Payday 3. Scruff Review



Payday 3 is the latest entry in the infamous Cooperative fast-paced adrenaline-pushing heisting franchise. Join me as I dive into Payday 3's various mechanics, unraveling its gripping gameplay and uncovering what sets this latest installment apart from its predecessors. Rest assured, I'll help you decide if Payday 3 is truly worth those hard-earned good deeds.

Sizzle reel

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It's going to get R if you're new to the payday franchise. These games are cooperative first-person shooters that allow you and up to three friends to embark upon various heists or criminal escapades. These capers can range from the more modest, like breaking into small jewelry stores, to the audacious, such as fending off waves upon waves of increasingly lethal law enforcement while drilling into the vault of a bank.


People familiar with Payday 2 may remember that some of the heists started to get a little ridiculous during its extensive post-launch support, such as the one that required players to break into the White House and steal presidential pardons. However, fans who thought Payday 2 went a bit over the top will be happy to hear that KDAY 3's initial selection of heists returned to a more grounded and realistic approach.

At launch, players have the opportunity to tackle eight different heists, with seven of them offering the flexibility to be completed either stealthily or with guns blazing, while one is exclusively a loud affair. Each heist will play out slightly differently depending on the chosen approach, with minor variations in objectives between stealth and loud runs.

The locations of specific objectives can also slightly differ from raid to raid, although not quite as wildly as their predecessors. The whole heist process has also undergone a bit of a revamp, with players now being able to perform a wider variety of actions before masking up and bringing the guns to bear, which can be incredibly beneficial in certain situations.

You can also spend money on favors, which come in the form of generic equipment drops. Some heists have specific special favors, but these are a bit confusing as there's no unlock criteria and they seem to just randomly appear in your favor inventory. Multiplayer lobbies are also lacking any way of declaring whether you intend to tackle a heist stealthily or loudly, and the lobbies are also lacking the visual pre-planning screen that was found in Payday 2.

Hopefully both of these issues are addressed soon, as they are critical quality of life features that should have been included at release. As far as heist variety goes. I'd like to see heists that make use of larger play spaces whilst maintaining the gritty and realistic feel, something akin to the heat streak from the original payday game, which involves players traversing through multiple city blocks instead all of the existing payday 3 heists feel kind of cramped by comparison.

Gameplay content

Gameplay content

The player characters now have weight behind them, and movement feels tight and precise compared to Payday 2's floaty and almost dreamlike Locomotion. The gunplay has also received major improvements, with weapons now feeling weighty. Punchy and aggressive while being mechanically distinct from one another, weapon attachments have also been streamlined, and each weapon now has a much smaller pool to choose from, with each one offering specific bonuses and tradeoffs.

Unfortunately, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. If you are a fan of Payday 2's detailed weapon statistics, you might be a bit disappointed as Payday 3 has replaced these with some rather vague bars that don't offer much clarity on what they represent. This change has left some players scratching their heads, as it's undeniably less informative than what we had in the previous game.



Overall, though the improvements to the shooting mechanics are enough to make up for the lack of some Legacy features, the progression system has also been completely overhauled this time around, resulting in mixed feelings amongst fans. In the past, your overall level was tied to the money you earned, but now it's based on completing challenges.

However, the challenges themselves are a bit underwhelming. They tend to be quite generic and uninspiring, pushing players towards a more aggressive approach in heists as they often involve killing a certain number of enemies with specific weapons or in specific situations. This change, combined with the fact that money is now less critical, has created an unusual situation where players prioritize racking up kills over completing objectives, which can be frustrating, especially when teaming up with random players online. This shift towards a kill-more-cooperation less mentality feels completely antithetical to the teamwork focused ethos of payday, skill trees have also undergone some significant changes and they're now simpler and easier to understand compared to the previous game however this simplicity does come out a cost as some gameplay features have been trimmed down for instance in Payday 2 you could specialize in a skill tree that allowed you to use explosive devices to bypass obstacles during heists but in Payday 3 that specific mechanic or equipment doesn't exist instead the skill trees mainly concentrate on improving the equipment you already have rather than unlocking entirely new equipment, it's not all doom and gloom though as the developers have stated that they're aware of how many people dislike all of these changes and have mentioned that they working on overhauling the progression system and that they'd expand upon the skill trees in future .



Important features that were present in previous installments are absent, and the game seems to put less emphasis on the heisting aspects and more emphasis on shooting things. The game definitely could have done with a couple more months in development to rethink some bizarre design decisions.


However, this is a live service game, and PayDay 3 has laid the groundwork for what could be an absolutely fantastic game with a few tweaks here and there.

Hopefully the developers take all the feedback seriously and are able to turn an arguably disastrous launch into something.

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Payday 3 Review
04 Jan 24