PAYDAY 3: Chapter 1 – Syntax Error review — Corrupted data

After thwarting the conspiracy leaned against them, the Payday crew is back on the offensive. The Syntax Error heist tasks you with infiltrating the tech-giant Scry Digital, but it won’t be cash you’re nabbing this time around. Highly coveted and valuable drone data is hosted on their server network, protected by a cutting edge AI system. With hacking out of the question, you’ll need to crawl through ducts, avoid scanner drones and sneak past guards to remove the servers manually. Or if you’re the loud type, lock and load your new arsenal and storm the data center, just don’t forget your mask.

Payday 3 Syntax Error DLC Let's Play Stealth Co-Op Run

Starting on the busy streets of New York, you’ll soon find your way into the belly of the data security giant. Once you’ve made your way down into the basement, you’ll need to secure the server racks containing the drone data and sneak out unnoticed. If you are detected, you’ll need to switch up your plan on the fly, deactivating the AI protecting the servers and blasting a new exit out from the underground. The path to entering the server room is pretty linear, and this theme continues throughout the majority of the heist. You’ll of course have branching objectives depending on whether or not you’re going quiet or loud, but beyond that each run will feel pretty similar outside of the randomized keycard and server locations. The heist overall is a bit on the smaller/shorter side, and while not necessarily a bad thing in my eyes, I would have liked to see maybe just a bit more meat on the bone.

New to this heist are the drone-type enemies, which are deployed by the new Techie unit and fly through the air to rain down bullets from above. These pesky foes are relentless in their pursuit, and while they are fragile, they pack a punch. Their mere presence forces you to change up your strategy, as they can shoot over cover and can bring down your team if left unchecked. The Techie themself will hide somewhere on the map, and must be tracked down to stop the flow of killer robots. There’s also a suite of new perks to interact with these drones, such as allowing you to hack them to fire at the cops instead. This new enemy is a serious threat, and is absolutely a priority target, especially on higher difficulties. While the Techie is currently exclusive to the Syntax Error heist, the developers do plan on introducing this enemy to existing heists later down the line.

There are three new guns included in the chapter as well, and provide some unique variants within their weapon classes. The WAR-45 submachine gun is probably the most tame of the bunch, sporting a lower fire rate in favor of higher impact. It felt great to use, and was easy to drop into a load out without much worry besides the typical drawbacks of SMGs (range, reserve ammo). The FIK 22 TLR marksman rifle leans in the other direction, with a high fire rate but much lower impact damage. Headshots are practically a requirement to squeeze value out of this gun, and while the low recoil can make lining up your shots easier, armored targets are a nightmare for this weapon. Finally there is the FSA-12G shotgun, a magazine-fed room sweeper that is a blast to use. This rapid fire shotgun is a menace when enemies rush you, and provides a ton of fire power for locking down tight corridors and close quarters engagements. While these weapons are fun to use, I can’t help but feel like these could have either been folded into the cost of the heist itself or included as part of a free update. Selling three guns, a decal and a charm for $5.99 is likely going to be a hard sell for most players, even if it’s discounted in the bundle version.

The tailor pack has some decent cosmetics to deck out your heisters with, containing four masks, four gloves and four outfits. The masks are pretty charming, with the poindexter nerd and emotive retro robot being my favorites, but the suits and gloves are simply okay. My biggest issue with this pack is that all of the masks are presets, meaning you won’t be able to customize them outside of their default look which is a bit of a let down. Whether or not these cosmetics are to your liking is of course subjective, and with the price of the tailor pack being higher than those found in Payday 2, this may or may not end up being worth it to you.

While the experience of slinking through vents and swiping servers elicits some great spy-movie action, this chapter as a whole felt a bit middling in terms of a whole package. You can of course buy each pack of this chapter separately (Heist, Tailor Pack, Weapon Pack) if you only want certain pieces, but they will be priced higher than they would be if you bought them together. Things feel a bit overpriced for what you’re getting, but it is worth mentioning that only the host player needs to have the DLC, meaning you can invite your friends to play even if they haven’t purchased the heist. It’s still an enjoyable heist if you’ve been a fan of Payday 3, but I don’t think this expansion will do a lot to draw you back in if you’ve already turned away from a life of crime.

Editor | Website

Corvo is a writer who loves to explore journalism through video games. Writing and editing reviews for triple-A games and indies alike, he finds his passion within expressing his experiences in a fair and accurate manner. Some of Corvo's favorite games are Destiny 2, Mass Effect, and Disco Elysium.



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Review Guidelines

Even though there is fun to be had in this server-snatching raid, there’s more errors found here than just syntax. The heist itself may be short and fairly linear, but it’s still an enjoyable addition to the main game with the cosmetics and weapons being a bitter-sweet cherry on top. It’s always great to add to my crime-closet and upgrade my arsenal, but the extra cost does make it feel like maybe I’m the one getting robbed.

Corvo Rohwer

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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