We’re just going to say it; Cyberpunk 2077 is pretty damn good. Okay, stay calm, we didn’t say perfect, and we didn’t say that CD Projekt didn’t screw up severely. Yes, the launch of the game was rough, and the aftermath so badly handled that it’s a brain teaser trying to understand what went wrong. Well, besides a pandemic during the crucial last steps of development, of course. If you’re done with CD Projekt, it is perfectly understandable, and you should pick games developped by studios who have a tendency to deliver 100% finished games, such as SquareEnix’s latest Final Fantasy 16, for which Jame already has a Platinum Guide coming out by the way.
But Cyberpunk 2077 is still an incredibly impressive game, even if lacking in a few fundamental areas. The big draw is, as most reviewers agree, the astoundingly immersive Night City. From the neon-draped alleyways, to the towering, advertisement-plastered skyscrapers, there is no denying that the team nailed the visuals.
Imagine the potential of this setting if the developers give it a second bash, and manage to hit it out of the park.
Let’s just be frank, CD Projekt are well aware of the situation. The studio spent decades earning truckloads of goodwill, repeatedly declaring themselves as the last bastion of morality in the games industry. Many bought into the façade. Heck, we sure did, and are still in a bit of denial as to just how badly Cyberpunk’s launch went. So you can bet your bottom dollar that the company is going to come out swinging with Phantom Liberty.
If anything, the goal will be to go well beyond expectations. They’ll aim to blow us all away, forcing us to admit that, yes, CD Projekt is still the best company ever, and that Cyberpunk 2077 was nothing more than a stumble on their path to glory. But then, is the company even capable of all of this, or are the glory days truly behind them forever?
The Company Is Capable Of Greatness
Now, let’s just be clear about something. The Witcher 3 is still, to this day, amongst the best games ever made. It’s definitely the best RPG ever made, hands down. So we can all agree that the studio is perfectly capable of making masterpieces. If Cyberpunk 2077 did have more time, and hadn’t been disrupted by a pandemic, it easily could have been a home run.
At least we think so. On the other hand, if we’re wrong you can always just ignore Phantom Liberty and go check out the pokies online NZ already loves instead.
Early Signs Are Outstanding
As of mid-June 2023, reviewers and influencers are being given the chance to try out a beta of Phantom Liberty. All seem to agree that the expansion looks incredible, with a heavy emphasis on the fact that, thankfully, cars no longer launch themselves into orbit.
That cars obey the laws of gravity is a low bar to set, but the point is Phantom Liberty looks incredibly stable. It should, given that the company has now had an additional year to work out the kinks.
The Base Game Is Also Getting An Update
This is the big one. According to CD Projekt, an enormous amount of effort is also going into the base game. The expansion, upon release, won’t just add content, it will also dramatically improve Cyberpunk 2077. Good news, and hopes are that everything missing, like a decent police force, is now going to be present.
Hopefully civilians will now also seem a bit less braindead, enemy AI will be above special needs, and perhaps we’ll also be able to use some of the many useless stores.
It’s Going To Cost Extra
The downside to all of the above is that, yes, Phantom Liberty is going to cost extra. Ouch. You’d think that CD Projekt might just slip it out as a freebie, given the situation. But no, Phantom Liberty is coming at an extra cost, and that’s a damn shame.
In our opinion, this is the factor that lowers hopes a little. We really do hope Phantom Liberty will be worth the price, but struggle to imagine that the existing player base will fork out, unless Phantom Liberty is nothing short of revolutionary. We’re fairly sure it will be good, but worth a fistful of additional cash? Maybe not.
A True Company Crossroads
There is a future where Phantom Liberty is so good that blows everyone from PC users to those on the Steam Deck away. Where it fixes everything, turns Cyberpunk 2077 into a masterpiece, and we all, once again, sing the praises of CD Projekt. But there is also a future, a more likely future, when Phantom Liberty is mediocre, and CD Projekt continues a spiral into the abyss.