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August 28, 2013
Payday 2 - PS3 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
16/7/2013AIE505 GamesOverkill12-4
Media HDD Install Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc2029MB720pNoNoR18+

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Robbing a large bank.
Despite being free for PlayStation Plus members in recent weeks, and downloading the game to our PS3, we never actually had the time to check out the original Payday here at Futuregamez despite hearing some pretty good things about it. When, however, the sequel landed on our desk though for review it was a game that didn't take too long to drop into our PS3 to check out.

There isn't really much of a storyline in Payday 2 as such. This is a 4-player co-op shooter which sees you participating as one of the Payday crew - either Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf or Chains - as they participate in a crime spree across Washington D.C. and in the process making a whole lot of money.

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Robbing the jewellery store in Payday 2.
I'll start of this review by saying it must be said that there's a pretty good reason why this game has been rated R18+ here in Australia. You're a part of a gang that performs armed robberies and then, almost inevitably, have to shoot law enforcement to get away. It's not just the odd cop either with waves, and often dozens of bodies left behind before getting away with the loot. With no option to play as the law enforcement this is a morally questionable game of sorts, but we're not here to judge what people should be playing, just how good, or bad it is.

So this first person action game sees you participating in a series of increasingly difficult heists, and for the majority of people that will be through CRIMENET Online (there are offline modes, but more on that later). Once you select a heist on the map which are given a difficulty rating you can join three other people before entering the mission (you can actually start the mission on your own and, if you allow it, have others join you mid-mission). Early heists include robbing a jewellery store, or four shops while harder missions include hitting large banks. One big positive to this sequel is changing scenarios with missions changing security guard patrol routes, security camera placement and the placement of objectives such as safes, money or jewels.

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Causing damage in the shopping mall.
While not essential it's certainly important to have a mixture of skills with those in the heist team. It's a little pointless having everyone carry medikits when you're going to run short on ammo. Fortunately the game allows you to customise the characters to suit your needs, although the skill tree is a little annoying and under developed with some objects unlocked with a game of chance at the end of the missions.

Funnily enough, and despite what might be expected, Payday 2 is often more of a stealth then action game. Progress is often accomplished more rapidly by sneaking into the target building, neutralizing the guards and terrifying the civilians, and grabbing the loot before the cops are alerted. On the early, smaller, missions this is quite possible, although in later missions this will become much harder with some armed conflict almost inevitable.

Your opinion of this game will likely depend on your online experiences. Playing with, well, morons will diminish the experience significantly especially if they don't follow the stated goals of the mission. If, however, you manage to get three other like-minded players (assuming you're not one of the morons yourself) then this can be one of the most gripping, exciting and edge-of-your-seat experiences. Online gameplay is generally pretty lag free given good connections.

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Some Payday 2 interiors are bland.
Payday 2 also has an offline mode with the games AI taking control of your fellow gang members. Unfortunately the AI isn't overly intelligent with squad mates often moving into your line of fire, not picking up objectives and generally not showing much, well, intelligence. Still, it's not a complete disaster and the offline mode is decent enough to get some practice in before hitting the game online.

Visuals in Payday 2 are a bit of a mixed bag overall with some strengths and weaknesses. Starting with the positives the presentation of the game is pretty nice with some nice menus with video footage. Characters look pretty good, and there are a range of enemies (law enforcement officers) which will move around, run, dive, take cover just as one would expect. Locations are often quite large with multiple entrances and exits available providing a range of options - but that works for both your team, as well as law enforcement.

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Taking the battle to the streets.
Sadly the game is also let down by several aspects visually as well. Perhaps the most baffling is that outside locations look fantastic with some wonderful texturing and levels of detail. When you move indoors however the game often looks dull, predictable and lacking quality texturing - did different teams work on each aspect of the game? Each of the levels has a variable amount of destruction, but it's so annoying when, for instance, you need to cause damage through a shopping mall and can destroy windows, cabinets, vases or wine bottle, but when you go into a showroom with a car it's indestructible. Animation too is pretty smooth but we did have several instances when characters started stuttering around the level. Finally, and this is the biggest issue, there are clipping issues. It's possible to walk right through civilians and, at times, your character, or parts of, will pass through walls and various other glitches.

Payday 2 does have some speech with mission introductions, and some during the missions and it get the job done nicely however it's when the missions really kick off, the law enforcement arrives, that the sound comes to life. The cracking of gunfire or boom of explosions will bellow out from your speakers and be unrelenting until you succeed, or fail, in reaching the objectives. Music too manages to impress and keeps the tempo up during the action.

Despite it's technical issues, and some moral questions about the subject matter, Payday 2 is a fun co-op shooter with plenty of appeal to online multiplayer gamers at a pretty cheap price.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSCertainly not a great looking game with glitches and other issues. Still, it's functional.
67%
SOUNDSound is quite solid and dominated by gunfire when the missions get cracking.
78%
GAMEPLAYPlaying online or offline (despite some dodgy AI) this is a fun game either way with a range of missions.
80%
VALUEPlenty of upgrades, customisations, and missions to play through with plenty of replayability and at only $AU50.
74%
OVERALLThis co-op shooter isn't for younger gamers, but those looking for a solid online co-op shooter would do well to pick this up despite the flaws.
76%

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