“Do it your way!” is a phrase that makes me sad often in heist titles. Usually when they say that, they actually mean “play it one way if you can, but the other unpolished way lacks a fail state.” Monaco had awkward stealth mechanics, Masterplan goes to hell if you go loud and Payday 2 (due to build mechanics) forces you to pick stealth or loud prior to leaping in. So Filthy Lucre caught my eye, seemingly catering to run-n-gun robbery and tip-toeing burglary, oddly at the same time. So it’s time to again feed the demon in my head that tells me to kill everything with a pulse, stuff everything not nailed down into my pockets and scarper before the old bill appears.
Filthy Lucre is a twin-stick loot-n-shoot title by Fabrik Games. First mulling about on the PS4, it has now appeared onto PC. Plot is, as usual, barely existent in these heist games. Always a pity but what can you do? Bricktop from Snatch lookalikie gets screwed over, so wants you to get vengeance on the lot of ’em. How? Steal everything, break things and probably leave enough corpses in your wake to make a warlord ask you to cool it with the murder.
So you pick your plonker, choose two weapons and two gadgets to take in with you and decide on a mission to do. Then off you trot. You have the primary objective, four secondary objectives and a couple of challenges. Although the game does a pretty bad job of telling me why secondary and primary missions are apart. “Well, primary goals allow you to leave!” Well, no, because I can leave whenever I want. “So, it’s what you have to do to progress to the next stage?” Again, no, because unlocking new missions is levelling up based. Unless if you’re raiding a bank, which then I think it might actually be that.
Which these objectives, for better and for worse, can be boiled down to two categories: drag a bag of loot to the exit (which you can carry two at a time) or interact with an object at a location. While simplistic enough to remember what’s what, it never tests you to switch up your winning formula.
However, the trickiness isn’t really in how to solve objectives. It’s how to get them done without the alarm going off. How you do that is your call. While you’re theoretically able to creep around silently, breaking necks, you can also go in guns-blazing. Fortunately ear-plugs are in fashion so only those nearby will hear if you keep silencers off your guns. Despite this, there’s no reason not to shove a suppressor on if you’re raiding as damage/range differences are so minimal as to not be noticeable. Still, it’s nice to have the freedom to approach a problem in a new way if you wish.
However, your options are rather minimal. While Filthy Lucre boasts “30+ upgradeable weapons and gadgets” most of them come with the question, “why?” You COULD use a shotgun which lacks range, but why when a revolver works too at range? You COULD use a non-silenced gun, but why when a silenced gun is just as effective while silent? You COULD play around with gadgetry, but why when EMPs and noise-makers are just so valuable? No matter your approach, you’ll be clinging onto the same load-out.
While your EMPs will be your bread-and-butter, guns that propel enemies will be your bane. As the main way things will go wrong isn’t if you’re seen, as bullets will fix that. It’s the cameras that cannot be broken and can rarely be turned off. As your alarm level will increase bit-by-bit upon spotting bodies, bringing in reinforcements. Once it hits high enough, the hitsquads are called out and a timer is on to get out before the net closes. This makes sure that no matter how twitchy your trigger-finger is, you still have to apply some caution to the mix.
Where this becomes a headache is how the difficulty reveals itself in Filthy Lucre. It avoids the nature of solving increasingly harder puzzles based on level design, new mechanics and new enemies. Instead, they settle for flinging more enemies and more cameras at you in bigger levels, challenging you as a difference in scale that feels less like a puzzle and more like learning how to extend your blood-lust fuelled killing spree longer before it all goes wrong.
Although if you are stuck, there is a piece of solace in all this. Rather than dragging you into doing the primary objective to allow you to access the secondary, you can do however much you wish on a run at a time. As long as you escape, your progress is saved. You can arrive, do all the secondary objectives, get away, remember you forgot the primary and return. Even if you then proceed to have your nose cartilage rammed into your brain via a palm strike, your secondary objectives are saved and tucked away. This works as a neat little way to ward off the constant feeling of having to do a lot in a row without being caught.
The final score of Filthy Lucre is a 5.5/10. You may notice this review lacks the cutting edge of criticism or the worshipping glee of praise. The sad nature is it is what games journalists would technically call a “nothing title.” A title that is generally inoffensive, does what it says on the tin, distracts from the misery in real life and does nothing else. It lacks that moment of excellence or a charismatic part. In a similar way, it doesn’t offend, doesn’t frustrate and doesn’t break.
Maybe Americans may be more wooed by its English nature. After all, the narrator does give his best Guy Richie film impression. As someone who is English, I suppose this is like showing King of the Hill to Texans: you lose the appeal born from the setting as it lacks its charm to its own occupants. Still, if you’re looking for something to scratch that thievin’ itch you have on you, Filthy Lucre is a cheap little plunder that may be worth a butcher’s.
A PC Review Code for Filthy Lucre was provided by Fabrik Games for the purpose of this review
- Alert system discourages run-n-gun, but doesn't stop it
- Freedom to approach problems however you desire
- If stuck, can redo levels, doing different objectives each time
- Lack of real escalation except “MORE PEOPLE, MORE CAMERAS”
- Few tactics/load ups
- No good way to deal with cameras