Payday 2: Heist your heart out
Not so long ago we got to see a preview of Payday 2, and finally we got the chance to play through some heists in a secretive chamber underneath Waterloo station. The game has grown exponentially since Payday The Heist and this can only be a good thing. Before we delve into the what’s and wherefores, perhaps we should look more at the why’s first? We sat down with the developers to get it straight.
Heist movies with masks. There are a surprisingly large number of these, the first that came to our mind was the excellent Point Break, but there are others that provided inspiration, namely Heat, Dog Day Afternoon, The Town… everyone’s favourite bad assed chemistry show Breaking Bad has a LOT of heists in it. Oh, and who could forget the seminal first 7 minutes of the Dark Knight? Real life also has to take some of the blame, citing narco boat stories in particular. Lets face it, there is a lot of inspiring material out there, and lets be thankful the Overkill developers have turned their passion into a game, rather than actually stealing priceless artwork and ripping off jewellery stores.
The team working on this at Overkill are over 40 strong. We say ‘are’ because even though the game is 98% percent finished, there is DLC on the way (naturally) and we were informed that all of the guys working on the initial release should be around to continue their fine work. With a decent sized team, and a healthy dose of ambition, it certainly helped scale the game up, not forgetting all the Red Bull. Nobody seems to know quite yet when this DLC will come out, but it is most definitely on the way.
Speaking of scaling up the game, it is quite noticeable that Payday 2, unlike Payday The Heist, is being printed to disc for distribution on Xbox and PS3. This had not been the plan, however thanks to the humongously complicated heists and their dynamics, the game was simply too large to put up as purely download for a console. The game is literally 5 times as large as its predecessor. It is downloadable on Steam though for all you PC users.
Co-op games are a tricky beast to master – mostly because you need the right team of people with you. This is going to be even more the case in Payday 2, given the importance of having different character classes and enhanced skill trees. However, it is not just limited to having a balanced team, you’ll also need to rely on each other to follow instructions because these don’t just change the heist, they change the entire arc of events – go guns blazing when you should be silent and your escape vehicle may show up late or crash. It’s a pretty crazy way of working, however a late addition to the game are AI team mates, which was not intended when we first saw it. We haven’t tested these, but we are slightly uncomfortable with the thought of bots on your team as they could be as useless as the Left 4 Dead guys who only serve to heal.
It is an interesting concept, inspiring honour among thieves. Healing, helping and working together is crucial, as we found out, and there are little personal rewards to be gained in the game, with loot being spread evenly at the end. One little difference is the random card draw to give you free items. We did this a few times and they are ultimately anything you could buy from the in game system, since now the money you win isn’t about bragging rights, its about an economy.
You can now buy weapons, gadgets, maps, and modifications for your character to change the way in which you play our heists. Body armour for your tank, sentry guns for your technician, it all serves to enhance and change the game, which makes replaying heists all the more interesting. Add to this the fact that levels randomly generate variances each time, it should never be the same twice round – civilians looking in from windows, dumpsters moved, guards on different patrols, helicopter or car getaways, CCTV positions, everything could be different every time you play. That means you can heist your heart out time and time again.
One of the fun things about Payday The Heist were the masks. Now, you can reconnoitre before you pull on your mask, taking in the layout and guard locations. And boy, the masks are pretty darn good this time around, as there are literally millions of combinations. Styles and colours are the big difference, which you buy and win from cards as you go. There are also some ultra rare drops of items, including a developer’s mask and a John Dillinger mask (if you get this, you’re one lucky SOB!).
The game looks very well polished and pretty good on the consoles and even better on the PC (give the right setup). When we played the clipping could have done with some work, characters walking through each other, and there was a bug with the escape route on the Nightclub heist, as a gate was locked when it shouldn’t have been. However, these can be cleaned up through the beta testing (LIVE NOW, gogogogogo).
We will give the game a full on review when we get a copy, but until then, get playing the beta, and get ready to pull some heists. We recommend finding a good, solid team before you get going though…
Out in August, get the game on your PC, Xbox or PS3!