Payday 2 Crimewave Edition Review

Payday 2 Crimewave Edition makes its way to the Xbox One and PS4 as a natural progression with around $80 worth of DLC extras included from the off. This means console gamers are getting a fairly good deal in terms of content. However, with the core game remaining much as it was on PC there’s a division as to whether this is fully worthy of your time and money depending on whether you’re a lone wolf or online gamer. You can watch our original PC video review below to get a feel for the game.

To begin, let’s just recap the basics. You’re a criminal working for a syndicate with the sole aim of pulling off various jobs not net cash which can last between one day or spread out over several. You play as one of a select number of characters (including a new female skin “Clover” as part of the DLC extra content) and can level up their abilities in several different skill trees. The beauty is not being restricted to just one skill set and being able to mix and blend rather than specialize. What this essentially means is, the more you play and earn experience from completing bank jobs, jewellery store robberies and the like your character will improve making things easier as the game tailors the difficulty as you rise up the ranks. In game, the idea is to work as a unit to complete the simple goals. Case out the location first before donning a mask and going in for the kill. Naturally there’s security forces, camera and civilians to be mindful of where if spotted the cops can be called and the game degenerate into a horde mode gun-fest whilst trying to escape with the loot. Gun fights come in waves of increased difficulty and include things like well-armoured opposition, snipers on the surrounding roof tops and such like. Sadly, the enemies act like bullet sponges for the most part making events long and drawn out unnecessarily. Thankfully, there’s an assortment of weapons to unlock and upgrade which can even the odds quite a bit, but much like everything in Payday 2 takes quite some time. Well that’s basically it in a nutshell except as mentioned, Overkill Studios constantly updated the original PC game with more of everything which includes more skill trees such as the Enforcer and Fugitive and so the console version is the most complete.

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The game hasn’t seen any other gameplay changes from the original release so the complaints we had back when we reviewed the PC version are still present, so that includes poor team AI where if you’re playing solo means the AI team mates aren’t programmed to interact with any of the objectives which is pretty frustrating. So for example, when carrying loot bags you cannot order them to pick one up and hold onto it or when opening deposit boxes in the bank, the slow process falls on your shoulders. The AI team are simply there to provide covering fire when the heat is on and that’s about it. There might be occasions where your character is downed and it’s here the AI might revive you which is useful, but this doesn’t always work and can make a 20 minute heist go pear shaped leaving you having to start again. What makes matters worse is when the AI is able to revive but ignores you anyway which is incredibly frustrating and something that should have been fixed. So as a single player experience, this is well muted and not really showing the game off in its best light. Sure, there’s lots of extras to play through in this version, but the game is really designed for multiplayer with the single player tacked on as an option. If you’re wanting to play stealthily for example – something the game encourages on certain missions – then you’ll have to spend many hours levelling up the character to suit. This is a poor design choice and what would have been good was having a separate character for solo play rather than combining the two and then restricting the lone player.

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Complaints aside, Overkill has boosted the visuals making the game run smoothly at 1080p although not pushing 60 frames per second unfortunately. The graphics are sharp and present each location well enough with no moments of noticeable dips in frames which is good. The Audio remains as always with a customizable soundtrack and the odd quips from the characters, but overall there’s little to shout about aside from breaking glass, drill sounds,radio chatter and plenty of gunfire filling the audio spectrum.

In terms of longevity there’s enough content here to keep players well entertained both on and offline with an assortment of missions on offer and the aforementioned unlockables and character progression. However, the online mode is where the game really comes alive where working as a team to pull off the perfect job is an excellent feeling. With well coordinated movements and some knowledge of missions there’s a real satisfaction gained from not tripping the alarms and getting away with the booty without killing anyone – although this is harder than it sounds initially.

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Payday 2 Crimewave Edition is a welcome addition to the current gen console line-up for some multiplayer hi-jinx which attempts to separate itself from the usual versus competitive play we see in so many titles. In this regard it’s an original offering that’s worth checking out if you’re a regular online gamer. Solo players lose out here though as the game’s design is not really tailored to suit which is a shame. In this regard it’s merely a straight port over with no expense spared in addressing the issues solo players have had since the game released on PC. With quite a grind required to get to the cool stuff and some dodgy AI still being present, Payday 2 can’t really be fully recommended for single players. For those looking for a co-op mulit-player experience that required a bit of tactical thinking, then this is well worth checking out as a definitive edition to tie you over until we potentially see Payday 3.


Review code supplied by Team Xbox.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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