There's pretty much no way to describe this game without making a direct comparison to its obvious inspiration, Left 4 Dead
. So I'll just go ahead and do it.
Left 4 Dead
is a 4-player co-op game about 4 archetypes living in a Zombie Apocalypse
, who fight through waves of enemies to reach an escape. It's filled with locations and themes taken from zombie movies in general, and in some ways, has been called a homage to the genre.
Pay Day The Heist
is more or less the same thing except with heist/great robbery movies. The gameplay is also very similar. Four characters at all times (unless AI help is disabled), and humans or AI can fill in the role. Sadly, the game works on the lobby system rather than Drop In Drop Out Multiplayer
, so if people quit, they won't come back and no-one will take their place. A big misstep in my opinion.
There are some notable changes in how things work. You have one non-regenerating life meter and one short-term regenerating "shield" meter, allowing players to hide and recuperate if they take few hits, but still punishing carelessness with cumulative long-term damage. You can take hostages, which serve as extra lives in a sense - freeing a hostage when a player is dead/"captured" causes the player to be revived/"set free", a neat mechanic. Killing civilians causes a time delay before you can be revived.
The biggest change of all is how the levels are structured. Instead of "start at beginning, reach the end" like in Left 4 Dead
, here most levels take place primarily in one area with numerous objectives. The objectives are centered around things like destroying metal locks, clearing an area of enemies, and so on, and they keep changing over the course of gameplay, forcing the player to take the fight somewhere else. Items such as hidden explosives may need to be collected, encouraging players to spread out, or they may need to work on an immediate goal as a team. Ultimately, it changes the pacing and feel of the game, and makes it a very different game in that regard.
I just wish there were a bit more to the game. Some levels have you fighting your way forward through a street, which I find frustratingly difficult. I much prefer the "one big building" type levels. Also, there's only six levels.
Still, for a budget game, I'm impressed.