Review: PAYDAY 2 (PC)

Review: PAYDAY 2 (PC)

I don’t really know anyone who dislikes a good heist movie. From classic con jobs like The Sting and the Ocean films to a more direct robbery like Heat, there’s always a great sense of camaraderie, clever calculation, and conflict that draws people in. There have been few attempts to translate this popular genre into video games, but Overkill Software has started to make a name for themselves doing just that. Their 2011 title, PAYDAY: The Heist, was met with mixed reviews; the concept was solid, but there were bugs that kept the game from being great. It did well enough, however, to justify a sequel. PAYDAY 2 takes what Overkill started building with The Heist and improved, like a good sequel should.

That doesn’t mean the game is perfect, however.

I’m going to start, as I sometimes do, with the problems so that I can get them out of the way. First and foremost, this game is better when played with a full team of actual players; ideally a group you communicate well with and make plans for approaching each situation. You can play solo, or with random matchmaking, but you run into some problems. With random matchmaking, you’re obviously faced with the unpredictable nature of the Internet hordes. You can come across a good mix of people, but it’s less common than the alternative. Additionally, any drop-in or drop-out in matchmaking freezes the game for everyone until the connection or disconnection is complete; it can be incredibly jarring to momentum. To avoid that, you can play solo, but then you’re dealing with bot controlled partners that have limited functionality Multiple bags of loot that need to be transported under heavy fire? Yeah…you’re transporting them on your own, one by one.

If you’re playing an ideal game with a full crew of people that you’re capable of planning and communicating with clearly, then you pretty much manage to skip past all of the bad stuff about this game and make your way into something really fantastic.

There are various levels that serve as the environments for your many missions. Objective and placement (items, goals, people) are specific to the mission, not the level, so you’ll find a lot of variety as you play in spite of visiting a lot of the same general places. As you play, you level and earn money, which you use to unlock all manner of customizable masks, weapons, and skills. The masks are great for the more artistically inclined as a way of setting their character apart. The weapon upgrades can drastically change how you play the game; lower mods for a stealthier, less effective weapon, or more mods for a more effective, but more visible weapon, and other factors. The skills also drastically change how you play, as you can specialize in four different fields; Enforcer (combat), Engineer (drills and weapons), Mastermind (support), and Ghost (stealth). A group of friends who level intelligently can have a truly powerful crew of criminals.

If you’re playing with the right people, the game is almost seamless. If you’re playing with random matchmaking, you take the risk of playing with people from…the Internet…and you deal with big drop-in/out freezes, so you might have a bit more trouble. If you’re playing on your own, it’s a decent game, but gods help you, because your AI partners won’t. It’s definitely an improvement from its progenitor, though, and overall, it’s an excellent heist title that makes you feel like Robert DeNiro and Val Kilmer (cool Val, though).

[learn_more caption=”Review Results”][one_half]Pros:

[custom_list type=”check”]

  • Breathtaking visuals and animation
  • Fluid gameplay and impeccable level design
  • An incredible amount of content and replay value

[/custom_list][/one_half]
[one_half_last]Cons:

[custom_list type=”x”]

  • I really wish they would finally add an online component to co-op and multiplayer, because I do want to experience it with friends.

[/custom_list][/one_half_last]

Final Word:

FANTASTIC

To see where this review score falls in our scoring range, please read our review scale guidelines.[/learn_more]

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! How about a chance to win your own Steam copy of PAYDAY 2? The contest will run from right now through midnight this Sunday night (EST). Remember, you can tweet daily!
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  • jnzooger

    Obviously The Italian Job, and not just because of the Rockstar game that went with it.

  • jnzooger

    Obviously The Italian Job, and not just because of the Rockstar game that went with it.

  • Tanelorn82

    When you think about it, Inception is some sort of Heist movie, so my vote goes for this one.

  • Tanelorn82

    When you think about it, Inception is some sort of Heist movie, so my vote goes for this one.

  • Getsuga_Tensho

    I like the look of this. I have the first game and got to try a very small bit of the beta and really liked it. It’s a shame that the AI doesn’t help with objectives but at the very least there’s matchmaking even if it is a tad risky with what sorts of players you get stuck with.

    Oh and favourite heist movie, I’d have to go with The Italian Job. I’ve not seen many heist movies to compare it with but I quite liked it.

  • AaronionRings

    I like the look of this. I have the first game and got to try a very small bit of the beta and really liked it. It’s a shame that the AI doesn’t help with objectives but at the very least there’s matchmaking even if it is a tad risky with what sorts of players you get stuck with.

    Oh and favourite heist movie, I’d have to go with The Italian Job. I’ve not seen many heist movies to compare it with but I quite liked it.

  • Alan

    I think it would be the bank job

  • Alan

    I think it would be the bank job

  • I played through a brief beta version of this game and was pleasantly surprised with the gameplay. I could see this being really fun with friends, would like a chance to play through it some more.

  • I played through a brief beta version of this game and was pleasantly surprised with the gameplay. I could see this being really fun with friends, would like a chance to play through it some more.

  • Lucky

    Ocean’s Eleven

  • Guest

    Ocean’s Eleven

  • Heat <3

  • Guest

    Heat <3

  • Jake

    Reservoir Dogs

  • Jake

    Reservoir Dogs

  • Ciara

    Oooo! I love me a good heist movie! I would have to go with Dead Presidents though. That has always been a favorite of mine, it’s been a while, I think I know what I’m watching tonight…

  • Ciara

    Oooo! I love me a good heist movie! I would have to go with Dead Presidents though. That has always been a favorite of mine, it’s been a while, I think I know what I’m watching tonight…

  • Stefan Vasilev

    Nice 😛

  • Stefan Vasilev

    Nice 😛

  • PowerlessTurtle

    The Italian Job remake with Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron

  • Guest

    The Italian Job remake with Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron

  • Chris

    The Town starring Batfleck.

  • Guest

    The Town starring Batfleck.

  • mumbles74

    I really enjoyed The Inside Man, it played out really well and did not get the praise it deserved for being clever and different.

  • mumbles74

    I really enjoyed The Inside Man, it played out really well and did not get the praise it deserved for being clever and different.

  • Danny George

    Now you see me. Can’t beat magicians.

  • Danny George

    Now you see me. Can’t beat magicians.

  • Ocean’s Eleven

  • Ocean’s Eleven

  • LauraLoL58

    Does Fast Five count as a “heist” movie? I liked it.

  • Guest

    Does Fast Five count as a “heist” movie? I liked it.

  • Tidus

    Inception

  • Guest

    Inception

  • Shawn Sigurdson

    Yeah, agreed with Chris(comment below). I’d say my favorite heist movie is “The Town” too, it’s a lot like Pay Day the movie. 😛

  • Shawn Sigurdson

    Yeah, agreed with Chris(comment below). I’d say my favorite heist movie is “The Town” too, it’s a lot like Pay Day the movie. 😛

  • Garrett

    Bank job!

  • Garrett

    Bank job!

  • Leon Durham

    Robot & Frank

  • Leon Durham

    Robot & Frank

  • Ume Shoryu

    grand illusion

    I can’t wait!!!

  • Ume Shoryu

    grand illusion

    I can’t wait!!!

  • Dusty Chuck

    How many times can we enter?

  • Dusty Chuck

    How many times can we enter?

  • Javier

    Reservoir Dogs

  • Javier

    Reservoir Dogs

  • Jon Snow

    Heat, IMHO one of the best heist movies. Unforgettable story, inspired on true events. A great cast, when you can see for the first time ever De Niro and Pacino acting together. Simply must see.

  • Jon Snow

    Heat, IMHO one of the best heist movies. Unforgettable story, inspired on true events. A great cast, when you can see for the first time ever De Niro and Pacino acting together. Simply must see.

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