PAYDAY 2 is a first-person action game focused on cooperative mode games. The goal is to make quick robberies, planned robberies or mafia missions (the kind where you have to kill someone or protect someone), while trying to avoid being forcefully retained by the police. This game carries the legacy of the first PAYDAY: The Heist, which was notoriously successful in its time. This version improves many negative aspects and expands the experience with a stream of new ideas.
More and more novelties
Even though the basis for PAYDAY 2 is still the same (cooperative robberies for 4 players), the variety of missions is superior in comparison to the first game. Not only are there robbery missions; the mafia will also get in the way and offer you interesting protection, extortion and murder missions.
Some missions are divided by days. Each has its own goals, and the results from each day can modify the goals of the following days or even cancel the mission. The feeling of being in a robbery movie is at times very high, and some demanding previous planning is necessary if you want to be able to make that ultimate big robbery.
All missions are controlled from the new in-game network, Crime.net. This is just a room where you select and enter the missions you want to take on. The Crime.net system offers you missions with random difficulties and variables. All you have to do is sign in or join an already created robbery group. The system works really well; there are new and interesting missions every few seconds, and, for the time being, there are enough players to join games with people that are already playing or are about to start.
There are only 11 different types of missions, but the variables generated by Crime.net make these a lot more in practice.
No matter what you do, a robbery will almost never end up without a fight. 99% of robberies end up in shooting fights with the police, and escaping is always complicated. Many missions are virtually impossible to achieve without being seen or controlling the situation, because the maps and AI push you to use brute force.
It is when the shooting starts that PAYDAY 2 gets a bit weak as an action game. And that is all because of the rather limited police and SWAT AI. When they attack us they look like robots following lines drawn on the floor. They have no strategy, no improvisation. After repeating several missions it is normal to predict how many police raids there will be and where they will be coming form. Also, if a mission fails it is not because the enemies have applied good tactics to stop you, but because they wear out the player with an infinite number of troops.
In spite of that, PAYDAY 2's great virtue is that the cooperative part works. It does not matter much whether you play with friends or strangers: everyone knows the main goals and the risks, and everyone defends their positions and robs in coordination. And all this without saying a single word. In this sense, PAYDAY 2 is magnificent.
It is difficult to improve skills
As you carry out missions, you will make money and gain experience. With those you can unblock skills as well as better weapons and equipment that you will also have to buy. With better objects you will obviously make better robberies, but the amount of money and experience you need to get your team is way too much. PAYDAY 2 demands dedication and many games to expand your arsenal and skills. This can become a large barrier for new players who will feel frustrated at not being able to get any power ups during the first hours of their game.
PAYDAY 2 is controlled like any other first-person action game. The most interesting thing about it is the system for opening doors, breaking locks or interacting with the environment: it uses a series of icons to let the player know what he/she can do or where he/she can stand. Direct and functional.
PAYDAY 2 looks quite good, but it is not a perfect example of visual reference. The game is highly optimized to work well online so that the graphic load will not impair the connection, but it lacks great details such as breakable objects or bullets wreaking havoc in the scenery.
PAYDAY 2 is the improvement and optimization of an idea that was originally really good. It is still not a perfect game, and the enemy AI burden is too important to pass on. But still, PAYDAY 2 is the sequel to a book that surpasses its predecessor in all aspects. If you liked the first one, you will fall in love with this one.