Developer: Overkill Software
Publisher: Sumo Digital
Release Date: Out Now
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbos 360, PC, Linux
We’ve seen plenty of older games making their way over to the Nintendo Switch given the popularity of the system, so it’s no surprise to see Payday 2 hit the platform too – especially after the success it’s found on both current and last-gen systems. Being able to perform heists on the go is undeniably cool though, and with a fair amount of content on offer, Payday 2 on the Switch is a pretty robust title.
It seems a little pointless going into too much detail about how Payday 2 works – I mean, it’s been out for a good few years now and I feel like just about everyone has heard of it or seen it in action. Basically, you’re part of a small group of criminals who complete a variety of heists. These heists all play a little differently and see you doing the likes of hitting banks, stealing jewellery, robbing art galleries, or even performing heists in (and jumping from) planes. They’re the sort of things you see in the movies – action-packed, entertaining, and often absurd (but in the best way possible).
Each heist takes place over multiple days, with the player having to scout out the location and gather intel before they’re able to go ahead with the big steal. It’s a neat approach to the game and adds a sort of realistic touch, with the planning phases themselves often being some of the more enjoyable aspects of the experience. Of course, when you’re in the heat of action and drilling through safes, gunning down cops, hiding bodies, placing turrets, hacking terminals or just sneaking your through some security, Payday 2 really is at its best. Each heist has a dynamic touch to it too, with some aspects of your objectives slightly altering between each playthrough to ensure everything always stays fresh.
It’s a lot of fun to play, plus you’ll earn a good amount of cash and experience points from heists so you can keep improving your character and purchasing new gear. Don’t get me wrong, even with the variety of heists on offer you’re doing a lot of the same things and it can be guilty of feeling like a grind at times, but there’s still a good time to be had.
Payday 2 is designed around multiplayer, so players will be glad to see that the CRIME.NET setup behind it returns, giving up to four players the chance to head online or even over a local network to play together. Of course, offline solo play is an option, but thanks to some shoddy A.I. it’s not the most entertaining way to play to the game. Payday 2 was simply built with multiplayer in mind, and it really is the best way to experience it.
I’ve found that the online mode works perfectly so far though. Every game I’ve played with friends has worked well with no lag, and whilst we did get a handful of disconnects, it’s been a pretty smooth ride. One minor hindrance was the lack of voice chat, which was a little disappointing in a game that’s focused so heavily on team play. When playing with friends this was an easy issue to sort out (Skype and Discord are lifesavers), but when playing with strangers you’ve certainly got a lot less co-ordination to your actions.
One of the most important aspects of Payday 2’s transition to the Nintendo Switch comes with how well it performs, and fortunately everything seems good from what I’ve played. I typically played in the handheld mode and found that it ran fine – you do get a 720p resolution, but it nearly always maintained a solid framerate of 30fps (besides the occasional stutters during busy moments). It looks decent enough too, though it’s probably more comparative with the last gen versions of the game as opposed to those found on current gen platforms.
There’s a good selection of heists on offer in Payday 2, but the Switch version is missing some of those that are available on other platforms. It’s not a significant amount though and you still have fifty on offer, so there’s certainly more than enough on offer to keep players busy. The developers have stated that the Switch will eventually match those other platforms though, so you can expect to see some new additions in the future.
The same applies for the masks, though again, there’s not a significant amount missing – you’ve still got well over two hundred to choose from. The Switch does have a limited-time exclusive mask too, so that’s a neat inclusion. Given the volume of the masks available anyway though, it’s hard to be underwhelmed by the selection.