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Payday 2 – Xbox 360

Payday 2 – Xbox 360

PD2covPlatform: Xbox 360

Release Date: August 13th, 2013

Developer: Overkill

Publisher: 505 Games

Genre: FPS

Nerd Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Reviewed by D34D_F0X

Don’t forget to check out Nerd Bacon’s review of Payday 2 for the PS3 as well!

 

Badass

This guy is on my team.

The Pinnacle of Male Bonding

To some this conjures the images and sensations of a ballpark on a summer day with some nicely chilled beers, the smell of hot dogs and barbecue faintly drifting through the air…  To others (namely us) it conjures storming castles, wasting zombies and in this case ROBBING EFFING BANKS!!!

Get To The Van!

One of the beautiful things about this game is its simplicity. The main objective of almost every mission is to procure material possessions (money, gold, jewelry… cocaine etc.) and the fun is choosing how you are going to accomplish this goal. Do you carefully case the place before you ever slip on the mask, or do you mow down the front lobby before anyone can say “I wasn’t supposed to be here today.”

The technician is a great starter class due to reduced crafting costs.... And making things explode!

The technician is a great starter class due to reduced crafting costs…. 
And making things explode!

From this point on you can essentially do whatever you would like. Maintain hostages or kill hostages. Board up windows or jump through them to take your fight to the street. You can snipe from the roof or run around gathering up spare loot. Not all those choices are smart ones, but they are your choices to make.

These possibilities branch much further when you begin to allocate skill points into any of the games four archetypes. The commanding Mastermind, the brutal Enforcer, the crafty Technician and the silent Ghost. Every role offers a much different approach to your heist but bear in mind that they are not mutually exclusive. Meaning that if you spec into 2 or even all 4 trees you reap all of your ability’s potential. (You can still only carry one class specific item.)

payday2nightTo give an example my first build was a Ghost / Mastermind so I could slip in cat-like and undetected, but if a pedestrian or security guard did by chance notice my presence, I can “persuade” (yell at!) them to shut the hell up and in the security guards case, handcuff themselves. I would take the masterminds med kit item so that if fighting did break out my crew could stay healed up. Also, Masterminds can carry way more zip-ties to effectively secure hostages (Kinky). Hostages aren’t just a cliche either, the more of them you have, the less severe law enforcement will be attempting to crack down on you (assuming you or one of your cohorts hasn’t already mowed down half the staff…. cops tend to frown on that type of behavior).

Just Be Your [Scary] Self!

I'm a Ba-a-a-a-ad man.

I’m a Ba-a-a-a-ad man.

Assuming you or one of your team-mates makes it to the getaway point with some loot you receive a… (wait for it)…..PAYDAY! Why should you care?  Well besides being the point of income for your entire gun-slinging, bag-toting career, Paydays are where you receive your next level of customization through a reward system of drawing one of three random face-down cards revealing themselves to be either money, gun attachments, masks or mask components.

Guns are unlocked for purchase steadily as you level up however their attachments are random. So you are going to have to deal with hand you are dealt. I had miserable luck when it came to unlocking a silencer for any of my beloved pistols, but my friend had no pity as he was suffering from still having only a default mask, while I swapped between 4 before level 50.

Masks are made up of 4 interchangeable components, the mask itself, its base material, its design pattern and the color of said design pattern. Once you assemble all the pieces of your mask and lock it in there is no going back. It is what it is, forever. That being said, with the possibility of creating over “15.2 billion unique mask combinations” as stated by Overkill Software’s David Goldfarb, game director, chances are no matter what mask combination you use, you will not be seeing another of the same exact make.

The only game in which, winning money, is kind of lame.

The only game in which, winning money, is kind of lame.

I would marry this gun, If it would only pop the question and not caps...

I would marry this gun, If it would only pop the question and not caps…

The Good, the Bad, and the Sorta Ugly

So how does this diversely wrapped package come together? In my opinion, it comes together quite well. This is evidence of a game built not around head-shots and kill-streaks, but a core of game-play and teamwork. How many baddies (or in this case coppers) you killed means nothing at the end of the day if you did not utilize your skills in unison with your teammates to secure the goods and the getaway.

The core gun-play itself is very tight and responsive and the weapons themselves look exquisite. Fans of battlefield gun-play will feel right at home in Payday 2 and that is no light praise. Beyond that it is backed by a large amount of customization in almost every key facet of the game. Some players who have no patience due to overwhelming need for immediate gratification might not favor the “luck” or “trickle-down” mechanic of the card drawing system.  In my opinion it adds to the elation you feel when you do score an attachment that you were craving, or a rare mask that you adore. It also adds a layer of protection to the persona of your character that someone can’t simply copy your setup without a series of very improbable coincidences.

Payday2coke

All the praise aside, every game has its flaws. While in Payday 2 the masks and guns all look great, the textures pop. I can almost feel the wooden material of my mask as I stare down at it, I can almost smell the oiled up steel of my d’eagle. So why is it that all the civilians look like their faces were beat out of play-doh? It would add some weight to the game if I could see the fear in my captives’ eyes, or watch as it turns to bravery while he reaches for his cell-phone. I can tell that graphics were sidelined to make way for game play, but we play in a time where most gamers expect both. (Minecraft-ers aside) this extends to most of the games interior layouts as well. It’s not horrible, it’s almost unnoticeable, but when it is noticed it breaks the immersion a bit.

You do not want to move into my neighborhood, unless of course you own a bulletproof U-hau!l

You do not want to move into my neighborhood, unless of course you own a bulletproof U-haul!

Also immersion-breaking is the glitches. There are quite a few of them and the key redeeming factor is that most of them that I encountered were beneficial to the player!  Grabbing loot through walls, picking up team-mates through walls, phasing through bank vaults etc. every now and then this will backfire, as enemies will stick the barrel of their gun through a wall to kill you, a random piece of terrain will be blocking your shot even though you know you are shooting around it or you may open a door and get stuck behind it like this guy.

Then there is players dropping in and out. Dropping out is fine, the drop in system however will spawn the incoming player on top of the current one, effectively ruining a stealth mission if the current crew was previously undetected. You can actually disable drop-ins though which make this minor to me…. It seems to drive the community crazy though and it’s understandable, the incoming player could easily just spawn at the frickin’ van.

payday2hamandcheese

Honestly?!?

The Verdict

I love this game. Great core mechanics built around teamwork, tight gun-play and potentially limitless customization make this a stand-out title in a genre that has been drowning in monotony. I would love to see it executed with a little more polish, but as far as raw game-play goes this one is a clean get-away.

 -7.5 out of 10-

Nuff' said.

Nuff’ said.

Payday2motto

A little something to chew on…

 

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon

 
 

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