Put on a mask, pick a gun, grab the cash, get back to the truck…If only it were that simple. Well then it wouldn’t be so interesting then, would it? Payday 2 is a game of many faces…no literally, there’s around a hundred different masks for the players to wear and an unforeseen amount of new ones being added, thanks to the upcoming release of the new Payday 2: Crimewave Edition. But that’s hardly all there is to the Payday series.
During the game’s lifespan on the previous generation of consoles, along with the PC community which is infact still active, the amount of additional updates and content being added to the game appeared to be strong enough for its community to remain interested and retain longevity. The key feature and selling point of the new Crimewave Edition appears to be centered around additional content, consisting of prior DLC, along with brand new updates and long-term support.
"While the key feature and selling point of the new Crimewave Edition appears to be centered around additional content, , consisting of prior DLC, along with brand new updates and long-term support."
Something which stood out to me the most during my experience with the game, was the incredible amount of emphasis being placed on player experience and customisation. And not just in the way of cosmetic qualities along the lines of masks and skins, but in terms of the gameplay itself. Player loadouts for example, a new skill tree has been added to the weapon system allowing for custom layouts and an enhanced progression system, in tandem with player perks.
Along with the new Fugitive class, this gives players the opportunity to kit-out their characters in a wide variety of ways, giving rise for new approaches to gameplay. Where the game extends upon customisation in regards to weapons, masks, and skins, comes in the form of different themes.
As opposed to the standard military-grade weapons approach, most common to other first-person-shooters, Payday does things differently. And while the standard shotguns, rifles, and handguns will also be receiving more variation, Payday 2: CE has taken things one step further with its melee weapons by taking inspiration from titles such as Left4Dead, Hotline Miami, and Dead Rising.
"Where the game extends upon customisation in regards to weapons, masks, and skins, comes in the form of different themes. "
What’s more interesting though and arguably the make or break question of the game, are the new heists missions. Extending the way contracts are undertaken, the game includes a new pre-planning phase giving players the opportunity to strategize more efficiently before going into a mission.
However, while this seemed to work well during my time with the game, as with all cooperative shooters and every other aspect of the game, this is highly reliant upon communication. Should the community that surrounds the game continue to support it with console players more specifically, making an upgrade to the next-gen versions, then this should be of no issue.
Where the game has been receiving attention in regards to its new characters, primarily the addition of female heister Clover. Characters from other mediums and pop culture such Keanu Reeve’s John Wick, will also be starring as playable characters. As to where he even fits in to the theme of the game is a mystery, but am I excited he is in it? It’s Keanu Reeves, so my bias is a given.
" Characters from other mediums and pop culture such Keanu Reeve's John Wick, will also be starring as playable characters."
What’s great about this new feature though, is that they’re not just skins on-top of existing characters, they’re actual additions to the game. Who we’ll be seeing in the future remains to be answered, but due to the focus being placed on supporting the game over a long-term and giving back to the game’s community, it’s something to look forward to. For those who enjoyed playing the game in single-player however, then my previous concerns over the original game remains the same.
For some players with myself included, the possibility of the single-player campaign becoming stale and dull, and frankly just losing steam before things really begin to become interesting, is a factor that one must consider when choosing to play solo. Not to mention concerns over A.I. as a key component of the game is reliant upon online teamwork.
Where I feel the game does well in particular, something that a good number of games fail to establish, lies within its identity and what it sets out to be. There’s an element of nonsensical fun that the game thrives upon, and while it does everything possible not to take itself seriously, it knows how to deliver a feeling of reward and player progression.
"Not to mention concerns over A.I. as a key component of the game is reliant upon online teamwork."
This comes in the form of loot, which is available upon completing a heist. Unlockable masks, equipment, weapon attachments and so on. All of which have an incredible amount for the player to choose from. Although gameplay mechanics remain primarily the same and it does well in extending upon the elements it’s good at, there appears to be enough additional content thrown in and upgrades to the core of the game, just to keep it interesting.
Increasing the pixel count to 1080p across both platforms and discussing the preferred frame rate which runs at thirty, isn’t going to be the justification of Payday2:CE. Where this has simply been the case for many games in the past, that did absolutely nothing worth speaking of to make it’s gameplay more interesting, or actually being seen as a worthwhile investment, Payday is different.
Online cooperative play has always been its focus, and from what I’ve played of the game so far there’s enough justification for it to be here. But whether it will last the distance is something that remains to be seen.
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is out next month on PS4 and Xbox One.
This game was previewed on the Playstation 4.