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Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: #Payday2 - Most Fun FPS since #Goldeneye007

Payday 2 is by far the most fun I have had in a first-person shooter since Goldeneye 007. The combination of teamwork, random generated levels, customization options, and overall ambiance makes this game unlike anything else out there.

It's an odd thing really. A game where you play as criminals, has somehow created one of the strongest, best mannered and all-around friendly community I've ever been a part of. I have yet to get into a group of players that sound like your typical CoD lobby. No racial slurs. No homophobic comments.

Only cooperation, enthusiasm, and an insane desire to help each other out.

Payday 2 is a simple game at its surface. You and a team of three others are tasked with pulling off a heist. This could be robbing a bank, stealing art, creating a batch of meth and framing a Senator, and just about everything in between. It's up to the four of you to case the joint and make a plan with the ultimate goal to be in and out without ever triggering an alarm.

This may seem like an easy task. After all, there's only a few maps so you should be able to learn them quickly. Thing is, every map is set up differently each time so you never know what lies around the next corner. The camera that you noticed covering the back door might not be there the next time. The bank manager may take a different route, and the security room may be upstairs instead of down.

Every heist is slightly different, and you better be paying attention if you want to get paid.

Payday 2, along with being a stellar FPS, is also a ridiculously deep role-playing game. From the beginning you can choose between four classes: Mastermind, Enforcer, Technician, and Ghost. Each one of these classes has a skill tree, obviously unlocking greater talent the higher you climb. Making this even more in depth is the fact that you can spend points in each class and keep the stats as a whole.

In other words, don't be that guy and spend all your points in one tree. Help your team out by being a jack-of-all-trades. It pays to be a know-it-all in Payday 2.

The majority of matches begin the same way. Your mask is off and it's up to you to walk around and survey the heist location. Each of you calls out what is going on, what you are planning to do, and what the best plan of action is. At least that's the way it should go, unless of course you get on a team with a guy that has no headset...

Let's be clear here: if you don't have a headset, please don't play Payday 2. No one likes you, so just go away.

Once you have your plan it's time to throw on your mask, corral the civilians, find your loot, and hopefully get out before the cops arrive. If they do, it's guns a'blaze. This is where the community differs between Payday 2 and most of the current FPS' out there - it doesn't change to every man for himself. If anything once the authorities are alerted, teamwork increases greatly. I can't count the amount of times I have called out 'Behind you!' or had a teammate blow someone's face off as I was being tazed.

Once you obtain your loot you'll need to make it to the getaway van. This is where strategy really comes into play. You can each a grab and run, relay toss the bags to one another, or have a couple of you running back and forth while the other two lay down cover fire. The choice is yours. Just make it wisely.

If only a few of you make it to the van you lose quite a bit of cash, so it's critical you all make it safely.

At the end of each match you gain cash and experience, which you trade in for skill upgrades, weapons, and mask customizations. Each weapon can be modded, each skill has 'Basic' and 'Ace' upgrades, and masks can be customized by material, color, and design. There's a lot going on, and spending your hard-earned heist money never felt so good.

I was lucky enough to get into a group of random guys that swore their allegiance and haven't played separately yet. I have cursed, smiled, sweated, and rejoiced. We as a group have all exclaimed how it feels like we are actually on a heist, and have never felt this level of emotion in a game before. Payday 2 is something special in a time when everything is beginning to feel the same.

I am level 31 at this time of this review and can easily say this is the most fun I have had in a first-person shooter in several generations.

Scores are out of 100, and are meant to be taken very seriously.
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