Published on October 20th, 2011 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
PAYDAY: The Heist Review
Platform: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], PC
Release Date: October 18, 2011
PAYDAY: The Heist is a mix of Left 4 Dead with the addition of many strategic elements. The game has no overall storyline. Players can freely pick from six high-intensity heists: First World Bank, Heat Street, Panic Room, Green Bridge, Diamond Heist and Slaughterhouse. However, developer OverKill tries to dictate the order in which players pick their heist by defaulting the lowest difficulty. First World Bank and Heat Street are the only levels that can be accomplished with all four difficulty options (easy, normal, hard and overkill).
Players can choose any difficulty setting from normal and above on Panic Room and Green Bridge. Diamond Heist and Slaughterhouse can only be played on hard or overkill difficulties, making them more challenging than the others. As players progress through the list of stages and levels, the heists and missions get more intense. This feature is a nice touch to PAYDAY’s overall gameplay and follows a linear difficulty progression which most gamers are used to.
Graphically, the game is not that impressive. With developers today pushing the graphic compatibilities, this game looks like it was released in the early next generation console years. The game has its moments, but when officers are going down a zip line from a helicopter or see a police assault from a distance, the characters are square shaped and their movements are choppy. Due to a high number of enemies, the frame rate suffers when moving fast during an assault or just quickly moving to the next objective point. The game’s inconsistent graphics do not pull away from the enjoyable action-packed gameplay.
PAYDAY: The Heist shines in its gameplay. For a downloadable game, PAYDAY has all the ingredients of a full retail disc release. It has a ranking system that includes challenges, upgrades, perks, and weapon unlocks. Finishing a heist successfully and completing challenges during the mission will cause your reputation to increase. Challenges include stand objectives such as getting a certain number of kills with specific weapons or disabling all cameras in 10 seconds. There are a number of challenges to last for hours. As your reputation increases, more weapons and perks become available. The more reputation you have, the more you can customize your player based on the role you want to play in the heist. Perks include placing an ammo bag to spot the team knows ammo would be, carrying extra cable ties for hostages, trip mines, medical kits, body armor, etc.
The heists themselves range from robbing a bank (cliché but fun) to stealing a panic room filled with money from drug dealers, and even missions where players have to escort hostages. Each heist has its own unique storyline filled with over the top movie action/sequences. Each level is accomplished by completing individual objectives.
With only six heists, the game may seem like it could get redundant relatively quick. OverKill has addressed this issue by randomizing the positioning of the objectives each time you play to keep things fresh. If you need to find a specific NPC or find a specific computer, they will not always be in the same spot. In addition, the police assaults are always different in terms of timing and type. You are warned when a police assault is coming but it could be a ground team, sniper team, or even an elite SWAT team that includes shielded agents, Taser gun officers and heavily armored SWAT agents. The objectives might stay the same, but the experience will be different with each playthrough.
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PAYDAY: The Heist can be played as a single-player experience or with three other players in four-player cooperative multiplayer. PAYDAY is specifically designed for four-player cooperative gameplay where gamers work together as a team. With the help of three other players the heists become more strategic and planned. If it is splitting the team to complete objectives quicker to your weapons and perks choice in aiding your team to survive assaults, the choices are yours. While working with other players as a team the overall gameplay experience becomes more complete and enjoyable.
PAYDAY: The Heist is one of the most unique first person shooters available on the market today. The graphics are not the best, but the gameplay will continue to bring you back. With ranking and challenge system that unlocks more weapons and perks, four-player cooperative multiplayer, and unpredictable assault waves, each heist become a different experience each time you play. The heists are filled with over-the-top movie action sequences. The game has all the elements of a full retail game. OverKill promises DLC in the near future that will include more weapons, perks, and all new heists. If you ever wondered how it feels to be part of a movie bank robbery (*cough* The Dark Knight), then this game should not be passed up.
[xrr label=”Rating: 9.0/10″ rating=9.0/10]
+ Ranking/Challenge/Upgrade System
+ Unpredictable AI
+ Class Customization
– Frame Rate Issues