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REVIEW | “Payday” Sequel A Nonstop Nail-biter

By
Posted on September 11, 2013 AT 11:33am

So there we were, the four of us raring to go on our jewelry heist. Everything started off so well, as we grabbed the first stash of jewels and began taking hostages. Then all of a sudden one of the innocents decided to trip the alarm, sending swarm after swarm of police forces right towards us. My men, even myself, felt many a bullet pass through our bodies, and sometimes we found ourselves being held captive by the fuzz in exchange for hostages. In the end we barely made it out, with two of our guys in police custody and the rest of us knee-deep in the finest diamonds.

This is but a mere taste of what you can expect when playing Payday 2, a first-person shooter that will always have you on your toes.

In Payday 2 up to four players will find themselves robbing banks, jewelry stores, art galleries, night clubs, and various other places where money and expensive goods are kept. On occasion you’ll also be asked to hack into powerful figures’ computers to discovery nasty little secrets they’d rather bury than be brought to public. Each time you play a specific level, the set up will always change (i.e. which room you’re looking for is moved, prized possessions in a different location), not to mention how and when the cops start rolling out. As you progress through the game, you can level up your character, buy new weapons, costumes and upgrades, and learn new tasks that can be of help when on the heist.

When the police come a-crawling, the game’s tension becomes almost too real. It’s in moments where you have to wait for a drill to break through a door (which can take between 3-7 minutes) where playing Payday 2 is quite painful to wait through. This is not a bad thing at all, as the nature of the game is about staying calm, being patient, and always be on your toes when it comes to the men in blue. In fact I can honestly say that not since ZombiU has a first-person experience given me this sort of realistic thrill.

When playing online it’s best to keep to a plan you and your three comrades can agree upon, which helps if you have a means of communicating with one another. As someone who doesn’t own a gaming headset I can tell you that I was at a massive disadvantage when the three other players were chatting with one another, and I couldn’t have a say on what the plan should be. This can make your gameplay experience all the more tougher, as victory in Payday 2 depends on how well you talk amongst yourselves about the task at hand.

To better practice your skills it’s probably best to play the game in single-player offline mode first for the first few missions before jumping into the intellectual frenzy. That being said I found that my friendly AI acting pretty stupid on the job, running around willy-nilly shooting everything EXCEPT the police, only to find themselves captured minutes into the mission. I lost count how many times this has happened, not to mention the anguish I felt after being gunned down myself and the AI just standing there refusing to help me.

It should be noted that there is no difficulty setting in Payday 2, and the challenges in the missions range from hard to, well, let’s say butt-hurt. If you are familiar with the FPS territory and make a killing in the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty multiplayer modes, you’ll probably do just fine. Those who are newbies in the first-person realm should definitely steer clear, and perhaps pick up a copy of the latest Spongebob Squarepants game instead. Let me make this perfectly clear: Payday 2 is NOT a game for beginners!

Graphically the game has its faults. I noticed many instances of clipping of the characters, sometimes finding my face shoved within the head of one of my allies. There were some humorous moments where I’d see a cop outside be shot and flung high over a police cruiser, but I seriously doubt Overkill Software intended that to happen.

Remember, though: bad graphics don’t make a bad game, and Payday 2 is anything but. With many missions to play through, not to mention each of then set up different every time, you can expect a whole lot of time spent playing this and your friends. Just be prepare for many moments of losing at the very end and having to start the job from the beginning.

PROS:

  • Never the same level setup twice
  • Strong multiplayer co-op
  • Enemy AI a solid challenge

CONS:

  • Friendly AI can be dumb as dirt
  • Graphics aren’t always the best
  • Gaming headset a requirement if you wanna win

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Give huge props to the guys over at Overkill Software for taking their initial concept and not only improving on it, but keeping it from trying to act all mainstream. Payday 2 is a gaming experience that test your patience, and forces you and your friends to act like a team instead of friendly rivals. In short: this is what a first-person shooter multiplayer experience should be! Now if they can just make this Oculus Rift-friendly, with special clown-mask attachment, and we can all be in business!

FINAL GRADE: 8.3 (out of ten)

PS3 review code provided by Lisa Fields of 505 Games

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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