September is an absolute treat for Game Pass fans this year. Not only has it seen the arrival of the generation-defining Starfield, we've also been treated to Pinocchio-flavoured souls-like Lies of P. But for me there's a third title that trumps both of them that hits Game Pass today, the same day it's released on PS5.
Payday 3 is a game I have been looking forward to for years. Having purchased the previous game on both PS3 and PS4 it's fair to say I've racked up plenty of time robbing banks, scamming businessmen and causing criminal mayhem (virtually of course). But I don't even need to buy Payday 3 to play it on Xbox Series X or PC from launch.
From what I've played so far, this latest version still has the same magic. The old gang are welcome faces (well, masks) for returning fans but the basic premise of see bank, rob bank, hardly puts off new players. As an online co-op experience, there's something decidedly old-school that appeals with PayDay 3. Maybe it's triumphing against the overwhelming police force, or perfectly completing a heist undetected, but each job feels like a win for teamwork. Personally, I attribute a lot of fun to how much the series leans into its theme. You do genuinely feel like a bank robber.
Heists are varied but as a rule of thumb, you start undetected and must innocuously case the target location, not lingering too long in front of cameras and guards. Then when you give the signal, you and your crew will put on their masks and the job begins. You can now either go in full guns blazing or try and sneak around. Personally, I like to stealth as much as possible until the proverbial hits the fan. This gives a great sense of panic as plans adapt and change on the fly and the sirens start blaring.
This latest instalment doesn't just introduce new weapons and heists but also a few new mechanics. You can now take as many hostages as you like (previously you were limited by the amount of zip ties you had) with each one buying you more time before the police attack, and you can trade them for resources, (health and ammo) in the quieter moments of police assaults. Everyone now also has an 'Overkill weapon' that you can find delivered mid-way through the mission, this is a heavy-duty weapon like a grenade launcher that really evens the odds. Not only is it on Game Pass, but PayDay 3 is also cross-play between different consoles and PC so there's no excuse for your friends not to join your crew.
If you don't hear from me for a while, I'm probably either playing PayDay 3 or lying low, waiting for the heat to die down and planning my next heist.