The Ultimate Edition of PAYDAY 2 is quickly approaching, and when it arrives it will be the only way to buy the game on PC. So, the question is, should you buy the base game now, or the Ultimate Edition when it releases?

This article can be both watched and read. If you can’t watch a video at this time, a transcript is provided below, however, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’re able to watch the video.

PAYDAY 2 is an online co-operative shooter that’s all about heists. Using a plethora of guns and different skills, you and up to three other players attempt to infiltrate a building and escape with the loot inside. Heists are either attempted by going in guns-blazing or with stealth, and many of these levels give you an option. The game is loved by many for its high skill ceiling and the broad customisation options for your playstyle, but it’s also gained its fair share of criticism for the quantity of paid DLC that has released over the years. It’s with this in mind that the developers, Overkill Software, are re-releasing the game as an Ultimate Edition, which includes all of the game’s DLC save for one future character pack. This also comes with the promise of all future updates being free. By bundling the past DLC into a new release, they’re hoping to resell the game at $45, but is there any benefit to buying the game before the Ultimate Edition replaces it?

There’s three things to consider.

1) Base Game Content

Hoxton Breakout is a 2-day heist that was added in a free update in 2014. It’s also really fun.

Over the last four years, the game has received many paid-for DLC heists, but also a number of free ones. In fact, if we consider ‘loud’ heists first, we can see that there’s 32 in the base game alone. However, some of those are only slight variants on existing ones, and some are ported from the first game. Without considering those, we have 24 different heists in the base game. What’s interesting is that there’s actually more ‘free’ heists overall for both loud and stealth. However, it’s worth noting that about half of the included heists are fairly simple, whereas most of the paid-for heists have more interesting setpieces and objectives. Whilst the simple heists for both loud and stealth are a great introduction to the game, they become obsolete as you progress to the higher levels. If you want to see a full breakdown of the data, I’ve provided a document in the description of the video that you can look at.

An example of some of the game’s Perk Decks.

Some of the DLC takes form as character packs, which gives you a new character (which is completely cosmetic), a few weapons, and a ‘Perk Deck’. The Perk Decks are essentially additional skill trees for customising your playstyle, and this is where the paid content stands out. Sure, the base game has quite a few different Perk Decks, but some playstyles are effectively locked behind these paywalls. As someone who never bought all the DLC, I never felt like the game required these, but I did feel like I was missing out.

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The weapon packs are no longer as major a factor as they once were. At one point, many of these packs were the only way to get certain weapons, but as time has progressed, free variants of most of the DLC weapons have been made. They may have different stats, but ultimately they all function similarly. These packs also boast a large selection of melee weapons, but a change in the balance of them makes the choice mostly redundant.

Explosives were once exclusive to paid DLCs, but in recent months a free grenade was added to the game.

With all of this taken into consideration, the base game offers a reasonable amount of content, and you definitely won’t be disappointed with what it has to offer. However, it is true that the Ultimate Edition will provide some additional exciting heists and gameplay styles.

2) Co-op Gameplay

PAYDAY 2 is a game built for co-op. This means that the solo experience, whilst fun, can’t compare. If you go alone, the game will give you AI players, but they’re not the most intelligent. More importantly, the game is more difficult solo, because your AI teammates aren’t nearly as effective as real players. The game does have a lot of public games hosted by other players, but as with any game, your mileage will vary. Sometimes you can jump into a game, work well as a team, and have a lot of fun. Other times, you’ll run into one toxic player who ruins the game for everyone. This is an issue that comes with most games, especially co-op ones, so I highly recommend playing with friends over playing with random people. Now, the game is still fun even with the varying quality on online matches, but I doubt I’d have racked up 400 hours in the game were it not for the social aspect.

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In this sense, it may be worth asking your friends about the game to see if they’re interested, because it will make the game more fun in the long run. However, encouraging a group of friends to buy the game might get more difficult, for one major reason:

3) Price

The Ultimate Edition of PAYDAY 2, as previously mentioned, will be $45. Sure, you’re getting good value for money, but it’s going to be harder for you and a group of friends to take a gamble on it when it’s near the cost of a new AAA game. The base game is currently $20, so, in regards to buying the base game instead of the Ultimate Edition... Maybe. At $20, you’re going to have a better chance of bringing friends into the game, but you’re also still going to get a decent package overall. However, I neglected to mention one thing. The game is currently $5 on the Humble Store. It’s obvious that Overkill didn’t discount the game on Steam, to encourage people to wait for the Ultimate Edition... but they probably didn’t account for this. For 5 dollars, I highly recommend buying the base game, not the Ultimate Edition, because at that price you could always buy the Ultimate Edition in the future if you really like it, and if you don’t, well... it’s only 5 dollars.

Buying the base game before June 8th also means you have a choice of DLC, instead of being lumped with the full monty, and if you ever decide you want them all, owning some already will give you a discount on the Ultimate Edition. Not only that, but the heist DLC have a host share feature, where only the host needs the DLC, and the other three players can join. This means that you can divide the cost of DLC amongst your friends, instead of everyone buying the Ultimate Edition. I’ll also provide a document in the description for my DLC recommendations if you want to pick up a few.

Though buying the base game now and the Ultimate Edition later may cost you 5 dollars more in the long run, I can’t recommend this option enough if you’re considering trying the game for yourself. You’ll have a decent selection of content in the base game alone, you’ll have a better chance at convincing friends to pick it up, and you can split the cost of DLC amongst yourselves to save money. The game will be 5 dollars on the Humble Store until the 25th of May. If you can’t get it before then, the ball’s in your park, and hopefully the topics I’ve covered here will help you to decide.

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UPDATE: Buying the game via the Humble Store and with the Steam DLC sale makes it cheaper than the Ultiamte Edition by over $10. Even with the base game at full price, it’s only $3.30 more than the Ultimate Edition.

If you enjoyed this piece, I’m currently making a lot more like it over at my Youtube channel, Game Revo. Any support is greatly appreciated.