Payday 2 Review – Living the Heist
Let’s start this Payday 2 review with the basics. The first thing you should know about this game is that story is almost non-existent, and overall playing in single player mode is trivial (an issue made worse by the mediocre AI); however, things change considerably in multiplayer, especially if you have friends to coordinate with.
The sequel to 2011’s Payday: The Heist, it follows the same overall theme: impersonating a crew of criminals while they execute their outlawed plans. There’s a significant difference with your average GTA or Saints Row, though: these are not mobsters, but rather highly trained professionals who are extremely focused on the job at hand. You won’t be able to go around a city killing people just because you feel like it (in fact, the maps are all extremely small with fairly intrusive invisible walls setting boundaries), but on the flip side, players get to live the full heist fantasy – devising a plan and then improvising when it all goes to waste.
Unfortunately, it almost always does. Most missions start with the welcome opportunity of assessing the situation near the objective, which suggests a stealth approach; the problem is that it is not actually possible and even if players are really careful about not alerting anyone, the chances of entirely avoiding the conflict with the police are basically none. When this happens, the true nature of the game unfolds: this is first and foremost a first person shooter, meaning that firefights are at the very center of the game experience.
Overkill has nailed the controls, though, and shooting down cops proves to be very satisfying. Again, team cooperation is of the essence: as an example, the game might require you to fend off the police while the safe is being drilled, and generally the crew will often be in a defensive position. Devising a fine plan to cover all the exits and picking the most appropriate spot for each one of your team based on the roles, weapons and armor they have chosen is critical for the success of the heist.
The sound in Payday 2 is quite good, between realistic sounding gun shots and a fitting soundtrack for the overarching theme. Graphics however is a little disappointing, as both the technical and artistic aspects aren’t eye-catching in any sense of the word; the Diesel 2.0 engine seems to be lacking, and it would be probably best to use a third party engine for the next game, unless there are major updates in the pipeline. Of course, PC version is triumphant in this regard, but perhaps the difference with the best looking games is even bigger on this platform.
Overall, the main issue with Payday 2 is that the game crafted by Overkill is extremely limited in its scope, even though pretty competent at what it does. Chances are you might get bored sooner than later, unless you have some would-be-gangsters friends – in this case, it might suit you perfectly.