Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is an updated version of Payday 2 for Xbox One and PS4. It comes nearly two years after it first hit PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
If you already own Payday 2 or have played the game before then you’ll find yourself right at home. The bulk of the game is the same and tasks players with assembling a crew of up-to four players to take on all manner of heists. The game is best played with three like-minded friends but you can also play with random strangers or alone with AI controlled crew members.
After a brief tutorial where you visit your safe house it’s time to logon to the CrimeNet network in search of your next job. The contracts available to you constantly change and there’s a nice variety of heists on offer including jewellery shops, museums, nightclubs and of course bank raids. Each contract has a difficulty and level of risk associated with it with the tougher ones bringing in a bigger payday if you are successful. New contracts and bigger multi-stage assignments are unlocked as you progress.
When you choose a contract you initially begin in casing mode which allows you to plan your heist. Here it’s worth spending time checking out entry and exit points, identifying security cameras and looking for the location of security guards and anything else that might cause you trouble such as civilians. You have to be careful here not to rouse suspicion or you risk ruining your chances before you’ve begun.
You should also communicate with your team as planning your strategy is very important because the game randomly changes each contract. This means that each time you play the location of things like security cameras, safes, keycards, locked doors and guards can be different. The floor plans of buildings even change which really keeps you guessing. This randomness ensures that every attempt is exciting and it’s impossible to carry out the same steps each time. Once you’re ready to begin it’s time to don your mask before putting your plan into action.
How you tackle a situation is entirely up to your team and it’s possible to go in guns blazing or try for a much harder stealth approach. We found attempts tend to end up a mix of the two where we start with stealth and end up resorting to violence when things go bad. Stealth requires you to be patient, taking things slow and carefully. This is hard to do and requires exceptional teamwork but it is incredibly rewarding when you do pull it off.
Whichever approach you choose Payday 2 only really works well if all players are using the in-game voice chat. It’s a far better game with close friends who want to play together than with random strangers. If you don’t work together then youre making it a lot more difficult for yourself as the lone wolf approach almost never works. As soon as someone thinks they are in Call of Duty they tend to go down fast. When you have a man down you need to resist the temptation to rush to rescue them without the support of your team.
To prevent the alarm being raised you need to take care of the civilians. You can do this by shouting at them to get on the ground so you can zip tie their hands together. Keeping a few hostage is worthwhile so you can trade for a captured teammate. Once an alarm is raised police will arrive on the scene and the longer you take the more determined they become. Eventually you’ve be up against SWAT in full riot gear and sniper teams. The response of the authorities is tailored to your style of play.
At the end of each mission each player is given a choice of three cards which can grant you a cash bonus or unlock an item such as a new weapon, modification or mask. Completing a contract successfully brings in a pile of money that must be laundered before you can spend it. This leaves you with a small cut after each job which you can spend on new equipment such as guns and masks. Money can also be spent on mission assets to help you such as blueprints, a faster escape car or inside help.
Completing missions earns you cash and new items as well as rewarding experience to level up your character. As you earn new levels you also gain skill points which can be spent in the different profession trees. Each profession brings its own perk such as being able to drop ammo bags, healing kits or being able to hack locks and jam certain equipment.
Payday 2 was never the prettiest game but the Crimewave Edition has seen some visual upgrades with improved framerate and a resolution boost to 1080p with nicer textures. To be honest it’s not massively different to the previous generation but it really doesn’t matter as its the gameplay that will keep you coming back.
The Crimewave Edition features over a year’s worth of DLC packs and content updates such as The Big Bank Heist and The Bomb. There are also new characters including the first female, Clover, new masks, weapons and even more customisation options.
Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is the best version of the game most suited to players who don’t already own it. It delivers a thrilling, tense and rewarding co-operative multiplayer experience. When played with a group of friends it’s incredibly fun and the game features near endless replay value. The developers are also promising plenty more DLC support in future.