(CTN News) – Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is a little short on eccentric missions.
Where the base game had metal monks and grenade noses, Phantom Liberty tries to make the world a little more cohesive by filtering all of your side quests through fixer and political schemer Mr. Hands.
This aids the story, especially as Mr. Hands has his fingers in the main quest, but it does mean some of the wilder rides are left in the rest of Night City. However, one mission involving a brain dance gone wrong manages to stand out from the crowd.
You’re called to a brain dance store by Lina Malina, a famous influencer. Turns out it’s not her, just the guy who runs the store who thinks he’s her.
Brain dances are basically movies you play inside your head, so it feels like you’re experiencing them. The store owner is a big Lina fan, and there was a malfunction while he was in a brain dance, causing him to believe he is her.
You find old letters where he talks about how he feels at his best when seeing the world through her eyes, and initially I thought this quest might explore the topic of gender. A man who wants to escape into a woman’s body, the only place they feel happy, is certainly grounds for that sort of narrative in a futuristic, beyond-human future. Given Cyberpunk 2077’s attitude to trans people though, I’m relieved when I discover the quest is just ‘ha ha silly big man in little lady clothes’.
You might be thinking, ‘look buddy, I didn’t ask your opinions on transgender depictions in Cyberpunk 2077 – tell me about the influencer bath water’.
I’m getting to it, okay? The brain dance store in question doubles up as an unofficial Lina Malina fan club, with posters of her on the walls, magazines with her splashed on the cover displayed on racks, and her merch for sale at the store terminal. Well, kinda.
You can scroll through the wares the store has for sale, but they’re all marked as sold out – even though the whole point of the quest (besides the obvious brain dance malfunction) is that it’s going out of business because nobody is buying anything.
Talking to the other owner, you can buy some cybernetic upgrades and abilities, but the store itself won’t sell you anything.
There is a listing for a jar of Lina’s bathwater, Cyberpunk 2077 but it is unavailable.
What did I want with an influencer’s used bathwater? Well, nunya. But also, it’s yet another example of Cyberpunk 2077’s world all feeling like a hollow facade.
There are doors that don’t open and bathwater you can’t buy. Sure, I couldn’t really have done anything with the bathwater, but that’s a criticism in and of itself.
This is an interesting, creative item, and yet there is nothing that the game lets me use it for. After coming in from Baldur’s Gate 3, where everything has endless possibilities, where you are restricted far more by your imagination than you are by the game.
Considering the promises Cyberpunk 2077 made, then re-upped with 2.0 and Phantom Liberty, I think that’s a fair standard to hold it to.