The original Payday had a solid idea at its core – co-op heists with bad-ass masks – but the execution was kind of lacking. It felt a lot like Left 4 Dead with its waves of cops, but instead of progressing through a level, you were left standing in one spot waiting for a drill to open a safe, or something.
Payday 2 actually took some steps to improve this, but unfortunately the developers shot themselves in the foot with Update 11. While the game has since been patched to fix some of the things that went wrong with Update 11, the game took a step back that will be difficult to recover from.
Let me expand a bit on that. Pre-Update 11, Payday 2 had actual heists where you could get by without being seen, or at the very least avoid protracted shoot-outs with the boys in blue. People were grinding several shorter missions in order to get quick cash and XP, though, so Overkill, the developer, decided to tune things up.
Their solution was to make the toughest enemies, the Bulldozer, spawn in large numbers and way sooner than they normally would. Heists such as Rats, which previously had you cooking meth while fending off light numbers of cops, now involve you barely holding out while giant dudes in bomb-disposal gear rush in and smoke you.
This isn’t fun. Sure, Payday is supposed to be hard, but there’s a line between challenging the player and just being plain cheap. Overkill had that nailed before Update 11, but they took away the cool stealthy heist aspect of Payday 2 and replaced it with the “you vs a mob of cops” milieu that soured the original Payday for me.
It’s a shame because between the unbalanced fire fights I actually saw a glimmer of something special. Cooking meth, guessing which prototype fusion engine to grab or slinging bags of loot into the back of a getaway van while your buddy tells everyone in the jewelry store to kiss the ground feels awesome, but one slip-up and you’re back to a shoot-out that inevitably ends in you taking a frustrating loss.
I might give Payday 2 a shot somewhere down the line, but for now I’ll pass. If I ever come back to it, though, I want the AI partners to at least be able to pick up bags. There’s nothing wrong with developers patching their games, but as the saying goes, “perfect is the enemy of good”. I’m sure Overkill has something specific in mind for Payday 2, but they have to let it out in the wild a some point.
Has anyone else tried Payday 2? What do you think of it? How is Update 12 treating you?