Payday 2 Review

Payday 2 ReviewPayday 2 is the sequel to the massively successful Payday: The Heist, a first-person shooter game released in 2011 solely on Steam, in which you rob banks, crack safes and steal valuable objects. The first game was so popular on PC, that Overkill decided to release Payday 2 on consoles as well, which turned out to be a good guess, because just the pre-orders already covered all the invested money.

In the game you play as either Dallas, Chains, Wolf or Hoxton, four career criminals who recently moved to Washington DC to make big money as robbers and/or couriers for a couple of contractors. There isn’t a lot of story to it, since it’s all just loose levels that aren’t connected through a storyline. You basically just log in to Crimenet, you choose a contract and you complete (or fail) the contract along with a couple of friends.

A lot of features from the first game have been improved and there are even some new ones. For instance, the gun mechanics have been tweaked enormously, heavy loot objects tilt the camera due to the weight, you can throw the loot, etc. The biggest feature is most definitely the addition of skill trees. Each time you level up you get a skill point, which you can spend on certain skills that make your character a better criminal. The four trees are Mastermind, Enforcer, Tactician and Ghost. Each tree has its own usable item, like a doctor bag or a trip mine. The Diesel 2.0 engine also makes it possible to create a random structure each time you play a level. If the security room was on the right of the building the last time you played, it is likely to be located somewhere else now. This makes every heist different, so you won’t be bored easily.

In total, there are 30 different heists, ranging from a 1-day jewel store robbery to a master scheme which takes 7 days to complete. Of course, not every activity gets you the same amount of money. Completing heists with a high risk level or heists that feature multiple days will make you rich in no time. With the money you earn you can buy weapons, attachments, armor, mask customization and skills, but everything is really expensive, so make sure to pull off big heists if you want a good weapon or a cool mask. After every successful payday you get to draw a card, which unlocks different items in the shop.

You can play Payday 2 on your own, with 3 AI characters, or with other players online. The option that’s most fun is of course online play (and not only because the AI characters are too dumb to help you). This game wasn’t meant to be played all alone. It is foremost a co-op game, that has to be played along with some friends. Be warned, though, even if you’re playing along with 3 other good players, the game still isn’t easy. The police, SWAT and FBI teams are very unforgiving and they have absolutely no regard for their own life, so they will just walk up to you without taking cover and shoot you. That wouldn’t be so bad, if it wasn’t for the fact that they are all heavily armored and it may take an entire ammo clip to take one of them down.

Although the graphics could be a bit better, Payday 2 is still a really fun game and if you have some friends who want to play this with you or if you ever wanted to become a master criminal who steals paintings and transfers cocaine for a living, Payday 2 is THE game for you!

(available for xbox 360 (version tested), PS3 and PC)

Skyrim live-action fan film released

Skyrim into the void fan filmA couple of days ago, Machinima posted a video, made by a user with the name Warialasky, on its MachinimaPrime Youtube channel (filled with other fan-films as well). Elder Scrolls fanboys will be very happy to hear it’s a genuine 18-minute long live-action fanmade movie based on the characters and world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, made by Bethesda. The story of the movie combines some of the best known things in Skyrim, like the Dovahkiin, the Dark Brotherhood and even a character from the first DLC (Dawnguard), a vampire. Don’t expect too much intrigue and plot twists, though, since the storyline is really thin and feels a bit  like an episode of a sitcom (the Dragonborn gets poisoned by a vampire and makes a deal with the Dark Brotherhood to get his hands on a cure), but it is still really enjoyable to watch how they brought the world of Skyrim to life with cool costumes and locations. The video is called Skyrim: into the void and you can watch it here.

Ouya donates a million dollars to Kickstarters

20130810-143702.jpgToday, the developers of Ouya, a game console designed to make indie game development easier, have announced they will donate a total of 1,000,000 dollars to several Kickstarter projects set up to fund indie games. They will divide the money among projects ranging from a 50,000 to a 250,000 dollar treshold. The fund is called Free the Games. If you want, you can check out the website here.

New Splinter Cell: Blacklist trailer

20130810-142416.jpgSplinter Cell: Blacklist, Ubisoft’s upcoming blend between action and stealth and the latest installment of the Splinter Cell series about super spy Sam Fisher, has just gotten a new trailer. In the video, you get all the info you need about the gadgets and the storyline of the game. It’s basically a mission briefing directed to the player, packed in a 7-minute trailer full of information. You can watch the Blacklist 101 trailer here.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted review

Need for Speed Most Wanted ReviewIf you have played the last couple of Need for Speed games, you will probably already know that the quality of the racing games published by EA was degrading rapidly. By letting Criterion Games, the creators of the immensely popular Burnout series, develop Most Wanted, EA has made the right decision to resurrect the NFS series.

As in most racing games, there isn’t really a storyline. The only information you get at the start of the game is that you need to beat the 10 most wanted drivers of Fairhaven, the city in which you can drive freely and participate in races to upgrade your cars and get enough Speed Points to unlock the next Most Wanted Race. The ten cars you will have to race and the required amount of speed points can be found here. There are four DLC packs, all of which also add an extra Most Wanted Race. To get the car of a Most Wanted Driver, you have to beat him in a race and shut him down afterwards.

The entire city of Fairhaven is completely open-world, with lots of secret passages and structures to drive on. A cool new feature is the addition of Autolog, a system which allows you to change your car parts on-the-fly, even while in a race. It also lets you jump to discovered jack spots and from here you can track your progress on the Most Wanted List without having to go to the menu. With Autolog, you are connected to all of your friends who play the game. There is a virtual leaderboard for every billboard you drive through and every speed camera you pass, so you can compete against your friends. To unlock cars, you will need to find them throughout the city and its surroundings. After you have found them, you don’t need to buy them. You can just hop in and start driving it. Each car has its own set of 6 races to unlock different parts like wheels and nitrous, which can all be upgraded to Pro level after completing a task, giving you more advantages while you use the part. In total, there are 123 Jackspots, but some cars have multiple spots where they can be found, resulting in a car list of 44 unique cars. While you race these, you will probably damage them. If that’s the case, you can just drive through a garage and you car will be instantly fixed, like in Burnout Paradise.

There’s a multiplayer section to the game as well, in which you can drive in the city, shutting down other people and winning races to get Speed Points. As you level up, you will receive new cars to drive. These can be similarly upgraded as in the singleplayer. There is a number of different events to participate in, ranging from normal races to contests of jumping the farthest through a billboard.

Criterion has proven it still knows how to make racing games by taking the Need for Speed franchise out of the endless stream of racing games and making it fun again. Hopefully EA is smart enough to ditch Black Box forever and to stick with Criterion Games as their developer for NFS games.

(available for xbox 360 (version tested), PS3 and PC)

No need for grinding in TES Online

ImageAccording to the developers of the upcoming free-to-play MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online, the game won’t be an endless routine of grinding all kinds of low-key activities. The people at Bethesda Softworks plan to get rid of grinding to differentiate themselves from the gross of other MMOs, such as World of Warcraft and League of Legends, so don’t expect to go out in the world, continuously hunting small animals for resources to smith iron daggers, like you could do in Skyrim if you wanted to get to level 100 smithing fast.

INFO: Grinding is a term used in many RPGs and MMOs, depicting the use of repetitive tasks to level up your character without having to do some actual work (e.g. killing monsters with a low level).

TES Online releases somewhere around Spring 2014 and will be available for PC, Xbox One and PS4. If you missed out on the gameplay demo, you can watch it here.

First Metro: Last Light DLC released

ImageThe first of four DLC packs for Metro: Last Light has been made available for download by 4A Games, the developers of the game. The DLC is called “The Faction Pack” and gives you three brand new singleplayer missions to play, in which you are a specialist (Polis Ranger, Red Line Sniper and Reich Heavy) of one of the three factions who wage war in the Metro (the Reich, the Polis Rangers and the Red Line). Especially the Reich Heavy gets some new machinery and weapons, the other classes are pretty standard. The pack is priced at 4.99 dollars or 400 Microsoft Points and publisher Deep Silver has also posted a trailer on the official Metro: Last Light website. In the video you can already see what the next packs will be called: Tower, Developer and Chronicles. You can watch the trailer here.

Gaikai coming to PS4

ImageLast year, when Sony bought the cloud gaming service Gaikai, there was already some speculation about them bringing it to the PS4, which hadn’t been revealed back then. Now, however, Sony has officially stated it will use Gaikai to let people play some of the best games that were released on the PS3 (e.g. Uncharted, Dark Souls etc.), giving the PS4 some sort of backwards compatibility. The feature will launch somewhere in 2014 and at first, only people in the US will get it. After some more testing, the cloud is also going to be available for PS4 owners around the world. At E3, Sony already gave some info about it. You can watch the video here.

Poll results

Yesterday I published a poll to determine which one of the upcoming games would be reviewed. Payday 2 won with an astonishing 90 percent of the votes. As soon as it releases I will start playing and make a review of it in the week after the release on the 16th of August. While you are waiting for that review, I will cover NFS Most Wanted, so you have something to read, and of course there will also be regular updates on the latest developments in the gaming world.