Payday 3: Is It A Worthy Successor



Well, let's take a look.

The ui

First up is the UI; it works in mysterious ways. Working with the weapons before buying them is just straight-forward. First, you have to open the inventory and buy a slot, but buying a weapon in that slot then brings you to the separate vendor menu, and you have to go all the way back to the inventory after that to work with the gun.

It isn't like Payday 2, where you just do the whole thing right there, going to the weapons vendor. It is just in complete disarray. The weapons are sorted only by the level at which you unlock them. Weapon type and category are all strewn all over there, primary and secondary, mixed together once you buy them.

You can't sell or discard weapons from the first few slots, but that's never denoted, and modding weapons is just a mess. There are no stats; it's just these stupid [__] bars. Why are these back? It's like they saw something of quality and decided to revert it. The heist selection screen is similarly bad.

always online

Why are all the heists laid out on a horizontal scroll wheel? There are better ways to get a timeline across. We know they're obviously going to add more heists over time, but with no way to sort heists by contractor, are we just expected to scroll further and further with each new heist? The map of New York is right there on screen during this election; why not at least pin the contracts to the corresponding location so we can just click them easily when all laid out?

The inventory UI is also a major step down. You can't move or drop guns in the inventory; you can't rename them, and you can't rename your builds either. You also can't rename masks or skill sets. The armor UI is a complete joke because it withholds critical information. There are four types of armor in Payday 3, each granting an additional plate of armor that is never explained to the player.

better than payday 2

Anywhere, Is that because they change how many times you can go down depending on which armor you're using? The lightest armor lets you go down four times, the two mediums let you have three drops, and you can only go down twice with the heaviest armor again. This is critical information when building crafting, and it's just never given to the player, similar to the weapon stats.

The party system is goofy because there's no indication as a host that somebody's joined your party; you just have to watch it. I hope you notice the tiny counter at the bottom of the screen go up when you get into a lobby. You have precisely 5 minutes if you're ready; there's no way to be unready; you are restricted.

In general, the equipment is messy in the co-op UI because you can't see what other people brought during a heist. If somebody drops in mid-game, they've got no way of seeing what other people still have in their inventory. It is a constant reoccurring theme of limiting information available to the players in Payday 3, and I do not like it one bit, for example.

While I'm controlling this camera here, look and see if you can tell me when I press the button to hack the camera to make it loop and stop detecting me. Are you ready any second now? Are you ready for it? Of course you're still ready for it because I already did it as soon as the camera stopped rotating, and it's physically impossible to tell when operating it.

Camera, across the board in terms of UI functionality, is an objective downgrade from Payday 2 in every way. They made 10 years of improvements and iterations in that UI, and then just decided to undo all of them going into Payday 3. It is completely nonsensical.

The music

The music

changing gears to something a little bit more positive The music is really, really good. A lot of the tracks Bop, I find no rest for the wicked 99 boxes and Golden Shark to have my favorite tracks; they're all high-energy tracks that suit the adrenaline field shootouts very well.

There are no complaints about the soundtrack. I love it, Gustavo. Good work however, I would like to see the Jukebox feature come back. They told us it was intentionally emitted from Payday 3 because of the focus on the story, with each track custom-made to fit the heist. I think it would be better to let us have the choice.

With only eight heists, we need more variety in all aspects of the game, and music can easily be one if we aren't.

The progression

Restricted and now moving on to progression, I'm not inherently opposed to leveling up weapons to unlock mods or leveling my character via challenges. However, those being the only avenues of leveling up completely strangle players.

is good

In the press event back in June, we were told that you don't need to focus on challenges to level up until roughly level 75 or 80. That's simply false. All of us in RC hit a wall in the mid-40s and had to start prioritizing challenges. On the day I started writing this script, I played four heists and got one level total from the whole session.

It was agonizing. I feel like I'm not getting anything done at all. This is all made worse by sea stacks; you need to use them to buy the final mods for guns and later to also buy weapon slots. But you can only buy a certain number of SE stacks per weak; these cap out after that, and then you need to wait.

Why do I need to grind a weapon to level it up and then also have to wait for artificially time-gated currencies? This is the kind of [__] you see in mobile games or games like Warframe or Destiny 2. The grind, the farming, and the chase for the loot are part of the identity of those games. Payday has never been anything like that, and the decision to go that way here just slows down progression even further for people like myself who just want to level up, equip their stuff, and get heisting.

Gunplay and stealth

Gunplay and stealth

To look at some other positives, the gunplay and the movement are great. Mantling and sliding are both wonderful, and I was very happy they made it into the game; they just make movement feel so much more fluid and natural.

Guns are usually pretty satisfying to shoot, barring one or two outliers, and I often enjoy myself in a shootout unless the severe lack of armor kicks in. Stealth is fantastic and much more fleshed out guard AI location property designations, and the huge array of tools make stealth play feel smarter and smoother than ever before.

It was okay in Payday 2, contrary to popular belief it was fine but it's actively great in Payday 3.

The servers and always online

The servers and the need for them failed the game and the community. People took time off work or paid close to $100 to play this game, and then it didn't work for 2 days. It's still at the time of recording; this isn't entirely stable; it went down again on day four.

Payday 3 has been out for a few days now and had a pretty rough go of it. Here's all of John's thoughts on the state of Payday 3.
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