PAYDAY: The Heist – Wolfpack Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

PAYDAY: The Heist – Wolfpack Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Welcome To The Wolfpack

Last October, I reviewed PAYDAY: The Heist , a four-player co-op shooter that tasked players with pulling off insane heists. While the concept was great and the game was a blast when four people teamed up, I had a few issues with it. For example, the A.I. failed to impress and the controls felt sloppier than they should. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a ton of fun with it, its biggest flaws being completely forgotten in the midst of the four-player insanity.

Since then, PAYDAY caused a bit of controversy, ruffling the feathers of Valve by claiming an upcoming add-on would be something of a prequel to Left 4 Dead. Of course, this was a bit of an exaggeration (and the word “prequel” got downgraded to the phrase “fan fiction”), but it got us excited about pulling off a heist in a hospital and potentially causing the zombie Apocalypse in the process. Sadly, this content was exclusive to the PC version of the game.

PAYDAY: The Heist - Wolfpack Screenshot

But PS3 owners aren’t left out of the loop with PAYDAY’s Wolfpack DLC, which is now available. So what’s included in this ten-dollar package?

First of all, Wolfpack includes two brand new heists: Counterfeit and Undercover.

Counterfeit takes place in Florida, where, as the name implies, you must infiltrate a counterfeit operation, steal the print plates, and vamoose through the sewers. You begin disguised as pool repairmen, and keeping a low profile is actually a good idea here. That’s what your silenced weapons are for, after all.

Undercover takes place in Washington D.C., where you attempt to intercept information held by a shady IRS agent. This goes bad very early on, and you wind up dropping the agent’s car through the roof of a building. You must saw him out of the car, bring him to a computer, and interrogate him to get the passwords you need in order to unlock the data. All the while, waves of SWAT soldiers are dropping in on you.

PAYDAY: The Heist - Wolfpack Screenshot

It seems that at some point between the original heists and the two new ones, the police figured out that they can cut the power to completely ruin your day. They are constantly flipping circuit breakers and disconnecting the power grid in order to make your life suck. This actually gets annoying very fast, and causes your objectives to feel staler than those of the original heists.

When reviewing PAYDAY back in October, I made this comment about the mission structure: “Each job plays out like an adrenaline-fueled movie blockbuster, with (very) brief scenes of quietude spliced between over-the-top action sequences.” Unfortunately, I can’t make the same statement about Wolfpack’s heists.

PAYDAY: The Heist - Wolfpack Screenshot

Whereas the original game’s missions focused on spectacle, the DLC missions feel a bit mundane, as you spend a majority of the time completing minor, repetitive tasks that continuously get interrupted by power outages or computer crashes. There’s no real equivalent to the base game’s skyhook moment or airlifting an entire room out of a drug den. (The only thing that even comes close is the aforementioned dropping of the car through the roof of a building. Even this feels less grandiose than it should considering it’s just a combination of events from the Slaughterhouse and Panic Room heists.) And that’s a shame, because these moments are when PAYDAY is at its best.

Additionally, there’s a new class called the Technician, which, when added to the base game’s Assault, Sharpshooter, and Support classes, brings the class total up to four. This is appropriate, since there are four characters, so now each player can have a different class now. (Apparently, Overkill has a class match for each character, as the Technician is supposedly based off the character Wolf.)

The Technician is basically exactly what it sounds like. His skills are more about doing fun things with technology than being a murdering machine. For example, you can earn the ability to hack devices quicker (a skill you’ll be quite thankful for) and you have some cool toys to play with. Coolest of all are the sentry guns.

Of course, all the Technician’s skills must be unlocked via leveling up. To accommodate this, the level cap has been raised from the seemingly random 145 to the even more random 193. Yes, that’s a whole 48 extra levels of felony-committing madness.

Perhaps the coolest feature of all is something they’re calling “One Pays; All Play.” Basically, only the person hosting a game needs to own the expansion. Even your freeloading slacker friends can get in on the action as long as one of you ponies up the cash. This means you won’t have to worry about dropping ten bucks on missions you’ll never play because your friends are too cheap (or poor) to pay for the content.

PAYDAY: The Heist - Wolfpack Screenshot

Now, in coming back to the game after several months of not playing it, I remembered why I made some of the complaints I did when reviewing the original. The controls, while mimicking Call of Duty almost to a T, feel awkward. One of my main concerns last time was that the look sensitivity was adjustable in increments that made it difficult to find that “sweet spot.” This time around, I was distracted by how slow aim-down-sites is. It takes enough time to pull up your sites that in frantic situations (and PAYDAY is a game that completely revolves around frantic situations), you’ll find yourself hip-firing almost all of the time. Now, maybe I’ve been spoiled from playing way too much Modern Warfare 3, but it’s hard to adjust to this slowness.

Also, the graphics haven’t improved. While the art direction is still pretty incredible, everything looks blockier than you’d expect from a current-gen title. And some of the animations are just horrific. For example, in the beginning of the Counterfeit heist, you must talk to a man named Mitchell. He starts talking to you, but no part of his face moves at all, not even his mouth. It’s almost creepy.

Still, despite the game’s flaws, the Wolfpack DLC manages to be crazy stupid fun when you get a full group of four players. Sure, it has some things that could have been done better, but at the end of the day, ten bucks is a fair price for the extra content here.

Graphics aren’t up to snuff compared to a lot of the other shooters out there, and some of the animations are downright lazy. 3.2 Control
It’s the CoD button scheme, only done more awkwardly. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music’s great and the sound effects are halfway decent, but the voice acting could have been better. 4.0 Play Value
The new heists aren’t as engaging as the originals, but you’ll get your ten dollars’ worth nonetheless. 3.2 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • New Weapons: Got a problem? Solve it by spraying some lead on the move with the all-new auto handgun and assault rifle. Want people to fear you? Show them the shiny new grenade launcher; it will blow them away, literally. Need someone to watch your back? Release the brand new deployable sentry gun to take out your enemies.
  • The Technician: Based on the character Wolf, the technician is a man who knows how to get things done. With a new skill set and equipment, the technician is a techno-sociopath using the sentry-gun and tool kit.
  • One Pays, All Plays: Got friends in high places? If you are tight on cash until the next score, all you need is a friend with the content. The new heists can only be hosted if you own the DLC, but anyone with the base game can join for free.
  • Just When You Think You Are Out, They Pull You Back In: With all new trophies and achievements, there is a whole lot more for you to brag about. Also, the sky is the limit with a raised level cap.

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