Payday 2 screenshot
Payday 2 screenshot

Playing Payday 2 offline is only advisable as a learning tool, used to get a basic understanding of the maps and jobs on Skill points (used for purchasing special abilities and attributes) and cash can be accrued offline, but it amounts to chump change compared to what’s on offer in the big-time online heists. Besides this, the offline AI isn’t up to par. Although your teammates won’t fare too badly in shootouts, they’re woeful at mission-specific tasks. For instance, they won’t pick up loot - leaving you to run back into the nightclub warzone you only just made it out of to retrieve further bags. This won’t happen online as everyone’s in it together.

Online play boasts a much greater selection of jobs to drop in/drop out of. You must be quick in deciding which to take as they’re only available for moments at a time. Selecting the right job to fit your level of experience and gear is of paramount importance: join a high-level team without the right tools and you’ll likely be the cause of failure. It’s most satisfying to stumble upon a team who’re at a similar level, run a few jobs as a unit and level up together. A definite sense of camaraderie builds up the more times you work with the same crew.

Some jobs take place in one section over a single day, whereas others are drawn out over multiple days. For instance, you may be tasked with escorting a drugs shipment incrementally through hostile territory – with your team penalised for any losses incurred en route. ‘Professional’ jobs offer high risk and high reward with the trade-off being the termination of the contract and nothing gained should the job go awry. The jobs often take unexpected twists, as your scheduled getaway is forced to exit under enemy fire, leaving your team to defend itself in a hail of bullets as your dispatcher figures out an alternative escape. It’s these moments of uncertainty where your team’s combined perks and equipment will figure heavily.

During my hours of online play, I found the most effective teams were not only kitted out with a decent mix of health kits and ammunition packs, but knew the maps well enough to know where to deploy them (they can’t be moved once placed). Further to this, the inclusion of heavier firepower is a must for harder jobs in order to be able to take on the armoured SWAT teams and commandos sent in to stop you. There’s the option to approach jobs with a stealth-based approach, but every time this was attempted it soon descended into something out of Reservoir Dogs.

Payday 2 screenshot

Once your health hits zero, you’re downed (but can still fire your sidearm for a short time, ala Modern Warfare) and must be assisted back up by a teammate or end up in custody. A choice must sometimes be made on the fly between reviving teammates under fire or trying to push forward and complete the job’s objectives with a man down.

As long as at least one other teammate is still in the game, while in custody you have a chance of being released via negotiations made by your dispatcher, besides having your freedom traded for that of a civilian hostage (if your team has taken any). Luckily, if just one player successfully makes it through to the end of the job, it’s deemed a success and everyone reaps the benefits. This lends the game a massive amount of tension, as a formerly robust squad is gradually whittled away, leaving just one player powered on to criminal glory by the collective will of the others.

It’s easy to get completely sucked into the game once a job’s underway – I often worried about the hard time I’d have to do should I have fallen and be shot and arrested by the police. Stumbling down a road, lopsided due to the sports bag full of cash on my back while taking fire, is intensely cinematic and utterly tense.

Playing Payday 2 online is easily as addictive and enjoyable as the Modern Warfare series’ multiplayer, and with a year of DLC in the pipeline, there appears to be enough to keep it fresh. Hopefully some future patches will address certain gameplay shortcomings, but you very much get the sense that this is a sturdy base for Overkill to build upon in the coming months.

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User Comments

Ecosse's Avatar

Ecosse@ CheekyLee

Once you level that perk up a bit then you can be revived in the last stand in CoD
Posted 14:37 on 20 August 2013
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ PeteWorth

But, are they similar? In L4D/Payday, a downed player uses the pistol whilst a teammate heals them. It is therefore a way of forcing the team to make a choice between priorities. My memory of Modern Warfare is of Last Stand just being a way to possibly get a few extra kills before dying, with no way of recovering from it. (Admittedly, it may have changed since then, because I have pretty much avoided CoD since then.)
Posted 13:00 on 20 August 2013
PeteWorth's Avatar

PeteWorth@ Mayhem

Hi Mayhem,

Thanks for your comments. I fully take on board and agree with your comparisons with L4D but I only compared MW and PD2's multiplayer in terms of enjoyment. As for mentioning the downed/Last Stand mechanic, it's a similar element found in both games and COD4: MW predates L4D.
Posted 12:45 on 20 August 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar


^- Videogamer in a nutshell in 2013.
Posted 23:40 on 15 August 2013
Mayhem's Avatar


I'm a little upset that the author of this article has compared the Payday series to Modern Warfare... That's like comparing Call of Duty to Diablo 3. Completely different games all together...

Payday 2 is fun online and offline. If you're not into stealth or patience, don't bother with the single player. It's not for you if you don't want to stealth the game.

Besides, Payday 1 & 2 were both inspired by Left 4 Dead, so the whole situation with firing your handgun while downed is an element taken from Left 4 Dead, as allowed by Gabe Newell as he helped develop Payday 1. So comparing Payday to Modern Warfare is absolutely ridiculous.

Payday (If played properly) requires skill, tactics, thinking & of course common sense. Call of Duty : Modern Warfare is nothing but an arcade-style run and gun. Comparable to Counter Strike with iron sights perhaps, but definitely nothing in common with the Modern Warfare series...

So please Pete, think before you write about something and not recognise the original intentions as mentioned by the developers... OVERKILL worked hard to differentiate themselves from other series' and have thus far done a great job.

Good review though, just a little confused as to why you didn't compare it to Left 4 Dead as it's extremely similar in play style and elements...
Posted 23:16 on 15 August 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 13/08/2013
Developer: Overkill
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 350 56
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