Title: Payday 2 Crimewave Edition
Platform: PC, PS4 (reviewed) and Xbox One
Developer: Overkill Software / Starbreeze Studios
Publisher: 505 Games
Release date: June 12th (UK and Europe) / June 16th (North America)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is basically the complete edition of 2013’s Payday 2. The game includes the original game’s post release content such as Old Hoxton, Clover, Dragan, the Big Bank Heist, the Diamond Heist just to name a few. The game also features new technical updates. It also doesn’t feature a really meaty story per se. After a well deserved vacation following the events of the first game, you’re called back into action in order to pull off new and crazy heists, while making your bank account fatter. Simple, right?
The game revolves around you executing heists of variable difficulties. After each successful heist, you are rewarded with money and experience points which allow you to level up. Leveling up also entails skill points which in turn can be used to unlock new skills and making you a better virtual criminal. Also post-heists rewards include new weapons in order to stand a chance against armed forces. Also in order to obtain the biggest payoff possible, avoiding killing civilians will be to your benefit. When gaining new skills points, players now have the choice to use them on five different skill trees, allowing some flexibility as to how you upgrade your character. The game also features some pretty deep customization; you can either customize your masks, weapons, skills and helpful items you can carry; giving your character some personality.
Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is the perfect example of Co-op experience. The game can be played solo (offline or not), however, nothing compares to having other players watch your back. Tackling heists alone will prove frustrating and rage inducing. As you navigate the map, you’ll be able to see the difficulty of each heists along with the payoff; the lower the payoff and difficulty, the higher your chances are succeeding. Even by your lone self. However, pick a Normal difficulty set heists with a higher payoff and the difficulty spikes intensely. Also, despite having two AI goons tag along, on some heists, you’ll be all by yourself while your buddies wait for you at the van. AI companions can’t interact with the heist’s objective pretty much leaving you to do the hard work; luckily, when you’re down, they are quite efficient in reviving you. Much like your un-perfect AI controlled buddies, the cops aren’t always the smartest tools in the shed. I’ve often found cops staring at a wall; as if they were waiting for me to shoot me. Easy kills, but odd behavior.
When playing offline, you’re also very limited heists wise. You can pretty much tackle roughly 10 and upwards missions, however multiplayer is where it’s at. Booting up Crime.net, you’ll have plenty of choices heists wise. The game also features some stealth-based heists, unfortunately, the stealth doesn’t work as good as it does in games like Splinter Cell or Metal Gear, but once you work your way through the Ghost skill tree, your character will be so good, enemies will cuff themselves! But if you don’t touch the Ghost skills, stealth missions can be somewhat clumsy and annoying seeing as if you trip an alarm or are seen by a guard, it’s game over.
So how does the Online standout? It’s a blast. Playing with human players will increase the game’s fun factor through the roof. And online means having a headset in order to properly communicate with your team. In my experience thus far, lack of communication can really screw things up. Seeing as even a Normal heist can be challenging, it’s the same as you’d expect when playing alone. Police forces come at you with such aggression that without proper communication will result in being quickly overwhelmed by the cops and surely ensure virtual arrests. Luckily, unlike single player, once “arrested”, you get thrown into a virtual prison where you wait until you can join the game again; so as long as at least one player survives, the mission isn’t over.
And those who aren’t too keen on playing online with certain types of player for whatever reason, don’t worry; the game doesn’t really allow lone wolf styles. You’ll sometimes have online games where, despite being in a team, a player will see fit to do everything himself in order to score as many points as possible. Well not with Payday 2 Crimewave Edition. As you’re looting, players can only carry a bag (or objective) at once, so everyone needs to pull their own weight in order to succeed.
However, if everyone is caught it’s mission over, you lose any loot and experience points which was accumulated throughout the mission. I can understand losing the loot, but the little XP gained should’ve be preserved so that even gamers who will want to enjoy the game have a chance to level up and unlocking new and useful weapons/perks. A little nuisance with the online multiplayer is when a new player joins your game in-progress. As you frantically move around dodging bullets and shooting cops, if a new player joins your game, it will freeze as the game loads up and adds the new player to the heists. Sure, it gives the other players a short breather, but still an annoying little trait that breaks off the flow of the game.
Missions are also pretty lengthy; as it requires a bit of time for a drill to make its way through a vault or a virus to contaminate a computer, missions can take between 20 and 40+ minutes. However, with the fast pace action and survival-like gameplay as you survive wave after wave of police officers, the missions fly by pretty quick.
Although it is not the prettiest game to come around this generation, it is the best looking version of Payday 2 available. Although not by much, Starbreeze ensured to polish the game’s visuals up a bit in order to make it look better than last-gen’s version. The game is also locked at a 30fps framerate. It also brings a new 1080P resolution and improved texture quality. The soundtrack is as intense as the in-game action. Simon Viklund crafted an upbeat and memorable soundtrack that will make you want to go dancing after a long night of virtual heists with pals. It is definitely one of the best gaming soundtracks out there.
Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is a fun and entertaining experience…as long as you play with friends or other players online. The game is a much better experience when communicating with your fellow heisters and having friends/human players watch your backs against almost never ending waves of police force on your tail. Although it *is* playable by your lonesome, expect a massive challenge as even on Normal difficulty heists, the police force will charge at you ferociously and no matter how smart the AI is, it’ll never beat a friend or online companion. FPS fans who laughed at the challenge games like Halo on Legendary difficulty provided will find plenty to enjoy in this game. Either way, there’s a lot to do here.
- Awesome multiplayer experience
- Intense heists
- Deep customization
- Awesome soundtrack
- Single player is brutal
- Lack of “Easy” heists
Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is rated M for Mature and PEGI 18+. The game features blood and realistic violence.