“Everybody on the ground, now!” Payday 2: The Big Score Edition has come to PlayStation 4. The bank heist game from 505 Games has been around since 2013 and built a sizable following over the past few years. This new version brings you all of the many DLC extras released since the game’s Crimewave Edition launch in 2015, all in one new package.
Payday 2 lets players assume the role of a bank robber in a team of professionals who are given “scores” to pick up cash, gold, jewelry and other valuables. Character selection options include different villainous backgrounds, body armor, colorful masks and all sorts of deadly weapons.
All of the weapons are open to further customization so everyone should find something they enjoy using depending on their play style. This allows players to play the game in many ways, be it sneaking around with a silenced pistol or long range sniping from a distance.
Payday 2 controls like most first person shooters; you can run, duck and throw various exploding items. Specialization continues in a robust system where players earn cash and experience to customize their specific skills in lock picking, add more hit points, or force NPC’s to focus attacks on them, and many others. Players can also earn bonus items like special masks and skill perks.
While the controls and levels are fun, the graphics are showing their age. Music ranges from fun to annoying, most of it European house or techno. I do like that the music picks up the beat at times when the game gets hectic, say during police raids. It’s a nice touch.
Scenario gameplay can be little confusing as the objectives are sometimes hard to see and find. Many of the scenarios involve waiting for quite a bit, all while under attack from swarms of police. It can be very challenging without the right group.
Unfortunately poor group selection is the problem with Payday 2. If you do not have the right group then failure is imminent. This is fine for folks who play online games all the time and have an established group. For folks like myself, who are mainly a solo player, Payday 2 doesn’t offer much other than frustration.
Payday 2 disposes with setup or narrative and tosses you into the fray to seek out scenarios. Players have a safe house at the start of the game, but little is explained about its use other than a place to practice skills and gunplay, display your cash and trophies, and use your computer to enter the Crime.net scenario interface.
The Crime.net interface is a player’s way to access online scenarios. I found choices populate the a poorly designed user interface so fast it can be very hard to find a group. There is no “auto find” or any kind of matching system so players can play with people of the same skill level or really anything to help ease your way into this unforgiving game. I spent the first few hours dying and failing long scenarios sometimes right at the very end with no reward and lots of frustration. Eventually I did find some decent groups and won a few matches, got some rewards and found myself enjoying the process to a degree.
Overall Payday 2 is for players who enjoy online small team play against NPCs with a robust leveling and rewards system. There is no story to speak of and offline play is just the same scenarios with poorly programmed A.I. teammates. If you enjoyed this game on the PS3 or Payday 1, you will love the amount of added content. If you don’t have some friends to play with, skip Payday 2, otherwise grab some buddies and get that money!
Payday 2: The Big Score Edition is available now for PS4 and Xbox One. This review is based on a copy provided for review purposes.
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