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Payday 2: First Impressions

So Payday 2 came out a couple of days ago and everyone is throwing out their reviews and giving their impressions and all that jazz. Well, BH Impact doing the PR for 505 Games' Payday 2 provided Gaming Blend with some review copies and I get the opportunity to write about a game I didn't have to pay to play. It's unfair for the rest of you, but then again you don't have to regularly write about the game in return.

Anyway, I hopped in like a little noob. After watching plenty of Let's Play videos I felt I was an alpha-player; that I would bust into the game and show up all the other noobs based on my experience of watching a bunch of other players fail. I was wrong, I busted into the game, went to the safe house and promptly discovered I didn't know Jack Spit.

After fumbling around with options, finding the FOV and settings that suited my rig and doing less control modifications than I thought I would need to, it was time to head to Crimenet, the main portion of the game and the online meeting place of digital fantasy criminals alike.

I'll be honest, even after watching a bunch of videos I still had no idea what I was doing. The radar was infrequently popping up missions and I wasn't really sure what to do. Now usually I don't mind fumbling around in a game and avoiding tutorials because I like the adventure of discovery – it was also this same discovery that helped me adjust and have so much fun in Warframe.

In Payday 2 my curiosity cost me dearly. I was clicking around the random missions available on Crimenet I didn't realize that there were difficulty rankings associated with each mission and when I came across the Jewelry Store Heist that I recognized from the beta, I figured “What the heck, I know this mission, I can ace it easily.” Wrong!

I ended up in a game with three others and was instantly put in place by an Alpha Douche Bag. The guy started things off with a toxic angst mentality, telling us to “STFU” and “do exactly” as he said, as if we were fresh fish in a prison yard. He angrily told the rest of us to ready up and I instantly renumerate the horrors of newbdom in the equally angst-ridden APB: Reloaded, along with the terror-stories of MOBA games. But I push through the toxicity... Sir Alpha Douche was not going to ruin my first play-through of the full version of Payday 2.

Once we get into the game things start on pins and needles. Sir Alpha Douche commands one guy to follow him and no to do anything, while he tells me to follow a guy whose name I can't recount nor pronounce, and I do so. He promptly tells us not to eff it up. All of us comply with silence and stiff actions, as if we were in a prison shower while holding out a bar of soap and duly threatened not to drop it.

However, after following Mr. I Can't Pronounce Your Name around the corner and doing my best to avoid the many guards patrolling the alleyway (and there were many) someone yelps out over the mic that they screwed up. Half a second later an alarm goes off; curse words fly; panic sets in.

You could almost feel the rage seething through the screen as Sir Alpha Douche goes from toxic online player to potential prison inmate on a rampage. We didn't need to say anything, but we all knew the soap had dropped.

Sir Alpha Douche then says he's “putting on” his mask, and gunfire follows shortly thereafter. No instructions, no communication, just some toxic anger and a lot of pent up sexual frustration as Sir Alpha Douche's friend or lover – and given that Sir Alpha Douche didn't curse out the guy that I was following, I would presume they were lovers – darted out of the alley to come to his friend's (or lover's) aid.

A short time later the mission abruptly ended as Sir Alpha Douche ragequit. I felt sorry for the angry sex his poor lover would endure due to the screw-up at the Jewelry Store Heist. I was tempted to private message the guy whose name I couldn't pronounce, and send him a link to as I was sure he was going to need the support the day after.

Anyway, barely five-minutes of APB: Reloaded style mentality and I was already dreading joining the next game. So instead, I decided to host one and met up with some friendly chaps who were just as newb as I was. We all talked about our newbdom, despite the other two being much higher levels than myself. They were still trying to find their style and they were just in it to have fun.

Despite us failing quite a few missions, we did indeed have a ton of fun. I also recommended the other two to take charge since they had been playing longer, and this one guy – sounding like Rob Van Dam on a hash binge – was usually the one to take command and lead the charge. He died frequently and wasn't very good on the sights, but again, we had tons of fun.

We completed a nightclub mission, a defense mission and a few others, while also failing at just the same amount. The failures were usually in result of being greedy or just not having a clue how we would get out of a tight bind and it's easy to see how the game really does require sound teamwork to manage a consistent level of success.

One thing I should totally bring out is that Payday 2 is nothing like the beta or the early Let's Play sessions from the beta. All that footage you saw of those guys steamrolling the game? Throw it away! Payday 2 is nothing like that.

The game is way more simulation oriented than any of the beta builds. More civilians populate the stages, the random parameters really are random enough to throw anyone off their game if they don't know how to adapt and improvise on the fly. And most importantly, the AI difficulty is absolutely freaking hard. The game is hard as nails. A few shots and you're down. That's not to mention that ammo becomes extremely scarce the longer a mission wears on. It's perfect!

I haven't put in enough time to really gauge or express any opinion further about the game, and it's unfair to tell people to run out and buy the game based on my few little escapades with the good and the bad, but I will most definitely say that my purchase of the original Payday left me sour on the overall experience (from start to finish), but I'm liking all the changes they've made to Payday 2 and then some.

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.