Cyberpunk 2077: The Best New Features in Patch 1.5

Cyberpunk 2077’s newest update, Patch 1.5, includes a bunch of improvements that finally brings the game closer to what audiences expected at launch.

Cyberpunk 2077
Photo: CD Projekt Red

Simply put, Cyberpunk 2077 was a mess at launch. The game’s various bugs and technical problems left a sour taste in the mouths of many early adopters. Fortunately, CD Projekt RED has been busy patching the game (as well as fending off lawsuits), and Cyberpunk 2077‘s latest update might have finally produced the kind of experience gamers wanted.

Earlier today, CD Projekt RED revealed and published Patch 1.5. The update applies to all versions of Cyberpunk 2077 but is focused on modern platforms. Patch 1.5 adds long-awaited improvements such as ray-traced graphics to current-gen consoles, as well as fan-requested changes such as upgraded NPC crowd AI. The result might not wash away the memory of Cyberpunk 2077’s launch woes, but it makes for a good argument to try out the game, especially since the update coincides with a new five-hour free trial. What better way to see if Patch 1.5’s alterations finally make the game worth a purchase?

Here are just some of the best new features in Cyberpunk 2077’s Patch 1.5 update.

Additional Apartments

During E3 2018, level designer Peter Gelencser infamously claimed players could own multiple apartments in Cyberpunk 2077. That turned out to be less than true, but the other “apartments” included at launch were only NPC pads players could visit. Patch 1.5 finally fixes that.

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The update adds four new apartments of varying cost and grandeur that players can rent, customize, and utilize. But, that’s not the end of housing improvements. Many players probably only visited their apartments to access their stash or sleep for six in-game hours. Now, apartments provide several essential buffs. For instance, sleeping also increases the amount of Skill XP acquired and downing a cup of coffee will increase your stamina and stamina regeneration.

The additional apartments aren’t huge, but it’s still good to see cut content reintroduced into Cyberpunk 2077. Perhaps the next patch will add even more ideas previously left on the cutting room floor.

Cyberpunk 2077’s Better (Next-Gen) Graphics

Patch 1.5 provides a huge boost to Cyberpunk 2077’s graphical fidelity. While the update improves how water behaves in the game (and makes sure raindrops fall as normal) the most notable change is ray tracing.

While the PC version of Night City looked better than console renditions thanks to ray-traced shadows and reflections, Patch 1.5 lets current-gen consoles catch up with new rendering modes. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X owners can now choose between Performance mode, which provides smooth 60 fps gameplay, and Ray Tracing mode, which delivers ray-traced shadows and reflections at 30 fps. Since the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Xbox Series S don’t have the same graphical punch as a PS5 or Series X, they still can’t utilize ray tracing, but Patch 1.5 still provides general visual and performance improvements across the board, regardless of platform

If your console can handle ray tracing, Night City looks better than ever thanks to the new update, but if not, Cyberpunk 2077 should still run better.

Combat Improvements

As an ARPG, Cyberpunk 2077 requires a robust combat system and enemy AI. The release version lacked in both those departments, but Patch 1.5 should bring enemies (and combat) up to speed.

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The new update makes shootouts and alley brawls feel more, for lack of a better term, interactive. Enemies are more tactical and are more likely to dodge or take cover, or at least some of them are. The biggest change to combat is enemy behavioral diversification. Different factions now adopt different combat strategies. Some gangs are now more aggressive, while others are more defensive. Most importantly, animations have been improved to make combat feel more visceral.

Thanks to Patch 1.5, combat in Cyberpunk 2077 should feel less like a shooting gallery.

Improved Vehicles

Driving controls are the bane of too many video games. Few titles get the feel of vehicular acceleration and turning, including Cyberpunk 2077 at launch. Thankfully, this new update tunes the game’s various cars.

Patch 1.5 introduces what the developers call “Burn Out Mode,” which vastly increases vehicle handling. Instead of just rotating around an axis, players can now brake stand, pull off donuts, and Tokyo…er, Night City…drift like the cyber-enhanced drag racer of their dreams. The update also provides improved engine, clutch, and gearbox simulation to make rides more realistic, but these changes don’t just apply to player-controlled cars and bikes. Patch 1.5 also upgrades NPC traffic. Night City citizens now drive smarter, properly react to danger and fender benders, and can even die from car crashes.

You could say that Patch 1.5 makes Cyberpunk 2077 a much smoother ride, pun definitely intended.

A Bigger, Better Night City

The titular open world of open-world games is the genre’s lifeblood. Without a thriving landscape, the adventure falls flat. At launch, Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City was populated by brain-dead NPCs who wandered around aimlessly, oblivious to nearby gunfights. Patch 1.5 gives them a much-needed boost to their AI IQ.

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Cyberpunk 2077’s latest update lets NPCs better navigate Night City and more realistically react to their surroundings. Players can even provoke some citizens into fighting by merely whipping out a gun. But that’s not all. Patch 1.5 also adds a few new “secrets” hidden around Night City for players to seek out and also improves and expands the romance options/interactions with NPCs such as Panam and River.

CD Projekt RED wanted Night City to feel like a realistic, lived-in mega-metropolis. While the studio dropped the ball with Cyberpunk 2077’s release, Patch 1.5 brings the game closer to that dream.

Fixed Fixers

In vanilla Cyberpunk 2077, Fixers are good for handing out side missions, but not much else. They fit a video game niche but aren’t well-integrated into the world. The latest update tries to amend that oversight.

Patch 1.5 adds a new Fixer-centric reputation to the game world. Unlike the previous system, players now have to complete Fixer gigs in sets. Once one set is finished, a Fixer will hand out another. Complete all the tasks a Fixer offers, and they provide a special reward (except Mr. Hands.)

This new system makes it easier to track which Fixers have uncompleted gigs, which is a boon for completionists.

Rebalanced Skills

Even though much of Cyberpunk 2077’s combat relies on cyber katanas and homing guns, the game still has plenty of perks and skills to customize a player’s experience (it’s still an ARPG, after all). While some longtime fans might argue that the game didn’t need any rebalanced skills, CD Projekt RED took Patch 1.5 as an opportunity to redo abilities.

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Many perks and skills from previous Cyberpunk 2077 builds have been completely replaced. For instance “Stronger Together” initially allowed players to deal more damage when carrying a body. However, without the ability “Transporter,” players couldn’t attack while carrying a body anyway. So as of Patch 1.5, “Stronger Together” has been replaced with “Tenacious V:” an infinitely-more useful ability that lets players regenerate health even after getting hit. Meanwhile, other abilities have been balanced to make them less overpowered. “Berserk,” for instance, only doubles stamina instead of granting players an infinite pool.

Given the update’s sweeping changes to the skill system, expect Patch 1.5 to act as a prelude for future alterations.

PS5 Controller Exclusives

Since Patch 1.5 finally makes Cyberpunk 2077 fully compatible with current-gen hardware, it also takes advantage of all the bells and whistles that were put into controllers. Since the PlayStation 5 controller has more accessories than the Xbox Series X’s, the new update favors the PS5’s peripheral, if only due to its increased functionality.

One of the PlayStation 5’s selling points was its haptic feedback rumble and adaptive triggers. Thanks to Patch 1.5, PS5 owners will experience rumbles of various intensities dependent on “in-game activity,” which probably means they will feel the kick of every Arasaka assault rifle and Militech shotgun. Also, since the PS5 controller carries over the PlayStation 4 controller’s built-in speaker, Cyberpunk 2077 will also utilize that tech. From now on, every holocall, text message, and other bits of dialogue in the main character’s head (i.e., conversations with Johnny Silverhand) will emanate from the controller’s speaker.

It’s a shame that the Xbox Series X doesn’t have a speaker wired into the controllers. Thanks to this update, the PlayStation 5 is technically the most immersive way to play Cyberpunk 2077.

What are your favorite additions? Comment down below and let us know.

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