I must admit: I never played Payday: The Heist despite how positive the feedback from reviewers and users was. It’s one of those games that passed me by. Having not played Overkill Software’s original title I’ve thusly not been too interested in their latest offering: Payday 2. But perhaps I should be.
Before I launch into my spiel, some actual facts: Payday 2 is a cooperative first-person shooter available on Windows, Xbox 360, and PS3 from 13th August (depending on the part of the world you plug your games machine of choice in).
Fans of my pieces will have no doubt realised I’m not a huge online fan and similarly co-op ties in with that. I’d much rather ‘go it alone’ than with a companion. But I do understand the attraction having played Borderlands 2 and Left 4 Dead with a buddy.
I’ve also tried, dabbled, half-heartedly indulged in games like Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2. While fun and challenging I find them ‘crowded’ and usually end up trying to go off on my own and immediately pay the consequences.
Payday 2 sees you and your teammates (these can be friends or randomly assigned players) performing a series of bank heists and robberies. Hence the game’s front cover looking like a guerrilla marketing campaign for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
The sequel looks to build on the solid gameplay introduced by Payday: The Heist but provides a generally more polished and sharper experience. Precisely what sequels should do in my book! I’m definitely looking at you, Dead Island: Riptide.
While definitely action-orientated, Payday 2’s stealth mechanics are now much more usable when pulling off one of the 30 heists. While this is a good move to introduce variety I doubt many players will forgo the gun-heavy action route.
One key change from the first game is that the cash you pick up while playing is no longer a substitute for XP. Instead, you can use said loot to make purchases to upgrade your character and the arsenal at their disposal..
One rumour, which was quickly debunked by lead designer, David Goldfarb, was the possible inclusion of micro-transactions. It’s good that he has distanced the game from a mechanic that I see as ‘let’s get the most out of players as possible.’
It’s astonishing when you realise that Payday 2 is Overkill’s first boxed retail release. With the rise in the game’s popularity the title has needed to expand past the previous online distribution model; though you can still purchase the game through Playstation Network, Xbox Live and Steam services too.
Astonishingly enough, Starbreeze Studios (who are distributing the game) announced that the game was profitable from pre-orders alone. That’s a great achievement, I’m sure you’ll agree! Here’s some quote-y bits from Starbreeze Studio’s president Bo Andersson-Klint:
“Today Starbreeze has once again demonstrated that our strategy of focusing on our own properties is correct. Not only have we managed to deliver a desirable product in Payday 2 but also executed a promotion that few companies of our size can.”
“We now look forward to the royalty income that can secure the company’s development of its own IP in the future. That Payday 2 generates revenue for the company six days before the release is of course very unusual for games of this size and strengthens the long-term nature of our strategy.”
Hard work seems to be paying off, then. And if critical opinion is anything to go off (it’s averaging 8/10 from most reviewers) Payday 2 isn’t going to disappoint fans.
As I mentioned at the top of this piece, I’m not the biggest fan of the genre but everything I’ve read about this game seems positive. Still, I won’t be forking out full price for Payday 2. But come Steam Sale 2014 I’ll be on it!