Experience the underground crime world of Washington, D.C., where intricate heists can lead to boatloads of cash—that is, if you manage to not get caught! PAYDAY 2 was first released in 2013 on Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360, and an improved version (subtitled Crimewave Edition) saw release for PS4 and Xbox One in 2015. Now, PAYDAY 2 is available on Nintendo Switch, and fans of the franchise are eager to know how this port compares to prior releases and how well it plays on the go. So is this Switch port a Nintendeal? Keep reading to see what we think!
PAYDAY 2 follows a gang of 19+ members—each with an interesting backstory—who have descended on Washington, D.C. to exploit its criminal underground. The gang picks up jobs through a fictional website, Crime.net, where easier contracts are up for grabs and harder contracts can be bought with in-game money. Crime.net also lets players join existing contracts with other players online. At the start of each contract, you’ll choose your character and decide if you want to play alone or on a team of four players. If you want teammates, you can opt for handpicked AI characters, or play with friends online or through local wireless.
Once your crew is assembled and your load-out is ready to go, it’s time to dive into a mission, and there are plenty of missions to try. You can rob banks, burglarize jewelry stores, traffick drugs, rig elections, and smuggle nuclear arms, and the list doesn’t stop there; there’s so much to do in this game, and while playtesting for this review, we didn’t even come close to experiencing every type of mission available in this game.
If you play alone and without AI, you’ll probably struggle to complete your mission, but some people enjoy that kind of challenge. If you play alone and with AI, you’ll still find the experience challenging because AI characters can’t do much for you; they can revive you after falling to gunfire and help fend off the law, but other than that, you’re on your own. However, we want to highlight that we playtested this port with AI and had a pretty good time, even though we knew that we probably would be having more fun if we were playing with friends. For these reasons, it’s very clear that PAYDAY 2 is intended to be played in multiplayer mode, and it’s a shame that the Switch doesn’t have voice chat capabilities so that players can talk to each other while working on a mission. (We’ll get into this in more detail below).
PAYDAY 2 rewards stealthy players, so you might want to get good at avoiding security cameras, hiding bodies, and being as sneaky as possible. And if you’re playing with friends, you should always warn them when trouble’s abound! (Again, we’ll talk about communicating with friends below.) But if you’re not big on stealth, that’s no problem; it’s fine if you’re having to kill civilians, run from cops, and barely evade custody to complete a mission. In the end, you can play this game however you like, and you can always switch your approach. Just keep in mind that it’s far more likely you’ll get caught (and fail) if you forgo stealth, so if you’re serious about completing a mission, you should probably try the sneaky route.
NINTENDO SWITCH PORT DETAILS
This Switch port is different from previous PAYDAY 2 releases in some big ways. For one thing, this port doesn’t include all previously released DLC, which is included in the Crimewave Edition release that came out for PS4 and Xbox One. (In particular, we’re pretty bummed that we can’t play as Ethan and Hila from H3H3.) However, this Switch release does come with a timed exclusive character named Joy, complete with a mask and shoes styled after the famous neon JoyCon for Switch.
A more significant difference in this port, though, is the fact that it offers no in-game communication for players, a glaring issue in a team-based multiplayer game. Of course, we can’t really fault PAYDAY 2 for this, since we know this feature would be included in this port if the console allowed for it. But even so, it would be nice if the developers had included some form of communication, even if it were just a list of pre-crafted phrases that players could say to their teammates at will. If players want to talk to their fellow heisters, they’ll need to rely on Skype, Discord, or a similar program, and that’s a bit of a bummer.
GRAPHICS & SOUND
PAYDAY 2 runs up to 1080p and 30fps when docked and up to 720p and 30fps in handheld. Like many Switch ports, this title does look better on PC, but it really doesn’t look bad on Switch. In fact, we compared many gameplay videos from different ports, and we’ve decided this port looks comparable to the port for PS4. Of course, if you’re used to the look of the PC game and you can’t settle for anything less than that, you’ll probably want to stick with your PC version, but we think most players won’t mind the dip in visual quality.
The game’s soundtrack and sound effects are quite impressive, and they really make you feel like you’re in the midst of the action. And if you find there’s too much going on at once, you can always turn off the music. Doing this really lets the shots ring out, but it also gives you a chance to play this game to your own handpicked soundtrack that plays on a separate device. This port’s audio is crystal clear with zero bugs, and when you pair the audio with the Switch’s incredible HD rumble, we’re sure you’ll lose yourself in this game’s sensory experience.
So is PAYDAY 2 for Switch a Nintendeal? Well, that depends. If you’re a veteran heister who’s satisfied with your current version of the game, this port might not be for you. We think this new port is best suited for:
- Players new to the franchise
- Anyone wanting to play on the go
- Friends who want to play together via local wireless on their Switch gamepads
- Those who don’t mind missing out on the previously released DLC
- Players with some external means for engaging in voice chat during online play, like Skype or Discord
Even with its flaws, we had a blast playing PAYDAY 2 on Switch, and if you think this port may be a good fit for you, then get ready to take on its intricate, intense, and insane missions wherever you go!
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download, Amazon Physical
Publisher – Starbreeze AB
Developer – OVERKILL SOFTWARE – A Starbreeze Studio
Price – $49.99
Genre – Action, First Person, Multiplayer
Size – 9.7GB
Please note that we received a code for this game for press coverage purposes.
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.