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Payday 2 proves robbing banks is better with friends

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 22, 2013
Payday 2, sequel to Overkill Software's 2011 heist game, works as long as you have friends to play with. Otherwise, you might not want to bother.

In theory, the ideal Payday 2 team is a mix of all classes: one Mastermind, one Enforcer, one Technician, one Ghost. The Ghost could go in first to jam the alarms and cameras. The other three could then sprint in, the Technician drilling into the safes (or blowing them open with C4) while the Mastermind and Enforcer take hostages.

What a glorious world that would be.

This ain't no bank robbery
I really want to enjoy Payday 2. The idea of pulling the perfect job—planning a job in a warehouse somewhere with a ragtag group of like-minded thieves, casing a bank, sprinting in, taking hostages, cracking the safe, and escaping with the cash before the police show up—stimulates the part of my brain that loved watching Ocean's Eleven.

Payday 2 is not Ocean's Eleven.

The worst part is: it could be. I can tell that just beyond my reach is a much deeper, more fulfilling game than what I played. There is an amazing heist game inside Payday 2. It's just hidden behind so many barriers that most newcomers are never going to find it, and instead are going to get bored.

Talking about the "ideal" Payday 2 team is an exercise in futility unless you have a group of friends to play with, and that's the crux of a serious problem: this game is just not a lot of fun when you're hooked up with random teammates. You'll end up in a game with three Enforcers and one Mastermind, or two Masterminds, a low-level Technician, and a Ghost.

A typical game of Payday 2 goes like this: Everyone tries to be stealthy for about thirty seconds. Someone makes one wrong move (say, triggering a camera by accident or standing a foot too close to a security guard). All hell breaks loose. Everyone pulls on their masks and starts murdering cops. And then murdering cops. And then murdering cops. And then murdering more cops. And then murdering SWAT members. And then murdering stronger SWAT members. And then the safe busts open after six or seven minutes, you grab the cash, and toddle towards the escape van while murdering more cops.

Or even worse, you're occasionally paired with someone who doesn't want to play the game stealthy and just triggers the alarm as fast as possible. Then—you guessed it!—you'll be forced to deal with the police, in the form of 5.56x45mm rounds to the head.

The game isn't helped by the utter lack of any tutorial. You can play the same missions offline as online, with bots helping out, but it's not a big help. For some baffling reason the AI team members won't carry any loot, so while online a requirement like "Secure four bags" only requires one trip, the same mission offline has you run back and forth by yourself four separate times while the bots shoot at police in random spurts.

 

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