Payday 2 Gameplay Tips

There's more to this heist game than you might expect.

505 Games got back into the heist this week with the release of Payday 2, a multiplayer-oriented first-person shooter where you take part in a number of criminal activities to increase your bank account. The sequel has a far greater reach than the original, as it’s available for Xbox 360, as well as PlayStation 3 and PC.

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before you sign up for the job. Payday 2 operates a little bit differently than most shooters, since the focus is more on meeting certain goals rather than getting from point A to point B. 

Don’t worry, we’re here to help with some valuable tips.

The Profession Is Everything

Payday 2 comes with four pre-set professions, or classes, that you can choose right off the bat. You simply need an experience point, which is given to you upon entering your first safe house, along with a little cash. Once you unlock your profession, you can begin leveling up.

Let’s start with the Enforcer. He acts as the brute of the group, taking down enemies, like SWAT team members and officers, while the others work on the core of the mission. Using his skill tree, you can become better at using your assault rifle and handgun, and you also possess more strength when it comes to running and throwing things, such as tossing a heavy bag of jewelry into a waiting van.

Next up is the Ghost. For those of you who prefer a stealthy style of play, he’s your man, as he completes tasks without tripping alarms, which in turn brings in a larger police presence. Boosting his skills, you can make him get more valuable loot, pick up movement and crouch speed, and take less damage.

The Technician plays an important role over the course of the heist, as he brings in technical equipment, like drills and explosives, which can crack into safes quicker. His skill tree can go a number of ways, particularly with his tools – like a reduction in deployment time for a trip mine – and his crafting skills.

Finally, there’s the Mastermind. Being the leader of the group, he enables the decisions of what to do next, and can also change a plan on the fly if too much resistance pops up, taking a different approach. With him, you can increase stamina, earn Special Inside Man assets to increase his break-in skills, get better at reviving crew members and cable tie hostages, so they don’t make a clean getaway.


Killing hostages in Payday 2 is a no-no, because it costs you about two to three thousand dollars for “cleanup” duties if you take one out. However, you do want to keep them around, so “cable tie” them once you come across them. Their presence will keep the police and SWAT team members from moving in on your position, giving you more time to complete the job. That won’t stop them from taking pot shots at you from a distance, though. Watch out for gun fire.


Some safes can’t be opened by hand, so you’ll need to use something stronger to get them open. Explosives are a good idea, but aren’t immediately available. Instead, you’ll need the Technician to pull out the drill. It can take a few minutes for it to penetrate the safe and open it, and there are times you’ll need to go back and perform maintenance if it stops working. Have someone remain in the area to keep an eye on it if you can. If it does stop, you’ll see it highlight on your screen in a bright yellow silhouette. Go back, fix it, and crack those safes open.

Dress For Success

With Payday 2, it pays to look good, and you’re provided with a two-piece suit that fits the part. However, if you really want to survive – especially with missions later in the game – you’re going to need some body armor. There are several to choose from, including the Ballistic Vest, the Improved Combined Tactical Vest, the Flak Jacket and many others. Play around with them over the course of the missions and see what works for you.

Multiplayer Works Best

The first thing to understand about Payday 2 is that it’s very frustrating going it alone. You can still complete missions, but your AI partners are limited in terms of what they can do. You need to activate and maintain drills yourself, and sometimes need to save an AI partner after he’s taken down by gunfire.

The best way Payday 2 operates is with a team. Even if all your players aren’t on the same level in terms of skill, they can do more than AI partners would, such as keep an eye open for resistance or do damage in particular missions. If you can, wait until you get a team of four together, then see what you can do.

Payday 2 is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

About the Author

Prima Games Staff

The staff at Prima Games.