Cyberpunk 2077’s first and only DLC is right around the corner and along with CD Projekt Red deviating this return to Night City towards something akin to a spy thriller, fans are mostly excited at the prospect of a rejuvenated game including fresh mechanics, updates to core gameplay, plus revamped systems, perks, and skill trees. In fact, not all of Phantom Liberty’s innovations are exclusive to the DLC as base game owners will be able to take advantage of Cyberpunk 2077’s updates in the impending 2.0 release.
Create a new save file
Cyberpunk 2077’s 2.0 update alongside the Phantom Liberty DLC present a clean slate to start again. Phantom Liberty includes a brand-new espionage-based storyline taking place within the previously inaccessible district Dogtown that’ll become available during Act 2 of Cyberpunk 2077’s main questline, whilst 2.0 features a host of core mechanic overhauls such as fresh melee capabilities, vehicular combat, and refined hacking abilities. As such, starting anew represents the best way to enjoy the DLC’s story, even if it means beginning again with an under-skilled V.
The walled off area located to the east of Pacifica subdistricts Coastview and West Wind Estate has been branded Dogtown for Phantom Liberty, and it’s an unruly place even the NCPD fear to tread. Cyberpunk 2077’s Act 2, after V recovers from their injuries, is when the entire city becomes available to free roam, so it is crucial for those starting a new save file to at least reach Act 2 and unlock Pacifica as an explorable location before they can dive into Phantom Liberty’s story.
Complete quests M’ap Tann Pèlen, I Walk the Line, and Transmission
Spending time in Pacifica before beginning Phantom Liberty isn’t just our advice, it’s a prescription direct from Cyberpunk 2077 quest designer Pawel Sasko who recommends spending some time completing Pacifica’s questlines before jumping into the expansion. Whilst to be clear, completing Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t essential to enjoy Phantom Liberty the experience will no doubt be enriched with a firm understanding of Pacifica’s place in Cyberpunk 2077 lore. Plus, as Sasko says, you’ll need to be introduced to Voodoo Boys kingpins Placide and Mamam Brigitte first, with Pacifica quests M’ap Tann Pèlen, I Walk the Line, and Transmission the best way to do this.
Acquire Johnny Silverhand’s items
Now, contrary to what we’ve just said, if you’ve already made it to Act 3 and don’t fancy starting a new save file you can embark on the side mission ‘Chippin’ In’ in which most of legendary character Johnny Silverhand’s items can be collected, including his aviators, samurai jacket, malorian arms, and super-sweet Porsche 911 turbo. In fact, in a prior story mission ‘Tapeworm’ you can get a hold of Johnny’s tank top. Pants and boots can be found in gigs, too. Why would you want to do this? Well, as Keanu Reeves is reprising his iconic role for Phantom Liberty, we can expect further explorations of Silverhand’s backstory, so why not step into Dogtown dressed head to toe in his threads too?
Complete Dream On side-quest
Hands down amongst the best side quests in the entire game, Dream On tasks V with investigating lapses in memory and visions of a burglary-turned-murder. V uncovers a twisted plot stuffed with espionage, surveillance, and underhand brainwashing, culminating in a tough decision with ramifications however the mission ends. With Phantom Liberty being skewed in the direction of spy-based thriller, the Dream On side quest is the ideal proving ground to prepare.
Bulk up bank balance
There are a host of side activities to shore up your eddie reserve, and with an enticing black market within the confines of Dogtown to pilfer for exclusive goods – custom cyberware included – it’d be prudent to bulk up your balance before diving into Phantom Liberty. That means side gigs, and lots of them. NCPD Scanner Hustles, SOS: Merc Needed, and Search and Recover gigs are all fair game here. For extra practice in Phantom Liberty’s brand of stealth and espionage, the Thievery and Agent Saboteur missions are ideal.
Cyberpunk 2077’s 2.0 update features a drastic overhaul of the cyberware system, and thus Phantom Liberty gets the same treatment. In short: V will now only be able to equip a certain amount of cyberware before accumulating debuffs such as reduced health. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as this new system presents opportunity for enhanced cybernetic customisation without the chance of cyberpsychosis as per anime spinoff Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. And just like Edgerunners’ David Martinez, V can now level up their cyberware capacity to unnaturally high levels.
Complete The Hunt
Another quest alongside Dream On that’ll serve as ample training for Phantom Liberty’s obligation to serve and protect the President of the NUSA after she finds herself stranded in the jeopardous Dogtown. With a narrative centring on mysterious abductions occurring throughout Night City and with V infiltrating the NCPD, The Hunt is amongst the most impactful stories in Cyberpunk 2077 and worth checking out in anticipation of Phantom Liberty.
Acquire a car fit for combat
One of the headline additions coming to Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 is the long-anticipated vehicular combat. Whilst it’s been a mod for ages, it’s only after 2.0 and the Phantom Liberty expansion that the ability to wield a katana from a motorbike becomes officially part of the game. In anticipation of this update, it’d be worth investing some time acquiring a car fit for combat. Hypercars, with their blend of speed and armour, might be most appealing here.
Get the best melee weapons
Melee brawling is to receive an overhaul in Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 too, so it’d make sense to stock up on the best hand-to-hand hack n’ slash weaponry the game has to. Of course, there are new melee weaponry coming in the Phantom Liberty update, including the Thermal Katana, a glowing red blade capable of melting through armour like a hot knife through butter.
Tied to Phantom Liberty’s cyberware overhaul, V’s armour stats are now corelated to their cybernetics rather than their outfit, meaning players have more opportunity to style their character in whatever clothing takes their fancy. Whilst before you’d outfit V in the Reinforced-Laminate Military Flight Jacket for its defensive stats, now V can wear it just because it looks cool.
Become an overpowered hacker
V is likely to come face to face with supremely overpowered netrunners within Dogtown, so it’d be wise to shore up their hacking capability. Some of the best damage-inducing quickhacks include Synapse Burnout and Short Circuit, whilst Ping might be useful to reveal enemy locations in the HUD – especially when we expect there’ll be a lot more sneaking around in Phantom Liberty compared to the base game.
Ensure you have current-gen console or beefed-up PC
Yes, Phantom Liberty is eschewing last-gen hardware entirely with CD Projekt Red making the decision to harness the power of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S only when developing Cyberpunk 2077’s upcoming expansion. For PC players, you’re going to need something high-end to max out Phantom Liberty’s graphical potential. CD Projekt Red have released dedicated PC system requirements that confirm the machinery required to run the expansion at 1080p 30FPS, 1080p 60FPS, and 4K 60FPS – well worth checking out if you’re after high-fidelity high-performance gameplay.