When you look back at the last 10 years of FPS gaming history, basically everything that can be done within the genre, has been done – over and over again. So can Payday: The Heist finally bring something different?
Prior to the games release there was chatter amongst the community here about Payday: The Heist. As soon as trailers and screenshots were out, talk was going on about the game, it looked like fun, it sounded like fun and most importantly it looked like it was going to bring something different to the genre. Not only were you going to get to play as the bad guys, but you were going to complete heists in a bunch of different situations all from the point of view of the robber. It was like playing cops and robbers, except you were always the robbers.
I wasn’t sure how Eyefinity would work as my worry was that the game would be PS3 orientated and optimised. To my surprise I had no issues with running Eyefinity at all. The game found all the Eyefinity resolutions and loaded them up with no problems what so ever. At 6000*1200 resolution I was getting around 70 FPS so the game ran fine too. There are a lack of options when it comes to settings for the graphics but with everything that I could setup, it looked pretty nice. Almost all the screenshots for this review are Eyefinity.
Alt-Tab did work work but unfortunately the game only alt-tabbed the centre screen with the left and right screen staying black, this seems to be a problem in almost every game we have tested over the last few months so it must be a fault from the drivers and not the game. During single screen resolution testing it was fine.
The audio int he game is great. Not only is the soundtrack good but Overkill have made it dynamic too so it really adds to the feel of the game. When you are first entering the heist you get some nice calm music in the background, as you start the heist the musics tempo increases and when the cops are in full force the music adapts again adding intensity to the fight. All in all they have done a great job and I give them full marks for audio and overall atmosphere.
Before I played the game my biggest worry was replay value. I was thinking the idea of the game itself sounds great, but was I going to get bored of it after I play through a couple times? Well after having played through more than a few times, I can say that boredom certainly isn’t going to be a problem. The game easily has as much replay value as your favourite nasheed does. With 6 different heists shipping with the game at launch, the opportunity is there for new content to be added down the track, which I am pretty sure Overkill would be working on as I write this. If they ever decided to ship an SDK, the opportunities are endless, as modder support would make this game unbeaten for replay value.
Readers from the community know I have issues with the way some developers sell DLC. What I have said in the past is that I would much prefer a game to ship for a lower price and then extra DLC to be sold separately. that way if you enjoyed the game, then you can further support the devs and extend your gameplay by purchasing extra levels and missions. Payday has essentially done that. They have released a great multiplayer game for $20 which will give you hours of gameplay, then in the future you can spend a few extra dollars on new heists as they come out, expanding the experience even more. Saying that, the game as it is now didn’t feel like it lacked anything in the way of content when you look at it like that. Each map has a different setting and there’s enough there in the way of unlocks to keep you saying “Just one more”.
What I found interesting was that the game did not come across as overly hard, so it wasn’t challenging in the sense of a particular boss fight or having to jump, then run and then jump at an exact point to get passed the mission. Overkill has basically made the game fun and exciting by the timing of events, the challenge requirements in each level and the constant stream of Cops tracking you down in every nook and cranny of the building.
While each heist is similar in the way it plays out, it is also completely different each time you play it. Think of it as a Left 4 Dead style game where zombies are replaced with Cops and the “Director” is there by sending out the cops in a steady stream out to your position. As you go through completing each task, the game will let you know through audio cues and music that you are about to get pummeled by the next stream of Cops coming in to get you.
There are different heists which place you in different scenarios and each has a different feel. The Diamond heist has you avoiding the security guards and flashlights to get to the alarm system, the classic bank robbery makes you burn holes through the ground to get to the safe while another gets you using choppers to get getaway. Each time a certain set of actions need to be completed with the game clearly letting you know what needs to be done which I thought was great.
So for example the Bank heist is as follows,
- Go in and find the bank manager
- Get your masks on and subdue the manager, taking the swipe card
- Get the drills and Thermite, head down to the safe door
- Place Drills and hold off cops
- Make your way into the room and place Thermite
- Collect Cash
- Make get away
What makes it interesting is what happens in between each task is different each time. So on your way to the finding the bank manager, you might walk to close to a guard and they spot your weapon, the heist starts early and bullets begin flying around before your team mates are in place. When you secure the drill on to the safe door, sooner or later it will jam, making you head back into the open to get it restarted again. Your team mate will go down during the level so you will have to make your way over and revive him in between all the police tazer’s, pistols and shotguns. Another team mate may get captured, so this time you have to capture a hostage, cable tie them and do a hostage exchange to get your team mate back and so on and so forth.
As you can see the game has lots of little extras that add to the experience so its not all just shooting and running.
I think Overkill could have done a little better here. Not witht he weapons or the system itself, but the way in which they explain how to get upgrades and use them…they don’t.
At the start of the game you start off with a reputation of zero, which is basically level 1, a pistol, a machine gun and an ammo bag. As you get through each section of a heist you get more reputation, then as you complete certain tasks you get your upgrades too. So for example, once you reach a certain reputation level you get a third weapon of a shotgun, when you get higher, you unlock a medic bag that you can drop and use and as you go higher and higher you get more things to take into the heist with you.
There are also 3 upgrade paths for your characters, Assault, Marksman and Support.As you play through you can upgrade each of these paths which you need to select either in the lobby prior or during the game. While the system itself is fine, unfortunately it isn’t explained too well to the player. To see more about achievements and upgrades you have to go through the main menu into the relevant section and there you will find a bunch of text explaining each upgrade.
Hopefully Overkill can do a quick patch in the future and fix little things like this up.
Lets be clear, this game really shines when playing with others. Yes it can be played with 3 AI players, but the fun comes from having three other friends with you and pulling off the heist. Joining multiplayer games are easy enough and I had no problems finding others to play with at any time of the day or night. Unfortunately, I did find the community a little harsher than most other games. When you first start out expect to be booted out till you can catch up and get your reputation level up as I found many were trigger happy to boot as soon as you entered the lobby.
One thing that I was very surprised about was how good the net code was for the game. Testing from Australia, playing a FPS style game on anything but local servers is impossible. I got curious and thought I would try out the option to play with others further away. In the lobby get the option of choosing to look for a server that is close, far or worldwide. Much to my amazement, when I played on servers that were worldwide, I only noticed the slightest of lag! Nice work there Overkill.
This is probably the only place that lets the game down for someone that is considering the Halalability of Payday: the Heist. There is swearing in basically every scene of the game, so if you want to avoid that kind of stuff you will have to be skipping Payday. There is nothing else in the game that I came across that I would say needs to be worried about though.
Overkill have done a great job of bringing something different to the FPS genre. Zombies are a dime a dozen, nuclear attacks are more common than lemonade stands and yes we know, (insert Eastern country here) is attacking America…again. Payday: The Heist has managed to change the scene and give us some real excitement in bite size 20 minute sessions. While we tested this on PC, if your on your PlayStation then multiplayer fun is even easier when friends come round. When you add in the fact that this game is only $20, Im pretty sure your going to get your moneys worth with some multiplayer sessions. While 99% of the population is never never going to know what its like to rob a bank and have a bomb squad looking guy come after you with a shotgun, Overkill have done a pretty good job of giving you that feeling as much as can be done sitting at your desk on a computer.
Downsides you ask? I actually really had trouble with this part. I kept coming back to the fact that the game is less than what I spend going to the movies and getting a drink and comparing it to that. So I kept asking do the downsides make the game any worse? If you ask me, no not really.
One would be polish, there’s a few things like being introduced to the game, the upgrades and how to get them could have been done better, but that only takes a quick Google or a few plays of the game and you have that figured out. The other might be the graphics. While the game is not ugly by any means at all, its not AAA either, but I was never really expecting that either so its kind of a non point. Maybe a few more missions could have been included but again…its 20 bucks!
Basically, if you want to try something different, you want a game that has great multiplayer and something you can play in bite size 20 minute sessions, you have found your game, if you want something with a full single player story line and AAA development, go buy a AAA game that is designed for single player and pay more than 20 bucks
Muslim Gamer Score: 8
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