Yes, Payday 2 is a very old game. But I couldn’t help myself.
This is a fantastic online co-op FPS developed by Overkill. Essentially, it is a heist-only version of GTA V. Which is a great thing. All of the ingredients for a good heist naturally naturally fall into place in this game. It is very much a realistic simulator with features such as pedestrians either running away or calling the cops if they see you holstering a gun.
Your primary source of heist missions is crime.net, where a rather shady character named “Bain” will brief you before the heist. You can start your own heist or join someone else’s’. Thanks to the plethora of maps to choose from, this game doesn’t feel old or repetitive at all.
This games’ level design is ingenious. Each map has its own unique style to it, not a single map feels generic or lame. Take for example the bank. It has 3 stories, winding corridors and is very unforgiving, forcing you to always be on your toes otherwise the countless FBI agents will eventually catch you.
This nicely transitions into my next point. The difficulty options are 100% a game changer. There are 5 to choose from and they range on a scale from cakewalk to a Tekken battle against Steve Fox with an inflatable hammer being your only weapon. However, the hell that the FBI bring forth is all worth it, mostly for Payday 2’s out of this world dialogue. Characters in game will say some pretty hilarious stuff from time to time. Generally these funny quotes are triggered by a certain action in game.
“I SNIPED THE SNIPER”My character after killing a rooftop sniper with a silenced pistol
As for gameplay, weapons feel balanced. Nothing feels overpowered. Pistols for once aren’t some weapon that you choose and then forget about because the game requires you to have a secondary. They’re actually quite useful in this game, dealing decent amounts of damage to finish off enemies. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the big guns such as the AK Rifle. The screenshake is epilepsy inducing. I’ve always found myself tap firing because unleashing full auto is incredibly disorientating.
Onto the little things that contribute to the overall immersive experience.
Moving on to one of my favourite elements about the game; the hype man music constantly playing in the background. Its energizing without being disruptive. Who knew holding civilians hostage while your squad busts into a bank safe could be so groovy. Overkill deserve a pat on the back here because music is such an easy thing to mess up, but they nailed it.
Alas, no game is completely flawless, especially one that had released 6 years ago. Payday 2 does come with its imperfections. Its most noticeable flaw by far is the AI. To be honest they are frankly quite dumb. They lack the awareness and mobility of a proper NPC. Many a times I’d run out of a room to check if the building was clear only to see a cluster of SWAT police huddling together intently staring at the wall in front of them. It feels as though the only way for them to notice you is for you to stand directly in front of them.
My only other complaint is that using the drills and saws to break doors take forever. I understand that Overkill doesn’t want each heist mission to end quickly, but having to stand there, camping a doorway for 5+ minutes while you wait for the drill to break in gets a bit frustrating.
I’ll be honest, the graphics for this game don’t look superb. I suppose it’s because I’m so used to the flashy lights and fancy explosions of modern games, and you may be right. However, I feel that some textures weren’t very well made, even for 2013 standards. Irrelevant objects such as junction boxes and dustbins are poorly rendered.
As per the overall detail of the environment, well, everything else is fine. Guns have some nice details to them. Different FBI clothing materials are easily visible. Yet the general lighting for this game feels quite dim. It got to the point where I had to squint to see what was in certain rooms as the lighting was very poor.
With that I wrap up the graphics portion of this game. Far beyond average for a game made so long ago.
Controls + Optimization:
Seeing as this game isn’t recent doesn’t have any of that new fangled ray-tracing (although it does have VR support!), it runs very smoothly. I’m sure even some fairly budget rigs can handle this game without much trouble. Me personally, I was able to maintain a constant 120 FPS throughout the mission with no drops at all.
I didn’t face an issue with controls. I feel like the default settings work very well. Nothing felt out of place or inconvenient to press. Of course if you do have an issue with them, you can simply head into the settings menu and remap them to whichever key you like.
If you haven’t played Payday 2 yet, I’d say it’s an excellent game to pick up. Currently it is available on steam for just $10, which I feel is an absolute steal (geddit??). It’s a brilliant choice for those who just want some good ol’ bank robbing fun.
And for you Payday veterans, let me know what you think of the game. Is there anything you’d change about this game? Tell us in the comments below.