PayDay 2 Review(Nintendo Switch)
Is it your payday?
PayDay 2 is a cooperative first person shooter heist game developed by Overkill Software and published by Starbreeze. It is a port of the 2013 version of the game and a sequel to the 2011 game PayDay: The Heist
Normally in my reviews this is where I would start off telling you a little about a game's storyline or characters in the game so that you would be in tune with the game's narrative before hopping into it. But here with Payday 2 there really isn't a story that's actually present enough to make me want to flesh it out like I usually do.
At the start of your game you will notice the real lack of an actual story mode to be had in this game since the majority of the focus is put towards playing and interacting with others online or locally. Upon starting the game you will offered a chance to learn the basics by playing through the games ''tutorial'' mode,which includes a guided walk through that teaches you how to get used to the games mechanics.
One of the heist missions you will encounter during this tutorial heist mode will teach you the ropes on the bare basics of what you can expect to be doing before you venture online to get your heist on. This mission requires you to take a mission on solo and your objective varies from having to cut holes in fences,become very stealthy and sneak passed guards or take out would be guards in a lethal manner or being tasked with hiding the body somewhere safe so that they aren't easily located,if they are,your mission has failed.
Most of the tutorial levels follow this same pattern as far as learning the ways of the game. Their sole purpose is just to teach you what you have to do in specific situations,what guns to use/equip,what tactics to use to gain access to buildings/doors and so forth. The real meat and potatoes is going to be when you finally hop online to see what the game is all about and this is where both the fun and the annoyance will start for you.
In PayDay 2 your fun and your heisting is only going to be a mix of hit and miss depending on the strength of your heist team,according to their skill department. If you get a team who doesn't know how to play the game or they might not be up to the standard of the rest of your teammates,you're going to have a bad time. That is if you're one of those gamer's who take gaming super seriously and get really immersed in the game itself. This happens,we've all been there. Just stay calm and help the player learn,however this can be a bit of a hurdle. I'll explain.
This brings me into one of the games weaker points in regards to what I just mentioned. If your team is bad or is even struggling,then this might not be entirely a players fault,at least not 100% anyways. PayDay 2 is one of those games that absolutely cries out for the need for some sort of voice chat because this game is made for something like it and not having it really handicaps the full potential of the Switch version.
Communication and coordination is key to the online play environment in this game and the essential thing needed to truly feel like you're part of a criminal heist,is something that makes you feel like you're truly part of the experience. However,Switch does not offer this experience. But that doesn't mean dedicated players couldn't use other avenues for voice chat such as Discord,they very well could,however they shouldn't NEED to,that's the thing.
PayDay 2 is meant to be played in a 4 player co op setting and Crime.net is going to be your best friend during it. Crime Net will act as your personal navigator for choosing missions,find other players,setting a layout and other things of that nature that makes drop in and out gaming with others a breeze to use and is very simplified. This is also how you will act and select stuff for the tutorial mode that I explained above.
From my own personal experience with the game thus far, it seems to reward you the most based on how stealthy you finish and complete your heists. The quicker,quieter and cleaner you complete the mission, the more reward you reap for your efforts. But there are also times when stealth in a mission isn't going to work and you're going to have to get into a fire fight with others,along with guards and this is where the game gets a little more interesting,which I briefly mentioned above.
Certain parts of the missions in the game involve direct conflict with other guards where you will have to kill them and hastily dispose of their dead body. But it must be done in a quick fashion or else other guards will catch wind of what's going on and blow your cover,which causes you to fail your mission. In order to successfully complete a mission in this scenario,you have to find a body bag and bag up your fresh victim,but you must act quickly to find a quick spot to store them in. Location's to hide them in can be anywhere from behind a crate,in an alleyway or even inside a nearby garbage can. This can make for some intense moments when you don't know if there are other guards roaming around that might pop up and see you at any moment in time.
Graphically this game isn't really something to gawk at on the Nintendo Switch. It doesn't look like an extremely terrible game or anything, but just don't expect it to look like something that's been polished and pushed to ''next gen'',if we are to use to that phrase,it seems to hold 30fps at the very least though. For the type of game it is,it doesn't need much honestly in the graphic department as what should really be the focus is the game play. However,in my time with the game I noticed some screen tearing,some jaggy looking environments and other environmental pop ins. Nothing game breaking or deal breaking, but just observations I've personally made in my time.
Finally onto the last subject I want to cover before wrapping this up and it's a small thing I touched upon at the beginning of the review and it's about the game's single player mode. As mentioned before,the meat and potatoes of this game are in the online multiplayer and I would not recommend people try to enjoy this game alone or by themselves(unless they like the tutorial/offline heists). A couple reasons for this is the buddy AI system that's implemented in the game,its really unresponsive and a lot of the time they do not listen to your commands or just don't do what they need to do in order to complete an objective.
Because of the incompetence of the AI in the single player offline mode,you will get frustrated and begin to get annoyed at the amount of missions that you will fail that isn't even your fault,but instead failed due to the AI acting like nothing more than a meat shield like they're a tank in an MMO. Certain times they even lacked the basic function of even being able to pick up items and carry items themselves,which causes them to just get in your way. Its definitely one of the lower ends of this game and something that is a bit underwhelming.
In my time with PayDay 2 its been a complete mixed bag. Having never played the original release of PayDay 2 in 2013,I felt like I came into this one with a fresh perspective and with an open mind. The game has its issues,such as disappointing single player,bad cpu AI,minor graphic issues and lack of voice chat,which will hurt it in the long run. However with all the bad,does come some good out of it,not all is doom and gloom here folks.
At the end of the day when PayDay 2 does work correctly and everything hits on all cylinders,such as connecting with either a good group or personal friends,then the game is a complete blast to play in short 1-2hr bursts at a time. Being able to hop in a game with a friend and begin the heist of your lives is a valuable asset to the game that it has going for it. Missions can become a tense environment when everything works perfectly and there's definitely a solid game hidden deep within all its problems. It just takes awhile to truly find it.
Having said that,with all the problems and good things I stated above, unless you're a hardcore online gaming junkie who doesn't use voice chat,I really can't recommend this game at full price. My opinion is wait on a price drop to around $30 and then pick this up. Whenever you do,make sure you have a good group of friends to play with and I'm sure you will have a blast!
PayDay 2 is out now on Nintendo Switch
*Review code provided by Starbreeze Studios