Payday: The Heist – Demo impressions

Today marks the release of Overkill Software and Sony Online Computer Entertainment’s PayDay: The Heist. If you haven’t been keeping track of this fantasy first-person shooter involving robbing banks and completing heists then shame on you.  Payday: The Heist is currently ready for download right now on PSN (Playstation 3 store) and on STEAM. For this particular article I played the demo on my Playstation 3.

After checking out the menus and whatnot. Before I played a few online matches I noticed the depth this game has integrated into it. Its true this is just an arcade game but it does have layers of depth associated with its gameplay. There is a class system centered around the Assault (massive firepower), Sharpshooter (distance suppress) and Support (support gang, med packs etc). Default guns ae well unlockable guns are different per class. Assault: Mark 11, Crosskill .45 and Brenner 21. Sharpshooter: Locomotive 12G and M308. Support: Bronco .44, Compact-5 and Reinbeck.

Each class truly plays different and comes with its own unique upgrade tree. Reload dampener, speed reloaders, damage increase, sight increase, body armor increase, fire rate increase. Those are just a few of the upgrades I saw while browsing the Upgrades menu. Most importantly each class has a different upgrade tree and the unlocks vary accordingly. Most times each upgrade can or does unlock up to three stages. As far as I know you can’t choose which upgrade you unlock. Maybe its possible but from what I saw it seems like there is a specific path regarding unlocks.

There is also a Challenges menu where you can keep track of in-game achievements. Challenges are broken down into Completed or Active. After just my first match I made progress in a few challenges in Payday: The Heist most notably “Me vs. The Law !” where killed 14 cops in my first match but needed 100 to complete it. There is also a full fledged stat menu that keeps tabs on statistics like time played, cash stolen, reputation and favorite heist.

The demo of Payday: The Heist features one map for single player and online multiplayer called First World Bank. Imagine a mega sized bank smack dab in the center of downtown getting robbed in broad daylight? The movie HEAT springs to mind as the opening in-game gameplay scene showed us walking into the bank and holding it up. The matches I played today were 4-player online co-op. The rooms filled up very fast while waiting in the lobbies. Much like Left 4 Dead you pick your class/character before the game begins. You can host or join matches.

The first thing you notice when you actually start playing Payday: The Heist are its average visuals. The graphics just aren’t good. They remind me of Battle: Los Angeles which isn’t a good thing. Textures looked washed out and muddy. The color palette was decent however. The clown masks were creepy that the protagonists wore. The sound design wasn’t that distinct or crisp. The music was good and contributed to a dramatic feeling while you’re holding up this mega bank in broad daylight.

The latter paragraph was mostly filled with negatives. Now some positives. The gameplay is really good in Payday: The Heist. The level of cooperation you must facilitate goes beyond games like Left 4 Dead in my opinion. Whether its reviving a crew member, not shooting hostages or laying down protection fire so your crew mamber can crack a safe it was all well designed and fun. Sticking together and doing each specific in-game task properly is paramount. If even one guy does something stupid, the entire heist might be compromised and rightfully so. Payday: The Heist does tend to give off a “realistic” approach to pulling of bank heists in-game.

After you perform a few mini in-game tasks throughout First World Bank the police will start to invade the bank. Snipers, shield wielding cops and cops with heavy firepower will try and not only rescue hostages from inside the bank but kill you as well. The gameplay is challenging and that is why its so important for you to be on the same page as your team (especially in online co-op).

The demo is really good for Payday: The Heist for the fact its replayable online. You can play around with different classes and people till your heart’s content. The substandard visuals and sound design do add a sense of low quality but the gameplay more than makes up for any real blemishes this game seems to have. It is a demo when its all said and done and can be either worse or improved experience from what I played. Either way, if you own a Playstation 3 or PC, give Payday: The Heist a go. Thanks for reading.




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