PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition

4 Overall Score
Gameplay: 10/10
Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 5/10

Thoroughly Unique Shooter | Lots of Customization | Great with a team

An absolutely broken release on both console platforms

Game Info

GAME NAME: PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition

DEVELOPER(S): Overkill Software

PUBLISHER(S): Starbreeze

PLATFORM(S): PS4 (reviewed), XBox One

GENRE(S): First Person Shooter, Crime

RELEASE DATE(S): June 16, 2015

Here we go again.

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PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition is the new console generation’s release of the only crime/heist shooter that matters.  I’ve reviewed PAYDAY 2 before, but a lot has changed in over a year.

Actually, no.  Nothing has changed.

Re-releases for updated consoles are one thing.  We’ve all bought them – as a matter of fact, I had Diablo and Dragon Age on PS3, and now I have them on PS4.  We get our updated graphics, our 60 frames per second, and usually some DLC.  PD2:CE is no different.  The graphics look slightly better, and although I’m not convinced it’s running at 60 frames per second, there are something like 30 DLC packs included.  So for that, it’s actually quite a good deal.  But here’s some backstory.

In 2013 Payday 2 was released cross-platform, by a dedicated team that seems to all love their jobs.  The game was so well-done that it made their parent company Starbreeze profitable for the first time in 15 years – on pre-orders alone.  The release was big, it sold like crazy on Steam, and has garnered an extremely zealous following.  Over the course of a year, the PC version has received 50+ updates – some with a pricetag, but most of them free.  During that same year, PS3 received four total updates, and the XBox 360 received one – over 400 days after release.  Then support was dropped for consoles.

Fast forward to now, with the release of the Crimewave Edition for PS4 and XB1.  It’s a great opportunity for the developer, Overkill, to make right the months of ignoring console players.  Overkill had been deafening with their silence, but Payday 2 at its core is a great game.  A lot’s changed, right?  What’s that about learning from past mistakes?  Another botched rollout?!  But how does all this factor in the game itself?

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The game is good; really, really good.  As a first-person shooter, its mechanics are on par with the Nth generations of Duties Called and Fields Battled O’er.  The leveling and unlock system are a bit random and callous, but getting into it is a satisfying game of mixing and matching parts, loadouts, and kits to do the deed.  What’s the deed, you ask?  It’s crime, of course! (I mean come on it’s in the title of the game)  Various non-connected stages have you robbing banks, planting evidence, making/stealing/destroying drugs.  Assassinations, thefts, heists great and small are all here.  Then there are connected heists called multi-day jobs, which have you running guns for a high-profile gang leader, breaking out a guy from prison, rigging an election, and stealing a turret from Team Fortress.  These all generally break down to “go to objective, complete objective, remain alive” but are varied enough to keep it fresh.  Multiple approaches to missions and randomly-generated maps change it up, and the new DLC missions are a welcome addition to the original 10.  The downside of this, however, is that some of those original missions really lose their luster.  Who wants to shoot glass in a mall when you can drop a giant piggy bank through a roof?

However, the graphics don’t seem markedly improved, and the game doesn’t seem like it’s running at 60 frames per second.  The same technical hitches are back, as well.  When the action really gets cranking, some enemies will skip a movement animation every few steps, leading to a jarring teleportation.  It’s rarely cause for issue, but it does a lot to take away from the overall polish of the visuals.  Everything seems much darker as well, causing one to stoop frequently to pick up a package, when all along it was just a piece of trash.  And the sound, well.  It hasn’t much improved either, but don’t take that the wrong way.

Composer Simon Viklund is a damn genius when it comes to this game’s music.  And the characters’ voice acting is great.  Interactions between some of them are more spontaneous now, adding a level of likability among these thieves.  The only misstep is one of the character’s voice actor.  John Wick, from the Keanu Reeves move of the same name, is not voiced by Keanu.  And while we all think we can do a spot-on Keanu impression, well, we can’t.  And neither can the guy reading these lines.  But there’s no voicechat, which is absolutely crippling in a co-op shooter this day and age – and especially in a game that requires as much complex teamwork as Payday 2.

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As it is now, Crimewave lurches and falls over itself onto its fat dumb face right out of the gate. It’s loaded with issues on both console platforms.  On XB1, the game is nigh-unplayable online due to a crippling bug that doesn’t allow public matches.  On PS4, there’s no voice-chat.  In a co-op shooter in 2015, there is no voice-chat.  The developer’s response has been “we’re working on it,” but that’s a refrain console players of this game have heard for quite a bit of time now.  Tool-tips and item descriptions are rife with inconsistencies and outright falsehoods – although most likely not done maliciously, it does show a lack of oversight that leads to confusion by the player.  It’s staggering how poorly done this release was, especially after Overkill Software has had plenty of time to get this right.

The Recommendation

If you’ve got a dedicated team that likes these sort of shooters, Payday 2 is a definite purchase.  The set pieces are varied, the challenge is solid, and it remains that there’s simply nothing else out there like it.  But the release has been so botched, that without a group of like-minded friends, the game is an object of frustration.  On PS4, a lack of voice-chat means random games with no communication or planning.  On Xbox One, broken matchmaking means that random games aren’t even possible.  Both of these can be worked around by having friends who play the same game, but that’s not always an option.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition
Author Rating
31star1star1stargraygray

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Author: James View all posts by
Dangerously fat. Twitter: @hypersaline