Robbin’ makes me feel good.
This was my first time trying out the PayDay franchise. I had always heard of others getting deep into it, and I had always wanted to try it out. Now that I have seen the current gen offering of PayDay 2: Crime Wave Edition, I can say it is certainly a blast to play. IF you have some buddies to heist with of course.
PayDay 2 is a first-person shooter where players do much more than just mow down enemies. Being part of a gang of bank robbers, strong arms, and even sometimes hit men, they must utilize their guns, abilities, and gadgets to make away with tons of loot, and survive until the getaway arrives. Everything is situational, and knowing what to bring along for a certain job is essential for making it out with a nice payout.
Platforms: XB1, PS4
Price I’d pay: $49.99
Multiplayer: 4 player online co-op
Skills to pay the bills.
Players use a full skill tree associated with a certain class but are never confined to one particular class. So I could learn skills in the Mastermind class and then move over to the Ghost to gain some abilities there. The great thing about the skill trees is that I could re-spec at any time. If I wanted to drop all the points I had in Enforcer, I could and use them for something else. It adds a lot of customization at little cost. Although, getting into the higher tier skills would mean I would need multiple skill points and a lot of cash to unlock them. This goes for weapons as well. Just putting a silencer on my pistol would cost me a mint. Luckily, was going to rob a bank later that would get me even more money.
While abilities and guns are nice, the actual jobs still rely heavily on preparation and player skill. My group could easily bust in guns blazing and get the job done, but would have to fight our way out in the end. On the harder difficulties, this is not really a good way to make it out with the best payload. It would really just get us all killed. Before going on a mission, we could all look over the map of the area and use money and “favors” to help out. These would include ammo drops, a sniper on the side of an adjacent building for cover fire, or even keys to the door that “may or may not work.” Prepping for a heist is very important and having a group that varies in their skills helps out immensely. One player would be the point man scouting and keeping the hostages down and scared. One player would be the tech guy, using the drill to crack open the vault door and handle security, while our powerhouse player would be drawing all the aggro from the police and holding them off for our getaway. The class skills all attribute to how well a player does in a certain area and coordinating what each person does is very important.
Where was that safe again?
Jobs come in a variety of different objectives. The Crimewave Edition comes with all the DLC that has been released so far, and there is a ton to see and do. Some may be standard robberies while others will have us hacking into someone’s home PC while trying to keep the power on as the SWAT team shows up. There’s even a Hotline Miami mission that has players taking on the Russian mafia. Another really interesting thing about the jobs is they are all procedurally generated. While the layout is the same, the safe may be in a different room or a certain door may be locked when it was unlocked before. It keeps things fresh for the player since this game has a lot of repetition to it. Doing the same jobs on a harder difficulty will offer up better payouts as well as more experience points for leveling up and grabbing skill points. A portion of my earnings would always go into my off-shore account which I couldn’t touch until I wanted “prestige” and begin earning infamy points. That’s right, there’s an entire separate tier of skills to acquire and all new guns to purchase once I hit level 100 and spent 200 million dollars in my off-shore account.
Drip-feed of guns and skill points.
The progression was what really kept me playing. It seemed like every time I finished a job, I was earning enough money to do something new or buy a new piece of equipment. It really is well done. While it is a blast to play with some friends in online co-op, this is a bummer to play solo. The AI is really there to just shoot enemies and not really much else. So it was on me to use the drill, keep up with hostages, carry the loot, and pretty much everything else. The AI really liked to follow me around and draw the attention of the cops to me. It’s not ideal at all.
The presentation is well done too. The music is a real standout for me. It ramps up during the hectic parts and builds tension when it’s quiet. Visually, it is a bit dated. While it doesn’t look bad, I could tell this was a last gen game. The NPCs are especially bland looking, but of course, when I have a SWAT team pointing guns at me while my wheelman is still on his way to pick us up, I’m not too worried about that.
PayDay 2 has a lot of great things going for it. The progression is so well done, the missions are fun and hectic, the skill trees are very customizable and the sheer amount of content is impressive. The only drawback to all of this is that it can really only be enjoyed playing online with others. Communication is very important and playing solo is too much of a chore, but if you can get a few friends to play with you, this is a pretty great game to own. I highly suggest giving it a shot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.