Payday 2 Preview
Payday: The Heist was a decent albeit somewhat lacking action title that reminded one of “Heat.” In it, you pull a series of high-risk bank jobs, which often ended up spilling out into the streets. The action wasn’t quite polished enough but the concept was solid and the entertainment was fast-paced and satisfying. Hopefully, developer Overkill Software will make some strides with the upcoming sequel, which is slated to launch later this summer. Ready to pull a job or two?
The good news is that after doing the research, “bigger and better” is the operative phrase. For instance, while the original game boasted only a half-dozen jobs, the sequel has over thirty, many of which feature multiple stages. Plus, the decisions you make can have significant consequences on the immediate future, a design choice that has proven popular this generation. It’s a really cool idea that depending on how you act during one job, the next will be impacted in a certain way; this should also add to longevity. It should also be noted that this time, we’re talking about persistent characters that hint at an MMO-like environment.
That’s because CrimeNet services anyone and everyone who wants to be bad guys. At first, you can only accept relatively low-line jobs that don’t pay all that well, but at least they’re relatively simple. The further you go, the more money you can spend to better equip your character and in turn, you’ll be able to accept tougher yet more lucrative contracts. There are four distinct skill trees, each representing a different class: Ghost, Enforcer, Mastermind and Techs. You can decide to focus on only one or two classes or you can try to be a jack-of-all-trades. Me, I’m always about becoming a specialist, which allows me to master a particular discipline.
Ghosts are stealthy and can silently disable security cameras and guards, so work on this skill tree if you’d rather not be involved in an immediate firefight. Enforcers are essentially the opposite; they’re the tanks and can equip all sorts of extremely damaging heavy weaponry. Masterminds are like psychological experts; they can actually get civilians to help, and they also have the ability to intimidate guards. Techs are exactly what they sound like, as they’re gadget wizards who can crack safes and vaults, and even set up sentry guns. Utilizing all classes in some capacity will be key to ultimate success, I would imagine.
The money you earn can be used to pick up all sorts of goodies, ranging from simple security codes to getaway helicopters that erase the prospect of a dangerous street confrontation. No matter what you do, though, the authorities won’t be happy and it’ll be a race to the finish: Can you grab the loot and get out before the waves of SWAT take you down? And of course, this entire concept is just begging for multiplayer fun. If you gather up some buddies and have each of them focus on a particular skill tree, you can advance together and start taking high-paying, high-risk jobs. The “persistent” element should also entice those who enjoy online fun.
Payday 2 seems to have a lot going for it, and I’m hoping for one of those games that offer great pick-up-and-play fun. Everyone needs a stress reliever at the end of a long, arduous day, and this game could fit that role.
4/8/2013 Ben Dutka