Wednesday, 14 September 2016

First Impressions: Payday 2

Note: having only played offline so far, my opinions may be slightly different to the ones in the full review when it comes out. Having said that, though, I can honestly say I'm having a very fun time with Payday 2.
Level select screens as they come are rather boring, so when I loaded up Payday 2 and saw missions springing up all over the place in the style of a website ( I have to say I was impressed, if a little overwhelmed with the amount of information appearing on the screen. I like the idea of your missions having a timer to click on as well, as it makes you really feel like you're part of an agency instead of choosing the same levels over and over again with all the time in the world.

After figuring out how to navigate the menus I clicked on the first mission I saw with the lowest difficulty, a job to transfer some cargo, namely safes, after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake devastated LA. Of course, the SWAT team and police have nothing to do just after an earthquake so they came at me with full force. I found the first safe no problem, and after nearly killing the allied NPC's there I settled down with the drill, fending off hordes of police and SWAT. With that van cracked open I set about trying to find the next one. And kept looking. And still looking. Nearly dead I thought I'd check up the top of the bridge and... There it is. Sadly, I was basically dead by then and swiftly fell to the law. A couple more attempts got me closer to the target and I eventually managed to get both vans open but was fed up with that mission by then and after another clone of me got sent to prison I decided enough was enough and quit to attempt something else.

I decided to pop into the safe house after that apparently awful attempt at completing a mission and have a look what's there. One word describes it for me: visual. Everything from door/gun tutorials to picking up your masks and seeing the cash you've got stashed away is shown in a house which you can walk around in and interact with in real time which is a lot better than 100 menus.

Fully equipped and ready to take on the, well, jewellery store, I went for the next job, a quick hit-and-run job, nothing too bad. Three bags in, no problem and plenty of loot as well. If only all jobs were this simple. The third mission was harder. So that the mall would pay for 'protection' I was tasked with breaking $50,000 worth of goods and while it was sometimes difficult to see what was a 'good' I prevailed after my second attempt. If only I could've kept the Mac's and Beat's in the store.

All three missions seemed to be of the same difficulty, as in they all had the same skull ranking, but were all completely different in terms of actual difficulty due to the actual tasks set and the environments I was placed in - a little jewellery store is easier to hit than an earthquake-stricken LA, which makes me think that the skull system needs a bit of reworking.

Conclusion: overall, though, the game was very fun and I really enjoyed the variety of missions and ways to complete them (shooting through windows/glass doors to reach inaccessible places or escape is always satisfying, and the offline AI was actually pretty good. One complaint I do have, however, as I did with the first game, is that you can't do anything while in casing mode, not even crack a gate open, which makes stealth really difficult.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

Tried a fourth mission while this was scheduled so thought I should add it. The specification was like nothing I had seen before - go in and get the cars without using brute force. Well, that's new. You see, if the police are called, I have 3 minutes to get the cars and get out before the mission's over as we couldn't afford to damage the paintwork with a firefight. But, here's the thing, the storage room where the keys are held is upstairs, a place I can't get to without either alerting the guards or putting my mask on. After a myriad of attempts, I finally managed to get onto the top floor with my mask on but without being seen and... The designers had changed the plans, the storage room was now on the bottom floor. Yay. The closest I got was getting into the storage room with 1 second to spare. Shame really, those cars looked really nice.

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