Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: PAYDAY 2

12:30 PM on 08.19.2013 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Stands and delivers

Nobody could ever claim PAYDAY: The Heist wasn't a good idea. Tapping into every human's secret desire to be part of a beautifully orchestrated, flamboyantly daring theft of grand proportions was a masterstroke, and while the execution was spotty, the overall result was a ton of fun. 

Overkill is having a second crack of the whip with PAYDAY 2, clutching its clever idea jealously while surrounding it with much more content. A deeper leveling system, greater customization options, and a ton of new heists are all on offer.

The execution is, once again, spotty, but the result is, once again, a ton of fun.

PAYDAY 2 (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: Overkill Software
Publisher: 505 Games
Released: August 13, 2013 (NA), August 16, 2013 (EU)
MSRP: $29.99 

Dallas, Chains, Hoxton, and Wolf are reunited for a second string of amoral moneymaking, propelled by a variety of missions involving breaking and entering, classic bank robbery, and even simple property damage across a range of maps that, while often recycled, feature randomized elements to keep things interesting. Yet again, success hinges on teamwork as four players strategize, watch backs, and hold off waves of progressively deadly police forces. 

This time around, missions are picked up by accessing Crime.net, a virtual map that locates and displays all active online missions. There is an offline mode too, but the allied A.I. is so utterly useless as to render it an endeavor without meaning. Suffice it to say, you're going to need to go online if you've any hope of making out like a bandit.

Missions appear and disappear in real-time as they become available, and range from simple one-stage jobs to longer, story-based crimes that take place over several days and are broken up into anywhere from two to seven stages. Missions are also graded by difficulty, allowing you to hop right into an easy job or ramp things up by tackling an Overkill mission. The harder the difficulty, the greater the enemy resistance, and the more likely an appearance of vicious special enemies, such as the annoying Shield or terrifying Heavy. 

Each mission is impressively paced, and far more varied than last time. In one stage, you'll be tasked with entering a mall and doing $50,000 worth of damage for a protection racketeer. Another involves robbing three stores at once and making out with the goods. One multipart stage involves robbing an art gallery, holding a position from cops after the escape van crashes, and finally executing a shady trade of goods before the police invariably show up. Oh, and yes, there is a mission where you have to break bad and cook up some meth. 

A good number of missions can be played either stealthily or noisily. If you go in, all guns blazing, take hostages and decide to smash-and-grab, you'll end up defending your location against timed police assaults before fighting your way out with your earnings. A quiet approach involves sneaking past cameras, knocking out opponents, pretending to be guards over a pager system (which is always amusing), and hoping to Hermes you don't get anybody too suspicious. It's more difficult to pull off a stealth win, requiring both practice and a mastery of special skills, but it's possible. I've not seen it done personally, but it's possible!

Players level up and earn spending money after each successful job, which can in turn be used to gain new skills, unlock guns, and customize masks. There are four skill trees to choose from -- Mastermind, which involves dominating enemies while supporting allies; Engineer, which uses vault drills more efficiently and can use mines or turrets; Enforcer, which is all about combat and shotgun efficiency; and Ghost, the handy stealth class that can sneak in and evade detection. 

Guns are all of the standard variety -- pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, etc. -- but there's a heck of a lot of them, and all can be customized with parts randomly won at the end of a job. Masks are also a big deal this time around, the usual clown varieties added to with mummies, demons, and other ghoulish fun. Masks are also acquired as random "drops" and can be further customized with material skins, logos, and colors. With the skills, weapons, and masks combined, there's plenty of scope to create your perfect master criminal, and the encouragement to progress is there in spades. 

Everything costs money, though, and while you'll be earning buckets of cash at the end of each stage, it can disappear quickly. Unlocking skills takes both unlockable skill points and an injection of hot cash, with the dollar toll rising to hundreds of thousands in no time. This isn't usually a problem, but if you tend to respec a lot, as I did in the early goings, you'll find yourself playing catch-up as you don't get all your money back. 

Each heist is nicely designed, with a terrific sense of escalation, especially when the plan gets chaotic and things start to go wrong. The idea of risk and reward adds an extra level of dynamism to each job, as you have to weigh going back for extra valuables against the army of SWAT specialists now standing between your escape van and goods you've left behind. You can also unlock assets (if you're hosting the game) that add extra benefits during the game, such as a hidden ammo cache or an inside man. 

PAYDAY 2 is just as fun, and measurably more involving, than the first game, but some issues get in the way of the amusement. Matchmaking could stand to be more efficient, as joining an existing game holds the match up for everybody, while the lack of any sort of host migration -- which shouldn't even be a consideration these days -- is a real pain in the ass. There are also a number of glitches and bugs that can occur, and the way stages simply end -- as well as a number of missing features such as safehouse customization -- lead to a title that feels somewhat unfinished. 

Despite some of these flaws being quite egregious, Overkill has still provided a massive laugh of a game, and it says a lot about the quality of what's there that potentially dealbreaking issues don't really manage to kill the overwhelming enjoyment I've been having with the thing. Matches are tense and the fantastic music keeps the blood pumping, while finally getting to within hopping distance of the escape van provides a sense of exhilaration rarely found in similar shooters these days. 

PAYDAY 2 is undeniably rough and needs a couple of updates to fill in a few blanks, but the thrill of robbing banks, smashing jewel cases, and cooking meth is too great for the asking price not be returned to the player in spades. If you're willing to work with a team and get involved in some delightfully chaotic situations, the world of poorly made drills and unnecessary amounts of violence is one well worth investing in. 



THE VERDICT

8

Payday 2 - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Payday 2


  Jun 12

Payday 2's next heist takes on Vegas

Insert some pun ending in Jailhouse Rock


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

Waifu Wars: Loyalty-Tier

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
People bitching that "(insert character) Needs Nerfing" because they lost to them several times online, incoming in T-5 days.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
For some reason I had a dream that I was playing a new Jet Set Radio game. It was open world and had an amazing day/night cycle. It was wonderful, yet horrible...
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
4.6 Million XCOM operatives down and down! [url]https://xcom.com/xcom-2-stats[/url] 66% from Collateral damage. Never mind the Alien invasion, cars are the real threat
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth has cat-maids. It has cat-maids. Have I sold you yet? Cat. Maids. GOTY 2016.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Just a quick update, that you all should go Greenlight Hustle Cat, the magical cat dating simulator that is being released soon. Work in a cat cafe, date magical cats, be whatever gender you want - there is no downside! Also I'm alive, That's importa
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
What a damned good song. I'm very excited about Mick Gordon composing for DOOM =D
trippytip avatartrippytip
War not waifu lovers~ Must there only be one waifu? Why not have all the waifu? I enjoy my waifu like Lou Bega here.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
So is the plural of waifu "waifus" or just "waifu"? I want to make sure I have it right when referring to my harem.
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
*Someday last week* Oh, so Toby Fox also made music for Homestuck. I guess I should read it *Today* Fuck it is 3:30 AM I have to wake up early tomorrow why I'm still reading this it is already chapter five someone help me please
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Holy shit, App Store. The copyright infringement is real. I didn't buy it, because I'm scared it'll make my iPhone explode and because the comments say the game's a generic zombie title with fake and misleading screenshots.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Pretty much in a nutshell
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Image of Myxococcus colony rising up after being submerged. I love bacteria so damn much you guys.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Made a quick REACTion video to some of today's news storys. Hope nobody REACTs to it with a lawsuit.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Playing Halo 5: Guardians, got REALLY invested in this one match. It was intense from beginning to end and I was using A LOT of Power Weapons because it was so fun. We were literally seconds away from victory when the internet cut off. So disappointed. :(
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Streaming Civ V with a few of my friends. Twitch.tv/amnaumen
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
I must be in a weird mood, want to buy SMS games :3
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
How the fuck does Link tie his scarf? I really want to wear mine that way.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
As I recently mentioned I picked up Madworld, I also have acquired Pikmin, Red Steel and DJ Hero2 for Wii. For DS Feel the Magic XY/XX, N+ (shitty port I might add) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Some Suda51 I already misplaced :/
ooktar avatarooktar
Bought Firewatch this morning, played about 2 hours and started to get really invested into the story until I hit a bug that won't allow me to progress. :(
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Fuck it. Fuck Blighttown. Fuck it's poison blow dart campers. Fuck the mosquito freaks. Fuck the fire-breathing bitches. Fuck the lack of visibility. Fuck it's pitfalls. Fuck the fact that I'm going back after 5 minutes of self-loathing.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -