How the Cyberpunk 2077 Base Game Sets the Stage for its Phantom Liberty DLC

Highlights Phantom Liberty DLC aims to rescue Cyberpunk 2077 from its previous problems and offers CD Projekt Red a chance at redemption. Gameplay elements and storylines from the base game will resurface in the expansion, but there will also be new features and a fresh ending. The DLC takes place in the dangerous Dogtown region and introduces new characters, including veteran spy Solomon Reed portrayed by Idris Elba, though returning figures like Johnny Silverhand ensure that playing the main game beforehand is essential.

Base game expansions traditionally walk on a difficult path, attempting to further narratives by introducing new characters and weaponry without rocking the proverbial apple cart. Cyberpunk 2077’s Phantom Liberty DLC finds itself in an especially tough spot, as it is on a mission to rescue the base game from its myriad of problems, and the reclamation project could well be CD Projekt Red’s last chance for redemption in the shooter title. Even as Phantom Liberty prepares to overhaul Cyberpunk 2077 as players know it, some gameplay elements and storylines are bound to resurface in the expansion, and fans will be curious to see how the base game sets the stage for the DLC.

There have been some dumpster fire launches in the gaming industry, and Cyberpunk 2077 was a high-profile addition to the unwanted category, enduring heavy criticism for its writing and overall mechanics. Despite the tumultuous experience, the title rebounded in the following months with high-quality patches, and the Phantom Liberty expansion is the developer’s most comprehensive attempt to reform the game yet. With the DLC reportedly featuring a fresh ending to Cyberpunk 2077’s endgame and a shift in its playstyle, some base dynamics may not transition to Phantom Liberty, but a few provide a springboard for the expansion to lift off.

Phantom Liberty Should Still Rely on the Base Game’s Elements Cyberpunk 2077 Gamescom 2023 trailer police barricade screenshot

Phantom Liberty’s events occur before the point-of-no-return mission from Cyberpunk 2077, and it is essential to play through the base game to understand the overarching narrative. The DLC continues the tale of V’s heists and espionage mastery, and it is logical for the elements of stealth and assassination to maintain their status as a defining theme in Phantom Liberty. With additional side quests and a storyline featuring Johnny Silverhand in the upcoming DLC, players can expect the spy theme to dominate once again, although the new town could put a spin on the dynamics gamers are used to.

While much of Phantom Liberty’s gameplay settings don’t differ too much from the base game, the expansion takes place in the dangerous Dogtown region, a change of pace from the bright neon lights of Night City. In Cyberpunk 2077, NUSA President Rosalind Myers crash-landed in Dogtown following a hostile attack, and the Phantom Liberty DLC picks up where the base game left off, with V embarking on an extraction mission to rescue the president. Danger lurks around every corner, and encounters with the Barghest mercenaries – who are said to be more resilient than any adversary V has ever confronted – should keep players occupied.

The spycraft thriller narrative is aided by the appearance of veteran spy Solomon Reed, portrayed by Idris Elba, an undercover agent for the FIA. Forming a strategic alliance with V, his colleague Xenakis, and a cohort of seasoned espionage experts, the team works to hatch a plan to carry out their high-stakes mission. The new storyline has led to questions about Phantom Liberty’s weapons, with Cyberware particularly under scrutiny as fans long for marked improvements to their shooting mechanics. Cyberware was a main component of Cyberpunk 2077, offering a range of enhancements from augmented strength to extraordinary durability, and Phantom Liberty is building on the feature with graphical representations to demonstrate these effects.

Since Phantom Liberty heralds an improvement to Cyberpunk 2077’s much-maligned Police AI with a revamped wanted-level system, players can expect more tools tailored for infiltration in the DLC to avoid detection by Hansen and his forces. While the expansion brings several new features like a vehicular combat system, it builds on the narrative and dynamics of the base game, and CD Projekt Red isn’t tossing every idea from Cyberpunk 2077 into the bin despite its struggles. Instead, the developer seeks to cut out the extraneous bits of the puzzle, giving Phantom Liberty a sense of belonging in the futuristic universe, rather than representing a total upheaval of the base game’s ideals.

Cyberpunk 2077 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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