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E3 2011: Payday: The Heist (Hands On)

by: Sean -
More On: Payday: The Heist
Game: Payday: The Heist
Developer: Overkill Software
Release Window/Date: Not unannounced.
What's Polished: The gameplay is top-notch...
What Needs Polished: ...but the graphics could use some touch-up.

There aren't many games that make me jealous of PS3 users, but Payday: The Heist is about to be one of them. Payday plays like a combination of Left 4 Dead and "Reservoir Dogs," as you step into the polished shoes of one of four stylishly-masked bank robbers on a number of cinema-inspired missions.

Payday's visuals look great, though there are some sharp edges that need to be sanded down, and it will feature drop-in/drop-out coop mechanics across 4 missions, with more to be included later, that include the aforementioned bank heist, a prisoner extraction, and a street firefight right out of "Heat."

Payday was a blast to play, plain and simple, as my partner, myself, and 2 AI team members methodically took down a bank. Taking hostages and securing them with flex-cuffs turns them into a type of mobile extra life that can be traded for a downed player. Cops can attack from anywhere at any time, using a L4D-like enemy AI that randomly generates waves of enemies that can attack from windows, doors, or even blow holes through walls. Level design is also of high-quality; falling back towards the vault, I used a critical hallway as a choke-point, firing through smoke to down a number of SWAT cops.

The bottom line? Payday is the best downloadable title I've ever seen or played. No release date has been announced so far, but I was told that it should be ready for download on PSN by late 2011 or early 2012.