Payday 2 Preview: Overkill Making ‘Dark Souls of Heist Games’
All of those missions will also be available via CrimeNet, a big map of the in-game city that shows where the jobs are, how difficult they are, and what information is available about them. You’ll be able to pick a mission and get other players to join in, and you’ll also access new missions based on your performance in old ones, and what objectives you completed, making some heists different depending on your track through the game.
The reward for successfully completing jobs is access to more RPG-style elements that let players really decide how they want to create and customize a character to be effective in a particular role. There are 144 skills players can access over time on four different tech trees, each with a different specialization: Mastermind, Technician, Enforcer and Ghost. Each speaks to a different style of play, be it strategy, technical skills, combat or stealth.
Don’t expect to be maxing out all the skills, though, Goldfarb said. “I want the decisions to actually have value. I dislike when games let you have everything. You made the decision to pick this thing. Sometimes it’s painful.”
You’ll have the option to respec your characters in different ways, but you’ll never be able to get a complete complement of all skills.
Loot earned during the game will also let players purchase different weapons and loadouts for a job, and to choose different mods for those things depending on play style. For example, you might add a scope or a silencer to your primary weapon. Your money can also be used on things that can make jobs easier: there are various “assets” that can be purchased for each job that can drastically change a mission. Goldfarb mentioned that a player might grab the blueprints showing a bank’s layout, or hire snipers to pick off cops and make combat go a little easier when things inevitably get hairy.
All that stuff adds to what happens between missions, but Payday 2 is altering the way things play out when you’re on a job, too. Players of the first Payday will be familiar with the basic way things play out: you go to a job with your team, take hostages, start the robbery, and fight off the cops until you’re finished. But Goldfarb said that making a few changes to that formula was necessary in Payday 2.
“The first Payday was basically Left 4 Dead with robberies,” he said. Payday 2, on the other hand, will support a stealthier take on each job. If you can get in and avoid alarms, successfully take hostages, avoid bloodshed and the like, you’ll have greater success and be able to get further before the SWAT teams start showing up.
What I saw of Payday 2 and what Goldfarb explained suggests the game will cater to a much more strategic, thoughtful approach to your hostage situations. It’ll remain as tense and violent as ever. Look for Payday 2 on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in August.