Screenshot from Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty showing Songbird in a casino environment.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and Update 2.0 starter guide

By Jordan Oloman, Contributor

Phantom Liberty, the hotly-anticipated expansion to CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, has arrived. A spy thriller starring Idris Elba as FIA agent Solomon Reed, this meaty add-on introduces players to the district of Dogtown, a lawless enclave run by smugglers, fixers, and other shady individuals.

In addition to its new narrative, Phantom Liberty arrives alongside a broader gameplay overhaul of Cyberpunk 2077 called Update 2.0. Several of the base game’s systems—perks, skill trees, cyberware, and more—have been reworked to allow for greater roleplaying freedom and deeper immersion.

It’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re jumping in for the first time since Cyberpunk 2077’s launch in 2020, so we’ve put together a starter guide to help smooth the transition. Read on for everything you need to know about Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and Update 2.0, including a primer on all the new content and how to access it, plus some general tips and ideas for character builds to make the most of all the new mechanics.

How to access Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Phantom Liberty is a paid add-on for Cyberpunk 2077 and has been carefully integrated into the base game. As such, you have a few options for tackling it once you download and boot it up, depending on your situation:

  • Play Phantom Liberty with an old save
  • Start a new game and progress until you unlock Phantom Liberty
  • Start a new game and skip ahead to Phantom Liberty

If you’ve played Cyberpunk 2077 previously and want to keep progressing with an established character, you can load into any old save and proceed from there. The main stipulation for accessing the new content is that you must have completed the base game mission Transmission, which is part of the Voodoo Boys questline with Maman Brigitte and Placide. If you are continuing with an old save, just know that your perk points will be reset so you can reallocate them in the revamped skill trees. (More on that below.)
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty How To Access
You may want to experience Phantom Liberty with an entirely new character, though—or perhaps you are completely new to Cyberpunk 2077. In that case, hit New Game on the main menu and you’ll see two options. You can either pick "Regular Start" and play through Cyberpunk 2077’s main quest until Phantom Liberty becomes available, or "Skip Ahead to Phantom Liberty," which drops you into the game at a point where you can readily access the new story content. If you skip ahead, you will begin at Level 20 with your attribute points allocated automatically—though they can be reset for free at any point.

Regardless of your route into the game, once you’ve hit the criteria, you will be contacted by a character called Songbird. She prompts you to come to Dogtown, kicking off the events of Phantom Liberty.

What’s new with Cyberpunk 2077 Update 2.0?

Now that you’ve made it into the game by your preferred route, it’s time to get up to speed with all the Update 2.0 changes. The primary revisions are to skill trees and perks. Many existing perks have been removed and replaced with new perks that have a greater impact on gameplay, like the ability to dash in mid-air, deflect bullets with swords, and remote control or blow up cars with Quickhacks. The intention is to allow players to create specialised builds with meaningful consequences in combat.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Skill Tree
Character attributes have not changed. We still have skill trees tied to five core attributes: Body, Reflexes, Technical Ability, Intelligence and Cool. The number of points you put into each attribute determines the skills you can access. Everyone has access to the Rookie skills at the bottom of each tree, but you need 9 points in an attribute to access its Pro skills, then 15 for Phenom, and 20 for Legend.

The Legend skills, in particular, provide a strong return on investment. For example, 20 points in Technical Ability allows you to choose the Edgerunner skill, which permits you to exceed your Cyberware capacity at the cost of your health. You can refund your perk points anytime, so be sure to play around and find a build that suits your playstyle.

Working in tandem with the new perk system, Update 2.0 also revamps Cyberware with a new capacity system and a slicker presentation when you head to the Ripperdoc to switch up your hardware. Your armor stat is now also tied to the Cyberware you equip, not your clothes, so you don’t have to worry about wearing certain items to reap the benefits. Your character’s clothes are an aesthetic choice instead of a practical one.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Cyberware Overhaul
Stamina has been overhauled as well. You no longer drain stamina by running, sliding, or jumping. Stamina only drains when you use a melee weapon or fire a gun, improving maneuverability in combat.

Rounding out the additions is the introduction of vehicle combat. Update 2.0 allows you to fire your favorite weapons from cars and motorcycles and get into chases on the streets of Night City. Complementing such nefarious activity, we also have a new police system with a star-tiered Heat gauge evocative of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto games. If you reach five stars, you’ll enter into a mini-boss battle against an elite division of the Night City Police Department called MaxTac.

Tips for playing Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Collect every Perk Shard before you begin

Update 2.0 has added many game-changing perks to Cyberpunk 2077’s skill trees. If you want to see them in action and understand how they play off each other, you’ll need as many Perk Points as possible. Beyond leveling up, another way to unlock more Perk Points is by collecting Perk Shards.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Perk Shard
Perk Shards are collectable items hidden around Cyberpunk 2077's map, and grant one extra perk point each. There are 11 Perk Shards in the base game, and you can fast-travel around Night City and collect them all within half an hour with the help of a video or text guide. This is an easy way to add extra Perk Points to your build, so you can really flesh out your V and nab the perks you need to become unstoppable.

Look for data terminals to unlock new Relic Skills

Early in Phantom Liberty, Songbird hacks the Keanu Reeves-carrying Relic implanted in V’s head to unlock a new Relic skill tree exclusive to the expansion. This skill tree requires Relic Points to unlock its skills, which are themed around the Arms Cyberware options (Mantis Blades, Monowire, and such) and some new abilities.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Relic Skills
Getting more Relic Points requires finding and hacking data terminals dotted around Dogtown. When you get close to a terminal, you’ll see it on your HUD, denoted by the Relic symbol you can see in the Character screen.

To get you started: You'll find a data terminal in the mini-dungeon to the right when leaving the Dogtown hideout near the beginning of Phantom Liberty’s main quest.

Investigate the airdrops

In the opening hours of Phantom Liberty you’ll learn about airdrops, a new open-world event exclusive to Dogtown and the expansion. Caches of valuable weapons and items drop from the sky at random, denoted by a huge flare of smoke—similar to the Care Packages of PUBG: Battlegrounds.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Airdrops
It’s well worth your time (though optional) to investigate Phantom Liberty’s airdrops. You’ll have to kill the defending enemies and interlopers, of course, but the haul more than makes up for the trouble given that you can find skill progression shards, cyberware capacity shards, and high-level weapons and armor.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and Update 2.0 build ideas

Players returning to Cyberpunk 2077 with Update 2.0 and Phantom Liberty will face new challenges that demand dynamic solutions. We’ve picked out some skills and put together a few build ideas to help you get started with the redesigned perk trees.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Bullet Deflect
Cyber Shinobi (Hack-n-Slash)

Key attributes: Technical Ability, Reflexes

This build complements Update 2.0's new blade and movement skills with overclocked Cyberware.

Spec into Technical Ability first, all the way up to the Legend part of the tree, so you can pick up the Edgerunner ability. This allows you to exceed your Cyberware capacity at the cost of your health, but also means you have a chance of entering Fury mode upon neutralizing an enemy, which gives you extra damage, crit damage, and crit chance—perfect when you’re studying the blade. Overclocking your Cyberware capacity also means you can pick up more demanding Cyberware that grants speed buffs and armor upgrades.

In the Reflexes tree, pick up the Dash ability from the middle track—and if you have enough points, the Air Dash ability above it. This allows you to zip into combat to slice and dice and then zip out to safety when health is low.

Elsewhere in Reflexes you should pick up Lead and Steel and Bullet Deflect, enabling you to block or deflect bullets with your sword, adding some much-needed defense.

Flash and Thunderclap is another wise choice, allowing you to perform a distance-closing leap with a strong attack. Rounding out the build, grab the first ability in the Relic tree, Jailbreak, unlocking the ability to leap with your Mantis Blades so you can close the most considerable gaps between you and your enemies.
 Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Monowire
System Shock (Poisonous Netrunner, Monowire mayhem)

Key attributes: Intelligence

If you enjoy using Quickhacks in Cyberpunk 2077, this build is for you. Pick up the Jailbreak skill in the Relic tree first to unlock the ability to attach a Quickhack to your Monowire. When you use the Monowire’s strong attack, you’ll upload the Quickhack without using RAM. You can also pick up the Data Tunneling Relic skill, which makes your normal Monowire attacks spread the effects of the Quickhack to other enemies.

The rest of this build is anchored around improving your RAM capacity. Spec primarily into Intelligence, spreading your points across skills that recover RAM and health. Climb the middle tree towards the Overclock ability, which you can activate in combat to use more Quickhacks at the cost of your HP. The leftmost tree will improve your Quickhack queue so you can overwhelm enemies with hacks, too. You’ll also want to grab the Carhacker skill in the bottom-right, which allows you to hack enemy vehicles.

Round out your build with abilities like Siphon, which allows your Monowire attacks to recover RAM. You can also grab the Finisher: Live Wire skill to get a Monowire finisher that recovers health and RAM. Overall, you’re looking to increase the efficacy of this endless hacking feedback loop. With some investment, this build will turn you into a monster who can unravel groups of enemies with hacks from afar and cause incredible damage up close with the Monowire.

You can pick up Cyberpunk 2077, the Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty expansion, or both bundled together on the Epic Games Store now.