Payday 2 Review - The perfect way to rob a bank, legally


Matt Hadden (Twitter, Google+)
16th Aug 2013, 4:14pm

Payday 2 is the sequel to the surprise hit a few years ago, Payday. The basic aim of the game is that you team up with your friends and go and rob banks and various different stores to try and earn the biggest payday possible.

You have the same team as the first game, and it's pretty much the same idea as before. They have added in a lot more depth and character progression to the game this time around though, giving you more of an incentive to keep playing. Things such as weapon customization and a large "Crime.NET" which constantly offers new jobs should give you plenty of incentive to keep going.

I found with the first Payday game that I got the four missions done that it provided and then I didn't really feel like going any further with the game as I didn't see any sort of need to do so.

Story

There isn't really a story of such for Payday 2, the main aim like I said before is that you go and rob various different places like banks, shops, nightclubs etc. and try and run off with as much cash as you can possibly carry.

The entire game can be played in single-player but the multiplayer experience is the same content and a whole lot more entertaining as well, especially when you are able to communicate with your team mates.

If I had to say the game had a story then well, just make it up yourself, that's what I say. You're doing this to help retire in the Caribbean somewhere, who knows?

What the, the vault has moved since the last time we were here

Gameplay

Single player is pretty much a no go for the game, it was the first thing I tried and it just didn't give the game the justice it deserves. The only things the AI do are get in the way, get shot or revive you. They won't go and help you out with objectives and will just follow you around aimlessly, waiting to get shot or shoot someone in the face. Your best bet really is to just jump into multiplayer where the most fun will be had, especially with friends over voice-chat, although the game does include that as well.

So, you jump into multiplayer, select a contract and away you go. You're told what you need to do and then left to do it without much direction other than that. Sometimes you're required to pick up a drill, others you have to go and scout out the location.

Before you do anything heist-like you need to "put on the mask" and then you can start carrying out the tasks required to complete the mission. I found that the best option is to observe cameras and security patrols before doing this to give you the best chance when it comes to pulling off the perfect heist. This can be vital, especially if you're trying to do it without just bursting through the front door, guns blazing.

Either way, it doesn't matter what method you choose, as long as you get the job done, you're ok. Don't think these missions are easy once you've shot everyone in the face either, they are far from it. It will take you a good 5 real-time minutes to get the drilling finished before you can get your hands on the sweet loot.

The missions do change each time you play them so it's never the same old mission when you restart. The only thing was that the number of locations in the game could have been a bit more than what it is, but its only a minor annoyance. It's just down to you to figure out which is your favourite level (or levels) and play those. Although people like myself would probably play every mission on each difficulty level to get the most out of the game, rather than just play a random level each time.

That will be $23.88 please sir!

I found that you always go into these missions with some super duper plan and in the heat of the moment it really does go to shit sometimes. As a crew you need to utilize the four classes available to you, Ghost, Mastermind, Enforcer and Technician, all of which have a distinct feel and abilities to them. Once you master that, you can just master the perfect heist and feel awesome when it works right.

Obviously you're against the cops which are controlled by the AI but their brain seems to consist of "run straight towards the gun fire and hope I don't die as quickly as the guy next to me." On the other hand, it does make it pretty intense because of the constant swarm of enemies coming your way, there is never a moment to catch your breath once the alarm has gone off and the job has gone down the shitter.

Right, you've finally managed to finish the bank job at last, hurrah! Time to escape, or do you go back for more? Who knows!? The greed factor is always present in this game and you will probably find yourself going back for more, only to get shot down on the way and then fail the mission entirely, making you question yourself in more ways than one.

If you do make it out alive you'll be rewarded nicely with cash and a detailed breakdown of what goes where cash wise, etc. Then you can pick a card to help choose what unlocks you're going to get, as well as being given some sweet XP and levelling up!

Character progression and skill unlocks will keep you busy for a while

So moving onto the character progression system, this is a big part of the game and really gives you an incentive to keep going now. Each mission you complete will help you towards unlocking new skills in your "skill tree" for each class, and gaining new weapon modifications and kit upgrades. It will start out simple such as armour, ammo bags and a doctors bag. The deeper into your character's progression you get though, you'll start unlocking more heavy duty stuff.

This can range from a new weapon, to a new weapon slot, to modifications for the weapon like suppressors and sights, just to name a few. Then you can spend your hard earned robbery money on buying the weapon modifications. They are rather expensive though I must say, $12,500 is quite a bit of money to throw into a suppressor, so make sure you're happy with your purchase before you click buy and regret it later on.

You may seem completely lost when you first start out but after a few missions you soon get the hang on things and will quickly combine stealth with speed and knowledge to pull of an awesome heist that makes you want to come back for more. That's the thing with this game, the more you do, the more you want to play. The progression system coupled with the skill tree gives you plenty of reason to "just try that heist again, to see if we can do it like this now."

Time for a game of hide and seek with the SWAT in the smoke

Presentation

Don't expect AAA graphics here, it is only a small company after all, but what they have done looks and feels good. The environments are vibrant and everything in the level looks well done, even areas that you can't access. They haven't added any weird filters to drown out the colours either, they come out in the full glory and it really helps to add to the atmosphere.

There are a few textures here and there that aren't amazing but they aren't exactly noticeable, and to be fair, you shouldn't be looking at them if you're trying to rob a bank.

Sound wise, once again, all good. The guns can shit you up sometimes as they are pretty damn loud, and the voice acting is good enough for me. You really feel like you're in the environment and some of the lines when answering a downed guards pager are amazing.

God damn, this shit is expensive.

Overall

To finish things off, you should definitely make sure that you get your hands on Payday 2 as long as you get a good group of friends together with the game as well. If you try and play the single-player side of things I think it will ruin the experience of what can be a good game in general when it is played right with friends, or even pubs if you so dare.

With a lot more to do than the original game, Payday 2 is set to be a stable title, and there are still more content updates to come for the game, Overkill aren't finished with this yet. If you like a good co-op game and feel like robbing a bank that is different every time you do it, then this is definitely the game for you. With so many different ways to play, the game doesn't feel like it gets repetitive, even when you fail a contract a few times over because of your own bad decisions.

8 / 10

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