Saturday, 10 August 2013

Payday 2 beta impressions


http://www.6aming.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Payday2-Header.jpg
For those who have never seen Payday before it's a 4 player cooperative first person shooter where the goal of the game is to steal as much money as humanly possible or work for some of the most dangerous criminals in the world.  If you have seen the movie heat then imagine playing the heist scene with three friends. 

Really I am not doing the original game credit with that brief overview as there are plenty of extra nuances to the experience.  The game is broken down into six initial heists each with different objectives and setups and with each one the difficulty increases as you take on bigger and bigger payday's.  As a first game from developer Overkill it was a good product with some minor flaws that dragged the experience down slightly but not enough to kill the fun of the game.
Like Heat Street only better looking

Payday 2 launches on the 13th of August and for those players who preordered the game or it's slightly more expensive career criminal edition get access to the beta until it's launch on the Tuesday.  Another bonus is for those who preorder also receive the first piece of DLC for free.  Either way the beta is a huge improvement over the original payday.

You no longer have a simple level select but instead use a new level select system called crime.net.  Crime.net regularly updates with new levels of varying difficulty and reward and adds a new dynamic to your heisting.  Levels can range from quick and dirty high street robberies to jewellery stores going up to attacking local banks and raiding drug dealers.  Some heists can take upwards of 3 days with each day being a separate level with it's own objectives and random elements each time you play.

The random elements of the heists is what can really make or break your run through.  Sometimes guard placement, camera positions and even the location of important items like safes can either make the heist incredibly easy or a nightmare to keep track of when the police arrive to shoot the shit out of you.  No heist would be complete without a few hostages and most levels have a few civilians walking around to cable tie for some extra insurance, however don't expect to be able to move these people around.  Once a civvy is alerted to your presence they pretty much stay in the nearby area until the bullets start flying which then causes them to run around like headless chickens.

First world bank was bigger, but this one is just as tough
Yes there are many new elements to Payday 2.  New ways to crack safes come in the form of handheld saws, C4 and lockpicks as well as the aforementioned drills which are still pretty unreliable.  Carrying bags of cash or drugs suddenly adds a new dynamic to some missions as you don't simply gather the cash and run, you have to carry the money to a getaway van which can sometimes mean multiple return trips to the safe to collect more.  Security cameras now no longer reduce police knowledge of the situation, instead they alert security to your suspicious actions and can raise the alarm.

Your character can now level up granting access to new equipment, better weapons and more importantly skills.  You no longer rank up and unlock bonuses, instead spending skill points (and a little cash) to unlock abilities and equipment across four professions.  Masterminds can control civilians more easily and even get them to switch to your side.  Enforcers can take more punishment and dish more out.  Technicians can get the drills working more efficiently and deploy toys such as the sentry gun and trip mines.  Finally the ghost can use the new EMP device to knock out cameras and radios along with being able to more easily avoid detection.  Skills can be upgraded multiple times until they are aced and a good crew will feature specialists in all fields to finish the tougher heists.

Weapons now feel much more powerful and meatier than the original Payday along with new customisation options and of course new guns.  Now you can kit yourself out with numerous assault rifles, sub machine guns, shotguns, pistols and carbines, each with their own set of upgrades.  After each heist you are given the choice of a single card from three on the table.  Cards grant you new items such as weapons, weapon mods, masks, mask customisations and extra cash. 

Masks now come in many shapes and can each be customised to your personal preferences once you acquire the necessary materials to do so.  It means every players can be unique in some small way even if the entire team wear the same mask, each can be slightly different at least.

Even a simple jewellery store heist can go bad
There are some minor issues with bugs and some missions not quite working correctly.  The cops are a little less willing to surrender and still sometimes have crackshot accuracy at huge distances, while some missions don't give you enough direction as to what you should be doing at times, leaving you sort of flailing around until the game starts to get frustrated with you and flat out tells what you should be doing anyway.  Obviously for a beta these are issues that will hopefully be fixed in the final build anyway, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of these issues remain after launch, after all Overkill are still relatively small compared to other shooter developers out there.

Overall the product is leaps and bounds above the original Payday and certainly looks like it will expand even more after launch to incorporate new elements along with the usual expansion items such as guns, masks and equipment.  Overall Payday 2 is looking like it's set to make one hell of a Payday of it's own.

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