Payday: The Heist was a really under appreciated game considering the amount of potential it had. There’s a strange sense of satisfaction in pulling off a successful heist with your friends, and although, the game was quite limited in its scope, its sequel Payday 2 expands that a lot with the addition of stealth mechanics and in-depth customization options.
The core gameplay mechanics are quite similar in both the games. It’s purely a cooperative game that you can play with friends or randoms, and as with any such game, playing with friends gives the best experience because there’s generally more co-ordination and teamwork that can be achieved, not to mention hilarious moments.
It’s a bigger, better game than its predecessor and that’s something you expect from a polished sequel. It’s largely meant to be played online but there’s an offline mode as well which gives you an idea of how to play the game in case you are new to its mechanics. However, learning the gameplay mechanics doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s a very accessible game. The premise is simple: complete objectives, defend yourself from waves of cops, and get to the escape.
"Variety is one of the major themes here. The missions have been significantly increased compared to the first game and there’s just a lot of things to do in Payday 2."
Variety is one of the major themes here. The missions have been significantly increased compared to the first game and there’s just a lot of things to do in Payday 2. One thing I was disappointed in was the size of the maps. I loved the huge maps in Payday: The Heist, and it felt like a real challenge getting from one place to another. Of course, it can still be difficult in this game but the scope of the maps have been reduced by a bit.
You once again play as Hoxton, Wolf, Dallas and Chains, and you can receive objectives from people such as Bain. The story is pretty much non-existent but you shouldn’t really be expecting something it here. Think of Left 4 Dead 2 but with a massive twist.
Another element that was bit disappointing to me was the lack of a system where you can gather your friends and then go find a match. In Payday 2, you have to open up Crimenet and search for contracts which will be listed based on the difficulty and other filters. I initially wasted a lot of time trying to join a game with my friend, since having to find a lobby with one slot free can be really painful. However, if you have four friends, things can be exceedingly simple.
"While the game looks great there are some low resolution textures here and there, but that really isn’t an issue because it doesn’t stick out much."
The real meat of the game is in its missions and the gameplay. If you have played the first game then this will be largely familiar, at least graphically. While the game looks great there are some low resolution textures here and there, but that really isn’t an issue because it doesn’t stick out much. It’s a good looking game when you are actually concentrating on blasting the hell out of cops.
There will be various scenarios and contracts for you to choose from. Some of these contracts are divided into 6 or 7 in-game days and is based on a checkpoint-type system. Finishing these contracts successfully will result in a lot of cash, but if you fail you won’t get much. There are a lot of weapons and equipment available in the game, including classes like Mastermind, Ghost and stuff, however, you will need to unlock them by ranking up and getting skill points.
The game becomes really good as you get to a decent level and unlock a bunch of skills. There’s an extensive customization option in the game, which long term players will find that they have a lot to play for here. Just like the previous game, teamwork counts here and that’s why playing with friends is recommended. You can use voice communication or text chat to guide players and it is generally really smooth.
"The offline AI is useless and I would generally not recommend you to play in that mode since this game really shines online. But you already knew that, didn’t you?"
The weapon animations are something I personally loved. You can decrease weapon recoil by unlocking skills and they sound great too. Not to mention the soundtrack. It is something that pumps you up during heists and the choice of music employed is in very good taste.
The offline AI is useless and I would generally not recommend you to play in that mode since this game really shines online. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Most heists can last a while depending on how you co-ordinate with your teammates and whether you want to clean up the safe before heading to the escape or not. It won’t be that easy though, the cops can get relentless and it won’t be long before everyone goes down.
If someone is arrested you do have an option to exchange with a hostage, but that is way too much of a hassle. Killing civilians will reduce your cash and it is advisable to tell them to get on the ground because they can run helter-skelter and get killed accidentally.
"Payday 2 is quite a solid game but does have its flaws. If you are looking for some incredible co-op action, then by all means do get the game."
As explained above, leveling up really enhances the game since it unlocks a lot of skills. Examples of teamwork are throwing down medical kits or ammo when your team needs it. Some people do it, some just don’t care, and that really makes a lot of difference in this game.
The netcode is great and I hardly encountered any lag while playing the game, however, the game did crash on me once. As I am writing this, a patch has gone live so Overkill seem to be on top of their game. Payday 2 is quite a solid game but does have its flaws. If you are looking for some incredible co-op action, then by all means do get the game, but this is purely meant to be played online and solo players won’t find much joy here.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
A lot of maps and variety of content. The netcode is great. In-depth customization options. Fantastic soundtrack.
Friendly AI is weak. Graphically a bit rough. Could have used a better party system.
Payday 2 is a strong sequel to an incredibly promising game. The co-op mechanics and the content on offer will ensure that players will enjoy it for a long time to come. While the production values could have been better, it’s hard to complain since it’s a complete online package.
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