Payday 2, a co-op game that has genuinely survived the test of time (4 years at least) and still pumps out DLC and new content (albeit sometimes overcosted, but hey…Steam Sales) to stay relevant and entertaining. The quotes and voice acting is amazing and hilarious, still getting me to laugh all these years later. Hell, it’s an awesome cosplay to this day and I definitely don’t regret buying a Dallas Replica Mask since its a quick and fun goto. In Payday 2, you play as one of 4 heisters roaming the DC area (mostly) performing numerous acts of theft and destruction ranging from destroying cartel drugs and weapons, stealing cartel drugs and weapons, robbing banks, burning banks, raiding FBI archives, assaulting FBI prison transports, cooking crystal meth, and much, much more. Now as you might have guessed some of these sound considerably stealthier than others and in that lies an amazing aspect to Payday 2. Thanks to the addition of class sets, one can build himself as a ninja in a tailored suit, in and out before anyone notices a thing or as a heavily armored juggernaut that rivals the sheer tankiness of a bear wearing an EOD suit.
On the gameplay, it’s a fairly simple and intuitive system of stealth possible missions (where a simple mess up can lead to alarms and cops) or flat out assault missions. When stealthing, things are considerably harder to pull off but the reward is typically much more entertaining. Usually, you sneak into a place, and if you can accomplish your task without killing more than 4 guards (they have pagers that must be answered and if no response is given, the alarm is given) you enjoy the skillful rewards, like a truck/vault full of gold bullion. The other side of this equation is the assault missions, such as raiding an airfield belonging to cartels or laying siege to the DC FBI headquarters. Your equipment here shifts gears from suit and small suppressed weapons to machine gunning turrets, laser activated C4 trip mines, Gatling guns, RPGs and the aforementioned heavy armor.
Now a huge part of the fun is in between these two scenarios. When your run goes bad fast, either because a civilian saw a corpse and called it in, a pager wasn’t answered, or someone throws a grenade because their push to talk button and grenade button were mapped to the same key, this shifts gears to a near frantic panicked mode. Your ninjas are now suddenly under siege from waves and waves of cops, SWAT, and special forces. After clocking in over 300 hours to this game I can attest to the fact that this can be both the most frustrating and entertaining mode. Sometimes you just restart (trust me, there was a time when you used to have to grenade yourself to death and wait to bleed out, and BEFORE that just run out and wait minutes to restart) but other times it’s worth the challenge of trying to go out there and get it done.
Over 4 years, the game has managed to pump out a whopping thirteen additional heisters each with their own interesting backstory, including the insane Jacket of Hotline Miami fame and John Wick of the John Wick movies well as 30 DLC ranging from nuclear weapon stealing, Shadow Warrior and Goat Simulator crossovers, and even a couple Scarface and John Wick missions. Included in these DLC are voice work from some of Hollywood’s most entertaining characters ranging from Ron Perlman, John Cleese, and Lance Reddick who respectively play a biker Heister Ala Sons of Anarchy, a butler for the safe house, and a contact per the John Wick movies.
More than anything I love the fun my friends and I have had playing this game over and over again. While frustrating at times from strange bugs, like someone throwing a bag of cocaine in the air and it getting stuck there or being seen through walls by guards it’s been more entertaining than anything in the end. People even began modding the game, with my absolute favorite being changing the Cloaker (imagine the witch from Left 4 Dead in Sam Fisher’s body) to a yandere voiced character (being beaten to death by some special forces operative screaming ONII CHAN is surprisingly hilarious). This article strikes home for me because most of the EOD and BAYOG crew played it with me (in fact the EOD group kind of spawned from Payday 2) and we’re still all friends years later even though we’ve drifted to other sides of the country. Hopefully, we’ll all go back to playing it more but I think that this game represents the fundamental components of a Co-Op game at heart and is in line with the next few articles I’ll be writing. Alright then ramblers, let’s get rambling and check out some of our other articles and podcasts we’ve posted up here otherwise I’ll have to send Kawaii Dozer and Yuno Cloaker after you.