The shooting in the game (and there is a lot of it) is passable. The mechanics are solid, but if any game needed a cover mechanic that truly worked it is this game. Unfortunately cover is spotty at best and tracking where you are being shot from is very difficult at times due to enemies who can seem to hit you from anywhere. The guns are all well done and as you level up and chose better weapons there are some nice options.
This game is labeled as both single- and multi-player with AI controlled players filling the ranks when you are alone, but solo is nigh useless due to the dumb AI. Teammates never reset the tools, rarely take hostages (which distract the police) and generally only follow you providing cover fire and occasional revivals. Playing online is not much better unfortunately. There really is no matchmaking service so unless you have friends playing the game (none of mine have it), you are stuck with strangers who are often dumber then the AI players. This lack of great partners really hampers the progression system as well. Much of the interesting perks and gear is unlocked in later levels you are forced to plow through with dud partners (online and AI) which makes the whole process tedious.
Graphically the game is solid if very generic. The set pieces look good, but the cops, hostages, and characters are all fairly plain and nothing really stands out. What does work is the layout and design of the scenarios. The gameplay may feel tagged onto these great scenarios, but they really are well done and show a great deal of potential, it is just a shame that PAYDAY: The Heist never capitalizes on it.
This game could have been really great, with a bigger budget perhaps, or with some further thought into a cohesive experience. Instead of an inventive and fun heist game with interesting objectives we are left with a generic (and repetitive shooter) bogged down with micro management and partners who are just short of useless.
PAYDAY: The Heist is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language. This game can also be found on: PC.