Review: PAYDAY 2 (ver. 1.03)
As someone who put an insane amount of time into PAYDAY: The Heist, I might have had some unreal expectations for PAYDAY 2. PAYDAY: The Heist was probably one of my favorite games for PS3, and sure it had its faults but the game was just a blast to play. I was hoping that with PAYDAY 2 they would polish a few things and add some new missions. What they did however was overhaul pretty much every system in the game. Some of this is great, but a lot of it seems like a step backward.
As this is a review of the patched version of the game, I will explain why we never reviewed the original game. You see this game was straight up BROKEN for weeks when it originally released. Matchmaking was a total mess, it was a next to impossible to get into a game. You can see my outrage with this Youtube video. They eventually patched this, but by that time the window for a proper review was out the window. We did discuss it on the podcast a few times, so travel back in time to hear my frustration in its raw form.
Back to the actual game, PAYDAY 2 is a follow up to PAYDAY: The Heist. Your favorite Heisters are all back: Chains, Wolf, Dallas, and Hoxton (but is it the real Hoxton, conspiracies!). You are hitting banks for all they got, stealing from drug dealers, and even breaking into the FBI headquarters. Replaced is the previous game’s menu based level picking in place with Crime.net. A networked crime system where users can pick from a bunch of different heists, each with different difficulties and financiers. Newly added with the 1.3 patch was the ability to purchase whichever heist you would like to do, for a price of course. Before you had to wait for the mission you wanted to do to populate on the map. Which at times could take a long time of just idling on a menu.
Heists are now broken up in to small bites that run across multiple days. So if you were used to the large maps and lengthy heists from PAYDAY: The Heist, you might be a bit disappointed. There doesn’t seem to be any huge standout missions like from the first game. I might have played the First World Bank probably a hundred plus times and never got bored. The bank from PAYDAY 2 seems just small in comparison. On missions there is also a chance for the cops to nearly catch you. In these instances you have to do an “Escape” mission. These just seem like time wasters in my opinion. Rarely are they difficult and most the time they are just an annoyance.
Another huge issue I have had with the game is the new loot system. Upfront it sounds amazing, finish a heist, get some cash, get a sweet mask or item. In reality you never seem to get anything you will actually use. I am almost level 60 and I have yet to get a scope for ANY of my guns. If you played PAYDAY you would remember gaining levels would unlock different attachments for you guns, now it is just a crap-shoot. I don’t think I got a silencer for any gun until around level 40, not fun when you are trying to mainly play the game as a stealth class. With Patch 1.3 they did tweak the system a bit, you will no longer get repeats for equipment you have a few of, but I am still waiting for the day when I get a scope.
I just mentioned the game now has a class system. Earning levels gives you points which you can drop into 4 different classes: Mastermind, Enforcer, Technician, and Ghost. Each has different skills will lend to playing the game a certain way. Ghosts are stealthy with skills aiding sneaking and keeping detection to a minimum. Enforcers run in guns blazing, Masterminds are the ones behind the scenes planning or turning police officers on your side, and lastly Technicians have all the cool toys. You can mix and match abilities from any class but as you go up the skill tree, it costs more and more points to unlock the skills. So it is best to specialize in one or two classes or you will never see all of the useful skills.
One thing that needs to be mentioned is that the PC version of this game is light years ahead patch and DLC-wise. Patch 1.3 included many of the fixes from PC patches #3-#13. If you are wondering what patch the PC version is on, the answer would be #23. PlayStation users have also missed out on DLC and holiday events. When I was at E3 I asked if they planned to try to keep the game in parity with the PC version and I was told they would try. Frankly they are not trying hard enough in my opinion. I really would have loved to win some Christmas/Halloween masks. I would love to try out the new guns and for a first time ever grenades. I would love to finally get to take on Cloakers. Oh yeah, Cloakers were removed from the game, for whatever reason. They were recently just re-introduced to the PC version, who knows when we will get them. The console version just feels like an after-thought, which is what I feared.
Sure a lot of this review is negative, but I still played this game a ton, which has to say something. There is just something about heisting it up with your best bros. The feeling really is unmatched when you finally beat the apartment heist without being seen, or you steal all the gold from the bank. Hopefully we see some DLC soon, now that the game has been added to the PlayStation Plus instant game collection. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of disappointed heisters out there.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Better gunplay than PAYDAY: The Heist
- Still has great music
- Is a blast to play with friends
- Crime.net is better now that it has been patched
What I Dislike:
- Some of the textures in this game look like they are from a PS2 game
- Almost level 60 and have never got a scope for a gun
- Earning masks but not having enough slots to use them all
- No patch parity/DLC from PC version
- Levels don't feel as grand as PAYDAY: The Heist