Payday 3 Closed Beta Preview Calling All Criminals Featured Image
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Payday 3: Closed Beta preview – Calling all criminals

Being the bad guy can't be this fun, can it?

We’re a month shy of Starbreeze Studio’s heist shooter Payday 3, but we at PC Invasion got a hands-on look at what’s to come in the third entry of the franchise. If you’re coming from any of the predecessors such as Payday 2, which is one of our favorite games on Steam, you won’t have a hard time adapting. During the Closed Beta preview weekend of Payday 3, Starbreeze gave players a single heist called “No Rest for the Wicked”. While I played only what felt like ten percent of the game, what I experienced was quite interesting. Since I’m new to the Payday series, I was excited to see what new things are coming when the studio showed gameplay earlier this summer. Now, Payday is a niche shooter, so it may not work for you, however, I strongly suggest reading my first-hand impression — you may become a fan.

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Setting up the perfect heist 

Jumping from Payday 2 to the third entry felt natural, a lot of what made the sequel fun is present in Payday 3. However, understand that these games will feel like modern shooters like Battlefield but will play differently. Before going into each match, you create a loadout filled with the familiar things: Main weapon, secondary weapon, grenade, supply box (health, ammo, or shield), and your Overkill weapon. Plus, the more you play, the more Infamy you earn, resulting in more gear to be unlocked. 

At the start when I was stuck with the default loadout, I felt held back. This made the game feel not as strong in the chaotic moments. Once I began leveling up and earning more money to buy more gear, I started noticing how adaptable I was being. This was probably one of the best aspects of the Closed Beta for Payday 3, your loadout matters quite a bit. I recommend tweaking your loadouts after each match because you’ll constantly be unlocking new things and upgrades. 

On top of all that, you create your criminal the way you see fit. Such as picking the trademark mask, this way you can stand out. The options were somewhat limited in the Closed Beta, but I managed to create something unique for me. 

Payday 3 Player Looking The Street

Screenshot via PC Invasion

Same plan new heist

Assuming you’ve robbed a bank…in Payday, you probably repeated the strategise. Expect to do much of the same for Payday 3, such as disabling cameras or taking out some poor guard who’s just doing his job. My favorite part about the gameplay of Payday 3 is that you can do the heist in any way you want to. Just be prepared for the consequences. 

The game does reward you — it also punishes you. This helps get immersed better because now there are stakes. When you’re invested in the robbery, you want to play in a certain way, otherwise, everything can go against you and your crew. Opting to go silent is more challenging, but you earn a lot of XP and bonuses. However, going loud also has its own merits. When things go horribly wrong, things sort of get more fun. For every wave of police spawning and every time the objective is updated, the music kicks into a sporadic rhythm. During those moments, I began playing faster by running around and doing what needed to be done. This pulled me in and sold me because even though the plan is shot I adapted, which in turn, made the chaos go in my favor. 

Payday 3 Looking Up As Cops Come Down

Screenshot via PC Invasion

A tradesman and their tools

For the Closed Beta preview of Payday 3, I was only afforded several weapons for both primary and secondary plus grenades and 1 Overkill Weapon. Even though the default M4A1 became stagnant around the tenth match, it felt right. Each weapon packs a punch no matter the size. The shotgun for example felt like a real shotgun. Every shot I took with the pump action weapon impacted. For the smaller secondary weapons like the revolver felt proper, each shot felt larger than what it actually was. This can be attributed to the sound design of the weapons. As you shoot them, you can hear the damage you’re causing.

You can also upgrade each weapon that can be bought via in-game money. This is what I mean when you should be tweaking your setup, because each match may call for a different play style. 

Creating a career criminal

There is an RPG element to Payday 3, but it’s not that deep. The more you do a certain action, the more you’ll level up that part. However, you must buy the base skill first by using a skill point. To earn a skill point, level up your Infamy. By using skills, you can create a play style unique to you. If you want to heal more, there are skills for that. In the full game of Payday 3, this may make you distinct from the others. 

At the start of the game, you could feel weak and easier to overcome. But these skills tie the gameplay and gunplay together. So when you earn skill points and spend them as you get them, you could see your experience change drastically. 

Payday 3 Player Looking At Other Players

Screenshot via PC Invasion

A crew of outlaws

If you’ve watched any sort of movie or TV show involving a heist or a robbery, you’ll notice much communication plays a role. While playing the Closed Beta of Payday 3, things went south fast because no one on my squad was talking. Unfortunately, for the Closed Beta preview of Payday 3, I was only able to play with strangers. While some coordinated, others went off in their own way. Payday as a series is built around what you and your crew do. When everyone is on the same page, you can execute the plan with ease. However, if no one is communicating or properly preparing, expect the cops to show up quickly in force. 

When everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do, you see the game in its fullest form. My only issue with this is that Payday 3 works best with friends since everyone can plan better that way. If you play with strangers, you’re getting a mixed bag since everyone has their own goal. However, no matter what, I didn’t lose my patience because the objectives were relatively easy to do. 

The future of bank robbing

Payday 3 as a whole doesn’t change much of an already perfected formula. It doesn’t need to, it’s building upon what makes these games great. Which is giving you the freedom to pull off the heist in any way you want to. Regardless if you go silent or go loud, you’ll still get rewarded. The game just asks you to be adaptable. There is a lot of potential for Payday 3, and Starbreeze has been very supportive of their older games. Payday 2 got its latch batch of post-release content in 2020, 8 years after its original release. One could assume that Payday 3 will have just as long as a life. This is good news because Payday 3 deserves a lot more eyes on it. With more support, it seems like more players could dive into the criminal underworld.

Payday 3 is available for pre-order now via Steam.


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Raza Malik
Raza is a Contributing Writer who's been at PC Invasion since March 2023. After he earned his Media Arts degree at Niagara College, he went on to grow his portfolio by working at such publications as GameRant. While he plays a wide array of different types of games, Raza enjoys discussing open-world games, shooters, and live service games. Some of his favorite series include Assassin's Creed, God of War, and the Diablo series. On the side, he enjoys editing videos, and creating content for his side project Marching Into Madness.