Plot: What’s it about?
While video games have given us ample chances to be mobsters, hitmen, and other criminals, you won’t find many good heist based games. Payday aims to deliver the kind of heist experience that films have been able to capture so well, but can it do what no other game has been able to? A four person, squad based experience, Payday tasks you to be sharp with your guns, but also your strategic side. If you want to not only survive these multi-tiered heists, but escape with the biggest haul of loot, you’ll need to shoot with skill, balance your hostages, and work as a team. A lone wolf approach will result in bad news for your entire group, as Payday is designed to be all about working as a cohesive unit. The game offers six heists at launch, each a series of objectives with several optional elements to consider as well.
You’re able to play as three classes in Payday, each crucial to the mission’s success. The Assault class boasts impressive firepower, but is also responsible for keeping the team well supplied in terms of ammunition. Perhaps you’re a crack shot and would rather provide cover and pinpoint strikes as the Sharpshooter class? Then we have the Support class, which is able to provide healing for the squad and of course, that is always crucial. So if you want to keep ammo in your guns, eyes on distant threats, and your health topped off, your squad needs to be well balanced. As you progress, you’re able to unlock a wealth of class upgrades as well, so you’ll be stronger after almost every heist. You gain experience through kills, clearing objectives, support actions, or completing various challenges.
The core game play is excellent in Payday, as it tasks you to shoot fast, but think even faster. Each heist is a series of objectives, some quick, others extended and tense. You might have to keep saws running on multiple floors as police pour in to take you down, or guard a drill as it cracks a safe, while under heavy fire. As time passes during the heists, the police send in stronger troops and even special types that pack a mean punch. As you’d expect, Payday is best experienced with a group, though you can substitute in AI if you’re down in numbers. But being able to coordinate your actions with up to three friends is simply awesome and that is when Payday really shines. I had a blast with Payday and I don’t see myself leaving the game for quite a while. So if you like some strategy mixed in with your team based shooters, Payday is highly recommended.
Video: How does it look?
I wouldn’t call the visuals here cutting edge, but the game looks terrific for a downloadable release. The game moves at a very brisk pace, so you never get much time to soak in the visuals. The character designs are basic, but effective and of course, those masks are just awesome. The level designs are excellent and while the visuals look a touch dated, there is solid detail and the frame rate holds up even during the most intense shootouts. I would have liked a little more flash in the visuals, but this game looks quite good for a downloadable release.
Audio: How does it sound?
The sound design here is quite good, especially since it used to keep you up to date on all aspects of the heist. If one of your objectives is halted, a police force is incoming, or a team member is in trouble, an audio notification is delivered. This is true even if your squad lays down health or ammo items, so when information needs to be relayed, the audio steps up. This is helpful if you’re in a group, but especially so if people in your squad don’t use microphones. The technical side of the audio is good too, with potent gunfire, explosions, and general background noise.
Supplements: What are the extras?