Cyberpunk 2077 2.0’s Biggest Changes: What’s New In This Update?

When CD Projekt RED says Cyberpunk 2077’s next update is the 2.0 patch, they mean it. If it weren’t for Keanu Reeves, you probably wouldn’t realize you were playing the same game.

Cyberpunk 2077
Photo: CD Projekt Red

When Cyberpunk 2077 was released in 2020, the game failed to live up to the expectations CD Projekt RED set with the Witcher games. Over the course of many, many patches, the studio polished Cyberpunk 2077 to a point where its core story and mechanics were no longer bogged down by glitches. The game was finally good, but CD Projekt RED learned from its mistakes and decided to not stop at just “good.” The company wanted to make something amazing.

Cyberpunk 2077‘s 2.0 update completely rebuilds many of the game’s systems from the ground up. It’s not as huge a refresh as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (the narrative still revolves around your character exploring Night City with Keanu Reeves in their brain) but 2.0 changes so much that even trying to wrap your head around it can feel overwhelming. While you can (and should) read the complete Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 patch notes, you’re also probably wondering what really makes this update special. So far as that goes, here are the big changes you need to know about:

More Advanced Perks (and More of Them)

As an RPG, Cyberpunk 2077 featured numerous abilities (called Perks) to learn and stats to upgrade. For most of its life, though, Perks were just passive upgrades. Increase damage to enemies by 10% this, reduce the stamina cost of blocking by 50% that, and so on. Thankfully, those basic Perks are old news thanks to Update 2.0.

The new system reinvents virtually every tool players can acquire through leveling up. Perks now unlock incredible abilities such as special weapon finishers, mid-air dashes, and queuing up quick hacks. Granted, many of these powers are locked behind Perks that you have to rank up first, but once you acquire these abilities, they can completely alter your experience. Moreover, If you use a perk point on something you don’t like, you can refund it for free and try out something new. However, the skills you can unlock are determined by your stats.

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Cyberpunk 2077’s new progression system also has passive buffs that level up the more you perform certain activities (such as hacking and killing enemies with specific weapons). These buffs are divided into five categories: Headhunter, Netrunner, Shinobi, Solo, and Engineer. Unlike Perks and stats, you don’t have to do any planning to acquire these. Just keep on making a name for yourself in Night City, and these skills will increase along the way.

Cyberware Does More Heavy Lifting and Clothes Are Mostly Cosmetic

No cyberpunk world is complete without cybernetic upgrades. Well, Cyberpunk 2077’s initial cyberware equipment system was decent but ultimately limited. As of Update 2.0, though, you can go as chrome as you want.

The patch’s Cyberware rework revolves around a new capacity and armor system. Each piece of Cyberware has a “capacity” attached to it. The stronger the implant, the higher its capacity. As you level up, your capacity limit increases, letting you install more components. So long as the total capacity of all your implants doesn’t exceed your limit (and you have the cash for them), you can install as much as you want and explore all the possibilities those combinations of implants offer. Well, you can within reason, at least. For instance, you can’t have more than one pair of eyes. 

Moreover, damage reduction is now tied to Cyberware instead of clothes. Different implants have different armor values, and many cyberware abilities have been rebalanced and reworked to reflect this. The more chrome you put in V’s body, the more punishment he can take, which opens up clothes to serve as most cosmetic items. Some articles of clothing still provide stat boosts (e.g., gas masks decrease chemical damage), but for the most part, you can now play dress up in Cyberpunk 2077 as you see fit.

Vehicular Combat

Early Cyberpunk 2077 trailers teased quite a few systems, including the ability to engage in high-speed shootout chases. At launch, that vehicular combat system was all but gutted. Thankfully, as of Update 2.0, vehicular combat has returned to the streets of Night City.

Once the patch is installed, at any time while driving, you can pull out a one-handed weapon (e.g., pistol or SMG) and start shooting. If you drive a motorcycle while doing so, you can also swing around a melee weapon to slice up some wheels. And since quickhacks are an essential ingredient in Cyberpunk 2077’s combat, you can even unlock the ability to sabotage enemy cars in the game’s revamped perk tree. You can’t make car fuel tanks explode on command, but you can remotely engage the gas pedal to make enemies speed out of control. That ability will certainly come in handy during the game’s new (and more frequent) randomized faction battles and car chases.

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If wielding your own weaponry in a car isn’t enough for you, the Phantom Liberty expansion will also introduce mounted weapons, though those sadly are not featured in the base 2.0 update. In that expansion, though, certain vehicles, primarily Nomad cars with CrystalDome tech, can now lug around Gatling guns. While these weapons don’t have the same 360-degree range of movement that a handheld gun boasts, you cannot deny the absolute destructive power of a hood-mounted machine gun. Just keep in mind that opponents can ambush you with these weapons, too.

Vastly Improved Enemy, Police, and NPC AI

With all the new abilities mentioned above, one might assume that they would make the game easier. That would almost certainly be true if Update 2.0 didn’t tweak the AI of every enemy in the game. However, since everyone is now more intelligent, you will need to use every perk to its fullest if you want to survive.

The patch tweaked every gangster and member of the NCPD to make them feel more alive. Not only will you see the scum of Night City committing various sorts of crime, but police now patrol the streets and naturally react to aggressive behavior. Similarly, NPCs in the world will now react far more often and in more dynamic ways to the actions you perform.

Opposing gangs will also adapt to your actions and try new tactics at higher levels, and police more doggedly investigate crime scenes. Moreover, cops are now the most dangerous NPCs in Cyberpunk 2077 since they rely on a Grand Theft Auto-like “Heat” system. The more crime you commit, the more doggedly they chase you, and at a max Heat, you will get a visit from a MaxTac mini-boss.

These AI improvements also carry over to vehicles. Some gang members will give chase, thus giving you a chance to try out Cyberpunk 2077’s new vehicular combat system. The same applies to police, but unlike your average Tyger Claw or Maelstrom member, NCPD squads will try to corner you with roadblocks. And much like the Heat system, Cyberpunk 2077’s cop chases take a page out of GTA by utilizing a line-of-sight mechanic: If you can hide from the cops for long enough, they will lose interest.

Sweeping General Changes

While Cyberpunk 2077’s Update 2.0 is full of changes that completely gut and reinvent entire mechanics, the patch also adds quite a few smaller, but no less important, alterations. Here are some of the more noteworthy ones:

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  • Your character will still lose HP whenever they’re hit by a bullet or katana, but now their main source of healing (the inhaler-looking item) works on a cooldown basis instead of as a consumable item. You never have to worry about running out, but you have to be more strategic about when you pop a puff since you can’t hoard them anymore. However, certain skills will enhance the effectiveness of those cooldown-dependent items.
  • As for stamina, it is now linked to combat rather than running. Every shot of a weapon and finisher move now costs stamina. The lower your stamina, the less reliable your aim. You can still keep firing with an empty bar but don’t expect to hit anything (unless you’re using a smart weapon or a shotgun, that is).
  • The crafting system no longer relies on perks. So long as you have the requisite blueprints and resources, you can craft and upgrade any item you want.
  • Finally, you can now pet cats scattered around Night City. 

These are all the major changes CD Projekt RED patched into Cyberpunk 2077 with Update 2.0. The company might add even more alterations in the future, but for now, enjoy your new lease on the Night City life. Get out there, choom, and make a name for yourself.