PayDay 2: Crimewave Edition follows the raucous plundering of members of an underground crime syndicate. The game puts you in the shoes of a gun-toting lunatic loyal to this network of masked hoodlums. It allows you to wreak havoc across the city as you rob banks, kidnap VIPs and unleash mayhem in general, all in the pursuit of large duffle bags of money. The accumulation of blood money is the main objective of the game. There is no plot or character development other than becoming richer and more skilled, allowing one to pull off riskier and more rewarding jobs. There is a nifty pseudo-RPG element put in place. The successful completion of heists awards the player not just money, but experience points, which are used to upgrade skills and abilities to enhance the efficiency of major crime committing.
The game focuses around the squad-based infiltration of businesses, banks, warehouses and many other organisations. This is not a game for the lone wolf. Heists are complex and require the streamlined efforts of a crew. Each venue for nefarious smashing and grabbing is generally well-guarded with many security guards and innocents only too keen to attract unwanted attention. There are also many jobs to be done, such as breaching doors and safes and taking care of security. It is nearly impossible to successfully rob a joint solo. If things go to hell and you suddenly find yourself surrounded by SWAT or FBI agents, you want to have a bunch of companions to help you blast your way through.
Succeeding in this game requires corporation and planning. Rushing in all-guns-blazing can easily screw up the entire operation, as security guards will alert the police and then you have a messy gunfight on your hands. The killing of civilians leads to hefty monetary penalties, shaving off pieces of your score. One must link up with friends or strangers online and with the aid of a headset talk through the bust. Breaking in, dealing with personnel, stealing as much as possible and then making a clean getaway requires clear communication and cohesion. This is something that I failed to achieve in my first few hours of play. I was matched with some random person, who seemed adamant on continually alerting all of the guards in a depot sneaking job we were attempting.
In my next attempt, I was matched with some more experienced, higher-level robbers. We communicated well, and my colourful international partners in crime were hilarious. We sneaked in through the back of a jewelry store like a bunch of kleptomaniac Solid Snakes. We were met with minimal resistance as we waved our assault rifles around and forced the security guards, employees and patrons to the ground. We then snatched as many gems and necklaces as we could before making a speedy getaway. It was completely thrilling, and more fun than I’ve had online in a long time. This was, however, a lower-level heist. The more challenging and difficult heists rarely afford things going so smoothly. Although stealth is the way forward when breaking in, it generally goes wrong and before you know it there are multiple guns being pointed at you and your goons. Human errors are only too humorously common, as companions will decide it’s Call of Duty time and begin assaulting bystanders, or blow the operation by stumbling into a person and shattering your painstakingly designed sneaking plot. Drilling into safes and through secured doors takes several minutes, and any amount of things can go wrong in that time. Even lock-picking is lengthier than your average intruding in other games.
This game is a lot of fun. It’s not the best-looking game on PlayStation 4, being a reboot of a previous-gen title, but you can easily look past that with all its enticing offerings. If you want to live out your fantasies of being a famous bank-robber, buy this game.