Payday 2 is the sequel to Payday: The Heist, a first person game developed by Overkill. In Payday 2 you, generally playing online, control one of four members of a group trying to pull off a heist. You and your group members have to work together in order to make it out of there with your lives and the loot.
The game is basically you performing different heist missions; each heist has the players do something different. There are about nine different heists ranging from robbing a bank to smashing a mall. To find a heist, you utilize a map system called Crimenet. This is really just a list of jobs that people can team up to accomplish. It shows the difficultly of each heist; how many players are in the game lobby; what the heist is; and, more importantly, the payout of the heist once everything is completed. Before most heists you are in case mode. In this mode you try to observe the guards patterns and figure out where items are before the real fun starts.
Once out of case mode, players have a choice to try to complete the heist silent or go loud. Either way, the team will have to do their job perfectly in order to complete a heist. Going silent means that no one can call the cops or trigger an alarm, and you cannot be seen by the cameras. In order to do this successfully, players will have to monitor the suspicion meter that appears on screen once NPCs suspect any wrong doing. If that meter gets too high then the police will be called and alarms go off.
Going loud, on the other hand, is no easy feat since at any time the police can call in SWAT or snipers. There are even special types of police that can randomly come in and in order to combat these special units and the waves of police there is a job system. Here players can choose any job tree of mix of four different classes, the mastermind (crowd control), technician (drill/explosive), enforcer(firearms and armor), and finally the ghost (stealth). Each skill tree has specific traits. Using these traits to your advantages and the items that go along with each trait is very important when putting together a team. If all goes well then all four of the group will get away cleanly. If not, then a more daring escape will have to be made.
Escaping is mostly holding a position for about three minutes while waves of police come in and try to stop you as you wait for your ride. Once the escape is completed, or once the heist job is done, players are then rewarded with experience and a percentage of the money from the heist.
That experience is used to level up players (the max level is 100). Money is used to buy skills, weapons, and masks. Money can also be used to upgrade players “safehouse” or home base. The safehouse is used as a training level where players can test out their new abilities.
Where Payday 2 falls short is the fact that they use Peer 2 Peer for their game servers. If the host client decides to drop the heist, all players are kicked out no matter how far they are in the heist. That leads to no money awarded and no experience gained. Also, hosts can kick players out in the preheist for no reason at all. If you are playing alone, expect to do everything. The computer AI will only shoot at enemies and help you when your health is too low. Do not expect them to actually perform any of the mission objectives or do anything on the skill tree. Finally there are a few bug which lead to enemies being able to detect you through walls and the occasional game freeze.
Payday 2 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes .