Almost five years have passed since Payday 2 first launched on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Since then, it has also joined the current generation of consoles when it released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the form of Payday 2: Crimewave Edition. This edition offered improved graphics, new content as well as all previous DLC, that was three years ago. Now, the co-operative first-person shooter that focuses on being a criminal and getting paid for it comes to the Switch, but can it live up to the hype and be just as entertaining as its other versions?
The story can be pieced together by playing the plethora of missions on offer but you have no true order of how to work through these missions. So the lore and backstory is there, you just have to kind of dig into it and make sense of the madness. I find this works in the games favour, it is fun to try out each mission, listening to all information available and figure out the chronology of it all.
You take on the role of a robber, with the only goal of amassing a ton of both money and experience. Each character has their own backstory which, like the main story isn’t obvious but is there to find. I love trying out each of the heisters and listening to the dialogue between them, not only that but the dialogue in general is some of the best and funniest I have ever heard. There’s nothing quite like answering a pager of a guard you have incapacitated and explaining your boner pressed the wrong button.
In total, there are 50 missions to choose from. Some are the same locations but with different loot goals, such as the Bank Heist in which there is cash, gold, deposit and random variants. Even discounting these, there are still approximately 40 contracts to take up, different in location, design, the amount of stages it takes to complete, rewards and story. Because of this, the game remains fresh and satisfying, even after a multiple hour session.
It controls fine but clunky is certainly a word that can be attributed to it. Aiming doesn’t feel smooth and it can be a bit of a task to line-up a headshot and time is a huge factor, trying to stealth your way through a mission only to mess up whilst trying to line-up a silent shot is not cool. Aside from that, I’m happy with how it plays, because the gameplay is so damn fun.
Many of the contracts offer the opportunity to be completed in stealth mode, which basically means, don’t set off any alarms by avoiding security, cameras and where possible civilians. Getting spotted is a quick way to bring the police in full force which become a heavy nuisance when trying to loot. It’s all about player choice, you can choose the mission, choose what gear to take and how to pull off the heist. My motto, is stealth is best which stems a lot from the tension that comes with it and tactical co-operation needed to pull it off right. I am a huge advocate for tactical co-op style gaming and Payday is just that, at its very best.
A typical operation will start off in casing mode, which means you are seen as a civilian until you put your mask on and get a weapon out. This allows you to scout the area, and dependent on your skills, you could pick up some minor objects and tag enemies. Once ready, you put the mask on, at this point people will call you out if your standing behind a corner and looking around, they will be like, hey is that a gun? And well, it is so they will call the police.
You can be compromised before this stage if your concealment isn’t high enough, so if your planning a stealth op, don’t go running in with a heavy machine gun and full suit of armor, because even without exiting casing mode you will get made. There is a level of thought that is needed going in to some missions but if that isn’t for you there are enough ‘loud’ missions to try your hand at, allowing you to mix it up because sometimes you just want to rush in and kill some AI fools. Very much a do what you want kind of game.
The sheer amount of options available for both customisation and how to complete contracts is incredible and should easily sit somewhere atop the list of best game design. In between the skill trees, perk decks and equipment there are a ton of possible combinations available and allows players to specialise in certain areas allowing their teammates to pick up the slack. I found that a great team composition consists of players focused in different skill trees that then just come together in the perfect blend with each person having their role to play.
Unfortunately for the Switch version, online multiplayer currently has no voice support meaning a lot of games that go awry due to a difference in priorities and lack of communication. It’s crazy to think something so vital to the experience has been left out. If you are fortunate to have some local friends available who own the game then you can play together via local co-op and communicate, otherwise, your playing charades online.
There are better looking versions of the game for sure however, playing on the small screen or the TV I wouldn’t say it’s a bad looking game, a little dated yes, not bad. I feel there is a little inconsistency with textures, some look high resolution compared to others etc, but that really doesn’t impact anything and is only truly noticeable at extremely close range.
All the Payday 2 greatness has been taken, squashed down and released on the Nintendo Switch with only a little reduction in graphical quality and some of the latest content updates removed. Featuring a ton of content, even with the later packs missing. It delivers the same addictive gameplay experience that had already cost me hundreds of real life hours prior to this release. By being able to take this on the go, heisting has never been easier.
OVERALL: 8.5/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Payday 2, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)