our game was playable if not the smoothest. After spending a good deal of time in Night City and completing the main story mission, it’s not the never-ending shindig that we assumed but it’s heavily story-driven, has meaningful outcomes to your choices and the world around it is so beautiful that you’ll be left thinking of Cyberpunk well after your first run with it.

That lasting impression is what very few games manage to do it, and that’s exactly why it’s hard to ignore Cyberpunk 2077 in 2021.

Keanu Reeves and his paper-faced emotions won’t blow you away but if you’re a Keanu fan, don’t let me hold you back. You’re going to enjoy every second of him on the screen. Yes, he’s not much of a playable character but as the story progresses, you’ll find joy in Keanu’s shoes. 

Depending on your choice, one of the three - Nomad, Street and Corpo is the starting point and no matter what you pick, the main story will pan out quite similarly. And even though it’s difficult to shake its linear story progression with your choices, the game’s missions and the ending will twist and turn in multiple ways.

Choices are important and they feel important too. Nearly every mission has a dialogue interaction and the way it pans out is heavily influenced by your decision. Some missions will happen differently for you and only when you discuss it with a friend, you’ll realise that it’s not the same for everyone. 

Combat also is quite fun, even if at times broken for the game world. You’ll have guns and weapons that can shoot through walls and even homing shots that lock onto enemies. As is with most games, going guns blazing is always the easiest way and stealth often comes as an afterthought. Still, if you choose to hack your way through combat, it will reward you differently. Gunning down enemies becomes easier after hacking into their cyberware and sometimes avoiding bloodshed reaps different rewards. 

You can opt for melee combat too. Cybernetics will enhance your arms to land incredible punches or rip enemies in half with the Mantis blades but they often make you feel like a fish out of water. You can run towards enemies like a bullet sponge and slice them up but it doesn’t feel rewarding enough. It’s the future, why can’t we ricochet bullets with a katana? 

Weapon modding and crafting also feel like padded content. I found no value or incentive in them in my entire playthrough and even clothes and outfits started to feel like cosmetics rather than stat-boosting upgrades. Even character customization is only possible when you start the game. You cannot change your appearance after you finalise on to the initial look. This is quite the opposite of what we’ve come to expect from RPG games and especially an RPG from the famed developers of the Witcher 3!

Side missions come your way fast and furious. During the initial phases of the game, it might feel overwhelming with the many side mission markers and a plethora of text messages from people who want to hire you for your mercenary services. But some of the side missions are genuinely amazing. Fans of The Office will be happy to know that there’s a side mission with a reference to the show and it’s quite funny to see it through.

But once you take a stroll through Night City, you’ll be captivated by the level of detail. It really does feel like a diverse and believable world. Every nook and cranny of the city is detailed, and once you’re progressing through the missions, the characters that fill this space breathe life into the game. There are plenty of dialogue options that make every mission with its NPCs a memorable exchange of words and give insight about the game world. Whether you’re carrying out a heist with Jackie or sending Nomad groups to their desert coffins with Panam or simply having a debate about good and evil with Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077 has nailed the dialogue options and its choices down. It’s meaningful and urges replayability.


It also looks fantastic, if you have the horsepower. Even with Ray Tracing off, the game looks next-gen. Cars and bikes are so meticulously crafted that it can put some racing games to shame. They look fantastic. Everything in Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it’s going to squeeze every last pixel out of your system but only if you have a beefy gaming rig capable of churning out that high level of detail. Our RTX 2080Ti was barely limping through 40 frames without Ray Tracing at 2K resolution. HDR implementation is great as well but we wished it was optimised for the lower-end systems too. We faced plenty of challenges while running the game on a Dell G3 and console optimisation is best left to the internet memes for a thorough explanation. Mind you, CD Projekt Red is slowly fixing the game and we delayed our review by a month for the fixes to come but I still feel it's a good two or three months away from being at its very best on every platform. 


Enough has been said about the bugs and glitches that ruin the gaming experience in Cyberpunk 2077. Many of my friends and colleagues are facing bugs and issues even on the PC version and have delayed their venture into Night City for a time after CD Projekt fixes it. 

That said, for us lucky few who have managed to scrape through its sprawling city, Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best games around in terms of storytelling and world-building. There’s a never-ending list of promised features that never made it into the final game and we believe that the fact that someone from CD Projekt made those promises was a mistake in the first place. For the hardcore fans that believed in the game devs to add drivable flying cars and realistic interactions with cops such as bribing them, the game will never feel like what it could’ve been. For those who tone down the expectation and approach Cyberpunk 2077 for its fascinating story in mind, the game can be up there with the best.

Stuff Says

The most ambitious game from 2020 still has the potential to sweep you in… if you manage to run it without the bugs
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Choices have meaningful outcomes

  1. Detailed city

  1. Fun side missions

  1. Great story

  1. Variety of weapons

  1. Crafting and customisation is useless

  1. Does not encourage switching weapon type

  1. Buggy and still needs patching