Review: ‘Payday 2’
Buck industry trends, get moneyon August 29, 2013 at 8:00 am
We need more Paydays. No, seriously. I’m out of Paydays. All I have left are some really old Jolly Ranchers and a half-unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss.
Like its delicious namesake, “Payday 2” is a snack, not a full-course meal. You won’t get your daily allotment of quick time events or leaderboards, but that’s OK. I’m glad to have a game that can be picked up and enjoyed with friends without dropping $60 and signing up for some publisher’s bullshit social network.
Where’s my preorder bonus? Where are the solicitations for season passes and weapon skins? Hell, the game has customizable masks, you could monetize the shit out that! I’VE BEEN A NAUGHTY CONSUMER, AND I MUST BE PUNISHED!
Fortunately, “Payday 2” is not in the hands of EA, Actiblizzard, or even Bethesda. I shudder to think how their gnarled fingers would have molded it. The marketing campaign alone would’ve been a multimillion dollar undertaking. Instead, Starbreeze Studios and Overkill Software got by on good old fashioned word-of-mouth. It has literally paid off for them; the preorders alone turned a profit.
See, when you make a game that caters specifically to one group of gamers, doesn’t cost $60, and doesn’t require an extra subscription, the decision to buy is much simpler. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to buy it on release week, it wasn’t available at retail.
Ostensibly, this was due to small supply running into crazy demand. Not sure that I buy that excuse, but I was glad to see the on-demand version pop-up Xbox Live late last week. PC gamers, you lead a charmed life.
I spoke of word-of-mouth earlier, in terms of driving the games’ sales. Well, once I had it, I employed that tactic to actually get some friends to play it with me. Fortunately, they know I have impeccable taste and wouldn’t snooker them into a bad game. Also, the $35 price point (at least for the XBL on-demand version) goes a long way in convincing people to take a risk. I know it did for me.
I’d hate to see “Payday 2” swept aside this fall when the heavy hitters come rolling in. The sad thing is, a lot of the coolest features are buried under layers of perk trees and thousands of dollars of in-game cash. Us casual joes picking up a game or two a few nights a week? We’ll be left wanting for cool assault rifle or silencer for our pistol.
It may take several heists before you can even thinking about buying a new weapon or, god forbid, choosing a new perk. The money is hard to earn, easy to spend, and you never seem to have enough of it. It’s almost like Overkill is trying to teach us a life lesson here. Then a level 64 “Army of Two”-looking melon farmer joins the game and makes me feel inadequate. Yep, that’s pretty life-like, alright.
While you never seem to get enough money, it sure is gratifying when you actually manage to pull off the heist and collect your ill-gotten gains. “Payday 2” pulls no punches, holds no hands, and generally treats you like the criminal scum you are. Your equipment will break, hostages will be in the line of fire, and your partner? The one who stayed behind to grab just one more bag of cash? He’s getting acquainted with his new friends at the FBI.