Several years ago the incredible mystical development wizards at Valve created a new game with a new and curious concept, Left 4 Dead. You play as one of four survivors trying to escape a zombie horde (that’s not the new part), but it’s 4 player co-op against a computer controlled army, and all of it was strung together with the “AI Director”, a behind-the-scenes mastermind of the action. It was created to keep the game tense for people. Standing around too long getting your breath? Whoops, here comes a horde! Things going a little too easily for you? Here’s one of the really hard zombies out of the blue, have fun!

Even though it was on an aging engine and the graphics weren’t stellar, it made for an incredible and popular game. And now that concept has been applied to another couple of games, called PayDay.

The concept is somewhat similar. Instead of escaping, you and your team are trying to pull off one of several heists so that you can get paid. Rather than shooting zombies, though, you’re shooting cops. Rather than getting through a horde to safety, you’re rushing bags of cash/jewelry/etc into an awaiting escape van. You can try to do it on the down low… use a silencer, hide from the cameras, zip-tie a few hostages to keep them quiet… or go in guns blazing and fight off waves of cops. 

I started playing PayDay 2 a few weeks ago. It’s goddamn amazing.

People have said for a long time, myself included, that games are a great way to participate in escapism based on crap you’d never have the balls to do in real life. Grand Theft Auto is usually the one pulled out here. But pulling off a heist like this? Oh hells yes. There’s something deeply satisfying about putting on a mask, rushing into a store, screaming at the civilians to get the FUCK on the ground so that you can zip tie their hands, thereby causing the police to be far more cautious in attacking. Breaking out the drill to get into a safe? Or, dare I mention it, the C4 instead? Good times.

There are a lot of games I’ve been playing lately that bring me loads of amusement. This one has been quite up there in the list. I hadn’t been spectacularly excited for anything that had been announced for 2013 (aside from Saints Row 4 which was also epic), but this has been quite a positive on the list.