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Payday 2 Review

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Right now, I’m support. Hoxton and Dallas are upstairs working the safe. Wolf is at the front entrance, keeping the hostages inside and the cops out. I’m at the rear, near the bottom of the stairs just waiting. My palms are sweating, and a phantom itch has landed on my forehead, but my trigger finger doesn’t move. It’s been a while since any police have come through this way, and I think they’re due. Turn once to check the hallway to my right, turn back and unleash a flurry of bullets as half a dozen crafty policemen suddenly rush towards the door. Crouch behind some crates and pop out from side to side shooting bursts of gunfire from my AK. This is intense.

release_screenshot_4Hoxton is down. Dallas is down. Wolf comes rushing past and sprints up the stairs. I fire another burst outside and chase after him. Wolf blasts the police who managed to rappel their way into the room while I whip out my pistol and trace the laser sights back to snipe the sniper.  We pull Hoxton and Dallas back on their feet and rush back down the steps, working to clear a route for our coming escape. This is really intense. And this is one of the less exciting missions.

Payday 2 does an incredible job of bringing you into the action and making you a valuable member of the team while still affording a flexible and dynamic experience, something the first Payday seemed to lack for me. Every heist you go on will have clearly defined objectives and a handful of options on how to accomplish them, but you won’t run into any where you feel like an extra player. None of the heists are better done with less people, and you’ll always find a role to fill pretty easily, whether that’s keeping the cops at bay, monitoring security cameras, controlling hostages, or running bags of coke to a speedboat. As you level up, you’ll be able to further specialize your character through skills and equipment to better fill specific roles. Which all boils down to the best part of Payday: after almost every mission you play, you’ll feel like you and every other member of your team were indispensable assets, not spot fillers.

The second best part is the greed. Because in Payday, like on Wall Street, “greed is good.” Every mission you go on will give you the option of going a little farther, taking a bit more time and risk to earn that big payout. You’ll come to know greed quite well. it’s what keeps you cooking a fourth batch of meth while SWAT teams swarm through every orifice of the decrepit shack you’re hiding in when you already ran out of bullets 20 seconds ago and three batches would have sufficed. It’s what makes you miss your best shot at getting out of an in-and-out jewelry heist after you happen to notice a safe in the back room that you know you don’t need.  It’s what makes you do stupid things, brave things and awesome things that result in virtual high-fives with all the members of your crew when you see those sweet dollars come rolling in after a successful heist.

release_screenshot_10The money you earn serves an actual purpose, allowing you to buy new equipment, skills, and decorative items, and you’ll find you never have quite enough for what you want to buy. (That’s what leads us to a life of crime, after all) You’ll find yourself looking through missions, judging them based on how much you’ll earn versus how much time and risk you’ll take on to earn it. And late at night after you’re done playing and about to log off to go to bed, you’ll find yourself saying: “One last job, and then I’m out.” after you notice you’re just $5,000 short of that sweet new shotgun grip.

My big gripe with the first Payday was that it usually felt less heist-y and more kill-waves-of-cops-y. While waves of enemies will still harass you in Payday 2, the heists always feel like the main game and the waves feel more natural somehow. That, along with stealth options on many missions make for a much improved experience over the predecessor.

There is a linear story that goes along with the missions and ties in to a well-made web series. And if you play through with a group of friends, you could run through the whole story in line. But with or without friends, the story is entirely optional, as all of the heists will be available to you from the get-go and there isn’t any sort of “campaign mode” present.

release_screenshot_7As far as complaints with the game, I have few. Occasionally, I’ll get disconnected from a game’s host right before getting paid for the three-day heist we’ve nearly completed, and miss out on all of the experience and money I should have earned. But it doesn’t happen often enough to warrant serious frustration, just mild inconvenience. Beyond that, it could do with more weapons. But I wouldn’t change much.

Hearing about the first Payday a few years ago, I was excited. After playing it, I was not as quite as impressed as I’d hoped. Payday 2 has impressed me more than I expected back then. It is the heist game I’ve been waiting for. And it’s worth playing, with friends or with strangers.

Payday 2 Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Stephen Murphy

Stephen is a philogamer, a lover of games. From card games to board games to computer games, his passion knows no limit. There’s nothing he loves more than a good game, and nothing he likes less than a bad one. Right now, most of that passion is being devoted to staying alive in Dungeons of Dredmor and devouring fleeing nasty heroes in DC Universe Online
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