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Image via CD Projekt RED

Is Cyberpunk 2077 Worth Playing Now?

Cyberpunk 2077 is in a fantastic state after the 2.0 update, but is it worth playing now?

To put it kindly, the “‘conversation” about whether Cyberpunk 2077 was ever good or was made good by patches like 1.5 and 1.6 has never been a quiet one. Now, with the massive 2.0 update, the question rears its head again. But do the updates, and now the Phantom Liberty expansion, make the game what everyone wanted it to be back in 2020? It’s complicated, but I think the answer might surprise you. So, is Cyberpunk 2077 worth playing now?

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Is Cyberpunk 2077 Worth Playing Now?

Image via CD Projeckt RED

After the 2.0 update, I can say that, yes: Cyberpunk 2077 is good now and more than worth playing. Though I’ve been playing it the whole time — and I reviewed it originally — that’s without sentiment. It’s not bug-free, nor has the story or world seen massive changes. But from a gameplay, performance, and fun-factor perspective, it’s never been better.

Better, Stronger, Faster Perks

Start with the overhauled Perk system. Before, you could make cool builds, but there was never a good reason to focus on any one area. Building something specific or being very careful about where you put your points and resources wasn’t as much of a concern. You could just, you know, put most of your points in Body and Reflexes, then splatter some in intelligence for netrunning abilities. Cool and Technical Ability were sort of there to take up space.

Related: Best Builds in Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 and Phantom Liberty

Now, fully investing in any of the stats in Cyberpunk 2.0 is incredibly useful. A Cool stealth build with suppressed pistols can one- or two-shot any boss in the game. It makes standard fights a joke. A Reflexes build that combines katanas, Mantis Blades, and a Sandevistan can clear rooms before the enemies even know there’s someone killing them. Technical Ability now turns you into a cyberware-equipped demigod. The list goes on.

Night City 2.0

Night City also feels more alive after update 2.0. There are gang fights, random police encounters, and the fuzz is actually a threat. Should you make the mistake of getting to a four- or five-star wanted level, watch out. You’ll find the enemies are more than a match for almost any early-midgame build. And if you want a real challenge, get to five stars and fight MaxTac, where you’ll go up against several boss-level officers. And there’s at least one netrunner in support.

Oh, did I mention there’s car combat now, and you can buy cars decked out in armor-plating and hood-mounted machine guns? And that if you have the Phantom Liberty expansion, there’s a procedural “steal and sell cars” system? Or should I mention that the weapon rarity and enemy-level systems have been entirely rebuilt?

If you want to argue semantics, sure, the world still feels a bit empty, the story of the base game is lacking at times, and endgame progression is lackluster. None of that has changed. But for me, none of those things was a dealbreaker, even right at launch.

Was Cyberpunk 2077 Always This Good?

Image via CD Projekt Red

Whether you think Cyberpunk 2077 was always good depends on how you approach the question. If you were a PS4 or Xbox One player, the answer is an unequivocal “No.” To say that Cyberpunk was even playable on last generation’s consoles is insulting. The memes made themselves. Hell, I’d make the claim that the game wasn’t even good on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. It was difficult to experience anything that would change your opinion. Just playing it was enough of a chore.

If you were someone who could get past most of the performance issues via luck or perseverance, then I genuinely believe Cyberpunk was good. Was it the masterpiece we all expected after The Witcher 3? Not even close. But it wasn’t demonstrably “bad,” either. It was good and no better. We gave it a 7/10 in our review back in 2020. I don’t think I would give the base game more than an 8/10 today. There are still too many little issues, but also: 8/10 is damn good.

I would be lying if I said the 40+ hours I spent reviewing Cyberpunk 2077 the first time weren’t enjoyable. It’s one of the only open-world games where I refuse to fast-travel because I love how rich the world is, even if that richness is mostly skin-deep. I think it’s a livelier, more interesting place than most other open worlds out there. The wild shenanigans you can get up to still tickle my funny bone thinking about them.

Should You Come Back to Cyberpunk 2077 Now?

Image via CD Projekt RED

This is the simplest of the three questions to answer. I think that if you didn’t like Cyberpunk 2077 after playing it for a few hours, there’s nothing new that will change your mind. If the game of a year ago wasn’t your bag, don’t come back. There’s probably not enough here to justify returning.

However, if you thought the game had potential but couldn’t make it past the bugs, performance issues, and other problems, I think now is the best time in the game’s history to try it again. Should you find you like how everything has changed, I can’t recommend getting the Phantom Liberty expansion enough.

Hopefully, all of that answers the question: Is Cyberpunk 2077 good now? Ultimately, it comes down to preference, though I think the good far outweighs the bad. It’s Cyberpunk 2077 at its best, for all that statement implies. If you choose to boot it up again or play for the first time, check out our guides hub for plenty of tips and tricks.


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Author
Image of John Schutt
John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.