Red. That’s all I saw. The blood dripped down the walls, bodies were stacked on top of each other up and down the hallways, and the chorus of gunfire echoed through my ears in a hailstorm of death. That was my Payday 2 VR experience.
While Payday 2 doesn’t bill itself as an ultra-violent murder simulator by any means, when you play it in VR it’s hard to experience it any other way.
Payday 2 is an online multiplayer heist game originally released in 2013. You join up with other players around the world, don your fancy mask and elaborate outfits, and make your way through a crime-riddled city as you hit banks, diamond stores, jewelry shops, and everything in between on your quest to grow your stash of weapons and wealth. Remember The Dark Knight’s opening scene? It’s basically that, but as a video game.
The VR feature is an optional, free mode that anyone can opt into during the Beta period right now. When it fully releases it’s expected to be a globally available free update. Currently it’s recommended that you play with an HTC Vive, since that’s the only officially supported headset, but I’d assume support for Rift, Windows VR, and other headsets will come in the future.
As of now the VR features include the entire game. This isn’t a limited Tour mode like we’ve seen in some other popular games, but instead lets you play the full, entire game in VR if you’d like. Payday 2 features both offline single-player (with AI companions) and online multiplayer to indulge your Purge-esque inclinations.
The rhythm of gameplay generally involves picking a loadout with perks and gear that compliment the mission (having someone with a saw is super useful for bank jobs, for example) and then you’ll spend the first few minutes casing the location. Figure out where the exits are, identify guard posts, and see if you can stop someone from sounding an alarm. Once you’re in position and ready to go you just put on your mask and get started.
While stealth is technically an option, it’s never my first choice — especially when in VR. When I walked up to my first bank I shot the guard in the back and took all of the civilians hostage immediately. This bought us a lot of time to get the drill started in a chaos-free environment.
What ensued after that can only be described as what felt like a scene out of Kill Bill, but with guns instead of swords. My difficulty must have been turned down low, or the VR mode is just easier right now, because it seemed like I was able to absorb an incredible amount of bullets without ever really needing to worry about my health.
The action is intense and there’s a lot to take-in, so Payday 2 isn’t for the squeamish — especially in VR. The only movement method I was able to use was a dash-based teleportation system, similar to that in Raw Data. It worked fine, but I was yearning for a full, smooth locomotion such as in Onward.
The fact that VR support is being added for free is great, so if you have Payday 2 and an HTC Vive there’s really no reason not to check out the VR features as long as you don’t mind a bit of virtual blood on your hands. Let us know what you think down below!