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  • Writer's pictureGreg Ezell

The Real Heist is Buying Payday 3

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Payday 3 is looking to capitalize on the success of its siblings, Payday 1 and Payday 2. Payday 2 was a massive success for developer Overkill Games and publisher 505 Games. Launching in 2013, Payday 2 saw critical and commercial success with scores ranging from 7 to 8 and a Metacritic score around 70 depending on which version you’re looking at. Payday 3, however, isn’t developed by Overkill Games and published by 505 Games anymore. Instead Starbreeze Studios, who acquired the rights to the Payday franchise in 2016, worked on this game and Deep Silver is now the publisher. Payday 3 was launched on September 21, 2023 for the Xbox Series consoles via Game Pass, PS5, Steam and the incredibly terrible Epic Games launcher. I want to give Starbreeze a quick shout out for their inclusion of cross-play across their titles. Being able to play on PC with my friends on console has made this game a lot more enjoyable.

I want to give Starbreeze a quick shout out for their inclusion of cross-play across their titles. Being able to play on PC with my friends on console has made this game a lot more enjoyable.

If you’re new to the Payday franchise, your job is to steal. Whether it is money or jewelry, you want to fill your virtual pockets as quickly as possible. Each mission gives the player the option of going in guns blazing or stealthily taking out guards and cameras as you canvas the area. Eventually, things will get out of hand and the cops will come in guns blazing. You need to shoot your way out of the building, load up your getaway vehicle and take off.

Before we dive deeper into the mechanics of Payday 3, lets talk about one of the biggest issues I’ve run into as I’ve played this game: Playing with randoms is a miserable experience.

I hate the term “Well it’s fun with friends” because anything is fun when you and your buddies are kicking around together. A game should really stand on its own when you’re playing with some random teammates and Payday 3 certainly isn’t standing at all. With as many options as you have to get the mission done, the moment a random decides to pop a shot off, everything goes haywire. It is akin to allowing first graders to devour a four pack of pixie sticks and then try to get them to sit still for reading.

When playing with friends, it is easy to sit in a discord and plan out your attack. With randoms? Nothing. Not a peep. Even when speaking to the team, no one interacts. It is incredibly frustrating and makes the game a chore.

Now that I have that off my chest, the gameplay of Payday 3 is pretty fun. I can’t speak to prior Paydays because I never really played them. So I can’t tell you if Payday 3 is better than 2 or what the differences are between them. Payday has never really been my bag, so to speak, so this is really my first time jumping into this world.

As I mentioned earlier, your job is to steal. How you do that is up to you and your teammates. You can enter the bank quietly, pointing out guards and civilians and shooting out cameras with your silenced pistol - or - you go in guns blazing. It is really up to the team how everything happens. Once you get to your objective, its time to get the loot out which usually breaks down to bagging up your bounty and heading out to a getaway vehicle. Throughout this heist, you have options like zip-tying civilians hands together, taking human shields or sending hostages out to increase your police assault timer. When the timer hits zero, the police will send in waves of different officers that you and your team will have to deal with.

Everything is connected to a server and when Deep Silver’s servers don’t feel like working, you’re not playing.

My biggest issue with Payday 3 has been the matchmaking. It has been a complete nightmare since the game launched on September 21st. I’ve spent way too long sitting in a matchmaking screen because there is no single player. Everything is connected to a server and when Deep Silver’s servers don’t feel like working, you’re not playing.

I’ve had this game since launch and I haven’t been able to play it and do a proper review because of this problem. While the servers aren’t as bad as they were when the game first launched, it is still an exhausting chore to load in and play your own game of will they or won’t they connect. It takes away from the excitement of Payday 3 when you’re sitting in loading screens waiting or you get hit with the dreaded Nebula error.

Looking at the reviews on Steam tells the same tale of woe. It is currently sitting at “Mostly Negative” and with good reason. Currently, there are only four heists at launch. Starbreeze has promised more heists coming but those will be paid DLC, with the silver edition giving you a 6 month season pass and the gold edition giving you a 12 month season pass.

Much like Payday 2, Payday 3 looks like they’ll nickel and dime their plays down to make more money. While this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who plays video games, it should definitely give folks a more cautious approach when playing these games - especially when these games are always online. When Deep Silver doesn’t feel like running their servers anymore, your $40+ is forever down the drain.

Lastly, I have a big issue with the progression system. XP is locked behind challenges which can be an absolute slog to get through. There are some like “Beat Dirty Ice 60 times on Normal or higher” which will only give you 170 IP. IP is used to level you up and unlock vendors. There is seemingly no way to get more XP than doing these challenges.

These challenges seemingly mask a thin content pool and are designed to make you replay the same heists over and over which will make statistics look good for Deep Silver.

Ultimately, if you’re a fan of Payday 2, I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy Payday 3. For me, Payday 3 seems more of a time waster than anything else. The always online model really cheeses my onions, especially when you can’t play the game. Again, I got this game from the Deep Silver Creator Network so I didn’t pay for the gold edition. I don’t know if its a game that I’ll go back to unless I have some friends who really want to play.

Here at Three Dads and a Console, we don’t rate video games. Instead we base it on two major factors:

  1. Can you play this games with your children ?

  2. Can they play this game?

The obvious answer is no. The heisting, violence, language, all of it isn’t recommended for a children who isn’t 12 or older. While an older kid could watch you play it, I’m not sure that older kid could handle some of the complexities that Payday 3 brings to the table. It isn’t your standard FPS and the lack of planning because you have to play with randoms online will make it an even more miserable experience.


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