Review: PAYDAY: The Heist
Back at E3 PAYDAY was one of the titles that left a lasting impression. It was all I could talk about the day I saw it. Which is weird because I don’t consider myself a hardcore shooter fan. I mean the last shooter that I would call myself a player of was Rainbow Six 3 for the original Xbox. Yes it has been that long. With PAYDAY, there was just something about Overkill’s heists that fully grabbed me as a gamer. For me I think it has everything to do with the childhood game of Cops and Robbers. I mean these heists, for the most part, are things that we fantasize about all the time. How would you rob a bank, what would you do to break someone out of jail, these are all things that we think about at one time or another. This game let’s you do just that, live out your secret criminal lifestyle– without getting caught and going to jail.
This game lives and dies by its heists. There are six to choose from and they are all the cliche movie heists you can dream of… there is a bank robbery, a deal gone bad which turns into a gunfight in the streets, there is the panic room drug heist, a prison car break on a bridge, a sneaky diamond heist, and finally the safe robbing, security force fighting, tire burning slaughter house. Thankfully each of these provides something different to do, so you won’t be subject to doing the same thing over and over. Each of the heists happen by way of certain objectives that must be carried out in order for completion. The game randomly changes small things like location of items and which doors are open all in an attempt to keep things fresh. Though after a while of playing you will simply learn all of these places. You will certainly find favorite heists to carry out as well. I for one love the stealthy diamond heist.
PAYDAY also employs an upgrade system to lengthen your game experience. You are given three paths which you can choose to upgrade once per level gained. This may seem very confusing at first as you are not really given any explanation to what happens after a level is reached. All you see are a ton of banners splash across the screen. It is not until you press the select button, which let’s you determine which upgrade you will be receiving, that the leveling system becomes apparent. The three branches offer the player different ways to spec out their heister. Upgrading through the sharpshooter path will give access to weapons and perks that provide better accuracy. While the assault path gives you powerful weapons and perks to take on even the toughest of law enforcement officers.
Speaking of law enforcement, PAYDAY also has a few different types of special police units. All can be deadly if you are low on ammo, but one should be on the lookout for the “cloaker” and “stunner” units. Cloakers look like a Splinter Cell agent and are decked out with this one-hit taser stick. I can’t tell you how many times I have cursed at the screen because he got me. The stunner unit has this taser that it can shoot out and zap the life from you, all the while you are wasting ammo as you muscles involuntarily fire off every last round you have. There is a way to offer assistance to your fellow teammates by calling out the units’ positions. By doing this a red aura is given to them and they can be seen through walls, making it a much easier task to handle.
If you watch the attached video you will see one of my major pet peeves about the game, its invite system. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to its ordering. Everyone on your friends list is just thrown on there, making it a pain to find people. It would be nice for all players that are on PSN to be floated to the top, but this is not the case. There are also seem to be some issues, as of the writing of this review, with joining games. It takes me numerous tries just to be able to join a game with some random players. This is not the case however with friend matches. Once you are in a game, everything seems to run smooth. I haven’t had any problems whatsoever with lag. I also recommend playing this game with a headset, as you will be likely in constant communication… whether it be calling out units, addressing drill or saw malfunctions, or just letting your teammates know there is an ammo bag available.
Other than playing online, PAYDAY also has a single player component. But I strongly recommend against playing it. The AI teammates are more of a hindrance than a help. They are only good for the occasional pick-me-up after being downed and nothing more. They seem to not carry any helpful items in the game, like ammo bags or doctor bags, making them seemingly just cannon fodder. There is the option to play without them completely, but then you are screwed if you get downed or tased. It seems to be a double-edged sword of suck.
If you can look past some of the game’s faults, you will find a game that is frenetic, challenging and just down right fun. I had a great time playing this with fellow PSNStores editors and hopefully the game gathers a following of dedicated players. Having to just play this game with AI would be a shame. Be sure to check out the below video, as give you an even more in-depth look at the game.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Randomness added to keep heists fresh
- The music gives the game a pulse pounding intensity
- Challenges and trophies offer new ways to play levels
- The game is just plain fun
What I Dislike:
- AI partners are useless for the most part
- Invite system seems to have no apparent ordering
- No real tutorial or instructions on upgrading
- I had some trouble joining games