Payday 2

The Dark Knight was a terrific movie. You know what one of my favourite scenes from that movie was? The opening heist. Tactical, well executed, well-paced, and extremely satisfying to watch; that’s essentially what Payday 2 brings back. The teaser trailer for the game even has a totally unsubtle homage to Heath Ledger’s Joker character from that very scene. The only key difference between the two is that in Payday 2 you’re really encouraged to work together as a well-oiled machine. Payday 2 is fun, hectic, and wonderfully unique.

the action opens up to an intense, high-octane, robbing game at its finest.

Payday 2 has a simple premise: four people want money, so they steal stuff to get it. That’s really about as far as the plot goes. You do meet some colourful characters along the way, as well as getting to know the team of four men who consist of the playable characters, but you really need to be in this for the ‘taking stuff’ aspect over intricate plot.

This team game really needs at least two human players, ideally three or more, involved to really show the true excellence the game has to offer. Each and every mission/heist has different routes, plans, timings, and obstacles to deal with, and many – if not all – require well synchronised timing and execution. The AI does not comply with any of these requirements. Outside of a straight fire-fight the AI is totally inept and are unable to follow any commands outside of regrouping. No ability to detain civilians, keep them subdued, steal items, carry bags, restart safe drills, or any of the other average Payday 2 mission requirements. In short: do not play this alone, it will ruin what is otherwise a fantastic experience.

Once you have a squad together, however, the action opens up to an intense, high-octane, robbing game at its finest. The locations vary from jewellery stores, banks, casinos, apartment, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. The methods for stealing stuff are even more varied. Drills are the most frequently used item, used to break through doors, safes, and any other opening that would otherwise refuse to open. However, you can steal money, jewels, or whatever else of value you can get your mitts on. The catch is that you’ll want to do all this without harming civilians or alerting police. Plan your entry carefully with your team, breach in unison, subdue civilians, take out the cameras, eliminate security guards, nab the loot, and get the bleep out. Of course if that doesn’t work, you can always smash the register and shoot your way to the escape vehicle.

Thanks to the minimal storyline there’s no set path to the mission hub, as jobs/missions are all based around difficulty levels. So, while you may want to hold off on those Overkill missions until you’ve at least kitted yourself out with gear you feel confident and stylish in, you’re free to steal from whatever jobs happen to be going at the time. Certain jobs have a number of phases over a set period of days, and outcomes of previous phases can adversely affect future phases – adding even further replay value to the generous 30 missions.

There are even a few side missions where you’re asked to cause a certain value of collateral damage as you rampage through the level to make a statement. To go along with the mission freedom your profile has a levelling system built in, with a level cap of 100. Every mission you complete gives you XP, and you’re free to grind the same smaller robberies if that’s your thing, but as you level up your character you’ll eventually give in to temptation and go for the bigger jobs on offer. The larger the job, the higher the difficulty, the better the payday in both XP and cash.

The developers knew who their audience were, knew what they wanted, and delivered it in full.

That’s not to say that the levelling and upgrade system doesn’t have a few missteps. There’s a mildly annoying trend of gaining more gear and equipment through sheer dedication than any specific XP levels, with a decent number of weapon unlocks coming at the end of missions in the form of a randomly generated bonus. Not to mention that if you do decide to apply a weapon attachment to a gun you’d better damn sure commit to it, because if you take it off at any point you’ll have to buy it again – at full price – to put the attachment back on the gun.

The character classes, with four in total, that have specific skill trees – with the idea being that your team of four miscreants will each level up a different class. The issue that arises with this is that there are no perks which are shared amongst the team. Sure, it may be great that Bob over there is now carrying enough zip-ties to subdue the entire population of New York city, but it means the rest of the team are forced to stand around picking their mask noses waiting for him.

Though there are a few minor flaws, they can be easily overlooked for Payday 2’s unique and addictive gameplay. The developers knew who their audience were, knew what they wanted, and delivered it in full. They have even already claimed there will be at least one year’s worth of DLC for the title, so the addition may never end. Grab Payday 2, grab some friends, and then grab some loot.






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