Payday 2: The Heist

Payday2_Tittle

As an avid player of first person shooters I believe the genre that unfortunately dominates gaming has grown mighty stale.  It would be challenging to muster up the enthusiasm for another cookie-cutter war-based storyline even if Activision programmed an unlockable Christina Hendricks sex tape into this fall’s Call of Duty: Every Single November.  Payday 2 intrigued the hell out of me however because its themes are mostly untapped in the realm of first person shooters, and honestly, who hasn’t dreamt about robbing a bank Point Break style?  Unfortunately what Overkill studios have given us is half a game here, which is a real shame because with a little more care this could have been an absolute masterpiece.

Payday 2

If you don’t plan on playing Payday 2 online with friends don’t even bother, the AI is so glaringly bad it’s a wonder that the title ever made it out of production.  Most of the missions inevitably involve your crew transporting some sort of cargo to an awaiting van, and your computer partners aren’t even able to accomplish the simple task of picking up an object and dropping it off in the correct location.  On a positive note the AI won’t completely muff up your perfectly planned stealth attempts on purpose, something I certainly can’t say for the majority of random players I encountered online.

Payday 2

The most enjoyable way to play Payday 2 is with three of your friends who actually use microphones.  When the missions are pulled off flawlessly you will feel extremely satiated as a player, but communication and precise planning are necessary, even on some of the easier and shorter selections.  One stupid mistake can cost you an entire run, and this will happen 99.9 percent of the time you even attempt, making robberies that don’t end up turning into the last act of Dog Day Afternoon both extremely rare and immensely rewarding.

Payday 2

There are only ten main missions, but the locations of goods, cameras, guards, and safes are always generated randomly.  This is the much-needed adrenaline shot of replay value that the game desperately needs, it would be far too easy to complete the levels if everything remained the same during every play through.  Picking missions can actually be a chore however, there’s no menu per say, just a map with jobs of varying difficulty appearing at random.  I understand what the developers were going for here, but after searching for a specific mission without success numerous times I was really longing for a traditional level selection system.

Payday 2

The character leveling is very addictive but also nothing original.  Four separate skill trees are selectable, and mixing and matching perks from each is encouraged, you’ll have plenty of flexibility by level 50, and that’s only the halfway point: Payday 2 is a long grind to 100.  Supposedly six DLC packs are on the way, this should alleviate the main ten missions growing stale even with the randomness factor figured in.

Despite its many egregious flaws I got tons of enjoyment out of Payday 2: The Heist when I was playing with a few of my buddies, alone however it was an absolute chore that frustrated me consistently.  If you have a steady crew you can recruit this is a must have game to scratch that criminal urge until Grand Theft Auto releases next month.

POD: Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever hail to the king

This game was the running joke for my friends and I for so long. We called it Duke Nukem for-Never because we thought it would never come out, but it looks as if finally the duke will have his day. 2K and Gearbox announced the long awaited game will be released for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC next year.

“All great things take time… a lot of time,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “After a hiatus from the video game world, Duke Nukem is back and better than ever. The return of the King from the glory days of shooters will satisfy our patient, die-hard fans, as well as a new generation of bubble gum-chewing, flat top and shades-wearing bad-asses. Make no mistake about it – Duke Nukem Forever is a testament to the era of when shooters were bodacious and fun.”

For those of you lucky enough to be at PAX you will get to see the game in action. Now the question is with all the hype and time between its original release and when it finally comes out next year will it still be a hit?

“Hail to the king, baby! It’s unbelievable, it kicks ass and it’s totally going to happen!” said Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, “Gearbox has enabled die-hard key Duke Nukem franchise builders and skilled veteran game makers to stand together and deliver. All gamers deserve a happy ending and after all of us gamers feeling the full range of emotions about Duke Nukem Forever, I am thrilled to be in a position with the trust, power and means to make it happen. Am I crazy? Balls of steel, baby, balls of steel!”

Well we know they are excited and we will see what the fans that checked out the game at PAX thought. For now here are a few humble screenshots.

More to come.

POD: Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2 title screen
Dead Rising 2 title screen

Our Picture of the Day comes from Capcoms Dead Rising 2:

North America – August 31st, 2010
Genre: Zombie Action
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Rating: TBC
Developer: Blue Castle Games

Several years have passed since the Wilamette incident, and Dead Rising 2 shifts the action from the everyday world of mid-West America to the glitz and glamour of Fortune City, America’s latest and greatest entertainment playground. People flock to Fortune City from around the globe to escape from reality and the chance to win big and for some, this means competing in Terror is Reality.

Like millions of Americans former national motocross champion, Chuck Greene, is gripped by the TV sensation that is Terror is Reality. Hosted by the flamboyant Tyrone King, Terror is Reality pits ordinary members of the public against an arena full of zombies with a simple challenge – kill more zombies than your opponents and stay alive with the winner collecting big money and the chance to come back and secure even greater prizes. So, what is it that has forced Chuck to come to Fortune City and risk his life in the modern day gladiatorial contest, is he trying to recapture the fame of his motocross days, does he have a reason to hate zombies, or is it simply the lure of big money?