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Payday 3 Review: More Guns More Funds

Payday 3: A game changer or a missed opportunity - come check out this Payday 3 review!
Payday 3 Review: More Guns More Funds
Picture: Starbreeze Studios

With explosions, bags of money, fast-paced gameplay, and exciting new weapon mechanics, Payday 3 provides a thrilling experience for players to confront from the first mission. Despite worry from critics and die-hard fans being apprehensive about the release, Starbreeze Studios has created a memorable experience for players to enjoy. Customization has finally been vastly explored within Payday 3, allowing every heister to be unique and adding personality to the title.

Starbreeze Studios has fallen short on several aspects of Payday 3 that are essential for players to comprehend before purchasing the title. These aspects aren't game-breaking, but players are definitely in for some immersion breakers, whether from the overly dramatic music, lack of optimization, or unrealistic zombie hoards of SWAT operators. These are all aspects players should be aware of before spending hard-earned money on a title such as Payday 3.

(Picture: Starbreeze Studios)

Payday 3 Review: Immersion & Enjoyment

Heading into a title specializing in robbery, excitement, and intenseness, players expect to feel incredibly immersed in their Payday 3 experience. Immersion is high whilst heading into missions, scoping out the objective, and infiltrating the bank in a stealth manner, although I feel immersion is broken multiple times during "overt" and non-stealth approaches. 

Walking into a bank armed with a fully automatic rifle should usually result in fast cooperation from the unfortunate civilians inside the bank, faster than a stealth approach, one would think. However, Payday 3 results on the contrary; players spend significantly more time fighting waves of (zombies) SWAT whilst spending an abundance of time slowly moving toward the vault.

This highly amplified gunfight with the blasting Payday 3 music provides a thrilling experience... for the first five minutes. After spending nearly twenty-thirty minutes inside a bank, killing waves of SWAT with blasting music, the tense and thrilling becomes boring and tiring. This is simply due to the lack of progress one can feel when infiltrating the bank loudly. 

Conflicting with feeling exhausting, Payday 3 provides the most riveting and exciting stealth alternative to most scenarios, leading players down the passive yet more educated route. Players find themselves engrossed in learning about the building, surroundings, and enemy AI and plan to infiltrate the objective, keeping immersion high throughout the entire stealth playthrough.

Payday 3 accommodates all levels of creativity when trying to peacefully rob a bank, allowing several different approaches and unique experiences, contrary to the simple "Drill the bank door, kill all enemies" approach we've all become very familiar with over the years. 

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(Picture: Starbreeze Studios)

Payday 3 Customization and Skills

The customization options within Payday 3 are phenomenal. Whether you're looking at creating your mask with personalized colors and patterns or simply looking to modify your weapon to be gold and pink, Payday 3 can accommodate your desires. From the first mission, players can begin customizing their characters with an endless variety of masks, weapon options, and different character costumes, leading to no two players being the same. 

This leads to higher levels of enjoyability because players can finally "grind" to their separate objectives, whether that be to unlock a certain shade of glossy pink for their rifle or to simply purchase every available mask within Payday, the game gives you further reasons to level up. This leads to the developed skills tree players can enhance and upgrade. Thankfully, within Payday 3, players progress their skills instead of buying them. For example, when using the "medic" oriented skills during heists, you'll slowly progress to unlock the next medic trait.

Customization doesn't particularly have any flaws. The only aspect that stands out is that you cannot modify in-game clothes such as waistcoats, gloves, shirts, and shoes. Unfortunately, once you purchase them, you cannot modify the color schemes or patterns, which should be implemented if masks and weapon customization are significantly more modifiable. 

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(Picture: Starbreeze Studios)

Payday 3 Weapons and Mechanics 

A huge part of any bank robbing game is weapons and their feel, simply because well-versed FPS players aren't going to shy away from criticizing the game if the weapons lack perfection. Payday 3 provides the typical arcade and simplistic weapons approach we all love, veering away from more complex and intricate weapon design systems most FPS developers strive towards. Whereas some might see a lack of innovation, I see a reinforcement of identity; Payday has never sworn to be realistic and kept the experience enjoyable. 

Payday 3 provides a wide plethora of base weapons, allowing players to purchase them once they achieve the correct level and further modify them with attachments, stickers, camouflages, and weapon charms. Additionally, players have the option to purchase preset weapons with the alternative in-game currency called "C-Stacks," these weapons come preset with attachments. C-Stacks can be purchased and exchanged with in-game cash. Fortunately, these aren't micro-transactions for pay-to-win purposes.

The weapon mechanics are relatively similar compared to previous Payday titles, with the weapons lacking major characteristics but keeping the game's arcade-style gameplay. This isn't disappointing at all, considering the history and personality of the game. However, some players might not experience positive feelings about simplistic weapons mechanics, considering how intricate, realistic, and complex opposing developers have made in-game weapons. 

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(Picture: Starbreeze Studios)

Payday 3 Missions and Campaign Progression

The missions are incredibly well-thought-through, with personality implemented into each operation and the Payday developers trying to impose the feeling of narrative progression. However, despite the well-known storyline Payday wishes to continue, Payday 3 doesn't enforce the campaign and narrative too much. Players have the option to watch cutscenes and ignore the overarching storyline behind each mission, leading to players being clueless about the storyline. 

Upon loading the game for the first time, Payday fails to "hook" players into the narrative, with almost static cutscenes and the option to skip, watch, and listen to each important narrative driving factor. Despite the player having responsibility and the need for curiosity to learn and follow the campaign, most titles enforce the campaign at the beginning and slowly let players have the option to skip and ignore cutscenes, whereas Payday simply doesn't care. 

Unfortunately, this doesn't impress players or me due to feeling slightly distant from the campaign and having the "wait, why are we doing this?" thought halfway through most missions. Nevertheless, once you head back into the menus and rewatch cutscenes, read mission breakdowns, and listen to the dialogue, you're able to feel actively involved in the campaign again. This doesn't directly affect the enjoyment of the game, more just the relevancy of missions; robbing banks to robbing rare earth materials - it can become confusing. 

Payday 3 Review: Conclusion 

Payday 3 provides an extremely enjoyable experience, especially when playing alongside a squad of friends. The developers have managed to smash another Payday title, offering new experiences, memories, and laughs to be made along the journey of completing the game. Despite minor problems that can become slightly frustrating, there aren't any game-breaking features that should deter players from not purchasing the title. Overall, I recommend purchasing the title and experiencing this epic FPS title for yourself, as I'm sure you won't regret it. 

Payday 3: Rating and Summary

We're going to rate Payday 3 an 8/10 on all factors, considering how enjoyable the game feels at every turn. Players are able to commit to the title at all times of the day, spending hours playing competitively or casually without the draining feeling of burnout. Despite minor features such as zombie wave SWAT teams and immersion breaks, the title doesn't fall short at all. Starbreeze Studios has really perfected the Payday empire, reflected clearly through Payday 3.

We reviewed Payday 3 on PC, and the publisher supplied the code.

Looking for more Payday 3 content? We've got you covered with a range of helpful guides below.

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