CD Projekt RED has a knack for developing expansions that are as excellent as they are meaty, and with Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, the developer has done that again. Combined with the gameplay overhauls of Update 2.0 (which also applies to the base game itself), Phantom Liberty is a radical improvement, and feels like a significantly different experience from what the original game was until not that long ago. That, of course, means that there’s going to be plenty of new elements in the expansion that you’re going to be learning about from the ground up, and to make that process a bit smoother for you as you ease yourself into Dogtown and Night City, here, we’ve compiled a few handy pointers that you should keep in mind.
INVESTING IN ATTRIBUTES
Phantom Liberty and Update 2.0 feature a completely overhauled progression system, where investing points in attributes and perks is much more intricately tied together. As you pump points into, say, the Cool attribute, not only does that give you the relevant permanent stat upgrades and help unlock more dialogue options, it also opens up more of the perk tree for that attribute, allowing you to unlock more new perks. As such, it’s important to put thought into how you’re investing your attribute points. For instance, investing more in the Body attribute is the ideal way to craft a melee-focused build, but that will mean you won’t have too many options for, say, hacking-related perks in other trees.
WHEN TO SPEND ATTRIBUTE POINTS
A simple question on paper that you should be giving more thought than it might seem you should is- when should you be investing your attribute points? As soon as you earn one? That might be the way to go in the ordinary course of things, but here, it’s often a good idea to hold on to your points. Often in Phantom Liberty, you’ll find obstacles or locked paths or specific dialogue choices that need you to have a certain amount of points pumped into varying attributes. While it’s obviously not wise to spend a handful of banked points on a single attribute just so you can pass a single skill check, if you’re short by, say, two points at a critical skill check, it pays to have some attribute points saved up and ready to be spent.
The new and redesigned perk trees offer plenty of unlockable skills that give instant and tangible rewards, and the Reflex tree is a perfect example of that. The Reflex tree is a perfect example of that, because there’s several perks in there that can significantly improve movement and traversal mechanics. There’s Power Slide, which increases the distance of your slide; Dash, which replaces your regular dodges with quick dashes that cover more distance; Multitasker, which enables you to shoot while you’re sprinting, sliding, and vaulting; and Muscle Memory, which lets you reload while doing so as well. If you’re targeting a build that allows you to zip and weave around the battlefield while showering your enemies with bullets, the Reflex tree is well worth investing in.
On the other hand, if your ideal character build is one focused on stealth and hacking rather than out-and-out combat, the Intelligence tree is the way to go. With the Eye in the Sky perk, for instance, any and all cameras and access points around you will be automatically highlighted, giving you a better chance of moving through hostile areas without being spotted, while the Encryption perk significantly reduces the traceability of your quickhacks, which means you can, say, overheat enemies with much less risk. There’s also the Optimization perk, which adds a healthy chunk to your max RAM, letting you stack even more quickhacks on enemies, and Proximate Propogation, which will make quickhacks cheaper the closer you are to your target.
OTHER USEFUL PERKS
There are, of course, plenty of other useful perks to be found across all five of Cyberpunk 2077’s new perk trees beyond the ones that we’ve already spoken of. The Painkiller perk in the Body tree is an incredibly useful one to have, given that it unlocks slow health regeneration during combat, while the four other perks it unlocks make it even more efficient under different circumstances. There’s also Slippery in the Reflex tree, which makes it increasingly difficult for enemies to shoot you the faster you move, while in the Technical tree, Health Freek and the four perks it unlocks can help significantly speed up the recharge time for your health items.
One pretty basic piece of advice you’re going to want to keep in mind is to always have a cyberdeck equipped, since without one, you cannot use quickhacks. Of course, if you’re less focused on stealth and hacking, that’s a different story, and there are plenty of other cyberware alternatives that you can equip to give you an edge in other ways. Without a cyberdeck, however, plenty of options will become blocked off for you, like turning off a camera, or overheating an enemy, or turning a turret against your foes, or even being able to take control of vehicles that are trying to chase you down (assuming you’ve unlocked that perk, of course).
SCAN ALL HOSTILE ROOMS
As a rule of thumb, anytime the game informs you via the minimap that you’ve entered a hostile location, it’s a good idea to pull up the scanner with L1 (or LB on Xbox) and take a scan of your surroundings. Find out if there are any enemies close by, if there are some cameras that you haven’t been able to spot with your naked eye, or if there are turrets that maybe you could disable before they become a threat. Without doing that, unless you’ve built your character to be a walking tank, there’s a good chance you could be walking into a pretty hairy situation. Obviously, that’s not a constant threat, but it can happen every now and then, and it can really take you by surprise.
As par of its progression overhaul, Cyberpunk 2077 has also made it so that your armour is now tied to your cyberware rather than what gear you have equipped, which means having the best possible cyberware equipped is even more crucial than ever. Of course, what cyberware you can equip will be determined by how much your cyberware limit is, but to ensure that you are in the best possible shape you can be on that front, it’s a good idea to regularly keep visiting ripperdocs to install new cyberware or upgrade the stuff you’ve already got equipped. Also worth keeping in mind- differen ripperdocs have different wares, so don’t just keep going to the same one repeatedly. Find out if there are better options out there.
Something that Phantom Liberty introduces that isn’t available in Update 2.0 is the new Relic Tree, which allows V to unlock entirely new abilities using the Relic in his head. There’s a handful of pretty useful options here, but by far, the most useful of the lot is Optical Camo, which temporarily renders you invisible by pressing R1 (or RB on Xbox). If you intend to play stealthily, Optical Camo is something you’ll want to keep equipped pretty much all the time (unless, say, you’re in combat and want to start chucking out grenades). Do keep in mind, however, that it takes a bit to recharge, so you’ll need to be smart about when to use it.
Let’s close things off with another tip that appliex exclusively to Phantom Liberty and not Update 2.0 as well. As you’re exploring Dogtown, you’ll often see air drops crashing down into areas around you, which you’ll be able to spot as red fumes rising from loot boxes even from a distance. These air drops are usually surrounded by hostile forces (who’re often even fighting each other to get to the loot first), but if you can nab the loot without being killed by them, you’re almost always guaranteed to get some pretty useful rewards, from shards to powerful new weapons to new cyberware and more.