A tale of two different games, Payday 2 doesn’t require much too enjoy, but to have the best chance at a successful life of crime, you may want to bring a few friends along with you. As long as everyone has a mic and works as a team, the heists can be fairly lucrative, as you steal priceless artwork, dabble into the production of meth (Breaking Bad anyone?) and rob as many banks as possible.
Most of the heists start the same, everyone walks around casing the locations, avoiding detection from security guards and cameras, while keeping an eye out for possible escape routes. Before donning the infamous masks, which can be fully customized along with each weapon, civilians and won’t be any the wiser. Caution needs to be taken in regards to your current equipment load out. Things may get dicey from the get-go due to someone spotting that hidden assault rifle or the bulky armor that sticks out like a sore thumb under your pre-heist suit.
Teams that work together can pull off the perfect heist before anyone even knows anything is going on. Using silenced weapons are one key, although the allure of using some of the flashier weapons may too hard to ignore – especially at lower levels where options are limited. Keeping civilians from escaping and bringing unwanted heat, keeps the crime contained. In fact, killing innocent bystanders will hurt you in the long run, not only will you be taking out possible hostages, but you’ll be deducted pay at the end of the heist.
The four different classes, Mastermind, Technician, Ghost and Enforcer, each bring something unique to the table. Heists go a lot smoother if everyone chooses a different class to maximize using their special talents. The Mastermind acts as Support, able to turn cops to your side, Enforcers are able to bring the big guns, the Technician can deploy various gadgets and the Ghost is your best bet at getting away without being noticed. During heists you’ll have to use drills to open safes, although the Ghost class is capable of opening locks much faster. Just like in the original Payday, drills will break and require someone to stay close in order to constantly repair it.
If things start to get out of hand, the police will surely make a mess. Anytime after alarms have been tripped there are periodical assaults, from your typical beat cops to heavily armored FBI units. Think of it like a horde mode, with timed waves.
If you happen to lack friends that enjoy a good heist, or unwilling to play with random players online, Payday 2 features a single-player mode that will allow you to tackle heists with two AI controlled partners in crime. However, the intelligence for the AI teammates is painstakingly terrible. Not only are you missing a fourth, the AI won’t provide any assistance for mission objectives, meaning moving bags of cash or securing hostages becomes a slow process. The enemies – in this case the police – tend to move directly in the path of incoming fire.
At a $30 price tag, Payday 2 provides plenty of heists and tense moments, if played online with friends or coordinating players. Although Overkill has been improving the AI with updates (the 11th update just released at the time of the review), the fact that the AI doesn’t help with objectives bogs down the entire single-player experience. The mostly static world looks more impressive when outside, with impressive lighting and reflections, but once you venture inside, everything suffers from a lack of detail and simple shapes.
Note: The Payday 2 review was written based on the PC version game provided to us for review.