When it was first released, Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t the game that players had imagined, but it has steadily improved over time. Gone are most of the glitches and crashes. In their place are new weapons, cyberware, Perks, quests, and even a new story. The 2.0 update and Phantom Liberty have changed the game more than ever, and one of the biggest additions is vehicular combat. V can now jump behind the wheel and fire from the driver’s seat, and many vehicles come with their own mounted weapons. Battling it out with cops, gangsters, and Barghest soldiers from a car is great. Rather than lament that it took so long to include this feature, it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate vehicular combat in Phantom Liberty for what it is.
Cyberpunk Vehicles and the 2.0 Update
To appreciate why vehicular combat is great in Phantom Liberty, it’s important to understand what vehicles and driving were like before the 2.0 update and DLC. Vehicle handling has improved by leaps and bounds since the game’s release. When Cyberpunk first came out, every vehicle handled poorly. Motorcycles were arguably the worst offenders. The controls felt floaty, fishtailing was a constant, and you were guaranteed to run into everything except whatever you might actually want to hit. Driving used to be a miserable experience, which is a shame, because the vibrant open world of Dogtown begs to be explored.
Over time, CD Projekt Red improved vehicles, though vehicular combat wasn’t introduced until 2.0, alongside Phantom Liberty. CDPR added numerous vehicles to the game, but that would’ve meant little if driving still felt terrible. Changes to hitboxes, collisions, floaty physics, and numerous other features gradually nudged driving in the right direction. With the 2.0 update, vehicles finally feel right. Though some offer a smoother ride than others, there’s at least a logic to which ones do. The addition of vehicle Perks across the various trees For car and bike enthusiasts, the time to jump into the game has come at last.
Vehicular Combat in Phantom Liberty
V now has several vehicular combat options. You can shoot from the driver’s seat, so if you’ve ever wanted to pull off a dystopian drive-by on your gangster rivals, you can. Bullets blow tires realistically, so if you’re trying to shake a stubborn pursuit vehicle, you can dump some lead into its wheels. Many vehicles also come equipped with their own weapons, from machine guns to missiles. If you’re a Twisted Metal fan eager to bring your own brand of car carnage to the streets of Night City, going toe-to-toe against other vehicles bristling with weapons, that’s finally an option. As a netrunner, V can even use quickhacks to take control of other vehicles. Force them to slam on the accelerator or just blow them to smithereens.
Vehicular combat in Phantom Liberty feels similar to Grand Theft Auto 5. That’s not a bad place to be in. A perfectly polished and infinitely deep vehicular combat system was never realistic. Instead, players got something that’s fast, fun, and arcadey. It lacks the deep upgrade system and customization that would be required to provide endless entertainment on its own. Still, that’s not why adding vehicular combat matters. The absence of vehicular combat in Cyberpunk felt like the hole left by a plucked tooth. You couldn’t help but poke around the spot and feel a twinge of pain, thinking of what should’ve been.
Vehicular Combat Redeems Cyberpunk
With the addition of vehicular combat and the other 2.0 changes, Cyberpunk finally feels complete. Driving around with a car full of weapons but being unable to fire a shot wasn’t just unfun. It was immersion-breaking. Phantom Liberty is better for having vehicular combat, even if you never use it. Its absence acted as an invisible wall, curbing your freedom and reminding you that Night City is just an illusion. With such a glaring oversight now fixed, Cyberpunk has evolved into one of the most complete and immersive open-world games around. Phantom Liberty is a better video game and a better story because of it.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is available now for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.