Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Payday 2 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With friends, Payday 2 delivers a multiplayer experience unlike anything else. The levels are wonderfully complicated and the leveling system is incredibly deep. Too bad the learning curve keeps the game just out of arm's reach for most newcomers. A rough single-player mode and unfriendly online matches mar an otherwise fun first-person shooter. Rating: 71%
Payday 2
Payday 2 Payday 2 Payday 2 Payday 2
  • Review Score:

  • B
Payday feels like one of those franchises that is only one or two iterations away from fulfilling its potential. If I had to guess, Payday 4 will probably be a real contender for Game of the Year in the not-too-distant future. Until that day comes, we are stuck with Payday 2, the mostly enjoyable sequel to Overkill Software's 2011 breakout hit.

In case you missed Payday: The Heist, this is a series of first-person shooters in which players steal jewelry, rob banks, damage property and pull off increasingly complicated jobs for big money. Instead of making it all about shootouts with the police, the Payday franchise encourages players to work as a team to pull off the perfect heist. Can you get away without alerting the authorities? Probably not, but it sure is fun to try.

Instead of stringing the action together with a linear story, players choose from a series of jobs that act as their own vignettes. Some jobs are incredibly simple, like storming a jewelry store or wreaking havoc in the mall. Other jobs require much more planning, even extending into multiple days that take place in entirely different locations. There's a lot of variety to choose from.

Payday 2 (Xbox 360)

Each of these jobs is built to be replayed dozens of times. The game does a good job of randomizing level layouts and civilians, so even veteran thieves will need to stay on their toes. There are also different difficulties for the eleven stages, which does a good job of adding new obstacles and mixing things up.

Each of the game's eleven stages will take players to completely different locations with their own set of challenges. For example, robbing four stores is decidedly different from hitting a nightclub. Another stage will have players nabbing fine art at the museum. Another job involves stealing technology and planting drugs in a mansion.

Many stages will require players to carry bags of money and other heavy items to the getaway van. But don't think you can run with that bag full of cash, because movement is severely limited while carrying large items. The screen literally tilts to the left and running is disabled until you either drop the bag or make it to the goal.

Payday 2 (Xbox 360)

Each successful job comes with money and experience points, which can be used to develop the ultimate thief. There are several different classes to throw points into, including the mastermind, enforcer, technician and ghost. Instead of sticking with only one class, players can mix and match, offering a shocking amount of customization possibilities.

The skills you earn from leveling up are important, often changing the way you interact with the stage. A good example of this involves safe cracking, which normally involves everybody watching a drill destroy the lock. But eventually you can skip the drilling process by blowing it up. Or perhaps you can use your sneaking skills to find a keycard that opens it without disturbing the customers.

Thankfully the core gameplay is fun, because otherwise leveling up would be a real grind. The developers hope players will stick with the game for dozens (if not hundreds) of hours, and as such many of the most exciting abilities and perks are reserved for those that put in the time. That's good for players that get addicted and plan on replaying stages for months to come, but it also means that a large chunk of this game involves waiting to unlock better skills.
comments powered by Disqus