Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty access guide - 3 ways to get into Dogtown

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty promises a new adventure for V and Johnny Silverhand in the cutthroat world of secret agents and government operators, located in the violent, lawless district of Dogtown. However, V's new quest and encounter with the agent Solomon Reed (played by Idris Elba) actually takes place midway through the core plotline of the base Cyberpunk 2077 narrative. Which leaves new and returning players alike with a burning question: What's the best way to access Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty? This quick guide is your answer.

Getting into Phantom Liberty - How Do You Get Into Dogtown?

Dogtown is a locked-down district of Night City that's basically a mini-nation within the it. To the city government and NCPD, it's no man's land. Even the corporations tread carefully in the territory of Dogtown's de facto ruler, ex-military operative Kurt Hansen. Hansen runs the area as an arms dealer, backed Barghest, his personal army of kitted-out mercenaries.

Actually going to Night City's most dangerous neighborhood is a task that comes only after V's had a few adventures under their belt. This means you'll need to get a little ways into Act 2 of the game. It should also go without saying but you'll need to have installed the Phantom Liberty expansion to access its content. Cyberpunk 2077's "version 2.0" update is substantial and adds some significant content on its own, but does not include anything to do with the expansion's storyline or quests.

If you're starting from the beginning of Act 2, you'll need the main story until you unlock take a quest chain from The Voodoo Boys gang in Pacifica. This quest chain consists of the following Main Jobs:

  • M'ap Tann Pèlen
  • I Walk The Line
  • Transmission

Following Transmission, you'll be contacted by Songbird, a key part of Phantom Liberty's cast of characters. She'll invite you to visit Dogtown, the entrance to which is right on the edge of Pacifica, which you should still be in following the conclusion of Transmission. At that point, you can then proceed to Dogtown to kick off the events of Phantom Liberty, or tool around in Night City at your leisure.

What's the best way to start Phantom Liberty?

Now that you know how to actually begin the story of the expansion, you might be wondering how to start it: Should you load an older saved game from the end of the story, or start a fresh new game? CD Projekt Red even added a third option: Starting a new game right at the point Phantom Liberty becomes accessible. Let's go over your options and see which will work best for you.

Loading up an Old Saved Game

If you've played and cleared Cyberpunk 2077 before, you may be tempted to get right into Phantom Liberty by loading up a save from just before the point of no return in the main story. That's a totally valid approach, because it'll allow you to keep all the gear and experience you've acquired in Night City up to that point (and beyond, if you're using a post-game save). Not only that, playing through Phantom Liberty will unlock an entirely new ending for the main story, giving you an option to decide a new path for V.

Loading an old save will also refund all of your Perk and Attribute Points, allowing you to redistribute them in Cyberpunk 2077's revamped character progression system. You'll also gain a well-earned head start on the new level cap, allowing you to gain even more power than you had when you finished last time.

If there's a caveat to loading up an old save, it's that you may experience some confusion at first, as your old build and gear will need to be retuned to match the new systems. That means you'll want to explore the skill and perk trees thoroughly, assigning points and reading the skill descriptions, especially if you aim to recreate your previous combat approach - or try an entirely new one.

Skipping Straight to Phantom Liberty

If you just want to see the newest stuff and skip the preamble, CD Projekt Red has added an option for you: A way to start a new game right where Phantom Liberty becomes available. Selecting this option from the New Game menu will prompt you to choose a lifepath and your appearance, but will otherwise spawn you right at the end of Transmission, in a position to receive Songbird's call. You'll start at Level 20, with a set of uncommon (green) gear and cyberwear equipped, and your Perks and Attribute points pre-allocated.

This is by far the quickest way to get into the expansion, although it does come with some compromises. For one, you'll have no iconic weapons or gear equipped, and none of the items, money, or quest progress you'll get from an older save or by playing a fresh game from the beginning. Similarly, you'll lose the ability to choose the outcome of the Main Job quests up through Transmission. In many ways, this option will be like picking up someone else's savegame from midway through, rather than your own.

That being said, there are some advantages, too. Starting the game at Level 20 lets you skip the point in the game where you're at your absolute weakest and least effective, and the points and gear you gain from this option are a little better than what you'd have equipped if you chose to start a new game and do nothing but Main Jobs until reaching Phantom Liberty.

Plus, you could always take this option, then go do your thing in Night City, picking up your iconic gear and doing sidequests until you're good and ready to get to Dogtown. Songbird will wait for you.

Starting a Fresh Lifepath

If you've got the time to do so, I would actually recommend starting an entirely fresh game and playing from the beginning until you gain access to Phantom Liberty "naturally". Not only does this allow you to get acquainted with the story and feel of Cyberpunk 2077 (or reacquainted, if you're revisiting the game), but you'll also gain some experience engaging with the revamped character-building system.

As mentioned above, version 2.0 of Cyberpunk 2077 is a near-total overhaul of its attribute and perks system. Each attribute - Body, Reflexes, Cool, Intelligence, and Technical Aptitude - embodies a certain play style, and your most effective approach to a given situation will reflect your point investments accordingly. Plus, Phantom Liberty adds a new "Relic" attribute tree, with unique perks to unlock using points only acquired in Dogtown. A fresh game is the best place to explore these powerful new abilities, since an endgame build might not have as many situations to use the new toys with.

It'll take a bit of time to wrap your head around these possibilities, and there's nothing like a set of early game quests and the full buffet of side gigs and scanner hustles to serve as practice. Dogtown's a dangerous place, and the soldiers of Barghest will pose a stiffer challenge than beat cops and lowly gangers for an unprepared V. With that in mind, getting a good handle on your preferred play style - as well as scraping together the gear to execute on it in the game itself, will make for a more interesting and exciting time in the expansion.

Starting fresh also makes the most sense, narratively. Phantom Liberty is ultimately a side story to the main plot of Cyberpunk 2077, and it - as well as the new ending it unlocks - will be informed by the decisions you make as V prior to and after its events. Starting from a late-game save or skipping straight to the expansion could undermine that sense of flow.

That said, the decision on how to engage with Cyberpunk 2077's first and last major expansion is yours to make.

Cyberpunk 2077 is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The version 2.0 update arrives for free on September 21, 2023, while the Phantom Liberty expansion launches on September 26, 2023.