Payday 3 Review - Turning Up The Heat
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Payday 3 Review - Turning Up The Heat

The iconography behind a handful of thieves donning twisted masks during a violent heist has transcended many forms of media, but they're nowhere more recognizable through a gaming lens than in the enduring Payday series. This cooperative heist simulator borrows elements from some of the best in the genre but has consistently offered a distinct spin on the ensuing chaos by delivering memorable and elaborate jobs for you and your friends to pull off. It's been a long time since the last entry in the series, in part due to Payday 2's long-standing post-launch support, but in its third entry, wholesale overhauls to its formula are impeded by a lack of content and a baffling progression system.

Payday 3 once again rounds up the familiar band of thieves for another handful of assorted heists, this time strung together by a loose and entirely uninteresting plot about a conspiracy that takes itself far too seriously. It contrasts poorly against the absurdity of the jobs themselves, each of which takes place in a relatively grounded location but often requires absurd steps for completion. Coupled with the comical number of cops you'll face most of the time and the ridiculous gadgets you'll employ to break into vaults and locked-down crypto wallets, it makes the narrative tying everything all together feel like it's from a different game.

Thankfully, it's one of the least important aspects of this revamped cooperative shooter, which redefines what a successful heist is in the first place. All but one of the game's heists can now be completed entirely without firing a bullet, giving a savvy team of four the chance to think about circumventing security cameras or hiding from nosy guards and achieving the perfect getaway in the vein of Ocean's Eleven. Payday 2 players might recall that this was technically possible in the previous title, but it often required gear that only unlocked much later in the game to achieve the exact same objectives that going loud did anyway. Payday 3 splits the path of passive and aggressive with unique objectives for each, comfortably shifting from the former to the latter when the jig is up and you're forced to don your masks and brandish a weapon.

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