Last year, several notable releases found themselves under scrutiny for releasing in a broken state. Sadly, this trend has continued into 2015 as yet another broken game is available for purchase. This time around it is publisher 505 Games who have put a horrendous version of Overkill Software's popular cooperative shooter Payday 2 up for purchase.
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is meant to be an updated and improved version of the Xbox 360 release that originally came out in 2013. Instead of improving on the original, Crimewave Edition is full of glitches, server errors, and terrible artificial intelligence. If anything, this is a shining example of how not to release a remastered version of a game which is a couple of years old.
Payday 2, when it works, is meant to be played with other players online, where they use cooperation to pull off various types of heists. This means that up to four players can participate in criminal activity such as robbing banks, cooking meth, and stealing jewellery. Sadly, it sounds far more interesting than it actually is since no matter the scenario, the game largely plays the same.
Almost every single scenario in the game has the player reaching a protected area and then having to wait a designated amount of time to achieve a goal (waiting for crystal meth to cook, for a drill to crack a safe, etc.). While waiting, wave after wave of enemies try to disrupt your work by occasionally shooting the player. Constantly having to shoot enemies shouldn't be a nuisance as the gunplay found in Payday 2 feels solid, but the enemy's artificial intelligence is hilariously bad.
There is no rhyme or reason to how cops will try to stop the player. Often police officers will just stand in the line of fire while looking clueless and aiming at nothing. One of the most embarrassing experiences that was encountered during our time with Payday 2 was when the game tasked the players with surviving a police onslaught for five minutes while awaiting an escape vehicle. The solution was to simply walk twenty feet away from the spawn point, crouch behind a wall and wait. Not a single shot hit us as the cops were too confused by the cunning escape strategy.
Adding to the poor showing by Overkill Software is that the game's computer-controlled partners are even more aggravatingly dumb. In fact, they aren't much more than a bullet sponge that will fire back at enemies. They don't accomplish any of the mission's goals, so it's up to the human player to do everything notable. This means the player will have to collect all the meth ingredients, crack open any safes, and steal all the valuables from levels.
Perhaps the most jarring example of the A.I. can be seen during Payday 2's stealth sequences. Instead of assisting during the mission, the computer just stands by the spawn point the entire time.
With this being a cooperative online game, you may be wondering why it matters that the computer partners are terrible. After all, in theory, players can count on the smart play of others to successfully pull off heists. This is not the case as it is impossible to join online games in the game's Crime.net menu. Instead, the game offers up an error code every time you try to join another person's game.
This issue apparently is only affecting the Xbox One release of the game, so Payday 2: Crimewave Edition may be proper fun on PlayStation 4 or PC. That doesn't matter though. What matters is that 505 Games released a broken game and are asking players to purchase it.
Not everything is terrible in Payday 2: Crimewave Edition, though! The game includes all of the DLC that was released for original title, which means players can pull off heists as Keanu Reeves. Yes, Neo himself is a playable character! It was thrown in as co-promotion for Reeve's 2014 film John Wick, but it is a silly high-point of this 2015 release.
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition also looks rather nice on Xbox One. It is actually more fun to explore the environments than to play the poorly designed game. Players can even check out the individual products on sale at a convenience store (which you can promptly rob, of course!)
Other than those few highlights, there isn't much to like about Payday 2: Crimewave Edition. In fact, even if the online play worked properly it would still be a middling experience that doesn't compare to the likes of Evolve and Left 4 Dead 2.
There is no excuse for an online co-op focused game to ship with the online side of things not working. It is even more inexcusable that a patch hasn't been released yet to remedy the situation. At the time of writing, the game has been available for three weeks and is still broken. Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is an embarrassing, broken release that should be avoided by consumers and is a black eye on the current state of video game publishing.