I played through the one level on the PSN demo three times, twice online and once solo. Online is very easy to jump into, but very chaotic right off the bat. There isn't a tutorial in the demo, so you spend half the time trying to figure out what the controls are and what you should be doing. There are four characters, each of which can be specially equipped with different guns and traits/abilities. At the start you only have one choice for everything, but this game has persistent leveling, meaning you gain "experience" (money) and level up. By leveling up you get access to new weapons, traits, items and abilities. Each weapon you use also can be leveled up, which will unlock things like more ammo, better aim and presumably some attachments later on. There are six levels in the retail game, each of which seems huge in size and lengthy. The demo level, depending on how expedient you are, runs around 15-30 minutes, but it isn't the whole level. Each level has the robbery and then the escape. I appreciate online in this because it has actual servers that you can select and join, it doesn't do the whole matchmaking system like so many games these days and as a long PC gamer I appreciate little user friendly touches like that.
The demo level is a large bank, one that a vault, offices, an upstairs and a main floor. One cool feature is that the you can set up your team around the bank before attacking, giving you the option to begin the robbery at any time, but guards can see your guns and ruin the surprise. Each character starts with a silenced pistol and an assault rifle. The normal guards just require a pistol, or a fist, to adequately fight them, but later on swat and special police will come with automatic machine guns, shotguns and sub machine guns. There are civilians all over the bank, all of which can get rescued by the police if you leave them unattended, and they are a bit hard to deal with. I often found myself pausing to fire if I couldn't determine an enemy from far, seeing as how the security guards and many civilians have white shirts. If you gun down civilians then you lose time, although I'm not sure if it's taking time away from the assault timer or adding it to how long some objectives take. You can zip tie civilians and use them as hostages, which will make the swat teams stay back a bit, otherwise they just poor in through windows, doors and skylights. There are police assaults which are fierce attacks that only last a short period of time. They tend to come at you with cops from all areas of the bank; elevators/skylights/doors, and they can very tough to handle if you get separated from the other bank robbers. The level has you do several time consuming activities, like burning through the floor above the vault and unlocking the door to the vault area, but the game keeps you busy with extra objectives, hostages and police assaults.
Payday The Heist: Official Trailer
I can see Payday The Heist being a very fun game to play with some friends, especially if you don't mind it being so unrealistic, but I wouldn't recommend it for singleplayer. Singleplayer can be fun the first tiem around, but doing all the objectives by yourself feels less satisfying than playing with real people. The demo is pretty big in size (1-2 gigs), but check it out on Steam or PSN. The persistant elements huge levels and interesting gameplay should keep you busy for a long time if you enjoy the game. The FPS aspects feel weak to me, but every other aspect of the game is pretty attractive for a downloadable cooperative FPS. I have to appreciate the unique features like; getting arrested by cops and having your teammates trade a hostage to get you back, or the way police assaults feel very dynamic by how they use whatever means are available to them, or how ammo isn't overly plentiful and you can't just waste every shot. If you feel up for robbing a bank, look no further than Payday The Heist, it delivers that to you. Thanks for reading and if anyone tries it let me know what you think.
Official Website: http://www.overkillsoftware.com/payday/
Steam Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/24240/
-Written by Sean Cargle