Since initially arriving on PC and consoles way back in 2013, PAYDAY 2 has seen incredible support and love from both the developers and its loyal player base. Despite being available on all major platforms for this generation as well, a portable version has long been missing. The arrival of the game on Nintendo Switch changes all that, but with five years passing since inception how does the Switch port hold up?
The answer is surprisingly well.
PAYDAY 2 focuses on a group of masked and armed robbers – Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf and Chain – as they look to fill their bank accounts with gold bars and stolen cash ripped from the countless life-threatening heists they pull off, just to ensure a life of luxury after retirement.
We’re not just talking mugging the local corner shop here however. We’re talking banks, museums and everything in between, with all of the precious items contained within them up for grabs. It’s down to you to put meticulous planning to work to ensure the heist goes down without a hitch, whilst also dealing with the hordes of local police and SWAT teams that quickly close in on your position.
Since the very first launch, PAYDAY 2 has seen a ton of content arrive to give new life to the game and whilst it may not be the definitive version that includes every piece of additional content, it’s fair to say the majority of the content that has been released up to now is present on Nintendo Switch – at least 50 DLC bits are included, meaning it will take you more than just a few days to master everything on offer.
Of course, being a renowned bank robber is no easy task, and before you’re ready to take a shot at the big league and all of those fancy multi-day jobs – which vary in difficulty and can be actively recognised by their skulls showcasing difficulty on the CRIME.NET network – you’ll need to first get to grips with the inner workings of what it takes to pull off a successful heist. This means working your through low-level jewellery shops and local stores to get some early funds behind you, which can then be used to upgrade your skills, abilities and overall arsenal.
Naturally, accumulating money is rather important for most bank robbers and in PAYDAY 2 that’s especially true, but to be successful you’ll need a loadout suitable for each mission. These prove to be a vital component that will be a factor in your mission success, so you’ll have to expect to be spending a fair amount of the money you earn from each successful heist if you hope to progress to the harder missions. If you’re looking to reach the dizzying heights of Infamy status then you’ll be requiring the very best loadouts available.
There are many items to buy and customise within PAYDAY 2, with countless weapons from Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles and LMG’s to special weapons and one of a kind guns. On top of these though, and there is a lot of them, is a ton of equipment – and this is just as vital to each mission, especially if you’re trying to take a stealthy approach.
Equipment is limited however, but with items such as the Ammo Bag, Armor Bag, Body Bag Case, Doctor Bag and ECM Jammer amongst the options, it’s fair to say that it’s down to personal play style as to what you’re likely to choose to take along.
Five specialist Skill Trees can also be upgraded, with Mastermind, Enforcer, Ghost, Technician and Fugitive each offering a wealth of unique skills and abilities that can be mixed and matched for each heist. All of these go hand in hand with the eleven Perk Decks available to offer multiple choices for all play styles; be-it when rushing in guns ablazing, tactically progressing through the shadows or taking each moment as it comes.
PAYDAY 2 has long boasted a large amount of content, but it’s the gameplay that really makes the game what it is and whilst the Switch version may be hovering around the 30 frames per second area, the overall experience is just as you would expect. The gameplay is smooth and fluid, the textures and visuals look fantastic, and it is just as you would expect in both the portable mode and when the console is docked, as you blast through the corridors of each building looking for the safe, vault or hidden room stockpiling millions of dollars.
Whilst it’s a welcome addition to have PAYDAY 2 on the Switch, the game has still seen some of the issues that were present on initial release plaguing the experience. The most notable of these are in respect the A.I., which is a true pain. From seeing the computer controlled characters getting stuck in walls, and failing to make any impact on incoming enemies whatsoever, playing solo feels truly pointless at times because of them.
Online play obviously fixes the dumb A.I. however the lack of voice chat is completely unacceptable. To make it through a heist with no issues and everything going to plan, you’ll generally need to have a good communication with your team, unfortunately, unless you have a chat going through other means such as Skype or Discord, or you’re playing locally in the same room – which is an option for up four players – then you’ll need to rely on your new crew knowing exactly what you plan to do without anyone botching things, and that’s just something that isn’t going to happen.
Another notable difference for the Switch version of the game is the new HD Rumble feature, and the all-new and timed exclusive playable character, Joy. The HD Rumble is a lovely touch and with subtle haptic feedback added to all actions, it slots in well with the incredible sound design, making actions such as reloading weapons feel exceedingly satisfying.
As for Joy, she is the latest character to arrive in PAYDAY 2 and her skills can see the painfully slow drills and equipment given a welcome speed boost, making her fantastic for technician focused players.
PAYDAY 2 is a decent addition to the Nintendo Switch library. With gameplay proving just as smooth as other consoles, visuals shining, and less technical glitches – bar the stupid A.I.and lack of voice chat – this may well be the best way to experience PAYDAY 2 away from the PC.
Massive thanks to: 505 Games
Release date: February 2018
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review), Xbox One, PS4, PC