PAYDAY was a game that I remember snagging on the PS3 and sinking hundreds of hours into the online gameplay. The thought of heisting banks and jewelry stores with my friends was a thrilling venture, and PAYDAY was a solid experience. For whatever reason though, I never got around to playing the sequel, PAYDAY 2. When I saw it was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I decided to just wait for that version since it’s my platform of choice. So how does PAYDAY 2 translate to the Switch?
First, let’s talk about the biggest flaw of PAYDAY 2 on the Nintendo Switch: the lack of voice chat. PAYDAY 2 is a team-based game, and the lack of voice chat does indeed hurt the game. Is it gamebreaking? No, but it’s a problem. Most of the players I have played with online seem to have a general idea of what to do in the game, and the game does guide you to the basic mission objectives. Still, though, there are situations where the lack of voice chat really does hurt. Starbreeze has said that they will revisit this in an update with Nintendo’s Online Service, but it’s a shame that you can’t talk with random people.
However, if you are playing with friends, you can easily open up a Skype session or Google Hangout (or Discord) and that is when the game really begins to shine. As stated, PAYDAY 2 is a team-based game in which you and up to 3 others attempt to achieve a vast variety of missions. Missions range from simple things like a bank heist to more elaborate jobs. The game offers over 50 missions, and with 25+ hours of gameplay, I’ve hardly seen a fraction of them. One that stands out though is where I was on a plane, heisted money off the plane, parachuted off the plane, then had to regroup the money, attach it to another helicopter, then escape down a sewer, then river, to survive. It was chaotic, thrilling, and an amazing experience.
PAYDAY 2 offers a level of customization that is second to none on the Switch as well. Everything from your characters mask to weapon to skill tree is fully customizable, and you can make multiple different characters for multiple different playstyles. This is another big aspect of the game: the way you actually play. There is more than one way to skin the cat, and in this game, you can often go in guns blazing — or try the stealth approach.
By leveling up your character with stealth related things, you can turn a mission into a kick in the front door and take no prisoners to lock-picking into a backdoor, taking out a security guard and putting him in a body bag, and completing the entire heist without ever alerting the police. It’s amazing how missions can turn in the blink of an eye as well, but those who take a stealth approach get things such as additional XP rewards, so it’s worth trying it if you are a fan of stealth.
Graphically, PAYDAY has never been a great looking game, but PAYDAY 2 on the Switch gets the job done. The game runs at up to 1080P docked and 720P in handheld, and looks good enough on both fronts. The game runs at 30FPS, and it’s mostly solid, although there are times when there are too many cops on the screen and a smoke grenade can make the game stutter for a second. It’s few and far between, but worth noting.
The Switch version of PAYDAY 2 also includes a 4 player local co-op mode, which allows for 4 Switch units to link up in the same room for some local action. Every mission in the game can be played in single player as well, but your teammates A.I. is pretty low. They will shoot some people, they will help you if you get downed, but they won’t help you with mission objectives which can make things a bit too difficult at times. On the flipside though, if you are going for stealth runs, the single player is actually nice because your A.I. won’t do much and it will allow you to handle everything.
PAYDAY 2 on the Nintendo Switch is a very unique experience for the platform. The lack of voice chat hurts, and the game can be pretty repetitive at times in terms of what you do within the missions, but the game is undeniably fun, especially with friends. If you plan on playing with a group, it’s worth checking out. If you plan on going solo, you might want to wait for a price drop until they include some voice chat for random people. With that being said, I’ll end up putting way more time into PAYDAY 2 than I probably should, but I’ll have a damn fun time doing it!