It’s been almost three years since the disastrous launch of CD’s Project Red’s massively anticipated sci-fi RPG Cyberpunk 2077 crashed and burned onto PC and consoles.
This September however marked the launch of the game’s 2.0 update that overhauls the game down to the tiniest detail.
Unlike the main game, the 2.0 update launched on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series consoles only, leaving last generation systems behind.
This change has been for the best as without the outdated hardware dragging them down, CDPR has been able to build one of the coolest RPGs and densest worlds gaming has ever seen.
This can be seen immediately in just how few massive bugs now exist within the game and how smooth everything runs.
Build yourself up, literally
Customisation has been reworked from the ground up in 2.0 allowing for much more diversity and freedom in playstyle and presentation.
Clothing has been separated from Armour allowing you to focus on making V look like the legendary merc of your dreams.
Meanwhile player’s health and armour is now all based around the overhauled cyberwear system so players will no longer have to sacrifice style for stats.
Speaking of cyberwear, the system has been redone to be for more in-depth and relevant to specific builds rather than being simply an afterthought.
In the new system certain implants will be locked behind specific skills meaning that players that want to focus their build on being the ultimate cyborg death machine need look no further than the tech skill tree.
The human body is not infinite however which is where cyberwear capacity comes in.
This means that only a certain amount of chrome can be used at a time though this can be expanded with perks such as Edgerunner.
The last major change to cyberwear seems to take inspiration from the game’s massively successful anime spin-off Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.
So if players aren’t careful they will be hit with a range of crippling debuffs until their chrome is brought under control.
The cyberpsychosis system gives real consequences to overloading your body with cyberwear, a concept which already existed in world’s lore.
A merc’s gotta have skills
The skill tree has probably seen some of the biggest changes going into the 2.0 update and the results are nothing short of phenomenal.
No longer will players merely pick from a variety of stat buffs and the occasional new ability, now they’ll have access to a far more vibrant and unique selection of distinct skills.
Players can now truly embrace their greatest cyberpunk fantasies in whatever forms that may take.
In this new system, players will need to make deliberate choices about where to invest their skill and attribute points if they want to unlock the most powerful and impactful skills in each tree.
If a player regrets a decision with a choice of skill it’s not the end of the world as skills can now be refunded with the press of a button.
So, from cyberized one-man armies to blisteringly fast blade masters and phantom netrunners, Night City has become a puzzle box that every player will tackle in their own unique style.
I fought the law
One of the most complained about aspects of Cyberpunk 2077’s launch was its terrible police/wanted system that was, to put it lightly, an absolute joke.
At launch police officers would simply teleport into the world, even at points materialising in rooms with no other entrances right behind the player.
Whereas now the NCPC is on much finer form with responses scaling based on the crime committed and the area it was committed in.
This means that crime in the slums and in downtown will have very different responses fitting with Night City’s blatant inequality.
The response itself is now far more realistic with police cars and patrol officers slowly trickling in after the crime is initially reported.
Evading the law is an engaging process that will test players ability to think on their feet and make the most of Night City’s verticality.
If players decide to take the police head on they will encounter scaling resistance from beat cops to drones and culminating in the terrifying MaxTac.
If MaxTac descends they will shut down vehicles and send boss-like specialists that feel like a true unstoppable force you can only hope to survive.
Crime doesn’t pay but now, in Night City, it sure makes for a good time.
Become death, destroyer of worlds
Now what would a dystopian future be without weapons, lots and lots of weapons.
Well 2.0 has that covered with massive reworks to the gunplay, melee weapons and enemy behaviour.
This culminates in super satisfying combat that makes players feel really powerful while still having the enemy feel like true threats.
In addition to these changes vehicular combat is a new addition to 2.0 that had only ever existed in a select few scripted moments before.
Now players can use a pistol or sub-machine gun while driving and wreak havoc against their foes including the now fully mobilised NCPC.
In addition to using your weapons, certain weaponised vehicles can now be utilised to devising effect, they can also be further amplified with certain skills in the tech skill tree.
A fresh coat of paint
On top of these mountain of changes the game has received a visual pass that makes everything look a lot more polished and next-gen.
These improvements can be seen everywhere but are particularly noticeable on the faces of character models.
A great example of this is Johnny Silverhand who now truly looks like Keanu Reeves instead of a slightly melted wax figure version.
Combined with the already brilliant art style and world, the game is now a true visual treat.
A triumphant encore
Returning to the stage like its rocker boy companion, Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 is the game we all imagined during the years of hype.
All of this is without even mentioning the new Idris Elba-staring, spy-thriller inspired Phantom Liberty expansion that is also available now.
A fantastic action RPG now compliments the already brilliant dystopian and tragic story to create one of the best RPG’s in recent years, on the second try around at least.
Feature image credit: CD Projeckt Red