Payday 2 and the Perils of Over-Patching

payday 2

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?

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

7 thoughts on “Payday 2 and the Perils of Over-Patching”

  1. Ah man, this is why I was waiting to purchase it. I’ve got a buddy who’s dying to play but all I’ve read lately is about this update. I really hope most of the issues get hammered out again so I can pick this up and give it a run!

    The first game was so disappointing, I too saw a glimmer of hope when the trailers came out for Payday 2. I’m glad I waited and didn’t pre-order!

  2. Apparently Update 11 also completely borked the cash/XP payouts on job completion, so players went from getting a ton of rewards to almost nothing. Not that great, especially considering you had to slug through 12+ dozers just to get a measly couple thousand payout.

  3. I enjoyed playing with friends till about level 40 (30 hours in) at which point I had enough money to buy the world so progression wasn’t a thing for me anymore. That’s why I understand why they made the change but I feel they should have caught this in the beta rather than letting everyone boost up with an easy xp/cash system before changing it.

    I still like the game however, much better than the first.

  4. Personally I pretty like the game – even now – though yeah I agree the counter-productive updates are a little annoying.

    To be honest I think they did a little poorly with the timing of updates since day 1, though the main problems I have with the game is that it’s a little too focused on the whole horde thing with annoyances like hostages that react slower than dial-up when you tell them to get down, and a few other things that take away from the heisting experience. Buuut I could see it being a worse game and I still have fun with it – especially with friends – and I have faith in Overkill to put it on the right track.

    The least I hope for is to have it directed towards more of a heist thing and less of a ‘police zombies with guns’ thing – like maybe adding more situations where silencers can be used a little more, making cops less prone to kamikaze actions, and *definitely* make hostages a little less defiant when there’s a gun in their face, that sort of thing.

  5. So I’ve played some more of this post Update 12 and I have to say it’s gotten a lot better. While the game will no longer have the hedonistic speed-runs heyday of pre-Update 11, pulling off heists with your crew is fun again. Most of them do end up in shoot-outs unless you’re really, really good, but they aren’t the painful “you against 1 million dozers” that Update 11 had.

    Also, eff taser cops. Eff them.

    Also, @Jack Morgan, “slow as dial up” made me laugh so hard, because it’s absolutely true. The civilian AI is the worst, except when it comes to spotting you. Then they’re like hawks.

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