Payday 2's Big Bank DLC replayability is almost organic

Starbreeze Studios' cooperative shooter Payday 2's upcoming Big Bank downloadable content pack, which features the biggest heist put together for the game to date, offers players more replayabity and greater depth with the new features it introduces.

Big Bank tasks players with taking down the Benevolent Bank in the game's biggest heist and larger vaults to crack, stronger guards to take down, higher rewards along with the new the Dentist Contact, voiced by Breaking Bad and Revolution actor Giancarlo Esposito.

"He's is going to take the Payday gang to the next level you ono this time around he has got to teach them how to pre-plan for a heist, " Almir Listo, investor relations at Starbreeze Studio told Polygon, explaining that The Denitist's meticulous planning is tied in with the introduction of the new pre-planning feature.

With pre-planning, players are presented with a blueprint of the heist before the match begins where they can collectively plan how to carry out the heist. They can choose which favors they want to take advantage of and pick how they want to end the heist. The pre-planning stage is also handy because the heist's size made it necessary to allow players to split into groups and complete two objectives at the the same time. For instance two players can get the crane working while the others work on the time lock.

The DLC is biggest yet and is also a nod back to the first game. Fans of the community complained that a recently released bank heist was too small, so the developers offered a larger bank and took it a step further with its replayability by offering randomly generated vaults. A level randomness that they have not yet done to this extent.

"When you hit the vault area, it could be a different type of vault door which would take a different type of drill and the layout will be different," Listo said. "For example, one time you'll only get one floor with just cash or whatever, but it will always be different every time you go in there."

The downside of using favors is that only a certain amount of these perks, which are weighted, can be loaded out. The more favors used, the more people know about the heist that increases the dance of getting busted. A visual laser pointer-like tool will be integrated into the pre-planning for those who can't communicate with teammates via audio means.

Players can either chose to escape by chopper, bus, drill down to escape and more. Favors include having a hacker delay an alarm, planting ammo bags and many more to help with the success of a heist. Along with loading out basic primaries like armour and weapons, in our playthrough we placed a camera in one of the rooms that highlights all security guards in its immediate vicinity, planted a poisoned cake in the break room and chose to escape by helicopter.

While the mission can be successfully pulled off by sneaking through without killing anyone, my teammates during the E3 hands-on blundered through the lobby wearing masks without first casing the joint, instantly setting off the alarms. The security camera did help identify the position of some security guards but we were constantly holding the authorities off as we completed our primary objectives, which included moving a lumbering crane to drop a massive piggy bank through the glass ceiling of the bank.

We even encountered vomit in the break room sink from the poisoned cake indicating that we stealthily took out a security guard. But, obviously, taking down one key security guard was a moot point for our hamfisted approach. Only after each player dying and being revived several times, we all eventually made it to the rooftop for our airborne escape under heavy sniper fire. With only one bag of cash.

The combination of pre-planning with the randomly generated vault layout and rewards offers numerous branching possibilities to approach the Benevolent Bank heist, which we may see more of in future DLC. The game still has 15 months of DLC and support left in its agreement with publisher 505 Games and the developer tells Polygon that the introduction of the Dentist, the pre-planning and the randomly generated vaults is indicative of featured DLC releases planned for the game.

The Big Bank DLC launches June 17 on Steam for $6.99 with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 release dates to be announced. The first two downloadable content packs for co-op shooter Payday 2, previously available only for the Windows PC version, will also be available soon for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game is being released on new generation platforms as Payday 2: Crimewave Edition "enhanced features and a stash of new bonus content" at an unannounced date and price.

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