Heist - first look

As a concept Heist is solid gold - lead a crew of badasses as you plan and pull off a series of bank robberies in 1969 San Francisco. Just the idea evokes countless Hollywood images of cool guns, cool sunglasses, cool muscle cars, cool afros and fat bundles of cool, crisp dollar bills. And that's definitely a good thing, because it's exactly the vibe that Heist is shooting for.

Certainly all those elements were represented in the sections of the game we were shown by developer inXile Entertainment recently (the people behind the fun-poking RPG, The Bard's Tale), who were keen to show off its bell-bottomed bank robber despite it still obviously being a good country mile from completion. So while we can't confidently hail Heist as a sure thing just yet, we can say that it's certainly banking stacks of promise.

After casing the joint, then, we've pulled out a bunch of reasons why we think Heist has the potential to be an absolute trip...

You're a professional criminal
Taking the role of Johnny Sutton, players are firmly fixed on the wrong side of the law, which is always a desirable place to hang in a videogame. Rolling with your crew of mobsters (three guys have got your back) robbing banks, holding up diners, sticking up strip joints and indulging in a little carjacking around Heist's open-world environment definitely sounds like a good time to us. You won't be strong-armed in any particular direction, either, so you'll be able to pursue your life of crime at your own pace.

The banks are Heist's 'bosses'
That's right - Heist's banks are the equivalent of fire-breathing, octo-tentacled, armed-to-the-eyeballs bosses. Initially they're harder to break than hard-boiled bullion, but once you identify those weak spots they'll fall faster than a house of cards in a tornado. Where are the cameras? How tough's the vault? How many security guards are there? Where's the best place to hold hostages? Studious crime is so much more respectable.

However, while inXile made it clear that extensive planning won't be essential and that you'll be able to play the game how you want, if you're looking for the kudos of being the greatest bank robber of all time, you'll need to study those blueprints and plan your hit meticulously. The longer a job takes the more chance there is of the alarm being raised, so things have to tick smoother than a Swiss timepiece if you want to avoid a painful run in with the cops.

Matt Cundy
I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.