Payday: The Heist by Overkill is one of those rare but increasingly popular games that dare to imagine that PC gamers might have as many as 3 friends capable of working together. Despite being in the shadow of the masterful Left 4 Dead, it compares quite favourably, having plenty of well executed ideas of its own, and now the Overkill-Valve mating ritual has earnestly born offspring.
The new heist, No Mercy, is based loosely on the setting of the L4D campaign of the same name, in particular the 4th floor of Mercy hospital. Fans of zombie genocide will know this as “the part with the elevator”. With this being a tribute to Valve’s map, the source material has been quite faithfully observed and re-imagined to fit the pre-apocalyptic Payday universe, but arguably not to the extent that you might expect. The entire heist takes place in a mere 3 corridors and as a result lacks the sense of pace and changes of scenery that usually characterise your progress through the mission.
The opening to the mission is an interesting experiment with a panic button mechanic, which succeeds in increasing the focus on civilian management, but this remains about as viable as herding cats through jam, so invariably ends with Plan B.
Plan B is a vibrating cow with a saw in its ass
The Payday crew continue their messy and unreliable love affair with circular saws, which as per usual are liberally applied to any doors or shutters in their way, giving time for the obligatory waves upon waves of comically inadequate law enforcers to be slaughtered. While the combat is entertaining as ever, the static nature of the level tends to stagnate the experience into an indeterminately long process of fortification, with some minor distractions, rather than a constantly unfolding action sequence, which is where Payday is normally at its best.
It’s no First World Bank, and perhaps more importantly it’s no No Mercy. That said, it’s still a fun diversion, and it’s free, so reviewing it is almost totally pointless anyway. Overkill’s real moment of reckoning will be the imminent Wolf Pack DLC, which this latest update is presumably a belated advert for.