Payday 2 is an interesting one for me. It’s not my usual fare; it has guns instead of swords and explosives instead of magic and I haven’t gotten massively into a first person shooter since the days cramped around a tiny TV playing Goldeneye with my brother and sister. Still, the PAYDAY series has a certain appeal to me, letting me indulge in a bit of modern day devilry without having to commit too heavily learning all the intricate details of the game or hear twelve year olds talk about all the things they’d like to do with my mother. The cooperative aspect of it sets it apart from most games in the genre, allowing for a lot of fun tactics. When playing with others over the internet, it does have that “Its better that I don’t know you. Just do the job and go home” kind of feel. So, now that the new John Wick DLC has dropped as part of Payday’s Crimefest celebration, now is as good a time as any to pick up this title and try my hand at it again.
I’ve never really enjoyed movie tie ins in my video games. Like I’ve said before, I get nervous when people start crossing over films and games. Still, the John Wick film seems to be teaming up pretty heavily with the Payday crew, going so far as to giving anyone who purchases a ticket the film through Fandango a free copy of the game. With Keanu Reeves movies feeling more than a little lacklustre of late, though, I’m not sure this is going to be enough to boost the box office, nor do I think there is enough here to lure people back to the game if they haven’t logged in for a while (though the rest of the Crimefest line-up might help with that). But despite my misgivings, its hard to complain about some free DLC, right? New guns. New skill tree. New NPC minion who looks suspiciously like a slightly hairy and box-shaped Neo. I’ll take it any day.
Oddly enough, this is the kind of DLC that I enjoy the most in my multiplayer games. Its presence is mostly cosmetic, thought it gives a slightly different feel to missions and gives you a little bit more to do in the game. Having it doesn’t negate everything you’ve done previously and not having it doesn’t put you at any sort of disadvantage. Balance is maintained. Life remains good. Or bad. I get confused which is better in these sorts of games.
Payday has always been about being willing to break any number of laws in order to make money. Those fat stacks, if you will. There isn’t that strong sense of seriousness to it, that feeling that this is a statement on the state of our society. It also doesn’t delve into the absurd the way that Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row do. The tone of the game is kind of at that line between realistic and cartoonish ultra-violence. So seeing them team up with what certainly looks like a dark and gritty tale of violence and revenge (Keanu Reeves’ character is a former hitman driven to vengeance because, and I’m not making this up, the Russian mob kills the dog that was a final gift from his dying wife) is a little bit surprising, but does make sense in a certain light.
In all, if you’re not yet delving into the world of crime and payment, then I don’t suspect that the John Wick DLC is going to be enough to lure you into Payday 2. However, if you’re looking for a cooperative FPS so you can make a tactical assault on a shopping mall with the mind to do as much damage to it as possible, then the addition of all the Crimefest DLC (all of which has been free, by the way) is an excellent reason to give this game a try. I suspect that, like me, you’ll find crime paying in the best way possible.
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An American trying to infiltrate and understand English society, Trent is a writer of novels and player of games. He has a serious addiction to JRPGs, the weirder the better, and anything that keeps him distracted from work.