Game review on PC
Eamon Ward / Fri 30th Dec 2016
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OVERVIEW Crime in DC is at an all time high. Dozens of robberies, hundreds dead and millions stolen. The Payday gang has returned. Payday 2 is a first person heist shooter, which sounds more complex than it really is. Rob banks, steal cars and wage war against the largest police force the world has ever seen.
While Payday 2 itself has no plot running throughout, many of the quests have twists and turns within themselves. While none of them are groundbreaking or particularly exciting, they're worth mentioning as they add a film-esque quality to many of the missions.
The free form style of the heists also gives players the opportunity, whether intentional or not, to experience their own individual events. A notable example of mine was during a particularly tricky stealth heist. As the alarm sounded in my ears after I had been spotted I ran for the getaway van. Gunning down my attackers, I watched as a timer rapidly ticked down to zero. Dumping my loot and diving into the back of the van I escaped with mere seconds to spare.
That is one of dozens of exciting, hilarious and sometimes epic, tales that I can tell. While the actual games plots may be weak and cliche, the ones you create are certainly worth it,
Payday 2 is difficult to judge when gameplay is concerned. Some features are excellent and incredibly well implemented while others feel at odds with the nature of the game or sometimes outright broken.
What Payday 2 does well is variety. There are dozens of heists, many of which are wildly different, even more guns, both primary and secondary, melee weapons, throw-able weapons and various deployables.
Add to this, is a levelling system to unlock items as well as almost one hundred skills, numerous perk decks and masks, each of which can be customised, and you have an awful lot of content. But that's not all. There's stealth heists, loud heists, heists which can start quiet and go loud, a bunch of characters to play as and a loot system that gives masks and mask customisation items as well as mods for weapons such as silencers and sights. If it's value for money you want, Payday 2 has you covered.
Unfortunately there are a number of issues that plague the game. Occasional bugs, confusing AI, both friendly and enemy, poor servers and more DLC than you can point a stick at. Add to this terrible design decisions such as having to hold a button to interact with anything, a poorly placed tutorial and a difficulty curve that makes no sense. While a lot of these issues are slowly being fixed by the developers, it is worth noting that a number of them have been fixed by the modding community; most notably the friendly AI and the amount of loot the player can carry. If you want to improve your experience, they're worth checking out.
Most of the time you'll be blasting your way through hordes of SWAT, tossing around various valuables from gold all the way to meth and cocaine or planning the best way to sneak in and out without being seen. It's a lot of fun and when it works, it really works, fortunately this is most of the time. But the opposite is true. When Payday 2 breaks, it breaks hard and can cause a lot of frustration.
GRAPHICS Payday 2 looks alright. That's about it. There's nothing particularly outstanding about the visuals, excluding the incredible attention to weapon details and animations, it runs as well as should be expected and everything is easily distinguishable, at least on a visual level. It sports a plethora a video options so you can tailor your experience but beyond that it simply works.
I have a love-hate affair with Payday 2's audio. On one hand it's great, the sound effects are well done and some of the music is downright cinematic at times (I recommend supersledge) while on the other the effects are often lost within each other and many of the tracks are aggravating.
Weapon effects such as gunshots and reloading sounds are top notch with differing audio for each weapon and even for each ammunition type. Bot chatter and the voice acting in general is entertaining, in a cheesy and rather lame way. Audio cues for enemy types are easily distinguishable and recognisable.
But sometimes things don't go well and you'll wind up listening to an electronic version of Jingle Bells that makes you want to go deaf. Even worse is when the enemy audio cues are lost in the chaos, leaving you confused and annoyed as a man with night vision goggles beats you to death as you lie haplessly on the ground, with no idea where he came from.
The audio is very similar to the gameplay in that, while it works most of the time, sometimes it drops the ball and struggles to pick it back up.
VERDICT Payday 2 is undeniably fun. It's an incredible time sync and the developers are constantly adding content through free updates and DLC. While it isn't a perfect game, and probably never will be, it's worth playing if you want a good, wholesome, heisting experience. I highly recommend it though one must be aware of the numerous issues.