Gameplay - 9
Presentation - 8
Sotry / Creativity - 8
Lifespan - 10
Just Take My Money...
. I will caveat my score with the following: keep in mind the score is based on the most current PC version. While console players might find the score a bit generous, there is no doubt that Overkill Software will ensure your experience will eventually match that of PC gamers.
PAYDAY 2 is a fast, frantic, and fun heist game to play with your buddies. While its single player mode falls flat,
PAYDAY 2 more than makes up for it while playing online. Console players might feel left out as the PC version continues to receive weekly updates and content.
If you’ve ever seen HEAT, the film written and directed by Michael Mann, then you know that it’s the gold standard heist movie. The developers at Overkill Software paid the ultimate homage to the movie with their original PAYDAY: The Heist title, even naming one of the heists “Heat Street”. The basic format of PAYDAY: The Heist is to start a robbery, drill into a vault, and survive wave after wave of law enforcement until your escape is ready. There are special units as well, which always manage to enter into the mix at absolutely the worst possible time. Of course all of this could be avoided if you simply sneaked in cat-burglar style. Ultimately PAYDAY: The Heist was praised for its addictive and social gameplay and biting on the heels of PAYDAY: The Heist’s success, PAYDAY 2 manages to improve on the gameplay mechanics in every single way.
For starters, Overkill Software added in a much needed customizable skill tree system. In both PAYDAY games there is a leveling system, but PAYDAY: The Heist never allowed players to choose which skills they wanted; the skills would simply unlock. In PAYDAY 2 that has all changed. Now the skills are separated into four categories: Mastermind, Enforcer, Technician, and Ghost. As you can image, the Mastermind skill tree focuses mainly on crowd control and planning skills, whereas the Ghost skill tree focus on stealth. Enforcers are the meat of the combat, and Technicians like to blow things up. The skill tree overall works fantastically, and best of all you do not have to commit to a single skill tree. Want to be a Ghost-Enforcer? That’s fine.
Also improved is PAYDAY 2’s Mask options. They’ve added tons of masks, and materials that allow you to customize them. It’s a blast to see your character donning a Jason-esc hockey mask, or your friends wearing anime school girl garb. Ultimately it’s a nice little touch that goes a long way into the social interactions that are crucial to PAYDAY 2’s success.
Of course there are new heists, gameplay improvements, and graphical enhancements. However, the core format of PAYDAY 2 remains the same –why change a good thing? However one item worth mentioning, as I’ve stated before both PAYDAY games are social experiences. In other words, if you want to play alone, you will be very disappointed. Single player is garbage, and some heists in PAYDAY 2 simply require at least two players to complete. If I were Overkill Software, I would have simply omitted a single player option. To be clear, PAYDAY 2 is meant to be played online and if you cannot do so it’s best to wait on this title until you can.
I couldn’t be happier with the PC version of the game. Overkill Software frequently updates the game to include new heists, masks, and gameplay improvements. Recently Overkill added a large update that allows players to see the statistics of the skills they are choosing and enhanced AI mechanics. Moreover, Overkill Software listens to its fans and plays an active role in its online community. Yes some will say that game was “unfinished” if you need so many updates, but I call that hogwash. Overkill Software is an awesome company and they are simply making the experience better for all of us each and every day. Console players on the other hand get none of this. Microsoft and Sony make updating their games so expensive and so difficult that Overkill, from a business perspective, is not going to update the game as often. As such console players have been left in the dark a bit. I have confidence that they will receive the updates eventually, but I can see how this would frustrate console players.
While I would never define myself as a PC elitist, one thing is clear. The PAYDAY series was meant to played on the PC –there I said it. Graphics are sharper, updates are more frequent, and ultimately PC players have a better experience with the game.