PAYDAY 2 is a surprisingly versatile and unique title. The game is, on the surface, a simple coop shooter based on a group of men (and, as of late, a woman, too!) who break into stores, government buildings, banks, etc. for a paycheck from a shadowy character named Bain (And a few others, but Bain is the boss). It really is as simple and barbaric or as complicated and structured as the player wants to make it, and that is the beauty of it. There is an impressive amount of customization in PAYDAY 2 that we’ve never really seen in shooter games before. I’m not talking 8 different colored hand rails that all serve the same function, either.

Other than your mask in PAYDAY 2, which is a wonderful form of aesthetic customization, there are also customizable gun setups with each gun having several customization slots with several individual attachments able to be assigned to each slot, a “perk deck” system that allows for mild tweaks to the way a player performs, and a four-tier skill tree system much like that of an MMO. This skill tree system is phenomenal for enabling the use of a fresh playstyle whenever your go-to gets stale. I’ll be clear, though; in 160+ hours of playtime, my go-to setup from the very beginning has still not gotten stale.

Here’s why PAYDAY 2 is one of the freshest games on the market as far as replayability:

PAYDAY 2 has a very special formula going that I really appreciate in a game. This formula of allowing stealth, heavy weapons, or a hybrid of the two on almost every job that is available is amazing for keeping the game interesting even after doing the same bank heist 15 times. Also, the difficulty settings are ACTUALLY TOUGH. After 100+ hours of playtime with a tight-knit group of coordinated friends, I still haven’t been able to master the hardest difficulty on many heists. This means that I still have something to work toward after all this time.

Speaking of things to work toward, the unlock system for attachments in the game may be one of the most frustrating. The unlock system is a system based purely on chance, in which you pick one of three cards at the end of a heist and are rewarded either a weapon attachment, a mask, a color scheme for your mask, a pattern for the color scheme on your mask, an offensively small amount of XP, or an offensively small amount of cash. As in, the amount of cash you get is maybe 1% of the heist you just completed to unlock the card. Also, the crappy drill you always use that jams every 20-30 seconds? Yeah, that never gets better.Anyway, this randomized system of unlocks leads to potentially a ton of playtime before you get that ideal grip you’re looking to put on your awesome stealth gun. In spite of this system being my only real gripe with the game, it truly does enhance the replay value by making you wait for your setup.

2014-12-24_000012014-12-24_00002Last, but absolutely not least, OVERKILL, the developers of the PAYDAY series, have created one of the most actively updated and supported games I have ever played. The game has been available for about 14 months, and has received 50 fairly significant updates. Some of these updates include more heists, many more weapons and masks, new playable characters, new skill trees, and completely revamped skill systems that weren’t even in the game before. Some of these are DLC additions that are paid for, but many are free.

Normally, the stock game goes for the pretty reasonable price of $30 USD. However, right now for the Steam Winter Sale, PAYDAY 2 IS ON SALE. Now, there are a few purchasing options. You can buy the stock PAYDAY 2 game for $7.49, which is an unreal value. Seriously. You can also opt for the pricier, but more generous option of the 4-pack, which is $22.49 and gift the extra copies to friends. (Maybe go in on the 4-pack with friends that already want to buy it and then split the cost four ways? It really is a good idea to play with people you know.) The final option just became available in the last week, and that is the GOTY edition. It includes every DLC that the game has had up until the new heist that was introduced last week. This bundle sells for $24.79. I’d suggest just going for the base game, though, just to get a good feel for it.

 Check out PAYDAY 2 on Steam sale now!

For details on release dates and other related info, head to PAYDAY 2’s game page.

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