We review Payday 2 – is it a steal?

I’m going to make this review quick and dirty, because I have Walsh and the rest of our crew gearing up for our next job – a bank heist where we have to set a million bucks cash on fire to spite a local mob boss, and we have to film it so our client knows we haven’t taken the dough for ourselves. Our explosives expert, Javi, is loading the camera into a dufflebag now, while a dude we only know as “Soviet’ cleans his gun. Me? I’m the so-called mastermind, or at least that’s the skill tree I’ve gone down is called. While others can drop ammo, or become the next great cat burglar, I’m usually telling civilians to get the hell on the ground so I can take them hostage in case they need to be traded to the cops for the release of one of my incarcerated buddies.

Such is the life of a thief in Payday 2, the sequel to the fairly popular heist/arcade shooter Payday: The Heist released in 2011. This game, like any sequel should, improves immensely on the first title in the series with a far more robust sense of individuality, be it from the ridiculous customization of masks, or the balls-deep skill trees that promote the best and most rewarding cooperative play I’ve had in a videogame since Final Fantasy XI. Yep, an Eastern MMORPG.

If you want to do well, avoid high body counts and want to get the most XP and cash, you better think about what you’re doing, communicate with your team and plan. You think you can get away with a million bucks in diamonds with guns blazing? Well, you can, but it’s far more fun to get in out in thirty seconds, like I did on this mission below.

Sure, the crappy textures and overall ‘cheapness’ of the game is apparent. But it’s a $30 game so I forgive it. You can’t lean, the game controls stiffly, and there are some bugs that need to get ironed out, but I’m willing to forego damning Payday 2 for these faults when striving for the perfect heist is so friggin’ fun. For example: our bank heist went pretty well when we have a dude who can drill things twice as fast and I can force a security guard to fight on our side. Or you can even drop some cash to have some outside help leave medkits, ammo, or in this case, have a pickup truck wait outside a nightclub so we can throw the fiscally rewarding contents of a safe we just emptied out the second story window and off into our bank accounts.

It’s these open-ended options that make Payday super fun to play, and I would make the review longer, but I want to go level up so I can buy into the Stockholm Syndrome perk, which allows my prisoners to go collect ammo for me. Awesome. Totally worth a buy if you have a couple of good friends, but the pickup games can be a nightmare.

All in all, Payday 2 is a great game that should be bought before the holiday rush of titles come out. It’s very much worth it.

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