Now one might assume that even though there are six scenarios to pick from, eventually the missions would get stale, right? Wrong! The game ingeniously alters the game play with an intuitive AI that alters the levels every time you play. For instance, if a safe, key or gun was in a certain spot the first time, the next time it wonít be. Neat, huh?
Your character also evolves as you play. That certainly comes into play as you complete the game's various heists. Each time you level up, you unlock a new weapon, item or bonus from the experience tree you have active.
You can even design a team where everyone has a specific task, like demolitions, medic or crowd control. Each skill can be developed and specialized individually based off of the playerís particular tastes. You can even "Swayze" your team as the one who plans the missions.
The heists in and of themselves donít tread into Oceanís Eleven levels of complexity, but they do escalate in scale. Easier boards involve the run-of-the-mill smash and grab robberies of the bank kind to infiltrating a drug kingpinís compound in order to snag his panic room/safe filled with his ill-gotten gains. Thereís even missions where players have to escort hostages. Each individual heist has objectives unique unto themselves, but donít worry; each scenario is filled with over-the-top cinematic action sequences.
Your experience level is gauged in reputation, and as it increases, more weapons and perks become available. The more reputation you have, the more versatility you can add to your player, based on whatever role it is that you want to pursue during the heist. The ways to increase your reputation include getting a certain number of kills with specific weapons, or disabling all cameras in a certain amount of time.
While PayDay is designed to be a four-person multiplayer game, you can also opt for a single-player experience, although I cannot guess for the life of me why anyone would even bother. Thereís no "I" in team, is there? The best way to experience this game is with a trio of other players, which will be essential in the harder levels. As the boards progress, so does the complexity, forcing the team to become more efficient, and especially more strategic. While the easier boards can be approached blitzkrieg style, the later mission may make more sense to complete by splitting the team Mission: Impossible style to get the job done. While working with other players as a team, the overall gameplay experience becomes more complete and enjoyable.
The stumbling blocks of the game are few, and thankfully not severe. For example, on occasion you have to deal with the frustration of having enemies respawn directly behind you. Overall presentation also takes a bit of a nose dive when the animations get clunky at times, and the AI goes all Space Odyessey HAL on you -- but these are forgiveable sins, to be sure. Considering that PayDay is a downloadable game, itís easy to see how people can overlook this budget title, as it has to compete with being overshadowed by much higher profile games. But trust me when I tell you that this game has all the elements of a full retail game and more.
PayDay is inventive, highly enjoyable and best of allÖcheap. As long as you're able to wrangle yourself a solid team, this game will keep you going for a long time. Keep in mind, however, that this is truly a title that NEEDS to be played with other people. So if you have ever wondered how it feels to be part of a movie bank robbery, or would just like to give it a go with a crime-themed game, then this game should not be passed up.
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