PS3 Reviews: PAYDAY: The Heist Review

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PAYDAY: The Heist Review

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Replay Value:



Online Gameplay:



Overall Rating:       7.7




Sony Online Entertainment


Overkill Software

Number Of Players:




There’s honor among thieves. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're nice people; in fact, they can be extraordinarly dangerous individuals.  In PAYDAY: The Heist, you will play with three comrades (they’re bots in the single-player mode and human allies in multiplayer) and tackle a variety of insane objectives. Unsurprisingly, all jobs end up messy, as you have to shoot your way clear, taking down countless SWAT members in the process.

As I’ve said before, downloadable games are looking better and better with every passing month. This one won’t be mistaken for a full Blu-Ray release, but it’s not that far off. The animations are solid, the overall detail is good (great for a digital title), and the environments can be surprisingly large, especially when you’re out in the streets. There’s also a fair amount of diversity, as you’re not always running around banks. The special effects are a little bland, though, and some landscape set pieces are less impressive upon closer inspection.

The sound is in much the same boat, as it’s a consistent audio presentation with decent voices and crisp, high-impact effects. On the other hand, the soundtrack doesn’t really smack us upside the head with potent, hard-hitting music, even if we’re often more focused on the gameplay effects. Things can get a tad repetitive, as the weapon effects aren’t quite distinct enough (assault rifles and shotguns sound too similar, for example). But overall, we’re looking at an effective, relatively accomplished technical presentation.

Believe it or not, PAYDAY has a good amount of depth that spices up the straightforward shooting mechanic. Any time you gain a new reputation level, you unlock something new; it could be a weapon or a bonus from your experience tree. There are three total trees available and if you aren’t careful, you won’t be aware they even exist. Thing is, the game never really tells you about this character advancement and customization system; I played for a while before I stumbled upon it. That was irritating and pleasing at the same time.

It was annoying because this major element of the gameplay is way too easy to overlook, but I’m glad I found it. Even after finding it, however, I’m still not a fan of the menus in this game, as the print is ridiculously small and there’s virtually nothing in the way of tutorials. Normally, I actually encourage less handholding but you know, we don’t even get an instruction manual with downloadable titles. Too many players might miss a huge strategic aspect, which would be very, very unfortunate.

That strategy lets you set up your heist in multiple ways. You can have one ally supply you with ammo, or one who just runs around tying up hostages. Of course, you may not care as much because you – like many others – will play this bad boy for the invigorating multiplayer. And if you work together efficiently, you can work your way through the perfectly executed job. You can coordinate objectives by having two keep the cops at bay and the other two hit up the vault, for instance.

This is where the game really hits its stride. There are plenty of different heists to attempt, and the combination of strategy and hardcore action offers white-knuckle entertainment. The control is good, the hit detection is reliable, and it’s easy to switch between weapons and items. Therefore, it’s both accessible and strategic at the same time; the latter takes center-stage during multiplayer fun. There’s just a general lack of polish and refinement that tends to pervade the entire production.

Remember how I had difficulty locating those experience trees? Well, the game doesn’t really tell you much about anything else, either. Sometimes, it’ll give you an objective but it won’t tell you where to go or how to go about nabbing the necessary item. On top of which, there are times when the continuous swarm of enemies gets irritating. Progressing is often challenging because you’re not a superhero, and unsurprisingly, your foes are crack shots, even over long distances. Lastly, the AI is just plain dumb; maybe that’s the necessary next step in downloadable FPSs.

PAYDAY: The Heist is a worthwhile multiplayer-oriented shooter that is diverse, intense, and offers plenty of depth…provided you can find it. The endless streams of foes, the stark presentation and lack of instruction, and the mediocre AI brings it down a notch, but the fun factor remains relatively high. It’s a blast with friends and while the campaign doesn’t have the same punch and can be repetitive, being a borderline suicidal criminal has never been so appealing. Yes, it made me think of “Heat.”

The Good: Solid depth, customization, and strategy. Reliable, accurate control and hit detection. Various environments. Multiplayer is a big highlight. Intensity almost never lags.

The Bad: Little instruction or explanation. AI isn’t bright. Campaign feels bland and repetitive.

The Ugly: “Yes, I know I need it…where is it?”

10/19/2011 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (11 posts)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 10:42:31 PM

Sorry, but Punisher No mercy completely turned me off to PSN FPSs.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 7 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 11:22:50 PM

Why would you base anything off of that crappy game? It's like not playing Mass Effect because you didn't like Alpha Protocol.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Sunday, October 23, 2011 @ 4:30:32 PM

that game was terrible, there was no sense of fun at all. I mean the graphics and engine was very good and the game ran pretty well but the game itself was terrible.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 11:21:27 PM

I have been loving the crap out of this game. It's like L4D but robbing banks. There is also more than just 4 maps like L4D. Very fun game if you get the right people.

Not sure what you mean by little instruction or explanation. It is constantly telling you what to do and where to go. Good review overall all though Ben. I'd give it an 8 to 8.5 as there is a lot to do and unlock and found it fun and entertaining.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 11:36:42 PM

L4D has hundreds of maps....

Agree with this comment 2 up, 6 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 11:48:43 PM

When L4D was released it was only 4 levels. Same with L4D 2. Are you talking about the PC version cause I only meant the 360 version as it was the only versions I have played. Sorry for the confusion.

Plus you can't count maps that are just modified portions of the same map. Which the first DLC from L4D was 1 new map and 15 modified portions of the same map.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 11:38:42 PM

Hopefully this gets a reduced price down the road thanks to my Plus membership, then I will get it.

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mk ultra
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 11:42:30 PM

I'd like to try this game but i feel it would grow boring too quickly and don't want to purchase it. Wish it had a full game trial because an hour is all i want.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 @ 4:09:41 AM

"I'd like to try this game but i feel it would grow boring too quickly and don't want to purchase it. Wish it had a full game trial because an hour is all i want."

^^^^ Should check psn for the demo .

Agree with this comment 4 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

mk ultra
Thursday, October 20, 2011 @ 10:43:20 PM

I looked for a demo. I'll check again must have missed it.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 @ 3:02:32 PM

I bought it last night, I played for about 4 hours and I have to say I really like it, for $20.00 its great deal. I know these days everything is about BT3 or Modern Warfare but this first person shooter feels kinda fresh. It's definitely NOT for people who like to just run around and shoot people, this game require tactics and patience. I would recommend it, there are bunch of videos on youtube so take a look and decide.....8 out of 10.

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