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Payday 2 was one of the most anticipated games of 2013. The original Payday: the Heist was available as downloadable content for consoles and developed quite a following as a game involving bank heists and robberies. Payday 2 not only lives up to its predecessor, but it surpasses all expectations for a sequel game.

There are many games available that involve crime in general and bank robberies in particular as part of their content, but as far as I know no game is tailored specifically for robbery quite as much as Payday is. With this in mind the developers have made sure that this aspect of the game remains the vital and important part of Payday 2 and they have certainly achieved this goal.

There have been a number of improvements in certain areas of the game. Weapons combat which was the main option in the Heist is now not so much more important than stealth which features more as an option than before in some, but not all, of the eleven robberies on offer. The way the proceeds of the robberies, or loot as they care to call it, is handled is also different. The team or gang now possess a loot bag which can be passed between members. The loot also means added weight to be carried leading to some minor adjustments needing to be made.

The way cash is used also differs from Payday the Heist. Now it cannot be exchanged for XP but instead serves the useful purpose of buying weapon and character upgrades and other items which may be useful to pull off a bank job.

Every mission that you undertake, eleven in all, need to be planned perfectly and no detail should be overlooked. Payday 2 isn't just about shooting SWAT team members as you attempt to leave the scene of a crime, instead you must coordinate with other members of your team in an attempt to pull of the perfect robbery that involves as little interaction with the law as possible. The longer missions are structured in what may best be described as layers connected loosely by a story and this means that the way the earlier parts are carried out determines how the next layer or level pans out. This gives some depth to the missions but can be somewhat confusing to an inexperienced first time player.

The multiplayer version of Payday 2 is, I think, the only realistic option and although the missions are fun in their own right when you are playing solo missions, the AI for the computer can get a bit glitchy and leave you frustrated and confused more often than not. When you play with other gamers as a team which can be randomly assigned or deliberately chosen from around the net, each person is given their task that will help the team to pull off the mission perfectly. It is fun to see players miss their mark and how the team reacts on the fly, and just as important is the satisfaction felt when you win with your team as you take part in an assortment of mission options.

One of the disappointing aspects of the Payday: the Heist was that since it was a small game developed by an independent design team, there weren't a lot of levels to play through. This doesn't mean that it wasn't fun to go back and play missions over to try and complete them in a different way, but the additional missions in the sequel are a noticeable and appreciated improvement. There are plenty of banks, houses, stores and more that you can pick off and rob. There is still replay value but the structure of the game and its missions lead to much more content thus rendering replay not as important.

Gamers should definitely check out Payday 2. It came out just a short time before the newest release of Grand Theft Auto, but it shouldn't be overshadowed by the success of GTA V. Payday 2 fills a certain niche and comparing to other games is pointless. Although the game lacks a wide variety of distractions, the thing it does focus on, robbery, is done very well and makes up for lack of any wider content.