PAYDAY: The Heist immediately grabbed my attention at E3 2011 because it emphasizes co-operative play over the run-and-gun Rambo tactics of other multiplayer shooters on the show floor. The idea is a cross between Left 4 Dead and The Dark Knight's opening sequence or Heat (or, as I embarrassingly compared it to then -- Point Break). It's a cool concept and one I hope catches on.
PAYDAY's visuals tend to flip-flop between good and not-so-good. The overall image looks great, especially amid the chaos of a massive heist. The air is thick with dust and other debris kicked up as the cops and robbers trade gunfire, yet the actual movements during the fight are stiff and somewhat clunky. Then again, each environment looks really cool and showcases its own distinct look, yet some feel more like game levels than actual environments. I'm not knocking a level for looking like a level, but considering the game's premise, I didn't like the feeling of being reminded, "Hey, this is a game."
PAYDAY is a co-op game, and if you're playing it right, you probably won't notice much of the noise in the background. The music fits the setting perfectly, offering a slick, seedy soundtrack for your heists and the voicework is pretty good. Still, once the cops break out the big guns and start assaulting you from all sides, much of the ambience will be lost on gunfire and frantic yelling of commands between players.