Console players can look forward to some epic heists this summer when Payday 2 Crimewave Edition releases for the Xbox One and PS4. I recently got a big preview of the game, which featured the game played on a giant movie theater sized screen.
For those that aren't familiar with the game, Payday 2 is a four-player cooperative game where a team of criminals come together to pull off heists. These missions vary in difficulty and complexity, and can include anything from a bank robbery to stealing everything of worth from a high end jewelry store. Players can choose to employ stealth, slipping in and out without notice, or go in loud, and battle against waves of cops coming in to take you down. Heists feature movie-inspired action, with police that escalate the amount of force they use, and procedural events to keep players guessing - like a SWAT team rappelling from the ceiling or blasting through a wall.
Although Payday 2 released for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2013, the approval systems couldn't accommodate for a lot of regular updates. Therefore, the PC community has enjoyed 56 free updates so far (with more to come), including a major skill system overhaul, in addition to the premium DLC content. That issue will be rectified with the Crimewave Edition, which includes all released content (up to about mid-January of this year), including the paid content, extra characters, and even the Hotline Miami crossover DLC. After that, the Xbox One and PS4 releases will be updated regularly in parity with the PC edition. When new content comes out, only the host player will need to own it for the rest of the party to play it.
The Crimewave Edition features updated graphics for the new generation of consoles, based by the PC release, with high resolutions and fast frame rates. PC players might not notice the graphics difference, but those upgrading from a previous console definitely will.
I got to play Payday 2 on one quarter of the mega screen using Clover, the game's first female heister (who is included in the Crimewave Edition). The mission is to break into a museum and steal a giant diamond, which not unlike a certain Hope Diamond, is priceless and said to be cursed. Cursed or not, there's some major cash involved. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to case the place or pre-plan, so I pretty much picked open the lock on the front door and ran in brandishing a machine gun.
Going in without a plan probably wasn't the best idea, because the museum is huge, and I ended up wandering in circles for a long time before I found the security room I was supposed to break into. Then I had to fend off the police waves while hacking the computer. The police would sometimes cut the power, forcing me out from cover to flip the switch back on.
The game supports four players, but not split-screen, so I was fighting alongside AI. The computer is ok for drawing attention, but it's not reliable if you get into trouble. If you're stunned with a taser, your chanced of being rescued are pretty slim.
When my hack completed, I needed to move to my next mission objective. But once again, the size of the museum proved to be my undoing. I tried to outsmart the cops by slipping into a side gallery to flank them instead of battling my way straight down the hall. That's where I was surrounded by police flooding through the doors and got taken down. The intense, fast-paced, gameplay that Payday 2 is known for is definitely there, along with smooth frame rates.
With Grand Theft Auto 5 getting a heist mode, and games like Battlefield Hardline just over the horizon, there's going to be a lot of competition this year when it comes to pulling off crime. But I think the Payday 2 Crimewave Edition, with its selection of jobs, characters, and weapons might have a very good chance of standing out. After all, Payday was pretty much the first game that tried to capture the action and spirit of heist movies. And there's still no other game where being a professional criminal pays so well.
Payday 2 Crimewave Edition releases on June 30th.