Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 35
  2. Negative: 10 out of 35
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  1. Is Soldier of Fortune: Payback a bad game? No, not really. It's a rather enjoyable (if simple) and good looking shooter. It's just that there have been so many amazing playing and looking games in the past few months, that Payback can't compare in comparison.
  2. 65
    If you are a fan of the series and can handle some of the hang-ups found in this latest chapter then by all means snatch it up, I know I could use more people online to play with. However, most FPS gamers looking for the next best thing will find Payback a bit too much on the derivative side to warrant its full price tag.
  3. 65
    A decent enough game that won't leave much of a lasting impression. It's good if you just want some mindless fun but don't go in expecting anything more because the only payback you'll get is a shot in the foot.
  4. However, the game really does feel like a one trick horse and perhaps relies too heavily on the dismemberment and beheadings rather than more inventive gameplay.
  5. 61
    Soldier of Fortune: Payback has one thing going for it: excessive dismemberment. Everything else is standard stuff for a shooter. Yet, I must admit, that I get a guilty pleasure playing Payback. Though it's not a good game, it's still fun to see body parts fly.
  6. The bland story mode, despite whisking you away to numerous locations, features lame brain artificial intelligence, a boring narrative, corny characters and the same point A to point B objectives, making it worth just a few hours of play.
  7. As cliché shooters go, Payback is no "Black," but it's not bad either. If all you're looking for is a predictable, middle-of-the-road shooter - you know, like if you just beat "Mass Effect" and want to rent a couple hours of mindless mayhem - you could do better, but you could also do a lot worse.
  8. 60
    Soldier of Fortune: Payback is not a bad game, it's just not one with universal appeal.
  9. If you are a complete demented whack job, hey, this might be the game for you but for those looking for solid gameplay via both SP and MP, Soldier of Fortune: Payback is not worthy of a rent let alone a $60 purchase.
  10. In a lot of ways, Payback takes the genre back to basics. It’s just you, a few weapons, and a mission; no squad to command, minimal platforming, and no puzzle-solving.
  11. When it all boils down to it, this is nothing more than another straight laced shooter with little to offer people in the value department.
  12. Soldier of Fortune III: Payback has a wonderful plot. The downside is the bugged single player, the terrible framerate, and the sometimes glitchy audio. The only great part about the game, is the timeless multiplayer which has so much to offer.
  13. Soldier of Fortune: Payback is a one-trick pony of blood and guts. And if that’s your thing, you might be able to overlook the generic shooting mechanic, enemy AI that’s cheap and stupid, and dull level design. But we just can’t.
  14. As bog-standard a shooter as we've ever played, marinated in a gallon of blood.
  15. 55
    Soldier of Fortune doesn't cross the line of being a bad game, but it hardly ever breaks the surface of mediocrity either. The visuals and sound show lots of polish, but the generic story, horrible voice acting, and cut-scenes, along with the kamikaze A.I. and boring level design, simply don't.
  16. Games Master UK
    The world's most average shooter, doused in a hundred gallons of blood and gore. [Feb 2008, p.64]
  17. It's impossible to recommend Soldier of Fortune: Payback to new players or fans of the series, like me, who have been waiting for a sequel since Double Helix on the PC, especially when titles such as Call of Duty 4 are available for the same or similar price and deliver a far better experience in every way.
  18. The best thing Activision could have done is discounted the price making Payback closer to a budget title. At the current price point, I can’t recommend Solider of Fortune: Payback for anything more than a rental.
  19. Stock animation generates the same A.I. moves over and over again. This redundant theme is further exacerbated by the gameplay which, despite changing environments, doesn't differ from mission to mission.
  20. With all the great First Person Shooters released in the last year, it only takes a minute of gameplay to see why Payback is lacking.
  21. What we don’t understand is why someone allowed this to soil the reputation of one of the best FPS series of the last generation.
  22. It's very obvious Raven had nothing to do with this game, and longtime fans of the series will notice in the first 20 minutes this isn't close to what the first Soldier of Fortune was. Who knew that gratuitous violence could be made boring?
  23. For some unknown reason Activision took a pretty respectable franchise (I still play SoF2 from time to time to this day, and it is still installed on my PC), and chucked it in the garbage.
  24. A nasty game through and through. Not in terms of its gore, which just comes off as childish, but in most other respects. [Feb 2008, p.100]
  25. Without the gore it’s got nothing more.
  26. This shooter is a painful exercise in pattern memorization plus frustrating trial-and-error gameplay.
  27. Official Xbox Magazine
    At a full $60, there's absolutely no reason to touch this with a ten-foot-pole, especially with so many other, better shooters on the market in this record-settingly awesome holiday season. [Jan 2008, p.62]
  28. Activision is far too good of a publisher to unleash a game this poor onto the unsuspecting public. Fans of the series should skip this horrid excuse for a shooter and keep their glowing memories of previous Soldier of Fortune battles intact.
  29. Instead of concentrating on a single-player and at least making it competent, the team had to split resources and make a haphazard multiplayer feature as well.
  30. X-ONE Magazine UK
    A contender for one of the dirtiest games of the year, Payback is two parts uninspired garbage and three parts loading screen. [Issue 28, p.98]
  31. If a quick and dirty deathmatch is something that appeals to you, go for it, but be warned. Soldier of Fortune: Payback is very shallow and at best is a budget game, and there are far more compelling shooters out there.
  32. Edge Magazine
    Soldier of Fortune’s damage model is probably its major selling point and, lamentably, the only thing that makes its combat entertaining. [Feb 2008, p.96]
  33. 30
    A thoroughly uninspired piece of hack work that gives you plenty of reasons not to buy it. Pick any one you like and save yourself the sixty bucks.
  34. A hackneyed premise that flirts with the same issues of terrorism examined in scores of other shooters hardly makes an impact here.
  35. The essential problem with Soldier of Fortune: Payback is that it tries very hard to appear realistic while trotting out silly gameplay mechanisms. It’s hard to tell if it’s a serious shooter covering the military side of contemporary politics, or a parody.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 24
  2. Negative: 11 out of 24
  1. Nov 6, 2011
    A sheer disappointment in comparison to Double Helix. It's generic and unpolished. To make things even worse, the developer decided to stripA sheer disappointment in comparison to Double Helix. It's generic and unpolished. To make things even worse, the developer decided to strip away the interesting and unsettling gore systems of the last two games in favor of buckets of faking looking blood and limbs that fly off and subsequently disappear. Full Review »
  2. FuzY
    Dec 17, 2007
    I've always been a fan of the SoF series for it's 'mindless' gameplay. By that I mean it's like those movies that I've always been a fan of the SoF series for it's 'mindless' gameplay. By that I mean it's like those movies that you just switch off and enjoy. If you've been playing some story heavy games recently like I have then Soldier of Fortune is a good way of clearing your head (no pun intended!). Graphically it seems unfinished as some areas just seem to lack any texture - like faces and weapons - where as other areas look quite nice. The controls seem a bit sluggish at first but can be helped by turning the sensitivity up. With all the great shooters on the 360 at the moment SoF will be easily lost in the crowd but if you see it preowned or discounted (like I did) it's worth a look and should entertain for a short while, as long as you don't take it to seriously. Full Review »
  3. ChadC.
    Nov 16, 2007
    Pretty mediocre shooter other than the dismemberment it really doesnt have much going for it. Dont get me wrong seeing someone get there head Pretty mediocre shooter other than the dismemberment it really doesnt have much going for it. Dont get me wrong seeing someone get there head shot off by a sniper in Team Deathmatch was pretty satisfying after that youll get the feeling of claustaphobia because the levels are so tiny and theres only a select amount of weapons to choose from. I hate to say it but sierra should let this series die, theres to many great shooters out there dont buy this not so good very repetitive game im mad i did. Full Review »