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Normally I wouldn’t bother writing an article solely for one “map” in a videogame. When put in perspective like that, it does indeed seem insignificant. But in light of recent events, the Payday 2 fanbase has been looking at the other Crimefest rewards with extra scrutiny. The Aftershock Heist is one of those rewards, and the accusations are that the level design has been an afterthought and is made mostly out of reused assets. Time for me to take a look.

Payday 2 Aftershock Heist landing

You begin with landing in the middle of what turns out to be a massive area. The scene is a freeway bridge and its surroundings beneath it, including the canal. After being dropped off by chopper, your first task is to find Vlad’s Trucks that are holding valuable safes. Once located, a special saw has to be placed on the doors of these Trucks. Each truck is flanked by a friendly NPC who’ll help you defend for as short as their lifespan may be. With only one saw to go around, it’s easy to imagine this to take half the Heist’s length. Up until this part, things are simple enough. Once a Truck is opened, it’ll reveal a few recognizeable safes (such as the ones from the Microtransactions…) that weigh as much as a Turret part from the Train Heist, which is quite heavy. Payday 2 Aftershock Heist saw drill

The real problem arises once both Trucks are opened. Normal difficulty seems to have 4 safes total, with that number only rising with each difficulty. With the Trucks open, you are then instructed to obtain a C4 drop and place it on a wall. This is where unpreparedness will be troublesome, as the pathing to the target wall is unclear.

When you also made the mistake of grabbing the safes and dropping them, the safes will now be in a state where they can be stolen by the enemy NPCs, meaning I was stuck picking up and throwing safes in a direction I wasn’t even sure was the pathway to the end. Quite frustrating to say the least, as you can’t count on the Teammate AI to guard the loot while you gather your bearings.

Payday 2 Aftershock Heist opened truck

Eventually I found a sneakily tucked away road beneath the Freeway that led to the wall I needed to reach. Once blown up, a drivable cargo truck appears, giving you the option to drive towards the transport trucks with it and conveniently toss them in. Or you could, like stupidly unaware me, have brought all the safes manually, suffering the constant barrage of the enemy forces.

Payday 2 Aftershock Heist open cargo truck

Finally, the truck is filled. We return it to where we found it, light a flare, and wait for a chopper to arrive and take the truck with it. During this, it’s basically an all too familiar stage of survival that is common among other Heists. Once the chopper arrives, we hop in the truck again and take off in the air. Heist complete.

Payday 2 Aftershock Heist cargo truck

I feel it’s difficult to get around on this massive map. A few ladders or stairs are the ways to transition between the freeway and the area beneath it. The teammate AI is incapable of using the ladders, so when you quickly transition between freeway and beneath, you’ll often find your AI Teammates running far away like madmen just to catch up with you. This often puts them at risk, and I can imagine the frustration had they get downed far away from you.

But besides the graffiti, the area doesn’t seem to have a lot of detail. When I reached the construction site that had the cargo truck, there were a few cubicles that I could enter. They looked like they would hide small offices or maybe function as storage. But all three I found were absolutely empty, as though there was no purpose for them to be there other than to spawn enemy forces from or to hide in. I’m no expert on seeing if something is reusing assets. But the fact that I was at no point really wowed by the Heist was disappointing in and of itself. In fact, I felt more frustrated than anything.

To top it off, I picked one of three reward cards as per usual, just to find a Safe card there to nobody’s surprise. A friend of mine told me he opened a chest too and found a skin he felt anything but satisfied with, making me think that this “first safe” and accompanied terrible “drop” are staged. I wanted to try opening at least one Safe to see for myself. And true enough, I too had a terrible drop. I’m not skilled enough at taking a game apart to say for sure that this result is intentional, but my worries have not been put to rest in the least.

How have your own findings been with the Aftershock heist? Do you feel Aftershock is a worthwhile reward Heist for this year’s Crimefest?

Himpe Kenny

Staff Writer

Writer in Mind, Gamer at Heart, I finish as many games as I can to give my impression in a useful way. A heart for moddable games and addicting mechanics so you'll spot me playing those a lot.

  • SM

    First of all. If you are going to review every map with the bots you will find every map ugly.
    This is the oportunity to mention the bots update, wich still doesn’t make them pick up bags.
    Try to play Hotline Miami. one of the best heist, or BIG bank, other great one. With bots. you will hate it. So for me the real critique es against the bots. Overkill had 2 years to update the bots and they gave them just a script to make them get you out of jail and only if there is no human players in the game left. They still can’t take cover for good. Every time a Bulldozer appears you can forget they will get out of that one alive. And worst of all. There is no way to make those idiots to carry bags.

    In the other hand call your mates, if you call them they will stay with you for a bunch of minutes. So if you want to guard a position just do that.

    Again. The bots in Payday are even more stupid than the bots in L4D. Not recommended to play a bot game, in a single heist.

    I think the heist is really fun. Way more fun than “The bomb” and “Diamond Heist” and these were paid heists. Also every free heist uses re-used assets. Shadow raid has lots of re-used assets from Election Day , day 2. Meltdown is a Shadow Raid remix for Loud.

    I think this review is just angry at the micro-transactions.

    The bots always sucked.
    The free maps were always a “twist” of the other free maps (Meltdown plays Nothing like Shadow raid, Hoxton Breakout, one of the most beloved heists, while having some new assets is mostly a remix too and is way better than most heists)

    You could literally make this review of any non-DLC map for Payday and change almost no words.

    i clarify. I HATE the microtransactions, I hate the bots are still idiots. But Im not talking just right now about that, because that’s something i had been asking Overkill to fix since day one along with many people. Im here since release. I even played the game with a beta key a friend gave me. I watched how the cloakers made the game crash and they had to remove them for months, i watched how the polices didn’t bother to take cover. or when the game spawned like 5 bulldozers and every cop was a special armored ops instead of the mix we get now. I got pissed off with the grenades update that made Dozers way easier to beat, or the Sniper DLC wich made shields way easier to beat. And i barely tolerated the Hype Train. I didn’t buy a single DLC there, but it seems other people did. Some even bought the horrible cashgrab the “completely overkill special limited edition DLC” was. But the microtransactions is way worst that all of that.

    My first problem comes with sabotaging the reward screen. Im concerned because, right now, im not getting much safes. 10 games and only one. But in the future, looking at the numbers, they may raise the chances to get one.

    Second. Boosting stats. What about getting better at the game?

    Also. I kind of liked the weapon rebalance at first. but now i watched it in detail it’s insane. 54 fucking bullets for the bronco? like 300 for one of the uzis (one of the hotline miami uzis, it used to have like 120 bullets) before this “rebalance” you had to save ammo. now ammo bags make little to no sense to upgrade unless you vomit bullets in walls.

    If they wanted to implement this from day one, or in the first month, I would understand. my inversion , my mistake. They did it in 2 months… But they didn’t. They added this microtransaction strategy in 2 years! On top of like 30 DLC’s , and more probably coming.

  • il Duderoni

    I’ve been here since release as well. I’ve run every Heist with bots over the years. Completed too, most on at least VH. Bots are absolutely still terrible but I’m going to save that tally for the end of Crimefest. I will say though, for as useless as they are, they’re still not as infuriating as pubbies. They just lack any kind of love from OVK. How hard would it be to program a Team AI to not cancel another Team AI’s revive? Things also get hilarious when a SWAT turret enters the scene. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Dallas dance like that.

    Maybe we expect different things from a Heist, but in general I don’t like being lost with 6 ‘bagged’ Safes, unable to explore real quick out of fear of them being stolen. Getting lost wasn’t fun, and in my grand search I’ve found the area poorly populated for detail. Which isn’t to say all other Heists are set pieces of Master-level, but in general they at least looked interesting enough. Aftershock, to me, looks and feels plain out boring. You drill 2 Trucks, blow up a wall, drive a cargo truck (depending on how you do it), drive it back. Done.

    In fact, a few hours ago I rounded up a Diamond and Meltdown heist (with bots, guess I’m just weird like that) amongst other less-notable Heists. I had a good time, actually. I like the detail in Diamond and the satisfaction that I could tackle the Shadow Raid map in a Loud method. That was a re-used map well done, imo. Not to mention that the AI now wants to hop in/on your vehicle with you.
    Although it is awkward if their AI spazzes out and one AI doesn’t follow you. At all. Just stay behind and take all the heat. RIP Chains.

    Aftershock felt like it’s only pull was at it’s core: Big open area that exposes the already painfully obvious horde nature of the game. I saw a wave of two dozen goons just walk forward while shooting and they were easy pickings.

    I am also dissatisfied with the Microtransactions update, but I’d like to think I’m competent enough to not have that affect me in experiencing a new map… up until the end that gave it a sour aftertaste.

    Furthermore, so far the stat bonuses are looking somewhat insignificant. But that’s a slippery slope waiting to slide out of control. Next we’ll see another Dev doing the same thing, saying Payday 2 was fine with it. Then suddenly they might start edging out those stat boosts, pushing the limit bit by bit… And before you know we’ll be up to our noses with games that use precedence to sell ACTUAL Pay 2 Win items/features.

    The rebalance has been weird. If anything, they’ve tended to some low-tier weaponry such as the Kobus 90. I’ve ignored that SMG for so long, all I could remember was that the max ammo for it was too terrible to ever consider looking further into it. Someone skilled at crunching data should give it all a whack and see what surfaces, that’d be quite interesting.

    I also think they might have nerfed the Joceline. I used to go hunting with her using a Shotgun build and AP slugs. The range already wasn’t much to speak of, but it seems even worse now.

    And to top off this long post of mine, I haven’t had a Safe drop since the last one. No idea what’s up with that. Could be OVK wanting to ‘limit the damage’. Could be RNG. Could be working as intended. No idea what could be the culprit.