Payday 2 Review : Get rich or die by SWAT

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payday

Payday 2 is the sequel to ‘Payday: The Heist’, was released in 2011 and developed by Overkill Software.

I’ve been excited for Payday 2 for a while now since they released some of the earlier details for it, it’s lived up to most of my expectations yet let me down in a few other ways.
The premise is very similar to that found in the original game, the difference here is that it has been expanded in almost every single way, the core of the game is bank robbery, with a side serving of robbing things which aren’t banks.

I have a ton of opinions on the game, and actually tried reviewing it in my normal way, but there were just too many good and bad things to be able to structure it well, so we’re doing it like this.

This was a bad day.
This was a bad day.

Things I like about Payday 2:

1) More missions than the first
While the first only featured about 6 missions, Payday 2 ups that number significantly and adds in multiple parts and segments to those missions.

2) Multiple Day jobs which play out in different ways
The outcome of longer jobs is affected by how the job as a whole is going – Make meth on day 1, trade it for information on Day 2, then use the information on Day 3…
What happens if you dont make any meth? Or if, instead of trading for information, you double cross them to keep the meth and they burn the information?

3) Stealth
Stealth is now a thing, you don’t always have to go loud (though you often will), some missions can now be completed without the police even being called.

4) 4 RPG style skill trees to spec into, with all of them being good
5) The class system is pretty awesome if you have a group of 4
Sort of under the same bracket, all of the skill trees are distinct and have their own perks, yet at the same time you are not bound to fully speccing into one tree, you can even do an even split if you want to and recieve all of the lower tier benefits.
If you are lucky enough to have a full group of 4 and everyone specs fully into one tree, you’ll see some real benefits, sentry guns, C4, ranged revives, tons of team perks, ECM’s and so on.

All of the trees have some good suff, Personally Im going through the Ghost tree. I cant wait to sprint backwards
All of the trees have some good suff, Personally Im going through the Ghost tree. I cant wait to sprint backwards

6) Good teamplay feels rewarding and satisfying
Again if you are lucky enough to have an actual coordinated team, pulling off a heist smoothly with minimal casualties, cleaning house and tackling all of the special forces efficiently is a real rush and feels extremely satisfying.

7) Lots of weapon variety / Satisfying Gunplay
There are about 25 weapons or so, all of them controlling differently and featuring their own modifications. It helps that gunplay is actually good as well, with headshots having weight to them and levels having a nice mix of long range and short range segments.

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Sniper stock on a G3? Go on then.
Sniper stock on a G3? Go on then.

8) Graphics are nice and clean
Seems pretty optimized and runs well at almost max settings on my PC, it looks clean yet has enough detail to look appealing.

9) Heists wont play out the same
Gas attacks and so on change the pace of the game, police will breach stuff or abseil in from varying places, building layouts will change, patrol routes and NPC’s are random…
you get the idea.

Gas attacks are pretty annoying, not to mention potent.
Gas attacks are pretty annoying, not to mention potent.

10) That one ridiculously hard to suss puzzle
Virtually impossible to work out and complete if you are stupid enough (like me) to try the mission on very hard on the first attempt. The finale of heist ‘Big Oil’ has the most crazily complex puzzle i’ve ever seen in an action videogame. From what I gather, it took the community at least a day or two to work out (which is impressive considering the amount of people playing the game) – http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=169466707

11) You can meet new people if you get lucky
I was fortunate enough to find a group of 3 guys that were looking for a 4th, we’ve been playing since.

Progression is both good and bad at he same time
Progression is both good and bad at he same time

12) The soundtrack
Composed by Simon Viklund again, the soundtrack is full of adrenaline pumping electro/DnB tracks. Even if you don’t check out the game, you’ve gotta check that soundtrack.
Here’s a peek uploaded by the man himself – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXcxX21pYZ8

Things I dislike about Payday 2:

1) It’s still Payday
Meaning its still primarily about murdering endless waves of police forces while waiting for a drill to finish boring through a door or safe.

2) Progression is long and drawn out
The leveling system can get pretty slow once you get to level 30 or so (and the cap is 100). In addition the higher tiers of the skill trees require 4 or 8 points to skill up, you only get 1 skill point per level… In addition, because of the drop system (you get a random card on completion of a heist) it takes ages to find items you want, particular weapon mods seem to be extremely low drop rate.

3) No matchmaking / Bad game browser / Some connection issues
tldr: Finding a game to join at the moment is a fair bit of effort, a combination of connection issues, crime.net showing games which don’t exist, games filling up super fast, lack of automatic matchmaking, lack of filters in the browser… etc.

50k+ Players since release
50k+ Players since release

4) Reliance on finding 3 other people to play with
This is a game for 4 people, whilst you CAN play alone, you won’t have a whole lot of fun doing so. Nothing much that can be done about this really, if you want to play with less than 4 people you can opt to have AI or not (thankfully its not forced on you).
On the plus side, the playerbase right now is so large that you people will almost always join your game.

5) Certain jobs are significantly easier than others
People currently playing will understand what I mean by this, but basically it’s far more efficient to grind one or two missions over and over than doing the longer (and more fun) multiple day missions because you can clear them so quickly – this compounds with the card drop system which only awards you when you finish a full heist (not when you clear a ‘day’ of a heist).
Some people in the community are taking it a step further by restarting/kicking people that don’t take the easy win option.

6) Some missions are too easy for trolls to ruin
Prime example is the ‘Rats’ mission, which requires the team to cook Meth, it’s a lot of effort to do correctly (putting in the right ingredients at the right time), yet incredibly easy to sabotage (by setting the lab on fire)

7) Still not enough missions / Re-used levels
It still feels like there aren’t enough different missions, and you’ll quickly find yourself doing the same ones over and over. In addition some other heists feel like cop-outs as they are the same missions found in other heists only with a slightly different twist (extra door, different objectives).

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Verdict:

There are a lot of arguments for each side of Payday 2, there are a ton of things I love, and a ton of things I wish were better. It’s still early days though, so hopefully the bad can still be patched out. On the whole however, I think Payday 2 is a great game with a lot of clever ideas.
Overkill have also mentioned they will be providing both free and paid content over the next year, so I hope to see some neat new stuff.

Approximate Game Length : Long (10+ Hours to see majority of the content) – I’ve clocked 14 hours over 3 days so far.
Actual Worth / Price:  £18 / £25 = 0.72 (tad expensive, though you can get it for £18.75 if you buy the 4 pack, which is a good price)
Should you play it : Yes, Especially if you have a group for it, but even with randoms it can be pretty good fun.

Rating: 4/5

Ps. writing in this way is so much easier

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