Payday 3 Review – A Disappointing Sequel

The third times definitely not the charm.

Payday 3 Review
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance


Payday 3 offers a refined gameplay experience, but the lack of a decent progression system and QoL features holds it back from greatness.

  • Developer: Starbreeze Studios
  • Publisher: Deep Silver
  • Release Date: September 21, 2023
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
  • Tested On: PC


  • Tight Gunplay
  • Engaging Heists
  • Deep Customization
  • Great Visuals
  • Addictive Loop


  • Grind-Heavy
  • Always Online
  • Missing QoL Features
  • Bad Matchmaking System
  • Lack of Voice Chat
  • Frustrating A.I.

Payday 3 has finally emerged from the shadows, and with the franchise’s signature crew, intricate plots, and high-stakes action, it aims to be the ultimate heist experience. But, as seasoned players of the series know, not every caper goes off without a hitch.

So, let’s dive into this gritty world with our review, where the line between success and disaster is as thin as a laser tripwire, and examine whether it lives up to its lofty promises or leaves us counting our losses.

Story And Setting

Payday 3 Review Story and Setting
Story And Setting. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Payday 3 offers players an exciting journey through the heart of New York city. While the franchise is not primarily known for its narrative prowess, it still manages to inject some fresh life into its plot, providing fans with an engaging backdrop for their criminal exploits.

The narrative continues the journey of the original gang members – Dallas, Chains, Wolf, and Hoxton – who return despite their retirement after the events of Payday 2. Joined by returning heister Joy and a new character, Pearl, the crew finds themselves in dire straits.

Assassination attempts and empty offshore accounts have left them in need of answers and funds. It’s a familiar setup, but it works well to thrust players back into the action.

Cinematics bookend each heist, setting the mood with atmospheric scenes and hinting at the overarching narrative.

The storytelling is sparse on details but intriguing enough to maintain player engagement. Cinematics bookend each heist, setting the mood with atmospheric scenes and hinting at the overarching narrative. It serves its purpose, providing context and motivation for the players of the heist embark upon.

Where Payday 3 truly shines is in its setting – the bustling streets of New York City. The game’s heists take players on a thrilling journey through various locations in the city, each with its unique atmosphere and challenges.

The attention to detail in recreating the city’s iconic landmarks is commendable and adds to the immersion of the heisting experience.


PayDay 3 Review Gameplay
Gameplay. (Image by eXputer)

At the heart of Payday 3’s gameplay lies the art of the heist itself. Players step into the shoes of professional criminals, forming a four-player crew, and embarking on a series of high-stakes heists.

These missions encompass a diverse range of scenarios, from infiltrating banks to robbing nightclubs and orchestrating daring art heists. The variety of objectives and settings ensures that each heist is a unique and engaging experience.

One of the standout features is the expanded casing phase. This pre-heist phase allows players to immerse themselves in the intricacies of their surroundings, gather essential information, and meticulously plan their approach.

Unlike previous installments, where planning was often rushed, this enhanced casing phase encourages strategic thinking. Understanding the environment, identifying security measures, and devising entry and escape routes become pivotal to a successful heist.

While stealth remains a viable option in many missions, this title embraces the chaos of all-out firefights. It offers players the flexibility to choose their preferred approach to a situation, whether that involves sneaking past security cameras and guards or unleashing sheer firepower with the crew.

This adaptability enhances the gameplay’s depth and replayability.

The shooting mechanics have been refined, resulting in a more satisfying and responsive gunplay experience.

Taking hostages adds a new layer of strategy to the heist experience. Players can use hostages as bargaining chips, negotiating with the police to buy more time before a full-scale assault commences. These high-pressure moments of negotiation add a palpable sense of tension and excitement to the gameplay.

The moment-to-moment gameplay in Payday 3 is a marked improvement over its predecessor. Its shooting mechanics have been refined, resulting in a more satisfying and responsive gunplay experience.

Players must make crucial decisions on the fly as they adapt to unexpected developments during heists, keeping the action consistently thrilling. Character customization is another area where the game shines, providing freedom to personalize characters by selecting outfits, customizing masks, and modifying weapons.

This is further complemented by the deep weapon customization that allows leveling up their weapons equipping them with multiple mods, effectively transforming basic firearms into specialized tools tailored to their preferences. This level of flexibility in loadout customization empowers players to adapt to various challenges and situations, adding to the game’s depth.

Payday 3 Review Taking Hostages
Taking Hostages. (Image Credits: eXputer)

One of the game’s most significant changes is the introduction of Overkill Weapons. These exceptionally powerful firearms can be called in with limited ammunition once or twice per heist, allowing one to counter the increasingly formidable police and militia forces they face. 

The game also offers a number of challenges which are divided into three categories: Career, Heist, and Combat. Completing these challenges can grant you cosmetics, cash, and Infamy Levels. But, unfortunately, many of these challenges are grind-heavy.

Players are forced to chase specific challenges for experience points rather than adopting their preferred playstyles. This design choice contradicts the essence of Payday’s core appeal, which revolves around adapting to different situations during heists.

Besides this, Payday 3 does have a number of glaring issues. Concerns revolve around the game’s future content updates and the challenging matchmaking process. Finding an entire squad for heists can be frustrating due to the absence of a randomized playlist, potentially spreading the player base thin. 

The shift from the fantastic CRIME.NET matchmaking system to more traditional matchmaking only serves to further detriment the experience

The lack of capable AI teammates also limits the game’s single-player experience, as computer-controlled companions often prove ineffective. Enemy AI behavior is another aspect that requires improvement.

While there have been changes to NPC behavior, it still feels somewhat lacking, especially for newcomers to the franchise. The occasional AI oddities, such as enemies remaining oblivious to the nearby commotion, disrupt the immersion of the heist experience.

The game also requires an always online and stable internet connection when playing solo. This a huge problem as a massive influx of players at launch has caused the servers to crash, barring many from even enjoying a private game session.

Additionally, the absence of certain quality-of-life features from Payday 2 is puzzling. The shift from the fantastic CRIME.NET matchmaking system to more traditional matchmaking only serves to further detriment the experience.

The lack of in-game voice chat and other small inclusions, such as loadout naming and lobby options, leaves room for improvement. But despite concerns about future content updates and matchmaking challenges, Payday 3’s core gameplay remains strong and engaging.

It successfully evolves the series, offering both long-time fans and newcomers an exciting and immersive heist adventure. This title is a testament to the enduring appeal of the heist genre in the world of video games.

Visuals And Performance

Payday 3 Review Visuals
Visuals. (Captured by eXputer)

Visuals play a crucial role in enhancing the overall atmosphere and immersion of any video game, and PayDay 3 excels in this regard. From the pristine halls of the Surphaze art gallery to the bustling nightclub dance floors of the Neon Cradle, these environments captivate players with their attention to detail and visual fidelity.

Atmospheric design is top-notch as the game masterfully creates the ambiance of high-stakes heists in various settings, immersing players in a world of criminal intrigue. The attention to detail in each location, from the lighting and textures to the background elements, contributes to the game’s visual richness.

This level of visual detail not only serves as eye candy but also reinforces the core fantasy of being a professional criminal orchestrating elaborate heists.

Bullets whiz through the air, explosions light up the screen, and the chaos of heists unfolds with stunning visual fidelity.

Character models and animations also receive a visual overhaul. The main characters, including the returning crew members and the new addition of Pearl, exhibit a higher level of detail in their models and animations.

This attention to character design enhances the players’ connection with their in-game personas, making them feel like genuine members of a criminal crew. Visual effects during intense firefights and action sequences are equally impressive.

Bullets whiz through the air, explosions light up the screen, and the chaos of heists unfolds with stunning visual fidelity. The game’s ability to convey the adrenaline-pumping nature of heists through its visuals adds to the overall excitement of the gameplay experience.

Payday 3 Review Fire Effects
Fire Effects. (Image Captured By eXputer)

PayDay 3’s commitment to visual quality extends to its user interface (UI) design. The UI is clean, intuitive, and unobtrusive, allowing players to access crucial information without distracting from the heist action. This thoughtful UI design contributes to the game’s overall polish and ease of use.

It also delivers stellar performance maintaining consistently high frame rates, even during intense firefights and action-packed heists. This smooth performance ensures that players can fully enjoy the game’s fast-paced and adrenaline-fueled gameplay without any noticeable hiccups or slowdowns.


Payday 3 Review Verdict
Verdict. (Image By eXputer)

Payday 3 offers a familiar heisting experience with improved gameplay mechanics, a rich selection of missions, and a decent narrative that brings back beloved characters. However, it falls short in terms of progression systems, grind-heavy challenges, and the absence of certain quality-of-life features from its predecessor.

The always-online requirement, while frustrating for solo players, keeps the cooperative aspect intact. While Payday 3 has its moments of brilliance, it ultimately feels like an incomplete game that is still quite a few years off from what we expect from a Payday 2 sequel.

This has been our Payday 3 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Asad Ahmad is a Games Reviewer on eXputer who’s combined his passion for writing and gaming into a sweet blend of content for his audience to enjoy. He started off his gaming journey in the RTS genre but settled on RPGs like Skyrim as his go-to games. Asad has a substantial amount of writing experience in reviewing and writing for games, which is backed up by his extensive gaming library on Steam. Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly covers Game Reviews || Education: Bachelors in Electrical Engineering.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.