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iPad  header logo

Payback² HD

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Grand thieving

Product: Payback2 HD | Publisher: Apex Designs | Format: iPad | Genre: 3D, Action, Racing | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Payback2 HD iPad, thumbnail 1
Games need a structure, however flimsy, to push us from one explosive action sequence to the next. It doesn't have to be a story, but there needs to be some sense of progression laced into the game.

It's that which forms the skeleton of our gaming experience, with delicious and delectable hunks of gameplay-drizzled meat and organs layered around the bones for us to chew on like entertainment-fuelled carnivores.

Payback² HD is all meat. It's a wobbling pile of choice cuts and the occasional lump of gristle, teetering ever closer to collapse but just about managing to stay upright as you sink your teeth into its gore-dripping flank.


To all intents and purposes the game is a GTA clone, stripped of the rags-to-riches framework and presented in two-minute bursts of isometric carnage. You're not a plucky underdog working your way through the criminal ranks - you're a faceless agent of chaos dropped into a deathmatch.

The campaign, such as it is, is a progression of challenges, each built around a multiplayer archetype. One round you'll be duking it out in a free-for-all, equipped only with grenades and the ability to leap into passing cars. Next you'll be racing ice cream trucks around deserted city streets.

There's no connection between these acts of lunacy - you don't see your hoodlum transition smoothly from assault cannon-wielding enforcer to expert wheelman. You just kill, win, then move onto the next tabloid-baiting act of grand slaughter.

Controls are kept to a bare minimum. On foot you're playing a twin-stick shooter. Tap on an icon above a car and you'll leap in, with acceleration and braking controlled by on-screen buttons and steering by tilting your iOS device.

Killing spree

A multiplayer mode features a similar style of play, albeit with real players replacing some of the bots you're fighting alongside or against in the single-player. Matchmaking is a little slow, but once you're in and blasting away it's an awful lot of fun.

And that's the thing about Payback² HD. In spite of its piecemeal approach to video game structure, it manages to create a sense of overblown fun that permeates everything from straightforward races to capture the flag-inspired heists.

It might not have the interludes and staying power of its inspiration, but you could do a lot worse than tearing off a handful of this enormous meaty platter.
Payback² HD
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 9 October 2012
In spite of its lack of coherency, Payback 2 HD is still an immensely entertaining experience
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