Friday, 23 August 2013

Payday 2: PS3 Review

Payday 2: PS3 Review

Platform: PS3
Released by 505 Games

Ah, bank robbing.

The old heist - carefully planned, properly cased and suitably geared up, nothing can go wrong with it, can it?

Well, actually in PayDay 2, all manner of problems can beset your plans to mask up and rob the bejeebers out of everyone around.

You play one of the original PayDay crew, who's just back from vacation. Setting up in your safe house, you get a call, asking you to be back in the game - and suddenly in this co-op four person shooter, you're on your way back into a life of crime.

Negotiating your way around the computer system known as Crime.Net (either in online or offline mode) you can choose different missions to be part of. Either a simple jewellery smash and grab, a bank heist or a nightclub takedown, the choice is yours - and of course, the pay-offs range dependant on how tough the job actually is. Once you've selected your heist of choice, you're taken into the action and it's all up to you to carry it off.

And that's usually where the problems start - no matter how much planning you've done, it only takes a curious bystander intrigued by a group of men together to raise the alarm; or it could be the moment you put on your mask which sets the heist in motion and alerts the police that you're about. Throw in delays caused by trying to drill into safes (which frequently need restarting) or pesky SWAT teams trying to take you down, and the heist just can't get done in the manner perhaps you'd intended.

Pay Day 2 is simply good fun - in the same vicarious way that doing bad in Grand Theft Auto feels so much fun. The minute the mask goes on and the heist gets underway, the adrenalin starts to surge (thanks in part to a pumping soundtrack) and the game becomes an addictive thrill. Especially when the robbery fails in the last few minutes, it's frustrating in the extreme and will be guaranteed to see you re-start the level, determined to get it right this time around.

Graphically, the game is occasionally a bit of a let down as you are able to walk through bystanders, SWAT teams shooting at you and generally appearing to ignore some of the laws of physics. It's a shame and while it doesn't detract from the playability of the game itself, it's a shame not enough attention was given to that side of it all. Another frustration is an inability in offline mode to leave a mission when it's failed and head back to Crimenet. It occasionally makes you feel that you're stuck repeating the same level unless you exit the game.

Taking it online gives you more options to play with others - which is really what the co-operative level of the game is all about. Being part of an anonymous crew or friends is fun and brings a different dynamic to the game, allowing for more planning and more sensible ways of dealing to trouble makers.

The game's also about levelling up - from gaining experience from each completed job to unlocking skill levels which will benefit you during robberies (including a Stockhouse syndrome where you can make hostages help you), there's plenty of reason to keep on shooting through. Obviously the tougher you become, the bigger the jobs become and the greater the result is. Add into that, the chance to develop your skills and the apparent fact different jobs offer different scenarios, dependant on how your previous robbery ended, there's endless possibilities in Pay Day 2. You also get the chance to customise your mask as well - a minor thing to be honest, but if that's your kind of thing, you'll be in criminal heaven.

Pay Day 2 is a fun game - sure, occasionally some of the missions can feel a bit repetitive, but the determination to get it completed when you're thwarted at the last moment is addictive. Once you load up this game, don't be surprised if you find yourself immersed in it for hours - and begin to unleash your inner thug as the game progresses.

Just don't take it out onto the streets, eh....


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