Cyberpunk 2077’s 2.0 update has brought with it a major overhaul of the police system, rebuilding the way the police react to the player from the ground up. This guide will cover the ins and outs of the revamped system, including the Barghest police introduced with the Phantom Liberty DLC.
Quick tips before I get into the guide:
- No need to get the attention of cops. There is no material benefit to fighting law enforcement units. It’s better to avoid these conflicts.
- Try to escape before the conflict escalates. Escaping with 1 or 2 stars is far easier than trying to escape the police with 5. If you become wanted by the police, attempt to run away before you kill any more cops.
The Five-Star System
Stars and their meaning
While wanted, you will gain “Stars”. These starts represent the importance with which you are being hunted by law enforcement.
A single star means that you will mostly only be hunted by a small number of cops, usually a single car with 2 cops inside of it.
Two stars will mean that a larger number of troops is headed your way, often 2-3 patrol vehicles.
With three starts, you will be hunted by both regular cops, as well as robots, drones, and mounted turrets. Cops will also utilize grenades far more frequently.
With three stars, you will become hunted far more intensely by an increased number of more advanced troops with stronger weapons, better armor, and more cyberware. These will usually come in several waves of armored vehicles. In addition, police mechs may also be summoned to fight you.
A five-star wanted level is by far the most interesting. At five stars, you will be hunted by elite forces of local law enforcement. This means MaxTac within Night City and Pacifica, elite Militech forces in the Badlands. Fortunately, the Barghest units seem to not have any elite-level units, causing the fifth star to only increase the intensity of the assault.
MaxTac is by far the most formidable law enforcement agency you can face. They will come in drop barges in teams of 4-6. Usually with 2 units equipped with rifles/machine guns (in the form of a rifleman and a heavy unit), a netrunner, a mantis blade user, and a sniper. MaxTac units are always equipped with a lot of high-tier cyberware, such as Sandevistans, Kereznikovs, Heavy Sub-Dermal Armor, and more.
To increase the number of stars you have, you have to commit crimes. Killing a civilian is enough to earn you your first star, and then killing a sufficient number of law enforcement units is enough.
Do note that even smaller crimes, such as ramming into a civilian or police vehicle at a high enough speed, or attempting to leave the map across Militech-guarded border will also earn you one or more stars.
Losing the police
Losing stars is very easy, which was perhaps done on purpose. To lose your stars, you have to run/drive away from the combat zone, ideally around several turns and to a different elevation level. Eventually, the stars you have accumulated will begin to flash.
The speed of the flashing will increase as you are closer to losing the police. Once you lose the police, the stars will disappear. To lose the police, make sure no police officer sees you while the stars flash.
If a cop that was chasing you sees you after your wanted level has gone away, they will not care, even mere seconds after you lose your wanted level.
All of the above applies to all of the law enforcement agencies in Cyberpunk 2077.
While on foot, the police will drive up to your location with vehicles (starting with patrol cars/motorcycles, then slowly upgrading to armored transport vehicles or drop barges if you get the attention of Max Tac). Then the officers inside the vehicle will exit and attempt to kill you using whatever they have at their disposal.
Starting off, cops will only have pistols, rifles, and shotguns. As your wanted level increases, they will begin to use machine guns, grenades, and even melee weapons (usually in the form of mantis blades) in the case of MaxTac.
If you commit a crime and enter a vehicle, the police will attempt to chase you down. While inside a vehicle, it is very easy to lose the police (especially if you got the star by killing a civilian while there were no cops nearby).
While chasing you down, the cops will attempt to kill you in any way they can, not just by shooting you, but also by ramming into your vehicle and by cutting off your path using their own vehicles.
In most of Night City, you will be attacked by NCPD forces. They will start off by attacking you with beat cops, but they will eventually employ SWAT-like units and then, at five stars, MaxTac.
Despite not being under official Night City jurisdiction according to the lore, the same rules as the rest of Night City apply.
The Badlands is an area outside of Night City, mostly populated by Nomads. It is primarily patrolled by Militech, a giant weapons and private security corporation.
Militech starts off with more powerful forces than the NCPD, thanks to their superior weapons, better armor and cyberware, and armored vehicles.
Dogtown, introduced in the Phantom Liberty DLC, is patrolled by Barghest units, with “Prevention Unit Special Forces” (further referred to as PUSFs) acting as their more advanced law enforcement units.
PUSFs start spawning at 3 stars and above and are only slightly more powerful than regular Barghest units, with a little bit of extra HP and better cyberware.
Overall, Dogtown is by far the easiest area to cause crime in, as their units are weak and attack in smaller numbers than Night City units.
Note: It may be more difficult to lose your wanted level in Dogtown when compared to Night City, as Dogtown is far more densely populated with patrols and has fewer alleyways or elevation changes to hide away in. You also cannot leave Dogtown until you lose your wanted level.