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“PAYDAY 3” is fun with friends, but needs some work

Payday+3+and+the+Wildcat+Chronicle+-+read+the+review+and+play+the+game.
Photo by Micah Weber
“Payday 3” and the Wildcat Chronicle – read the review and play the game.

 

 

Since the release of the original “PAYDAY: The Heist back in 2013, the “PAYDAY” series has been the first-person shooter heist game, with no other developer or studio coming even close to producing such a game in this genre as critically acclaimed or loved as “PAYDAY” developers OVERKILL have. But OVERKILL’s most recent release of “PAYDAY 3” leaves fans with a lot to be desired.

For several years following the release of “PAYDAY 2”, Starbreeze (owner of OVERKILL) struggled. The company focused a lot of their time on the production of the game “Dead Island 2” which was very hyped by fans, as the prequel of the game was a smash hit and became a cult classic. 

Ultimately, “Dead Island 2” under-delivered on the hype and disappointed many, becoming the breaking point of the company’s reputation. Due to the horrible sales of “Dead Island 2”, Starbreeze faced bankruptcy – which also affected OVERKILL – causing “Payday 3” to be delayed for several years.

As of release, the story is set several years ahead of the events of “PAYDAY 2”, the “PAYDAY” gang re-emerges in New York City, featuring all of the original members: Dallas, Chains, Hoxton, and Wolf, as well as a returning character from “PAYDAY 2”, Joy. New to the gang is Pearl, a rough and tough criminal straight from the streets of the Big Apple.

Starting up the game, players are welcomed to a lifeless main menu screen, a big downgrade from the unique menu from “PAYDAY 2”. The whole layout of the welcome screen seems generic with its character standing in the middle of a gray room whilst in the game prequel, your characters had a lot more style in terms of pure customization and the main menu screen for the game seemed a lot more well thought out by giving a unique menu screen never seen before which gives the player a feeling of being a “over the top robber”, a feeling the game is trying to portray. 

In the game itself, the “lifeness” of character is not a problem: characters have a lot more personality to them. Interactions between the characters also fit well with the whole vibe of the game, although the NPCs sometimes are a little off, as in sometimes not functioning like a normal human would. For example, guards just arrest a character and walk away, which is a little wonky at times, but the player will get used to how the NPCs work, as in the previous games, the NPCs are pretty similar.

a screenshot of PAYDAY 3 menu, a lot more different than the previous one gives a cod feel to it (Photo from “Payday 3” via the Game Rant website)

Despite the off-putting vibes of the new home screen and overall menu layout, one of the few redeeming qualities of “PAYDAY 3” is the reworking of the stealth system. In every new “PAYDAY” release, stealth gets progressively better and more creative, and “PAYDAY 3” is no exception. With many new features and fixes, the stealth playstyle is even more enjoyable and viable as a strategy.

A few of the new features include interaction with items, doors and machines, something that required you to be masked up in the previous games. One massive change that they made was making guards’ and managers’ keycards now exist on their bodies, so rather than killing or subduing a guard to get their card, now players can sneakily grab it off their person and be on their way. This is a huge change, and definitely one that has been received well throughout the community.

One pretty big upgrade comes in the form of a complete overhaul of the detection system. Everything from vision cones to detection radius becoming more realistic, to police and guards no longer instantly suspecting players as a criminal just because they accidentally bumped into one of them.

Even cooler, some of the stealth reworks not only benefit sneaky players but loud players as well. One major improvement comes in the form of lockpicking. Where in “PAYDAY 2”, players could only lockpick while masked, in “PAYDAY 3”, not only can they lockpick unmasked, but they can lockpick quickly, making all aspects of heisting cleaner and more fluid.

One of, if not the biggest downside to “PAYDAY 3” is the total lack of an offline mode, which means that regardless of how one decides to play – be it with other people, or alone – one is required to matchmake through the official “PAYDAY 3” servers. Those who want to play “PAYDAY 3”, therefore, need an internet connection, isolating a large part of the fan base. It is truly unfortunate that Starbreeze/Overkill purposely neglected such a useful feature in an attempt to conform more to modern shooter styles. Offline play is a very important feature as it allows players to essentially play on their own with AI. Why would a player not want to play with actual players? It all comes down to the players’ playstyle, some prefer to play online reason being skill level (an issue in many online games) as gamers may be wanting to complete a stealth mission and their peers end up disrupting their work, which can be very irritating. Although, admittedly, “PAYDAY 3” is a game made with cooperation in mind, to box players into a set style of gameplay not only degrades the quality of the game but also makes returning players feel like the game series they fell in love with no longer exists for the player, but for the company.

“One of my problems with the game besides being a little lack of content is the server issues, which is pretty expected for day one launches but I’m hoping they fix it soon, sometimes I’m not even able to play at all due to errors in matchmaking. But besides all of this, payday 2 came out ten years ago and the more it updated the better it got, so this game is something that’s worth investing your time into,” junior Yandel Saucedo, a big fan of the “PAYDAY” series, said. 

“PAYDAY 3” is a game that is brimming with potential, but right now, the game just does not stack up to the high expectations set by the previous iteration. But the future is bright: historically, OVERKILL has been extremely receptive to their community and with such a visceral response by gamers on release, players should hold out hope that the game will only improve with time like its predecessors did.

There are some issues with the game, but they do not leave the player unsatisfied. Heisting with friends and heating up the place is just as fun as the previous games. So, fans of the series should stop waiting and give “PAYDAY 3” a try for $40, or play for free on Xbox Game Pass.

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Your donation will support the student journalists of West Chicago Community High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs. We appreciate your support!

About the Contributors
Jonathan Saucedo
Jonathan Saucedo, Opinions Editor
Jonathan is a junior at West Chicago Community High School. He joined Journalism last year and has learned many important lessons - especially that deadlines can be tricky. This year, Jonathan is an up-and-coming opinions section editor. He is grateful for this position and his ability to be a leader for the Chronicle. Besides Journalism, Jonathan loves the draw/sketch (although he may not be good at it, he draws in his free time and during school when classes get a little boring). He also has a very sociable personality and can talk to people very easily, but when it comes to a presentation, he kind of falls off. His goal for this year's JPro class is to at least publish 25 assignments over the course of the year. Well, the task may be tough, but he believes in himself and so should you. Oh, and another one of his goals is to find a job. Over the summer, he went on a job hunt, but a lot of businesses declined, leaving Jonathan sad and broke. He is excited for Journalism and cannot wait to be a part of the team all year long - and next year, as well, when he becomes a full-on editor and the last of his peers. 
Micah Weber
Micah Weber, Multimedia Content Creator
Micah is a senior and second-year journalism student. He is involved with Jennings' AV Club, and is drowning in debt. Beyond school, Micah is a motivated video editor, and plans to pursue a career in the production industry after college.
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