Payday 2 gets a payday in the summer sale

Co-op shooter provides fufilling team-based experience, endless hours of enjoyment

ONE OF THE PLAYABLE CHARACTERS, DALLAS, HOLDS UP a cop at gunpoint while carrying a loot bag.

I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to rob a bank. Once or twice, I’ve daydreamed about cracking bank safes, my criminal crew at my six, bags full of precious gold bars shining on my face. I feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins as we sprint to the escape van. The dream culminates in that crisp comfort that only swimming in Benjamins offers. That doesn’t make me psychotic or clinically insane, does it? Either way, after this year’s Steam Summer Sale, I picked up Payday 2, a game where I can rob banks with friends.

Now listen when I say that this game is both the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas; it’s a fantastic co-op experience, especially if you can get a full crew to go heisting. Payday 2 is a cross between an RPG and first person shooter game, complete with skill trees and an armory of weapons. Each of the skill trees affects a different aspect of gameplay, whether it be stealth, run and gun, or team support. I personally like being a team player, so I invested in abilities that affect my whole crew. I can mark special units, such as snipers and riot shield soldiers, which highlights them and enables my team to deal extra damage to them.

Most game setups involve entering a bank, failing stealth, taking hostages, getting attacked by law enforcement, drilling into a vault, stealing the goodies inside, and making a getaway. Don’t get me wrong; it’s endless looting fun. But one of my favorites is a three part mission called Rats; on the first day, players can unlock an achievement called “I am the one who Knocks” for cooking three bags of an illicit substance without letting any law enforcer in the house (you’ll know what the substance is if you get the achievement reference).

I know what you’re thinking, “Chris, the game is almost a year old; why are you reviewing this now?” Well, my dear, valued reader, since the game went on sale on Steam, its concurrent player base increased by 285%, going from 16,806 players on June 9 to 63,749 on June 30, exhibiting crazy growth. Additionally, the release of The Big Bank Heist and Gage Shotgun Pack DLCs contributed new interesting game play concepts to the game and attracted inactive players back. So I think that this renewed interest warrants another take.

I highly suggest this game to those that have played Borderlands or Left 4 Dead before. Nothing beats burning money and filming it, or walking into a mall and breaking everything you can possibly get your hands on. Even that last sprint to the escape chopper makes my hair stand up. The game is challenging and requires teamwork. You will inevitably mess up. But if you successfully make it out, you’ll get your payday too.