It wasn’t exactly supposed to be a smash and grab routine, such as the one we’d pulled off at those mall jewelry stores. This was a more planned and calculated come-up. We’d been tipped off that a rich businessman kept a safe loaded with loot at one of his more swanky nightclubs, and as we walked up to its front entrance wearing our normal civilian clothes, we were greeted by several beefy bouncers. We squeezed in-between the brooding meat columns and made our way inside.
Once we were in and safely out of sight from security, we located the owner’s vault which was tucked away in an office room near the rear of the place. Donning our masks and pulling out our weapons, we told the office workers in the immediate vicinity to hit the dirt unless they wanted to end up on the wrong side of a lead spray-down (is there a right side to that? Hmm…). Since it was early evening there were only a few patrons in the nightspot, and since the electronic dance music was pumping so vigorously they hadn’t noticed the powerful drill we’d set up on the vault. As they grinded their pelvises to the beat, our little handy power drill sawed away at a rich man’s unwisely placed vault.
Just when the drill timer indicated that we had a mere twenty-five seconds to go, the club’s alarm system sounded—our little operation was in jeopardy! One of the gyrators must have seen something and tipped off security. Since all bets were off, we quickly moved throughout the club and ordered everyone in it, including the bouncers, to hit the floor. This was, of course, accompanied by a little gun pointing.
The vault was soon cracked open and two of our four man team began running its precious bags of cash out to our awaiting van (an innocuous white van of course). The other two guarded both the front and back entrances for any sign of the cops. After a few grueling minutes we began to hear the faint wail of sirens, and as they increased in volume we broke out our heavier weapons; assault rifles and the like.
As the coppers pulled up and began to surround our building we started shooting on their positions, slowing them down by sending them scurrying for cover. In the gaming PC world equivalent of playing out the famous shootout scene in 1995’s Heat film, we commenced to disbursing as much lead as we could at the stunned police officers. But they quickly recovered and responded by calling in SWAT. Now we’d have to deal with a more aggressive response, outfitted with weapons more on par with ours. As they pulled up in their black armored tactical vehicles we braced ourselves for the worst. There were only a few large bags of cash left in the vault—should we grab the last of the loot or get out with what we had before it was too late…?
Payday 2 is chock full of moments such as these, and if this recent play-through of mine is any indication, it can be damn fun. Yes, Payday 2 is all about pulling off the perfect heist, but results vary in a literal sense as each job you choose is completely randomized. For instance, your team could break into a Senator’s offices and hack into his computer network in order to upload some data that will besmirch his reputation. The network could be in a different location each time, so some recon of the layout would be wise to perform. Once you activate the data upload and you’re waiting for a countdown timer to expire, law enforcement might possibly (and probably will) show up and insert into the offices via multiple locations, so you literally never know where they’ll come from. This makes each mission compelling within themselves, since the random nature of how they play out is one of the most thrilling things about playing Payday 2.
You can take on missions solo, but that’s not the best idea since you will probably get in over your head and be sorely outgunned by the police. Also, I can’t recommend playing with AI teammates since frankly, they aren’t good at completing objectives. You won’t see them taking care of business and setting up drills, shouting down hostages, or whisking away bags of loot. No, Payday 2 really shines when you play with a group of friends; in that respect it is a real whopper of a co-op game, and one of the must brazenly balls-to-the-walls blasts I’ve experienced on a gaming PC.
The graphics are nice. There’s nothing earth-shattering, but they do send a sort of gritty feeling to the criminal proceedings on display. For some odd reason (perhaps poor optimization) Payday 2 can chug along a mid-range gaming PCs, but gamers with more powerful machines shouldn’t see any choppiness. The sounds are fairly standard, rifles make that familiar staccato noise, and the voices are decent. Just be sure that everyone has their VoIP set up, however, as you’ll need to be able to communicate during not only your planning phase, but also during missions when it becomes necessary to change your plans on the fly.
Payday 2 is simply one of the finest co-op experiences I’ve had the pleasure of playing. The careful coordination and planning, gripping and nerve-racking execution of the missions themselves, and then a successful extraction (with loot in hand of course) is mischievously exciting. Give it a shot (pun intended), you may just love it.
Payday 2 does require a decent gaming rig in order to have the most engaging experiences the game has to offer, which you will see are quite a few. Those with 4k gaming capability will see richer textures and will be pulled into the immersive gameplay just that much more.
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