PAYDAY 2 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
PAYDAY 2 Box Art
System: PC, PS3*, Xbox 360
Dev: Overkill Software/Starbreeze Studios
Pub: 505 Games
Release: August 13, 2013
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes

Where the co-op gameplay succeeds well beyond expectations, everywhere else it just succeeds. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just is what it is. Success is success by any measure, and for a game that released well under the typical new-game price of 60 bucks, PAYDAY 2 has some great bang for your buck.

PAYDAY 2 Screenshot

Graphically, the game isn’t typically impressive. But this game isn’t about artsy visuals, pixel-perfect character models, or showboat animated cutscenes (the game actually doesn’t have them at all.) It is about being a fun co-op experience, pure and simple. The playable character models are much more detailed than your run-of-the-mill copper and/or civilian, which can become surprisingly annoying when a blue-shirted citizen is running amongst the officer horde (killing a civilian carries with it a heavy penalty in the form of “cleaning” costs.) And while different job types look entirely different, jobs of the same type look almost identical, with only a few minor changes. However, the ability to complete any job in different ways keeps the gameplay fresh and engaging, making the visual similarities a little less noticeable.

Speaking of not noticeable, the sounds of PAYDAY 2 seem to have little impact on the overall gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, nothing sounds wrong or out of place. Hell, it’s not even overly repetitive. What it isn’t is memorable--nor is the control scheme. The controls are pretty much just your cookie-cutter FPS controls with the addition of an all-purpose “interact” button that enables you to subdue hostages, call out to teammates, and steal an all-in-one, conveniently located, if not dynamic, package. But I digress. Both the sound and control scheme are perfectly capable of delivering the intended experience, and that is what really matters, right?

But the burning question remains–should you buy PAYDAY 2? If you have a friends list full of like-minded and degenerate buddies, you really can’t beat the co-op experience for the price. But, by yourself, if you think you are going to be able to accomplish anything within this game beyond the simplest of heists, you’ve got another thing coming. This game is all about the co-op gameplay, and without it, PAYDAY 2 would be boring, frustrating, and decidedly below average. It just goes to show that if you set out to do one thing exceedingly well and accomplish it, other areas don’t matter quite as much. That sounds eerily like my personal life plan. Creepy.

Joshua Bruce
Video Content Director
Date: August 14, 2013

Average current-gen graphics are capable of delivering the experience, but not much else.
The standard FPS controls function as they should.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Nothing seems to be missing from the soundscape, but nothing seems to stand out either.
Play Value
Single-player is bankrupt, but the co-op is ridiculous fun that will keep you playing.
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • CrimeNet - The dynamic contract database lets gamers pick and choose from available jobs by connecting with local contacts such as Vlad the Ukrainian, shady politician "The Elephant," and Mexican drug trafficker Hector, all with their own agenda and best interests in mind. CRIMENET features dozens of varied, exciting jobs and as the player progresses, new contacts with new jobs become available.
  • Choose Your Profession - As players progress, they can invest in any of four special professions: the Mastermind, the Enforcer, the Ghost, and the Technician. Each features a deep customization tree of associated skills and equipment to master, and they can be mixed and matched to create the ultimate heister.
  • Payday Loot - Finishing a job isn't just an accomplishment to be proud of. After a successful heist, gamers will also earn rare and powerful new equipment such as masks, weapons mods, mask modifications, and a variety of other accessories.
  • Mission Assets - Every job has a set of purchasable assets that can alter and enhance the heist such as a faster escape car, blueprints, or even inside help.
  • Character Upgrades - The signature PAYDAY mask can now be customized into tens of thousands of different combinations, colors, and material variations, and there is a bigger selection of gear to wear for the discerning high-fashion heister.
  • Play It Your Way - Each job allows for multiple approaches, such as slow and stealthy ambushes to running in guns blazing. Players hit the target any way they want and watch as the heist unfolds accordingly.
  • Character Progression - Gamers begin as dime store thieves, and as the game progresses, they unlock new skills, weapons, accessories, and masks, eventually becoming legendary robbers.

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