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Payday 2

Setting Up A Bigger Heist

Last year’s student project turned digital release Payday: The Heist brought the Left 4 Dead co-op shooting formula to the world of cops and robbers. This follow-up addresses criticisms of the first game, expands the content to include shorter playtimes, and channels more of the heist vibe with more stealthy options.

Payday 2’s gameplay is still deeply rooted in cooperatively shooting through waves of dynamically spawned cops in partially random levels. The four player classes are more differentiated in the sequel, though, giving players an expanded arsenal of approaches. Masterminds can strap explosive vests to hostages before surrendering them to the police, breaking a standoff with cold-blooded mayhem. Ghosts silently cut through windows and disable alarm equipment without anyone the wiser. Technicians deploy sentry guns for additional firepower and drill safes silently and quickly. Enforcers raise all kinds of hell, using special melee weapons for one-hit kills and anchoring the team in any gunfight. An array of passive upgrades augment each class, and skills from multiple professions can be mixed and matched within an RPG-like skill tree system.

These powerful abilities must be earned. The vastly expanded metagame in Payday 2 fleshes out persistent skill unlocks and incorporates a Diablo-like item system. Completing a heist not only gets you cash, but also a “payday” – a randomly generated item that could be anything from a new mask to a custom machine gun grip with special properties. In-game money is good for unlocking Payday 2’s basic spread of weaponry, but fitting your weapon with the best custom black-market augmentations is a matter of taking on the toughest missions and getting a little luck here and there.


Roughly 20 times as many missions as the original’s handful range from one-day affairs with single segments to complex six-day heists that more closely resemble the first game’s lengthy levels. Players select their target from the bevy of missions constantly cycling through the city map frontend in real time. The difficulty of the missions the system presents to you is dependent on your experience level, though you are free to join a friend in a higher-level stage if you think you can hack it. This neat interface is certainly more engaging than a traditional server browser or matchmaking queue, though waiting for a specific mission you’re in the mood for could be frustrating.

The original game was markedly superior on PC, and Windows remains the lead platform for the sequel. However, Overkill assures us that the larger budget, bigger development team, and additional development time will allow for the kinds of console customizations the first game sorely lacked. Forgetting how dramatically Halo changed the console first-person shooter landscape is easy until you try playing something without the subtle auto-aim and other changes that make gamepad shooting more pleasant. Overkill is aware that it can’t skimp on those under-the-hood mechanics for the top-tier console experience it hopes to create.

The hands-off Payday 2 demo showcased a lot of positive changes that I appreciate as a fan of the subgenre and of the first game. Little things like being able to use a precious cable tie to temporarily secure a door pose interesting tactical options, and one creative mission I saw had players scrambling to unload bags of cocaine from a van after being pulled over by a heavily armed police force. The best-case scenario of Payday 2 being an improvement along the lines of Orcs Must Die 2 or Torchlight II is definitely within Overkill’s reach.

Comments
  • Can anybody say "Dark Knight" inspired by this teaser trailer? Definitely looks like Joker's henchman there, especially with the whole standing on the street corner with the clown mask shot. Well, hope for fans' sake they revamp enough stuff to make it interesting.
  • Interesting, I'll be paying attention to this game.

  • The first one was mediocre.. Its map are poorly designed and equipment is imbalanced. Even with friends, this game is just ok. I'll wait to see more first, maybe I'll pick it up when it becomes $4.99 on steam.
  • Sounds awesome, thought the first one was a really cool idea, and fun to play with another friend, but was definitely "broken" in some key ways. Will keep an eye on this.

  • Lol, ok we get it, it's setting up a big heist, three times bigger!

  • Played the first one, can't wait for this one to come out on Steam, hope its 20 dollars / euros otherwise i will wait it out and buy it when its cheap.

  • Even though it'll be available for consoles, PC is still the way I'll go.

  • Payday 2 -- The Quest to Not Be Mediocre.

    There's a reason I gave this game a 4/10. As a mod, it would have been an interesting take on say, L4D, but as a game it was just so unpolished and badly designed. The forced upgrade system, the nonsensical UI design, questionable balancing, and tediously boring levels with suicidal AI kept me from genuinely enjoying this. At best, Payday was a game to play without thinking too hard about what you were doing. They're going to need to upgrade -a lot- to improve it, imo.

  • I think the game is gonna be good.
  • Whoa that mask is creepy.

  • Cool!

  • I can see you're pretty excited about it because you posted it three times on the front page.
  • Class based Co-op? Yes please! On a side note... am I the only person that hates auto-aim?
  • Well I for one am excited for this. Much improvement and more variety will help this game out ten-fold. I cannot wait to get my hands on it when it releases.

  • The article appeared 3 times, and there are 6 paragraphs. 6 is half of 3, of course. You listed 3 games ( Torchlight 2, Orc's Must Die 2, and, of course, Payday 2), and when you add all the 2's, you get 6, which divided by 2 equals 3. There are also 3 classes. So, HALF LIFE 3 CONFIRMED!
  • Enough with the first person shooters. I don't know why but 3rd person point of view games are just so much better.
  • I really got a Dark Knight vibe from the joker looking robbery scenes.
  • I liked the first one so I have high hopes for this!

  • A lot more missions. Hell yeah. I'd like some more L4D themed levels.

  • Wii U? Wii U? I'm sure Nintendo is sending a development team over right now, to make sure the console has another good game.

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