Hands-On: Payday 2’s Free VR DLC Is A Heist-Fueled Killing Spree

by David Jagneaux • March 16th, 2018

Update: The VR DLC for Payday 2 is now available and released out of Beta. You can find details on how to download it, for free, right here.

Original (11/2017): 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.

That’s a lot of bodies. And blood.

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!

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What's your reaction?
  • KHele2k

    I don’t mind the teleporting, but I hope they start giving the option to take the training wheels off on some of these games. Perhaps a quarter turn with the Oculus Move right joystick like with Echo Arena if they’re worried about nausea.

    • David Dewis

      There is already a mod that allows thumbstick controls. It feels much better.

    • Jose Carlos Gadea

      They dont do it because of vive exclusivities. Wand’s touchpads suck for full locomotion, Touch’s joysticks are obviously wonderful for it. Why activate an option (and yeah, for the devs, it’s as easy as activating it) that will make the competitor’s product work just as well as your product?. As long as a game official support is just the vive (and for big budget games like this, there are very few reasons for not including official Rift support, apart from exclusivity deals), in most cases, forget about official full locomotion.

  • Hone McBone

    Sounds great, especially since I managed to get a copy when they gave it away for free back in June.

    • koenshaku

      I got that free copy also with John Wick. Seems all that much more worth it now. I have had fun playing it with friends, it can be boring playing in random games though because no one talks.

  • Steve Biegun

    Slight correction: This doesn’t have the *full* game in VR. Many weapons are locked out of VR, including bows and snipers. The saw actually doesn’t functionally work on doors and safes in VR, but you can shoot safety deposit boxes open.

    • koenshaku

      I think that is why it is called Payday 2 “Beta” I had no problem with the saw.

  • rafdesign

    Is this the kind of crap that the future of VR is promising us? I really hope VR can bring some better games and creativity. I don’t mind games like Robo Recall and others zombies, but this one seems to go into some darker place, violent and sadistic. Seriously this one leaves me a weird aftertaste just watching the video.

    • KUKWES

      LMAO this comment left me with a bad aftertaste

    • KUKWES

      There are a lot creative experiences already established and more in development. We are still the infancy period of VR. If you feel this strongly about a video game than just stop playing games and leave us in peace. I grew up around video games and some of the nicest non violent people I know have been playing them for 3 decades..so don’t start this crap

      • rafrafdesign

        I played games too from Doom stuff and Co. since the 80s… My point is not to say the usual BS that video games make people violent, nope. But games with no empathy and engaging sadistic behavior make me doubt about those. Let me ask you something: would you play a game that would take place in a nazi camp, from the German perspective? Or would you play a game where you are the Columbine protagonist? Hopefully not. That’s what I feel about Payday, which I never played, I just watch some videos about it on YT.

    • KUKWES

      Plus this was an already established game so they took a very small team and added VR support..sniff sniff cry baby