Payday 2 (PC)
Some of the best games are experienced from the perspective of the baddies. Dungeon Keeper, Overlord, Evil Genius, Carmageddon – to name but a few.
The original Payday actually slipped by me without a breeze. It was only brought to my attention when I noticed it in my library on some free weekend pass deal. So I launched it.
4 hours later, it was way too late to be up for any longer but what a game. Most FPS games lead the player along some linear path which invariably requires you to kill everything in your path in your journey to the next level. Some of this is still true in Payday 2, but the true reward and enjoyment is from careful planning and playing ‘stealth’.
This means scoping out joints, such as banks, jewellery shops and malls, before you either raise hell, or Heat style, go in and out like a ghost. If done carefully and you successfully complete your heist without a single alarm going off, then you are rewarded with one of the best gaming highs you’ll experience in a long time.
Stand offs are tense. With various different types of civies in the game, from customers to workers and from security staff to patrolling cops, each of them needs to be dealt with in a particular way.
Civies respond better to a threatening demeanour with a ‘get the fuck down’ preceding frightened people throwing themselves on the floor in fear. Security guards, however, like being heroes and don’t often respond to threatening behaviour.
Go in heavy though and before long, you’re outnumbered with any number of different SWAT team types ranging from snipers across buildings to massive armour wearing juggernauts. These squads of cops can very rapidly overpower you and before long you’ve run out of ammo and have the entire NYPD on the street.
So it’s this variation in each game that creates a level of tension and required alertness that is missing from most games.
A unique balance of action and suspense that has drawn me in every weekend for a few games. And that music is incredible – a fantastic techno-trance electronic soundtrack that is guaranteed to get the blood pumping.