Reviews: PAYDAY The Heist

Left 4 Dead 2 Meets Cops vs. Robbers

This game is for those who wanted a more hold out and or stealthy version of left for dead which it essentially is. It is a fun game if you have a group of players and it can lead to some down right awesome slash funny moments that very few others games can make happen. But it came be very frustrating moments when things just seem to spiral out of control. Pick up this game if you want a great time with some friends if you can work together.

Payday 2 review: A massive evolution, changing a wave shooter into its own unique concept

Payday: The Heist could best be described as "Left 4 Dead with cops instead of zombies", and set mostly in a central location rather than a straightforward level with an endpoint.

Payday 2, though, builds upon that and adds much much more, heavily evolving it into a very improved game.

The first game had missions that involved essentially babysitting drills and doing other timed things while simultaenously fighting off endless waves of cops until your job was done and it was possible to escape. The sequel expands the way missions work in several ways.

Many missions start off in "casing" mode, in which you have neither your mask on nor your gun out, and can walk, largely undetected (depending on your loadout before the mission), amongst civilians. It's during this time that you can try to scope the place out to figure out the sneakiest way in, where the security guards and cameras are, the best time to pull out your weapon, and so on. Through abilities such as intimidating hostages, taking hostages so they don't call the police, and so on, you can try your best to "stealth" a mission, but 99 times out of 100, inevitably, the cops will show up and then it's wave shooter time.

Many missions are now divided into multiple levels instead of being only a single level like the first game. There are now aspects that affect which levels comes next based on what you did in the previous, and puzzle-like aspects to some of the missions. Probably one of the best examples is "Rats", a mission which starts out involving cooking meth. First you have to figure out and locate the correct ingredients, and use them. If you do it wrong, you'll blow up the lab. The second level involves delivering meth (if you have it) to gangsters for intel. However, the gangsters are quick to try to burn the intel if you do anything to set them off. The third level has an optional bus you can steal money from, but the money is rigged and can explode if you don't have the intel from the second level.

It's quite impressive how Payday has evolved from a straight-up action game, to an action game with so much depth and non-action game elements such as stealth and puzzles. At times it feels more like a co-op adventure than a shooting game. There's no other game out there like it.

Does for heist movies what Left 4 Dead did for zombie movies... almost

There's pretty much no way to describe this game without making a direct comparison to its obvious inspiration, Left 4 Dead. So I'll just go ahead and do it.

Left 4 Dead is a 4-player co-op game about 4 archetypes living in a Zombie Apocalypse, who fight through waves of enemies to reach an escape. It's filled with locations and themes taken from zombie movies in general, and in some ways, has been called a homage to the genre.

Pay Day The Heist is more or less the same thing except with heist/great robbery movies. The gameplay is also very similar. Four characters at all times (unless AI help is disabled), and humans or AI can fill in the role. Sadly, the game works on the lobby system rather than Drop In Drop Out Multiplayer, so if people quit, they won't come back and no-one will take their place. A big misstep in my opinion.

There are some notable changes in how things work. You have one non-regenerating life meter and one short-term regenerating "shield" meter, allowing players to hide and recuperate if they take few hits, but still punishing carelessness with cumulative long-term damage. You can take hostages, which serve as extra lives in a sense - freeing a hostage when a player is dead/"captured" causes the player to be revived/"set free", a neat mechanic. Killing civilians causes a time delay before you can be revived.

The biggest change of all is how the levels are structured. Instead of "start at beginning, reach the end" like in Left 4 Dead, here most levels take place primarily in one area with numerous objectives. The objectives are centered around things like destroying metal locks, clearing an area of enemies, and so on, and they keep changing over the course of gameplay, forcing the player to take the fight somewhere else. Items such as hidden explosives may need to be collected, encouraging players to spread out, or they may need to work on an immediate goal as a team. Ultimately, it changes the pacing and feel of the game, and makes it a very different game in that regard.

I just wish there were a bit more to the game. Some levels have you fighting your way forward through a street, which I find frustratingly difficult. I much prefer the "one big building" type levels. Also, there's only six levels.

Still, for a budget game, I'm impressed.