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Review: Payday 3’s biggest crime is how broken it currently is

Despite some of the quality-of-life improvements made to the framework of Payday 2, this title needs a lot of work.

Image: Deep Silver
Image: Deep Silver

Payday 3

Developer: Starbreeze Studios

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release Date: 9/21/202

Review Score: 6

Quick Verdict:

Payday 3 is a sad experience in its current state, with broken matchmaking, odd UI choices, poor teammate AI, and sometimes game-breaking issues.


  • Gunplay feels smooth and responsive

  • The heists that I played were fun

  • The fresh coat of paint from the new graphics looks nice

  • Payday 2 still exists

  • The music was energetic and fit the mood of the gameplay


  • Matchmaking is broken, can take several minutes to even find a solo match

  • Framerate is often laggy

  • UI has some issues

  • Game breaking crash left me feeling defeated

Reviewer played on PC. The publisher did not provide a code.

Payday 3 is available now on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S

I was really excited about Payday 3. Now I’m just sad, pissed off, and confused. Upon hearing previously in some news about the game that it was to be “online only”, I automatically got worried. I’m not a big fan of always-online titles because you have to not only rely on a server connection to play the game but also that once those servers are gone, the game is too.

So what is Payday? It’s a crime game series where you and three other serial criminals team up and try to pull off heists in order to score big money. These heists can involve robbing an armored truck, a jewelry store, nightclubs, or even an assortment of banks.

While the first Payday title was a ton of fun, the second one is where the series exploded in popularity. So expectations were definitely at an all-time high for Payday 3.

To this day, I really enjoy playing Payday 2. It has plenty of content, lots of great heists to do, and different builds to make for jobs whether they be loud and wild or quiet and stealthy. Progression in Payday 2 feels good. Also, it actually works.

Now I wasn’t expecting Payday 3 to match its predecessor in terms of quality right off the bat (and let’s be fair, Payday 2 is a much different animal today than when it launched), but even with my expectations lowered a bit, I was still pretty disappointed with what we got.

Matchmaking failed

Image: Deep Silver
Image: Deep Silver

So, why am I upset at Payday 3? Well, there are a few reasons. The first one is that for the first few days of attempting to get into a heist to play the game, it took forever to connect to a server (and a lot of times it just wouldn’t at all). My first attempt was about 45 minutes of waiting before it finally let me join a heist.

What I got from the first heist was a mixed bag of emotions. For one, I was happy that the gunplay felt much smoother and responsive this time around, but the framerate didn’t share the same smoothness.

I had a lot of weird framerate dips no matter what settings configuration I chose, so I just dealt with it and soldiered on.

Another odd thing I noticed is that there was no voice chat in the pre-heist lobby. In Payday 2 there was a planning phase where you could talk to teammates and plan everything before you started, so you could decide on going loud or quiet and talk about everyone’s roles in the job. Now that doesn’t seem to be a thing. Which is a bizarre omission in my opinion.

I also noticed that when playing with bots, the AI still doesn’t do anything to help with objectives. I know that some players might like this since they can just do everything themselves and use their teammates as bag holders, but it would have been nice to see them do more than just stand around.

The same can be said for the police force that’s trying to stop you, they behave almost identically as they did in Payday 2. They just stand out in the open and shoot at you while some of the specialty police will try to tase, snipe, or pressure you with shields.

However, please bear in mind that I wasn’t able to play on any difficulties beyond Normal on Payday 3 yet, so they might function much better in those settings.

Not the challenge I was looking for

Image: Deep Silver
Image: Deep Silver

There was also a user interface issue I had with the primary and secondary weapons. Let’s say you want to purchase a shiny new secondary weapon.

If you click the secondary slot and select “Purchase weapon” you should be shown only secondaries to purchase, right? Nope.

Instead, it shows you all of the available weapons for both primary and secondary slots for purchase so you don’t know which is which. This doesn’t make any sense to me.

I also really wish I could tell you all about the progression system in the game and how good or bad it is, but honestly, I don’t know how it is. Why? Well, because I was only able to complete the first three heists before the game crashed and as a result, completely locked me out of playing.

To say this was frustrating is an understatement. I really feel for all of the players out there who have already put down up to $90 for this game only to have an unfinished (and a lot of the time unplayable) product.

So while I would much rather leave you with a detailed and thorough review of Payday 3, I’m just going to have to leave it the way it was released: unfinished.

I can’t recommend this game in its current state, but maybe one day it will be better. Payday 2 has improved a lot over the years. But, even with that being the case, I can’t excuse Payday 3 for releasing this way.

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