Here I am once again, up late at night browsing Steam and GD when I know I should be doing homework. Usually nights like this end up with little to show for it, but tonight might be different. For tonight I stumbled across a game that has totally changed my perspective of the classic first person shooter.
As I was browsing, a message about Steam's weekend deals popped up. Usually I ignore this, but tonight something caught my interest. There before me was the cover art of the game Payday: The Heist with four slightly creepy clown masks staring back at me. The game was up for a free weekend so I went for and downloaded it, not knowing what I had really found.
Payday is set around the premise of four robbers teaming up to tackle various schemes to gain money. The very first heist you undertake is a national bank and the game wastes no time throwing you into the chaos. You calmly walk into the bank, then pull out your weapon (a suppressed handgun) and declare that the hesit has begun. Instantly, bank security descends upon you and your team and you must deal with them to make completing other tasks more simple. Plus you can pick up ammo that they drop which will come in handy as you do not start with much yourself.If you are looking for more targets to shoot at however, fret not for in minutes you will have SWAT style cops with more powerul weapons and riot shields coming at you through the doors and from the roof. You will also be greeted by an even more powerful soldier that is reminiscent of the Splinter Cell soldiers with the green head pieces.
An interesting fact to note is that while you can shoot civilians, you will be heavily penalized for doing so. More time will be added to your sentence should you get caught and the game will also verbally reprimand you. You can however order the civillians to lie down and then you take them as hostages. These hostages can then be used as a means of bartering to respawn a fallen team mate. I found that the player can withstand a decent amount of damage, and your life replenishes while not being hit like in the Call of Duty and Battlefield series. If you or a teammate does sustain too much damage, you go into a "second chance" style state where you cannot move but you can shoot, again similar to Call of Duty. To revive someone you simply go up to the character and hold the button it tells you to.
Online and Single Player Capabilities
This game was designed as an online game however you can play all of the same missions by yourself, with an AI team. Obviously there are costs and benefits to this situation. The AI is not the greatest, though can anyone remember a time when it wasn't annoying? The other characters on your team follow you so its not like other games where they either go far ahead of you or fall far behind and you are caught waiting. I also noticed that they tend to be somewhat beneficial. We all know the feeling where we have a team of 5 AI players yet we have to kill every single enemy. This doesn't happen in Payday. The AI actually does its fair share of combat work, though it is still not at the level of having actual players as teammates.
The multiplayer makes the hesits incredibly easier as there can be actual teamwork involved and some level of tactics. You play with a team of three others and there seemed to be a decent amount of people in game lobbies, so finding a game was never hard. I would definitely recommend playing co-op a few times before you try the lone-gunman approach as it becomes easy to get overwhelmed.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the graphics and feel of the game. The graphics were much better than I had anticipated, and the menus and load screens had a general sort of flow that made the entire game blend well together. You got the entire crazy, clown-mask wearing robber feeling, if that makes sense at all. The gameplay is also not as linear as I had forseen. Obviously there are tasks that you need to complete, but you are not being shoved down a corridor blindly shooting. In the bank for example, you actually move around quite a bit and you must remember to clear the room again because more enemies have arrived since you went through the first time. The police assaults are sort of set up in an attacking wave manner, similar to popular zombie games.
In a time where I was getting tired of seeing the same old stuff in first person shooters, this game really gave the genre a new spin, at least new to me. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who likes first person shooters and who is looking to change it up, it is a great game...and here I was hoping to go to bed early tonight.