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Payday: The Heist Review


Game Details

Game Scores


Sam Bandah

Almost pulls off the score of a lifetime.

Published on Nov 11, 2011


There are plenty of games that take bits of movies and turn them into cool gameplay, but few go quite as far as Payday: The Heist.

It's a four player co-op shooter that's effectively a series of fun heist clichés stolen from action films like Heat, Killing Zoe and Reservoir Dogs.

If you think of playing Left 4 Dead as clown masked bank robbers battling off cops galore on jobs instead of hordes of zombies you've an idea of what Payday: The Heist is aiming for.

Unlike Left 4 dead however, there isn't really a specific plot in Payday, just six cleverly devised heist scenarios you can tackle in any order you choose.

What's great about Payday is that heists offer plenty of variety. They have you doing everything from robbing a city bank vault or infiltrating a high-security facility on a diamond job, to breaking out and escorting a Chinese VIP prisoner to safety. One is even a classic Heat style foot chase on city streets with droves of police in pursuit. 

Battles can be really intense as different waves of cops come at you, all attempting to take you down.

Each heist is a multi-stage process as your crew fulfils a series of goals to pull off the job. Robbing the bank, for example, involves finding the bank manager, erasing security footage, drilling through some doors, collecting a hidden stash of thermite and finally burning your way into the vault before escaping.

It often isn't easy and things get awfully intense in Payday as armies of different cops, from simple security guards to special shield carrying or heavily armoured types, swarm all over you, guns blazing.

You mow down numbers that make military shooters look tame, and it's easy to get caught up in the action – an easy way to fail a heist. Thankfully, your crew is fairly well armed, with better guns unlocked as you level up, and disposable equipment like ammo and med packs depending on which of three classes you choose from.

You can also take civilian hostages who can be exchanged for team members captured by the cops. Team work is absolutely vital in Payday, and while it can be played with AI partners in single player, playing with real people is what makes it come alive.

All the frantically screaming instructions or for help under fire, picking up downed companions and working together to get the job done is very much in its cops and robbers spirit.

Various objectives during heists help to keep things interesting, but they require real team work.

The problem with Payday is that it's all a little rough round the edges. Heist objectives are sometimes unclear, leaving you floundering as the cops close in, and despite them it's really all about the shooting – which works but often feels more than a little clunky.

Both enemy and team mate AI can also be quite glitchy at times, which is frustrating, especially playing solo. Payday is also fairly repetitive as there are only six heists that you constantly replay at harder difficulty settings, trying to unlock new content.

Playing with friends helps, as does its price at a mere £14.99, but it still feels like a limited experience. It also has a very confusing player progression system – with very little in game instructions we actually had to peruse the Payday Steam forums to better understand it – which will put some off.

But despite those rough edges in Payday: the Heist its core ideas are great and they work. If you're looking for another enjoyable PC co-op shooter there's plenty of fun to be had here.



Score Breakdown
7.5 / 10
7.0 / 10
7.7 / 10
6.8 / 10
7.9 / 10
7.9 / 10
Final Verdict
Payday: The Heist is a fun 4 player co-op shooter in the vein of Left 4 Dead, and plenty of fun with friends. That said, it is a little rough round the edges, and that might put some players off.

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Game Details
Release Date:
Sony Online Entertainment
Overkill Software
No. of players:
7.9 /10
Payday: The Heist delivers a fun four player co-op experience with some nice ideas despite its need for more polish.
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