Game: Payday 2
Publisher/Developer: 505 Games/ Overkill
Genre: Co-op Crime Shooter
Describe This Game in Three Words: Been Caught Stealin'
Plot: You star as one of four hired guns employed to do dirty jobs for the highest bidder. These range from smashing up malls to knocking off jewelry stores. The stakes are big, and the action is furious.
Up, Up: Dane Cook was right on the money when he said, "Every man wants to be in on a heist." I couldn't tell you why, whether it's a flaw in our basic humanity or an overdose on Hollywood, the experience just looks cool. Now, you can drop in effortlessly to any number of jobs, and feel like a professional criminal.
The game is extremely easy to get into, and honestly quite forgiving in the early stages of play. You and your team follow very simple instructions for getting out jewelry, cash, or whatever your preferred target is. It's a rush the first time you slip on your clown mask and dive right into a real caper.
Then, like all great heist films, it all goes to hell and you're facing off with snipers, cops, security, and SWAT. The controls have been smoothed out a great deal over the first Payday, and the AI seems more realistic. If you ever wanted to be thrown into a Showtime crime drama, this will more than do you.
Down, Down: Stealth is a bigger part of the action than last game, but it's still barely useful, and your allies are probably going to pile in guns blazing anyway. There's not a lot of sneaking around or not getting into violent bloodbaths. At least not in the early stages.
And on that note... I felt like I was in some sort of cop killing simulator. Whereas you can tie up civilian hostages you can't pistol whip and incapacity the police or security. Nor can you hold captives at gun point to stand off the cops. They'll also shoot at you through civilians, which is a breakdown in the realism, I feel.
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Left, Right, Left, Right: It's your basic FPS set up, with R2 doing most of your work. The length of time it takes to rescue a partner, start a drill, or other jobs is freakin' annoying until you upgrade it, but that's pretty much the point. I applaud the realism of restricting your speed when you have a big bag of swag to carry,
B, A: Instead of respawning, your boss Bain negotiates with the police for your release, which is freakin' weird when you consider how many cops you've murdered within the first ten minutes of gameplay. Bain must have the speech of the devil, which makes you wonder why he didn't just go into con games instead of this bloody racket.
Start?: It's a guilty pleasure game, and while it's not there yet I think there's some hope for the series. It'll take a more personalized and varied approach to get to greatness, or at least more emotional investment like in the Hitman franchise to make it legendary. But if you want something light and violent it's worth the buy.