Today’s cooperative experiences live on the fun tension of working with up to three buddies and fighting hordes of zombies, and Payday 2 is a game that pushes the boundaries of the co-op experience.Payday: The Heist and it’s sequel, Payday 2, are about the thrill and fun of planning and attempting complex heists. Most of the time, that won’t happen, but that’s where the fun lies. The room for error isn’t in making sure you have enough health packs or getting rushed by a randomly spawning group of the undead, but in making the right moves to get your rewards.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Left 4 Dead or Call of Duty’s Zombie mode. It’s just that tedium sets in around undead #4158. Payday 2, and its peers, push the cooperative experience forward, raise the bar for what games can do and expect from gamers. Portal 2, for instance, used the multiplayer experience to make some of that franchise’s most intricate, and most fun, puzzles.
Gamers are smart, and we like smart games. Payday 2 has a fantastic premise, and the gameplay is open-ended in a way that allows, if not force, gamers to improvise under pressure. When my video games force me to be creative and work my mind in new and interesting ways, that’s the mark of a fantastic concept. When I’m slaying my 8th wave of identical enemies, that’s the mark of a game that, for all it’s polish and slick gameplay, isn’t interested in pushing boundaries. Payday 2 and games like it push those boundaries to new and interesting territories, and I’m happy to follow along.
Payday 2 released yesterday, and you can pick it up on Steam here.