Overkill and 505 Games have released the highly sought after PayDay 2, which seemed to have had a brief drought in retail copies at launch due to demand, but for those eager to get robbing a few banks you can download the game digitally from Xbox LIVE as of right now! As a solo experience it’s absolutely rubbish (sorry to say so early in the review) and not worth the time or effort in your day, but as a multiplayer game over Xbox LIVE or co-operatively with friends it’s a whole different world that wants to lead you into the criminal underworld as you tackle some mean heists that can only be completed objectively by working as a team. Whilst touching on teamwork, this is something Xbox LIVE publicly has been missing for a long time on many multiplayer games, so if you have a few mates with the game already – they’re your best bet. Communication and interaction is key for survival, otherwise you’ll be captured and deemed a failure. Not to mention taking the shame on Xbox Live for your poor performance. This is not one of those games where you can just run and gun it and hope for the best.
I am not even going to bother going into great detail about the offline experience, I don’t want you to ever look at it, I tried it (naturally) and turned it straight off. Even thinking about that shit just makes me annoyed. The main grievance for offline mode is that the game is not a campaign, just a series of challenges with exceptionally bad AI, boring missions without the interaction of real players; so let’s pretend offline just doesn’t exist. Moving swiftly on then, everything within the core parts of this game centers on the in-game Crime.Net, (No – it’s not a website you visit) and it is here in this map style lobby that this becomes your massive crime map of jobs to undertake with varied difficulty and rewards. It’s the place where you will always find your next heist and challenge to complete against online players, and your friends list.
The focus for this review is on the “Online” Crime.Net because if you haven’t got Xbox LIVE Multiplayer I actually am forcing my opinion on you not to buy the game and save your money! So, back to the online Crime.Net – as soon as you’re logged in your first display is of a large map listing New, Public and Friends Contracts accessible to you. Each of which will have its own Pay Grade, Risk Level and an objective that will range from a simple Bank Job, jewellery store robbery, or smash ‘n’ grab, to the more Pro style where the “Entire” contract will be terminated upon any failure within the mission. It’s all about Risk and Reward, or simpler endurance tasks.
Each one of the contracts that you undertake is optional; there are no set paths, no story to follow, it’s a simple premise of you and up to three other players (or AI) taking on what is best described as a Horde mission. Each contract has its own environment consisting of interior and exterior locations (some more vertical than others) and a wave based enemy system in play where weaker cops and security men storm at you, to what later builds up to suited and armoured military with snipers on almost every roof! The objective is to destroy and steal as much as you possibly can hold and load up a getaway van with the goods. It’s not all plain sailing as making it out alive is a feat in itself with the slow walk to the getaway van an absolute nightmare as it is here, at that precise moment when you are your most exposed in the external settings.
Team work is key to your success as already pointed out, because each of the characters can have their own skill tree with extra abilities. Some might have to drill locks, whilst others can simply pick them, but most of your internal team work to secure the heist will involve trying not shoot civilians, rummaging around different rooms to find key cards and long waiting times whilst drills cut through doors and safe’s. To rank up the difficulty as enemies horde at you from all direction, they can often throw in smoke or gas for good measures. As you increase your ‘Reputation’ levels by playing really well you can also purchase better weapons, armour and equipment. Replaying the challenges again will have different effects. Not only will you become and even better criminal than before with better upgrades, but due to the games’ dynamic scenerios it will feel a little different. Enemies come in different directions, random geometry and even rare events take place that might not have happened before.
PayDay2 does require a tactical mind-set with the ability to work as a team. Co-operatively taking out enemies together, helping each other when downed; whilst some may find themselves picking locks and looting with bags, others could be carrying them to the van – it’s a virtual heist in every sense – you can’t afford a fuck up in real life and the same applies to the game. Even the getaway vehicle can often be found moving around so as not to cause suspicion or alternatively to stay clear from the police!
Visually it’s not the best looking game on the market, but I can’t help but think that since this is a budget title then its appearance is looking and representative of a little lacking in budget! It’s a dated look, but the intensity of the action does mean you aren’t really looking around all that much because it forces you to focus on the events of the mission and not the cardboard looking rooms or buildings. You might not notice all the lego-looking characters or cars if perhaps I hadn’t pointed it out, but I don’t want to give an over bad impression because visuals aren’t everything and this isn’t triple AAA quality and nor was meant to be. The game is basically an average run of the mill experience that will offer a little fun here and there whilst you’re waiting for the best games of the year to come out in a few weeks’ time.
Worthy of a try at least, but generally you’re not missing much if you didn’t bother with it at all!