|Release||Aug 27, 2013|
|Genres||Action, First-Person Shooter, Stealth, Role-Playing|
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The beta for owners of the Career Criminal edition of PAYDAY 2 has now started. The game won't be coming out until later in August, but the beta is very close to a complete game. I decided to write up a quick review of our first impressions with the game before it comes out. Another review may follow after the game has been released for a while. So, first things first. The game is a bit better than PAYDAY: The Heist overall. It's a little more challenging, and the missions are a generally more intricate. However, it's not without its flaws. Some of them may be fixed before the game is officially released, others may not. Overkill seems to slowly be forgetting that they are making a first-person shooter, not an MMORPG. The weapon, item, skill, etc. unlocks are a grind-fest. Actually obtaining the weapon mods you need to do certain things is based on a random drop chance at the end of each mission. To top it off, you can't even play the missions you want when you want to; you have to sit there staring at some stupid city map while random missions spawn until you see the heist you want at the difficulty you want.
The gear and level requirement for some missions requires that you play lower missions over and over again just to gather enough money to buy what you need. That is the very definition of a grind. While the first game also was a bit of a grind, it also had achievements that were fun to aspire to, and in the course of doing them, you'd quickly unlock upgrades, and you could always see what upgrades were next and how far away they were. While PAYDAY 2 will probably release with a list of achievements, they might only be for Steam, as opposed to in-game progress boosters. That alone removes a lot of the motivation for doing them. We'll have to see.
UPDATE: Gaining money is actually getting more reasonable depending on the abilities of your team, so some of these problems are alleviated. The game is probably now less grindy than PAYDAY: The Heist. Unfortunately, the major money problem is the way modifications work. You obtain weapon mods as free mission rewards, but you then have to pay out the ass to attach them every single time. Why it takes $12k to screw a silencer onto a pistol is beyond me, but that's the implementation they chose to go with. Punishing you for unequipping mods prevents you from experimenting and makes the game so much more tedious. Hopefully they figure that one out pretty soon.
As far as actually unlocking stuff, they also implemented an RPG-style drop system. Weapons themselves unlock at certain levels, but mods are randomly awarded at the completion of each mission. You also have a chance to get something totally useless, like a color that you can paint onto your mask. Considering that stealth in many missions is impossible without a silencer, this drop chance system gets really annoying really fast when it keeps giving you crap that you don't want. Thus, making you grind on lower missions even more until you get the gear you need to progress. Overkill Software, please figure out what genre your game is supposed to be and design it properly. If it's an FPS, remove the grindy bullshit and focus on making the missions intricate and challenging. Otherwise, you're just appeasing the MMORPG scrubs who are used to having all of their crap handed to them as they reach certain checkpoints based on numbers of hours of their lives they've wasted on the game. I don't know why said scrubs would be playing PAYDAY 2 in the first place, but from the many embarrassing posts I've seen on the game's forums, they do.
UPDATE: They have fixed most of this problem by giving players a silencer at the start of the game. It suffers from the same nonsensical money costs as all other weapon mods though, so it's not a perfect solution.
By far the dumbest part of the mission system is the fact that you can't even pick them at your leisure. The drastically superior and sensible system where you select a mission and difficulty level is gone. As I said before, you pretty much have to sit there staring at a city map for an indefinite amount of time until the game gives you the option to do the mission you want. I can't believe this system made it past initial internal tests. I do hear that the beta has significantly fewer mission available than what the released game will have, so maybe this problem won't be quite as big. Either way, it's still bad.
As a final note about the game itself, PAYDAY 2 massively penalizes you in certain situations as far as experience gained after a mission. We haven't tested yet if it's based on the mission being allegedly too difficult for you (completely retarded) or based on the relative levels of the people you are playing with (MMORPG mechanic that doesn't belong), but either way, it's ridiculous. The grinding is bad enough without getting penalized because the developers think it's so important for you to progress at the rate they think you should.
UPDATE: The experience penalty has now been totally removed, so that's a huge improvement. There is hope for this game to live up to expectations yet.
Lastly, the beta itself is being run in a funny way. They wipe experience occasionally, forcing everyone to start over. I don't know how they expect their high-level missions and items to be tested when people can't even get to them before the next wipe. It's like they've never run a beta before. But, we only have to put up with that until release, so whatever.
UPDATE: I should also mention here that Overkill seems to have their priorities seriously messed up. There has been a lot of whining about cheating in the game lately, and the whining is causing a hundred times more trouble than the cheats themselves ever possibly could. First of all, let's get one thing straight. Cheating in a non-competitive game like this is utterly irrelevant. No one should care, period. Players should be allowed to play in whichever way they will have the most fun, since it doesn't affect anyone else. That said, for some naive reason, Overkill has decided to focus tons of effort on preventing cheats. Not only is this impossible to enforce in a game that stores its data client-side, but it takes away precious time they could spend actually improving the game. They even admitted that last part themselves in a recent forum post. I can't imagine why they think that cheat prevention is the best use of their time. So, in short, everyone whining about cheats and demanding Overkill do something about it, you are destroying this game worse than any cheater ever could. Shut the fuck up and mind your own damn business.
In conclusion, if you loved PAYDAY: The Heist, you will probably like this game too. Much of the gameplay is better in PAYDAY 2. However, the questionable MMORPG elements that the developers have injected into PAYDAY 2 might turn you off if you're only interested in playing an intense FPS, as opposed to a grind-fest RPG.Posted by Nick on Jul 27, 2013. Last updated on Aug 3, 2013.