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Payday 3 – The Multiplayer Heist of the Year ?

Payday 3 marks the return of the famous cooperative heist game franchise, developed by Starbreeze Studio. It has been available since September 21 on PS5, Xbox Series, and PC. Note that it is included in the Xbox and PC Game Pass. This review is based on the Xbox Series X version.

A New Beginning

In Payday 3, you find yourself a few years after the second installment, transported from Washington DC to New York. You will embody the four anti-heroes, Dallas, Chains, Wolf, and Hoxton, out of retirement to sow chaos in the Big Apple, along with two new characters. Although the story mainly serves as a pretext for action, it offers you immersion in the life of robbers, where each gang member has a specific role to play for the plan to go off without a hitch.

Strategy and Diversity

In terms of gameplay, Payday 3 remains true to the DNA of the series while introducing new mechanics. Each heist generally has three phases.

You will most often start as a civilian, allowing you to observe and plan your heist without arousing suspicion. You can hack objects, steal access cards, and pick locks, all while staying discreet. The maskless phases are more flexible and offer more opportunities for infiltration phases.

Once the heist is launched, you will have to manage crowd control. This is an important element of gameplay. You will have to manage hostages strategically, using them to negotiate with law enforcement or to obtain vital resources. Effective crowd management can make the difference between a successful mission and a resounding failure. You will need to be discerning to maintain control of the situation and ensure the success of your heist.

Of course, the game also offers shooting phases. These are intense and dynamic. You will often find yourself in the heart of shootouts requiring precision and responsiveness. The feel of the weapons is good. The enemies are well equipped, and the different situations will require good team coordination to be mastered.

This enhanced formula works really very well. It’s the big strength of the game.

Content and Progression

In terms of content, you currently only have access to eight heists, one of which is 100% action. Likewise, the missions are only one-shot, but others over several days are planned in future updates.

Of course, the game offers a whole progression system. You can acquire and improve various skills such as explosion resistance, crowd management, infiltration, and accuracy. There are 100 bonuses spread across 17 categories. Likewise, weapons, and new gadgets such as Overkill Weapons and a micro camera are introduced, adding variety to the gameplay. These Overkill Weapons are a kind of “ultimate attack” available after charging a bar. They are particularly useful against the toughest enemies.

Note that the game is cross-play and cross-save.

A Small Step Towards the Future

Despite adopting Unreal Engine 4, you will notice that Payday 3 has benefited from a rather light graphic upgrade given the current standards. The developers have promised to continue improving the game over time and even to migrate it in 2024 to Unreal Engine 5. The sound atmosphere is dynamic, but more striking musical themes would have been desirable.

A Partial Heist

Payday 3 offers very successful enriched gameplay that should satisfy all fans of cooperative action. However, we regret a somewhat limited initial content. The game has strong potential, and the developers have already promised major updates. If they keep their promises, Payday 3 can become a new long-term phenomenon; otherwise, it risks being quickly deserted, which would be a shame.

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