Game Review: PayDay 2: The Heist

I’m a huge fan of the movie Heat. I love the (fictional) rolling gunfights in the streets after a heist gone bad, the in-fighting amongst the crooks as well-made plans fall to pieces, and the seemingly perfect plan that makes your heart pound as you wait for the inevitable to happen. To save heist-movie fans like myself from federal prison or being riddled with a SWAT team’s finest .223 ammo, Overkill Software created Payday 2: The Heist . . .

In Payday 2: The Heist you control an aspiring bank robber with a predilection for surgical gloves, decorated hockey masks and heavy ordnance. Your character works alongside three other like-minded thugs to pull off a bank heist. The three other players can be either AI or online players. And don’t worry about the getaway car, there is always a driver that will take you away as long as you reach the drop point. Update: After I finished my review of the game a new feature was added in which, if you alerted the police to your presence, you have a chance to have your getaway car crash and open a new stage has been implemented.

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At the onset of the game the four armed amigos will have identical stats, outside of how you spend the money from your heists on weapons, armor and masks. Once you complete your first heist you’ll earn experience and unlock 4 classes to choose from.

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If you like to sneak around and get in and out with anyone noticing you’re going to want to choose the Ghost class which – you guessed it – specializes in doing things the clean way. The other end of the spectrum is the Enforcer class which excels at direct confrontation and extended firefights. The other two classes are leadership roles; Mastermind and Technician. They are best suited for defensive roles and are armed with explosives and deployable turrets.

One of the cool things about Payday 2 is the fact that the game doesn’t shoehorn you into any of these classes or force you to dedicate yourself to any single one. You can make a hybrid class that excels at sneaking and running silently but also at wielding shotguns. Granted, this wouldn’t  be the best combination, but the game lets to make that decision for yourself, which is always a plus in today’s, press-A-to-win gaming world.

If some of you guys are wondering why I’m reviewing a game on TTAG you either haven’t been around here long enough or don’t realize how many guns are in this game.  While not Call of Duty or Stalker in terms of in-game arsenals, Payday has a good assortment of guns and a metric-ton of accessories for them. Allowing you to tweak a gun to your preferred play style.

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Yes that is a suppressed AK with a doctor sight and a Dragunov stock.

Before I get too ahead of myself, let me walk you through a mission. As any good bank robber knows, if you want your heist to have any success, you have to case the joint first. Keep an eye on the guards and take note of their patrol routes. You’ll need to know the location of the vault and your entrances and exists; you know, just in case the cops are called.

Did you notice the bank manager likes to take smoke breaks? And when he does, he leaves the back door wide open while doing so. You wait out back and hold him at gunpoint, hogtie him and then use the back entrance to move the cutting torch into position…

That’s when the guard from the roof starts barreling down the stairwell yelling, “drop the gun!” and begins shooting. The plan went to hell; start tying up hostages in the lobby while while barricading the windows.

Payday2004

Things go from bad to worse when Kevlar-clad FBI rescue team shows up with riot-shields and M-4’s. Your teammate lets you know that the drill has jammed and needs to be reignited, so you head back to the vault only to run into the SWAT team flash-bang in mid flight. BOOM! You can’t see or hear anything so you wildly spray your AK in the direction you last saw them.

You manage to down two, forcing the other to retreat, but you’re on the ground bleeding out. Your buddy runs up to you and patches you up, good enough for now. You notice you’ve only got 2 spare magazines at this point and there’s roughly 40 cops outside giving the bank a lead bath while you wait on the damn drill which has jammed again.

PayDay2005

Making a mad-dash to the break room, you grab some extra mags from the ammo cache your buddy put there, and swing back to the vault to restart that crappy drill. “I’m hit!”, you hear one of your teammates call out. After braving the barking muzzles of 2 dozen angry cops you drag your buddy back inside and patch him up just in time for the drill to finally finish cutting open the vault.

For your efforts you are rewarded with several stacks of cash behind a locked gate. Thankfully one of the guys on your crew as a cement saw and starts cutting through while the rest of you cover him.

He finally breaks through after what seemed like hours and you fill your duffle bags with as much cash as you can fit. Your getaway driver calls and tells you he’ll be there any minute. So you all restock on ammo and start the treacherous trek across the street while laying as much suppressing fire as you can.

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You toss the bags into the van and get the hell out of dodge.

Sound intense? It is, it’s also hard as hell if you do things the loud way on the higher difficulty. With tazer-wielding heavily armored officers and super heavy bomb-squad guys who take a dozen rounds to the head before calling it quits. Basically the game encourages you to act like professionals, meaning in and out as fast as possible, but makes victory possible even if everything goes to hell. This kind of flexibility is where Payday 2 really shines.

PayDay2006

Hardcore gamers out there are probably wondering about game feel. Sometimes the controls for a game seem like a total afterthought and just feel wrong for the genre. Like when a game is designed for console players using a controller and then it’s ported to the PC. PC gamers expect the game to have re-programmable or bindable controls. That way instead of having to reach across the keyboard you can simply hit the key next to your index finger to reload. Stuff like that is really easy to notice and fix.

Well I have good and bad-news and then a little good news. The game feel in terms of aiming and shooting is good in Payday 2 with separate sensitivity settings for both hip and aimed fire. The bad part is there is no option to adjust mouse input acceleration – yet. Overkill have been great about implementing user feedback into free updates.

The final good news is that Overkill software tends to respond quickly to it’s users suggestions so it shouldn’t be too long before that option is included. In fact I mentioned to the producer the fact that the AK reloads like an AR,the magazine is inserted straight up as opposed to rocked in place, and it has been added to their change-log.

I played the title for roughly 26 hours before submitting this review and while some aspects of the game could use some polish the game is an excellent bargain and an impressive performance by an indie game developer.

Overall Rating: * * * * *

Payday 2, like its confectionery cousin, is a rich and enjoyable experience that is nutty as hell. The moments where you and your good buddies are executing a seemingly perfect plan when all hell breaks loose are truly memorable. You won’t find better in any other title. You’ll feel like Deniro in Heat as you and your pals are forced into a rolling gun fight in the streets of a downtown metropolis.

comments

  1. avatar BaconFart says:

    The mouse sensitivity thing would drive me nuts. Hopefully they will release a patch with that added. Thanks for the great review. Hopefully there will be one of the new COD: Ghosts in the coming month or so?

  2. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    First thing to mention. The game is only $30 (or it was when I bought it on steam) that is a hell of a deal for te gameplay.

    I love the game. I’m level 78 right now. 300k+ Xp per level after you get to 75. This review is spot on except you don’t drag anyone. You have to brave the bullets to get your teammate up.

    Mastermind class reporting in.

    The mouse doesn’t seem that big of a deal for me right now. I swear there was an option to change it. I recall it being called “sensitivity” so it may have been misleading. 😉

    1. avatar Friendly Neighborhood Gunsmith says:

      Mastermind/Enforcer blend with a little Ghost for the bodybags 🙂

      The game does NOT have hard coded mouse acceleration. Disabling acceleration in your mouse drivers/software will remove any acceleration from the game. There is one semi-problematic issue with sensitivity due to the way the optics zoom, which is that while zoomed the sensitivity doesn’t scale. This effectively makes more zoom = higher sensitivity because only the field of view is altered when aiming with optics.

      Great game, great dev team and lots of frequent updates for PC players. Update 13 just landed recently. Console players are getting hung up by the certification process and the patch size putting Overkill into the tier that needs to pay to distribute their patch.

    2. avatar Taylor Tx says:

      haha I was wondering when we would talk about payday on here, Im in the high 70s as well with Tech/MM. Never had any mouse issues after the first few patches.

      One thing that REALLY peeves me about payday is the use of the term “clip size”, other than that, its a great game for 30 bucks with great replay value.

      On a side note, Ive been playing the BF4 open beta this week and its fairly fun as well.

  3. avatar anglosaxongamer says:

    Let me just say I’m so glad that this site posts these kind of reviews alongside everything else. Thanks for not throwing gamers under the bus like the NRA did.

  4. avatar Dan A says:

    Might have to pick this one up during the next Steam sale

    1. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

      It is $30 right now on steam. It is worth every penny.

  5. avatar Geoff says:

    Love this game, It’s alot of fun when you have a crew to cover all the roles. The difficulty increase update seriously puts some digital puckerfactor into the game in the higher difficulties.

  6. avatar muh says:

    well … yeah, payday 2 has lots of nice stuff in it. but i still think the first part was the better one. i preordered the second part and played to level ~30, but i never felt in love with it like i did with the first. there are no guns you can customize to hell, but i never saw such an intense gameplay in a multiplayer-shooter before and after, well, maybe exept the arma series, but thats a totally different game. so my suggestion is testing the first part, too. sadly most players switched to the second part, so its hard to find random-games online.

  7. avatar Renegade Dave says:

    I recognize the “why are you posting about this” type of comments aren’t the most popular, but at the same time, I don’t care to read game reviews on my gun website.

    At least I didn’t say TL:DR.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      I generally don’t have a bit of interest in the games but a lot do so I just skip on over to another post. However, I could foresee a time when ammo is scarce and expensive where I might need to do some sort of game just to get some trigger time.

  8. avatar Bill says:

    I see many games as opportunities to improve mental flexibility, spatial reasoning, hand eye coordination and exercising one’s brain with tactics and strategies. Do they directly translate to real-life? no. But neither does Organic chemistry to surgery, yet its still a prerequisite and it does prepare your mind for problem solving and 3-4 dimensional thinking and reasoning.

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      Cant you just admit you were having fun (though my reaction time has improved due to FPS games)?

  9. avatar Mr. Lighter says:

    This looks like fun. So, I’ve a question: Does the Dragunov stock actually do anything to change the rifle’s handling or accuracy in game?

    1. avatar Taylor Tx says:

      Yes it does as a matter of fact alter the handling of the weapon. You can also get an m4 style collapsible stock in a couple flavors in the game as well.

    2. avatar Friendly Neighborhood Gunsmith says:

      Amusingly enough with the “sniper stock” on the AK (as it’s called) the 7.62 AK can become the single most accurate rifle in the game eclipsing the M14, all AR variants and the AUG.

      I hate how the AK red dots/reflex sights are mounted on risers that they don’t need and how the Saiga has all the optics mounted SUPER far forward for no apparent reason, but the overall feel of the game is really solid as a shooter!

  10. avatar C says:

    if any of my friends had gaming PC’s i’d be on this.

  11. avatar g says:

    Nice. So who’s posting a review on the Battlefield 4 beta? 😉

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