First, let me say that this particular rant (praise rant?) is limited to just the Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 patch. I’m still working my way through Phantom Liberty and will post separately once I get through it.
Cyberpunk 2077 had a rocky launch, we all know this. I was one of the lucky ones who was able to make it through the game, completing it with what many consider the best ending for both V, Panam, and Johnny. Heartbroken that as a masculine V I couldn’t romance Judy, I opted for best friends and settled for Panam.
That paragraph alone should tell you that I generally had a great time with Cyberpunk 2077 in it’s launch state. By the end, I was horridly overpowered, one shotting everything with my revolver and cruising through the game without any concern for my safety. Somewhat lackluster gameplay aside, I was enamored with the story and the characters.
Let’s start at the beginning. I went into Cyberpunk 2077 nearly blind. I was careful in avoiding all but the most prominent trailers and stills. The first time I walked out into Night City after making it through my Corpo intro I was hooked on this city. The details, lighting, effects, and everything in between sucked me in. I felt a sense of awe and enjoyment in the design, the characters, and the vibe more so than I’ve felt in years.
So that is my bias, I guess. I just really enjoy a dystopian corporate world of neon, concrete, and titanium.
Beyond that, hanging with my best bud Jackie – I was set. This was my world, this was my life, I bought it all. Occasionally, a weird bug with dialog or a quest would cause me to be pulled out of my immersion. In general, however, I was able to connect with the world and characters in a way I haven’t in years.
Cyberpunk’s gameplay, though, was a mess.
Cyberpunk’s gameplay, though, was a mess. I enjoy a good power trip but accidentally building a one shot monster did take away from this a little. Feeling gutted at the first major death. I even messed this up and sent the body to the wrong place only to have it stolen later. Befriending the love of my life, Judy, dodging the advances of River, and solemnly saying goodbye to another character who had been through absolute tragedy. 80 hours later, I completed the game riding off into the sunset to live out my final days with my second best bae, Panam.
I tried over the years to pick the game up and play again, but I felt too connected to the characters from my first playthrough. That’s how good the story and writing are in this game – or at least how well that story fits for me personally. I rarely feel a connection to anything on this level, but when 2.0 was announced and the gameplay changes were shown, I knew I’d have to suck it up and return.
Boy was that a good decision.
The Return to the Night City
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 completely overhauls everything within the gameplay category. The skill trees are complex and integrated entirely with the world. How you heal received a revamp so you can’t just become an unstoppable med suckin’ chrome dome. Graphics are much improved (this was technically before 2.0, but 2.0 brough updates to some character models that do actually make a difference). It had a much more balanced feeling, which translates to a more enjoyable experience.
Part of that comes in completely replaced mechanics, such as how cops in Night City operate. I found myself getting a star for things such as injuring a person in a car and then having to book it. Then being able to successfully hide from the NCPD because, surprise! They don’t teleport behind you anymore.
It’s really a minor change if you’re like me and try not to do dangerous things in front of cops, but it felt right. More akin to GTA, and a lot more realistic than pre-2.0 days.
For my first 2.0 playthrough, I decided to go the Technical path on Very Hard, and it feels very balanced. A new benefit, is that you can respec at any time – allowing you to try new builds or new skills and really build a character that feels like you.
You wouldn’t think it, but this makes the game a lot more immersive, because in this world, as long as you got the eddie’s you can look and be whoever you want at any time.
Speaking of looks, hit up any mirror and now you can change your appearance whenever you like. Which I appreciate greatly, because up until now – looks and fashion didn’t matter at all. Combine that with Cyberpunk 2077’s new Cyberware system – one of my favorite changes – and you’ll find yourself excited to find that legendary biker jacket with the logo on the back.
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0’s Cyberware makes fashion matter
Cyberware has been changed to be your primary source of armor and skill bonuses. Arms, legs, neural, cardiovascular systems, you name it you can augment it. There are some pieces of clothing that still offer bonuses, but they make perfect sense within the game world. For instance, a ballistic vest might add 10 points of armor. A pair of shades might offer an increase in zoom. These are minor, but they add to immersion.
There are so many more changes to go over, but many might just be anecdotal. An example is that the city just feels more alive. It could be the placebo effect, but it seems that the AI system for NPC’s have been improved. It’s much more rare that they randomly just start cowering and running. Also, I haven’t “noticed” any of them just disappear when I turn around. These are all minor things that add to the immersive nature of the game.
Add on the fact that I’m lucky enough to have a 4090 and have been playing on max settings with Ray Tracing Overdrive on? Brothers, sisters, and in betweeners – this experience is unlike any other.
All in all, the game is impressive – again. CD Projekt Red has proven again, that releasing a poorly optimized broken game is their MO, but so is fixing it and turning it into a masterpiece. See The Witcher 3 launch – similar although not quite as bad.
For me, this is a winner. I will be putting many more hours into the game. After I’m done thoroughly enjoying it, including the new DLC, I’ll be sure to post my thoughts on it here, as well.
As always, if you enjoy this Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 review or my rants you can watch them live over on my Twitch channel. I generally stream Monday-Friday starting around 5pm Central. See you there! https://www.twitch.tv/flamegoat
Like reading about what games I’m playing? Check out the reviews section where I’ll be writing up games as I stream them. Check out https://www.flamegoat.net/category/reviews/ or checkout my Starfield review here.
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 is a Masterpiece
Between the graphical overhaul, skill tree overhauls, wanted system/NCPD overhaul, bug fixes, and additions - the 2.0 update takes this game from a great story hampered by a mid gameplay experience to overall one of my favorite complete experiences in gaming. This game has it all, love, loss, great gameplay mechanics, and graphical fidelity that will have you double-taking.