So the game that’s been on the agenda for the past little while is Payday 2. I’ve managed to put in a good 30 hours into this game and it is a fun little shooter/stealth game, depending on how you play.
Each mission can be played in multiple ways, both with as much chance of success as the other. You can get stealth bonuses but these affect the next mission rather than the one you successfully do quietly. Then you have the missions which are loud and loud only. Go guns blazing and shoot everyone you see (apart from civilians).
Difficulty-wise, there is a very sharp learning curve. With no real story to follow, you just choose a mission you want to do, and do it for the payday which is told to you before the job has been taken on. When playing solo, the difficulty is especially difficult, helped in no amount by the wonderful AI in the game, who despite having wonderful speech and dark humour, have no intelligence at all.
If you wanted to attempt a stealth mission with AI, then they will stand outside the doors of the jewellery store, for example, causing every passer-by to cower in fear, and subsequently call the police of your escapades. And even if you were able to stealthily grab the 8 bags of jewels you need, they are incapable of picking up a bag themselves, and so force you to return to the scene of the crime an ungodly amount of times, which if the alarms get pulled, mean running into crossfire, and more often than not dying. They are helpful when going loud, though, another body to aim at, instead of you is always nice.
Which brings me to the enemies.
The enemies come in a few ranks. You have the security guards/unarmoured guards. These are the gun-fodder enemies in the game, and usually die in one hit from a silenced, underpowered pistol bullet to the cranium. Next you have the SWAT teams, they are slightly armoured, but can still be taken down with one well-aimed shotgun shell, or a short burst from an assault rifle or pistol. They usually swarm the building so is more an issue of quantity over quality. They also have snipers posted on surrounding rooftops for that killshot. And they are, especially so on the higher difficulties, brutal!
Then you have the Tasers, who are just plain annoying. If these well armoured guys get too close to you, then they will fire a Taser at you, rendering you unable to move, your gun will aim into the air causing your aim to go all doo-lally, AND to make things even more irritatingly unfair with these enemies, you also contract your trigger finger, meaning your all-too-precious ammo gets wasted on the light fixtures and the surrounding ceiling.
Finally you have the Bulldozers, these guys…
These guys are deadly. They are over-powered, over-armoured, and take a HELL of a lot of ammo to kill. There is only one tactic with these guys; don’t get hit, shoot him in the head, and run. If you come across one of these guys solo, and you best him, then kudos; you are a better player than me.
All in all, the game is a great time waster; the game is a pain, and a nuisance on solo, due to the bad AI and the whole premise of the game. But get a group together, even just a dual act, and watch the hours rack up as you command each other to perfectly stealthy jewellery store robberies, to driving a van into the FBI and shooting down the place. The game has mod support which can lead to more missions, better HUD and a more rich experience but the base game is nothing to be sniffed at.
Verdict: Worth a shout on sale, if you can get a team together.