PayDay 2 Review

PayDay 2: Intriguing cover artwork

My first almost successful heist was at a jewelry store. “Almost successful” means that the fight with the police ended, rather than started; up until that point, I had been cutting through mountains of corpses with random partners from the very beginning. Now, we efficiently took down two guards, coordinatedly forced all the customers and sellers to the ground, tied their hands, and quickly brought the bags with diamonds to the car. But I turned out to be an idiot.

On my way to the very last bag, I decided that since everything was already done, I didn’t need to worry and went straight through the glass display case. Naturally, as soon as it broke, the alarm went off, and our pickup truck immediately fled to a safe place, leaving me with three most likely unhappy accomplices and a bunch of aggressive bots.

So far, it was my best game in Payday 2. There was also another decent start to clearing an art gallery of paintings, but the chaos started there not halfway through, and it wasn’t my fault.

All Cops Are Bastards meets Payday 2

Somehow it turned out that the first Payday passed me by. There was a loud start of a shooter that no one knew about until the release day, people around were playing for their own pleasure, various videos regularly appeared online, but I didn’t get to experience it firsthand.

Payday 2 was already anticipated, and there was no way to miss it this time, I had to try it, while also stepping on the same rake that everyone should have learned to avoid since the first part.

Right from the start, it’s clear that the game loves the gamer. The very first task is a tour of your new personal criminal hideout, which includes, among other things, a bank vault where you can admire stacks of money, and stands with collections of masks and different weapons. Apart from self-indulgence, this corner is not needed for anything at all – a proper understanding of the local missions can only be obtained by actually playing them – but it’s still nice to occasionally visit your basement with dollars! The only thing left is to learn how to earn those dollars.

In general, PD2 is like Left for Dead, but about bandits instead of marauders-survivors against police instead of zombies. We have a team of four robbers who need to do different things, and it’s highly desirable to do it together. If everything is done correctly, you can significantly increase your salary and avoid tedious shootouts, if not, welcome to Zombieland, where they also have guns.

It’s obviously incredible: trying to get used to the locations in PD2 with bots as partners is a mistake and a waste of time. The bots don’t do anything: they just run around and shoot at anyone. The missions in our game – if you try to do them properly – are heavily dependent on teamwork, the ability to do all tasks synchronously and/or on time, as well as knowledge of the current map scenario.

Stealing from others' reserves

And here I am robbing a bank with bots. Carry the drill yourself, open the safe yourself, pack the bags yourself, carry them to the car yourself. But it could have all been different: a team enters from somewhere on the roof or a service entrance, carefully takes out three guards at once, disables the cameras, quickly ties up seven visitors and two cashiers, takes the loot and enjoys life.

In reality, it won’t work out with live partners on the first try, but with bots, it’s a useless circus. Maybe you can inspect the map. So it’s better to go straight to a proper online game, even if you haven’t played the original. There will be bumps, there will be many, but believe me, it will be more useful and fun.

Especially since there is plenty of fun in PD2. Especially if you have a company with whom you could plan a big heist, brutally fail at the halfway point, and then navigate the mission with honest profanity in “Skype”. But in general, random accomplices from the internet will do this time.

Sometimes you join a random lobby, and it’s not a lobby at all, but a long-running scenario, half of the civilians are shot, the building is being stormed by special forces, two out of three bandits are digging in the bank vaults, and behind them, the third one is dying with guns pointed at his forehead by three law enforcement officers, and another five are lining up for fresh illegal blood. You empty a whole magazine of your “Kalashnikov” in the corridor, get the dying one back on his feet, throw extra rounds on the floor, and just then the first two have collected enough deposits for three bags of candy – it’s time to bail; wow, what a powerful action right away!

And all this time, tense electronic music is still playing from the speakers, so that no one relaxes. The tone is set just right, I must say.

Sometimes, though, it’s exactly the opposite, when there are noobs all around, the chat is full of insults, and players come and go from the server every two minutes, but the first scenario happens much more often.

A safe not yet brimming with loot

My safe: not full yet.

After successfully completing a PayDay 2 mission, players are rewarded with goodies. During their distribution, probably about a third of the game’s enjoyment is hidden.

So, there is a stable amount of cash, plus skill points. By combining the first with the second, you can get yourself some new useful perk. But the same money can also be spent on weapons and masks, and that’s where the magic begins.

You know how excited you get when you receive some epic drop from a boss in some instance of a popular MMO… oh, that random number generator, working like a slot machine. When you open a chest in Borderlands 2, when you break Diablo’s horns, when you reach the end of a dungeon in Elona… Well, in PayDay 2, the roulette of random numbers happens after each map, it’s a guaranteed win, and it’s even available in offline mode!

The humor is that before you spend your ill-gotten money on anything other than leveling up, you first have to unlock it in the local slot machine called “Pull a Card”. Actually, the guns appear in the store simply with a new level, but the upgrades for them, plus new masks, plus mask colors – all of this needs to be pulled from the game’s vending machine first.

The feeling of satisfaction after a successful round of guessing is like opening a crate in Team Fortress 2 with a key and pulling out an unusual hat for your favorite class. Or a special courier in Dota 2. And all this pleasure is given here for free, whee!

Navigating the mission servers map

You can replay PD2 scenarios if not indefinitely, then certainly for a very long time. Especially if you have someone to organize a heist conference on Skype. When funny stories happen during cooperative parties that are then fun to remember and retell – that’s a sign. Minus point for the lack of AAA graphics. But, you know, it’s like with the classic Counter-Strike, when a long time ago you didn’t care about how the menus and terrorist models looked, the main thing is that the gameplay is addictive.

Definitely worth trying.

PayDay 2
PC, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Action, Co-op
505 Games
Overkill Software, Starbreeze Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews