Olly Dyche reviews Payday 3…
For those wanting to live out their criminal fantasies of robbing banks, gunning down endless waves of “coppers” and relishing in their thievery, Scrooge McDuck style, the Payday franchise is for you. Back in 2011, the nostalgic era of the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, a small multiplayer game titled Payday: The Heist released to great praise. Players and critics alike praised the games gunplay, map variety, and adrenaline fuelled action that had us feeling like we are in an explosive heist movie. Or more specifically like we were a part of Michael Mann’s legendary heist movie, Heat.
Since then, its sequel Payday 2 delivered more of the high-octane carnage from the first, doubling down on weapon variety, map variety, unique characters, including John Wick, and years and years of DLC content. The Payday franchise has a large player base that has continued to thrive years after Payday 2‘s release. Now, 2023 brings the latest game in the Payday franchise, promising more explosive gun play, a large focus on stealth gameplay, a variety of unique characters who you can fully customize to your hearts content.
For fans of the franchise, you know exactly what you are getting. Payday 3 delivers more of what we loved about the previous games on a much bigger scale. The maps are intricately detailed and offer a great variety of gameplay. Whether you want to assault a bank, a nightclub or an art museum, Payday 3 has you covered. The customization and levelling up system is much more in-depth, and rewarding than previous games.. Much like the past Payday titles, Payday 3 isn’t perfect, but for those seeking endless hours of fun with their friends, then Payday 3 delivers that in spades.
While Payday 3 does follow a narrative, you’re not really here for it’s story. It offers some hand drawn slides, accompanied by small pieces of dialogue, but more often than not, you’ll be skipping these cutscenes to get back to the action. During, one of the loading screens, many players may recognise one of the faces. Why it’s no other than Ice-T. Yes, Ice-T is in the game. Well, he isn’t playable, although it would have been awesome, he just speaks a few lines of dialogue and goes about his day.
What we are all here for with a Payday game however, is its gameplay, and yes it’s as fun as ever. Whether your sneaking around an art museum, holding hostages, or gunning down the police, Payday 3 is more of the same endless fun that made the Payday franchise so popular. What sets Payday 3 apart from its previous games however, is Payday 3’s focus on stealth gameplay. Players can lockpick, hack cameras, kill guards with a silenced pistol before radioing to other guards. While we haven’t yet completed a mission in full stealth, thanks to some inexperienced players, however it does seem possible to complete a full heist in stealth mode. But it won’t be easy.
Of course, the gunplay and explosive action is a plenty. You will start the game with a barebones assault rifle, and pistol, but when you start leveling up your weapons, unlocking attachments, customizing the look of your weapon, and purchasing other guns, you will feel like a badass criminal in the middle of a Michael Bay movie. The combat feels smoother than ever. Gunning down police has never felt so good.
The map variety is very impressive. Whether you want to rob a small town bank, a penthouse, a nightclub, and our favorite, an art museum, Payday 3 has it all. No heist is complete without a blood-pumping soundtrack to add to the carnage, and thankfully Payday 3 does not disappoint. Simon Viklund the game’s composer enthuses each map with a heart-pounding soundtrack that differs with each map. Whether it’s more of a rock anthem, or a synth track, very akin to the John Wick movies, Payday 3 has enough great music to offer which adds another layer onto the games map variety.
Currently, Payday 3 does feel a little bare bones, but that’s only when comparing it to the previous game in the franchise which saw 10 years of support. However, the content in the base game is still brilliant enough. We can surely expect that Payday 3 will have a similar lifespan as Payday 2, and we will see new maps, weapons, masks, and characters very soon.
One of the major issues with Payday 3 isn’t really with the game itself, but with who you play with. Heists are difficult. Even on casual mode. So it really does matter who your taking on these heists with. During our time with the game, playing with random players meant that we failed a heist more times than we succeeded. Contrast that with playing with friends, and we walked away with our booty a lot more often.
Speaking of failing, every defeat is crushing. No matter how far in a heist you get, you won’t get any cash if you fail, only a smidge of XP. However, this makes succeeding in a heist feel so good. You will walk away with huge payloads branching from $200,000 onwards. You can spend this money on weapons, paint, masks, and attachments which barely cost a dime after successfully completing a heist.
+ Endless fun
+ Smooth gameplay
+ Impressive map variety
+ Blood-pumping soundtrack
– Irritating to play with random players
– Bare bones content
Rating: 7 out of 10
Payday 3 is available on PS5, XBox Series X|S, and PC
PS5 copy provided by Starbreeze.