Payback² HD - The Battle Sandbox Review
- Bite sized, action-packed stages; boils down the GTA flavor to an intense punch.
- Fun weapons and exciting unique levels; each mission feels hand-tailored.
- Blocky city construction and awkward camera control; makes it difficult to 'see ahead' at times and can even block out your view entirely in the case of tunnels.
- Painful audio; very low quality sound-effects come off as piercing/grating at just about any volume level.
- Hitting people with vehicles is underwhelming; makes vehicles mostly useless barring basic transport.
While not a massive leap forward for the genre as a whole, Payback² makes for a seriously fun distraction if you enjoy always-changing mindless action.
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For gamers like myself, the idea of a truly open-ended experience can be daunting - it’s not that I can’t set myself goals and then achieve them, but that I kind of expect that sort of input from the people who made them game. As such the genre has never really appealed; at least not for an extended period of time. Thankfully there’s always Payback^2 by Apex Design, a resurrected iOS GTA-a-like classic that concentrates on bite-sized action-packed missions while still retaining an open-world flavor.
Gone are the trite storylines that drag you from district to district in a hollow attempt to slowly unravel the full scope of gameplay on offer - in its place are missions that pit you against the AI, either in teams or by yourself. While they’re not always the sharpest tools in the shed, Payback^2 makes up for this by making most scenarios as over-the-top as possible; heck, the first mission places you in a tank against people with pistols (and the occasional passing car).
Control is streamlined to a basic twin-stick setup (though tilting can be substituted for turning in vehicles), placing an emphasis on the action instead. Need to highjack a car? Just tap on it. Need to jump out? Hit the handy button at the top of the screen.
Should you get sick of taking on bots by yourself you can take the game online, pitting yourself and three friends to customized challenges. Feeling a bit antisocial, but think you can do better than the developer at designing scenarios? You can do that too thanks to the custom challenge mode.
If there’s one thing holding back the game it’s the rather dated and functional aesthetic of the visuals. Blocky models, zoomed out perspectives, jagged hills, and civilian-free cities result in a very spartan environment that’s only held together thanks to the wide variety of special effects that will spew-forth from weapons and vehicles alike. It’s not going to win a showcase for artwork, but at least you’ll see the rocket headed towards your face before you explode in a shower of red mist.
Payback^2 is the sort of no-nonsense bite-sized GTA-like companion that has been missing from the App Store. While there’s nothing wrong with engaging in a larger storyline and a larger world, sometimes you just want to run over vehicles with a tank ‘no questions asked’, and I ask you, is that so wrong to want now and then?
Description"Bite sized, action-packed stages; boils down the GTA flavor to an intense punch" - AppSpy.com
Gaming App of The Day - Kotaku.com
"[Payback²] manages to create a sense of overblown fun that permeates everything from straightforward races to capture the flag-inspired heists ... an immensely entertaining experience" - pocketgamer.co.uk
Featured as one of the best games of the week by The Guardian
Payback² is the long-awaited sequel to the hit GTA-style game from the early days of the App Store. It concentrates that classic formula by offering exciting event-based gameplay that is all action, all the time.
= FEATURES =
• VARIED CAMPAIGN: Fifty campaign events featuring everything from massive gang battles to rocket car races to epic tank duels!
• TAKE ON THE WORLD: Battle your friends or over half a million other players online with the game's extensive multiplayer, leaderboard and Game Center support.
• HOURLY, DAILY AND WEEKLY CHALLENGES: Try to beat the rest of the world in the latest new events!
• ENDLESS REPLAYABILITY: Make your own events in "custom mode" using any combination of the game's seven cities, nine game modes, varied weaponry and dozens of vehicles.
• The Pro version has all the good stuff from the normal version but without any in-app purchases or adverts.
What's New in Version 2.74We've made major changes to multiplayer in this update! Here's a few of the biggest improvements:
• We now have our own multiplayer servers. This means there can be more players in a match (now 8, twice as many as before - and we're working on increasing this further!) with less strain on your internet connection.
• You can now see all the public matches that are going on around the world and pick the one you want to join.
• Players can join and leave halfway through a match without ending the event for everyone else.
• After each match players can vote on what the next event will be.
• You can now invite your friends to matches already in progress.
..and of course there's also the usual collection of tweaks and bug fixes.
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