So a well known comedian once said that more than anything else a guy wanted to be in a heist.  He went on to describe a scenario in which the heist from a famous movie is every guy’s dream come true.  I have no proof whatsoever that someone at the software developer has ever seen the comedian, but it is the foundation for a game that is one giant homage to movie and televisions heists and I have no problem picking up an in-game gun and tying to find the van. I first got a chance to check the game out at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, as it had been quietly under-development by a company called Overkill that had been taken under Sony’s wing for distribution.  As one E3-goer said to me,  “… it’s kinda like Heat and kinda like The Dark Knight”.

So, when I got a chance to review it, I was thrilled. I don’t want to give away too much of the story or how many homages can be found in the game but, if you love first person shooters or heist films, this game is a blast.  It encourages you to go faster through levels in a very simple manner, the enemies get meaner and there are more of them the longer the heist takes.  And, by enemies I mean bank security, then patrol cops and plain clothes officers, followed by S.W.A.T. and more…  If you wait around too long, it can get pretty hairy and you might find yourself close to a clean getaway only to get arrested.

Gameplay is pretty solid, the graphics look decent, and the AI isn’t stupid. In fact, the game AI often reacts the way you would expect real players would.  If you shoot at the cops from one stairwell and then run around to the other one, they are caught off-guard for a moment but adjust quickly.  They take cover for the most part and, though they do have very good aim, it isn’t perfect.  The same can be said for your partners in crime.  They aren’t slow to react to situations and if you lead the way towards an objective they are hot on your heels and covering your six – which is good because that is exactly where the AI would like to put a few rounds.

Overall, the game developers did a great job with only a couple issues I saw here and there.  One minor one was that sometimes your AI teammates would try to take cover on the wrong side of an object.  It looked almost like your teammates were trying to protect desks and tables or something.  I found a quick withdrawal and immediate repositioning would get your team on the right side of cover.  Another is, considering the complexity of the heists, some of the tools used are remarkably poorly-made.  You are trying to steal millions of dollars and you can’t bring yourself to invest in a drill worth more than a garage sale freebie bin?

My last complaint is probably one that will be addressed eventually: There are only six missions.  They shove a lot of homages into six missions but, in the end, it is still only six missions.  Thankfully, the game costs less than $20 dollars so six well put-together missions is a pretty decent deal – it just leaves you wanting more.

Last Call: If you’re someone who likes first person shooters and heist movies this is a game for you!  It is so much fun to play that though it is short is has great replay value and its multiplayer co-op gives you a chance to see how the heist would work if you had to work with real players and what happens if teamwork breaks down (hint: lots of bullet holes and hand cuffs).  Time for me to throw on my plastic Payday mask and get back at it.