PayDay 2: Crimewave Edition: licence to kill
It's amazing to consider the freedoms one is offered in video games - not just in terms of the incredible worlds we're given to explore, but the sheer audacity of taking part in ridiculously illegal criminal activities. Robbing banks, killing civilians, wreaking city-wide havoc and generally being an antisocial reprobate.
Grand Theft Auto is the industry benchmark for that kind of thing - "the most elaborate a****** simulation ever devised", one renowned game writer dubbed it - but the PayDay series isn't far off.
PayDay 2 was originally released back in summer 2013 and despite generally positive reviews, it was mostly ignored, its thunder stolen by GTA V a few weeks later.
This Crimewave edition hopes to rectify things. Available for the PS4 and Xbox One, it's been given all the remake standards: hi-def graphical update, improved frame rate, DLC aplenty, as well as all features and add-ons from the PC edition.
They're all well and good, and great to have for obsessives and completists - but the real meat of PayDay 2 is surprisingly in the original game.
A co-op first-person shooter that accommodates up to four players, what makes the game particularly stand out is how it does away with the boredom of a traditional narrative approach. The game is mostly a series of heists in various locations - banks, jewellery stores, warehouses, you name it.
Players start at the very bottom by robbing safe deposit boxes, before quickly moving up to bigger and better scores at casinos and gangster-filled organisations. Eventually, you're given the opportunity to diversify into such power-hungry paths as drug trafficking and political engineering.
Realism is the game's approach, and as you can guess from the diverse set of missions, most can't be completed guns-ablaze. Planning, timing, strategy and stealth are essential to success, and each of the four players on-board have to work fully in sync to pull off the perfect heist.
That might mean keeping your eye on bank staff while the vault drill works its magic, or holding off a SWAT team while your accomplices escape. Each mission is cleverly concocted and full of surprises.
What PayDay 2 offers that other remakes that are forever flooding the market don't, is a well-oiled machine requiring skill and intelligence to master.
PayDay 2:Crimewave Edition Overkill Software