Payday 2: Crimewave Edition

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Decent but very violent shooter plagued with tech issues.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 51 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No positive messages -- you're a criminal who constantly breaks the law.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play various characters, including a new female bank robber, but constantly commit crimes.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.


You shoot many weapons: pistols, machine guns, shotguns, and the like. Enemies cry out in pain, fall to their deaths. Large amounts of blood seen, as well as body parts. You'll mostly kill rival gangs, police officers, but you can kill hostages (generally penalized for killing civilians).


Some paintings, drawings of women in suggestive poses, revealing outfits, but no nudity.


Strong profanity includes "f--k" and "s--t."


Includes downloadable content (DLC) such as "Hotline Miami" and "Diamond Heist," but players don't have to pay for these add-on packs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Contains scenes with illegal narcotics. Gamers prep, sell the drugs, including meth and cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is essentially a bank heist simulator and is full of inappropriate content. Players can rob banks with others, shoot and kill rival gangs and police officers, kill hostages if need be, and deal drugs in some other missions. Along with plenty of violence, blood and gore, there's also strong profanity, drug use, and women in suggestive poses and outfits.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJames_Ss June 9, 2020

Perfect for 12 year olds

Now, I'm a parent of an 8, 11 and a 13-year-old. My 13-year-old son plays this frequently, My 11-year-old loves to watch him play and occasionally I watch... Continue reading
Adult Written bydpadmanabha March 23, 2016
Teen, 14 years old Written bygamer.guy August 24, 2015
It is a great game to play, deciding if your kids can play it though is up to you. If your kids already know of the drugs and violence, it doesn't really m... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamingCaptain64 August 26, 2015

good game

a good game with strong crime themes and LOADS! (emphasis on "loads") of drug references, which is the only major concern.

What's it about?

PAYDAY 2: CRIMEWAVE EDITION is a refreshed version of 2013's Payday 2. This souped-up game includes the original game with improved visuals, new material (including new heists, weapons, armor, masks, and more) and previously released downloadable content (such as the "Hotline Miami" and "Diamond Heist" add-on packs). Payday 2 is a cooperatively (co-op) centered first-person shooter that lets gamers don the masks of bank robbers who plan and execute epic bank heists and other criminal tasks in Washington, D.C. Though you can try to play stealthily, there are major shoot-outs with the police, FBI, SWAT teams, and rival gangs.

Is it any good?

Though it won't win any "Best of" awards, and the potentially disturbing content won't make this game a parental pick, Payday 2: Crimewave Edition offers a lot of bang for the buck. It's not worth picking up if you already own the previous game, unless you really want to play it on newer consoles, and there are other issues, but it proves fairly fun when playing with online friends. There are new heists, such as "The Big Bank," "The Butcher," and "The Dentist," all of which are loaded with safe cracking, loot stealing, hostage taking, shooting, and vandalizing. There's also a new perk system and skill tree for greater character customization, a new pre-planning feature to prep strategies prior to missions, and nearly 100 weapons and almost 150 customizable masks. The co-op experience is gratifying, as is the progression/XP system and the healthy number of character slots to choose the right team for the job. The game's music soundtrack also is worth noting.  

That said, there are assorted issues, such as graphical bugs -- awkward character models, "clipping" issues (where players can get half a character's body stuck in a wall or safe), and fallen enemies that seem to float in the air instead of fall to the ground. There also are some single-player A.I. problems, where your computer-controlled teammates disregard the objectives and do whatever they want. But if you can overlook these issues and you're a fan of this genre, Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is a decent bank-robbing action game at a decent price; otherwise, this might not be right for you.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as Payday 2: Crimewave Edition. Is it OK to vicariously live a day in a gangster's life -- scratching a fantasy itch or clearly understanding it as "guilty pleasure" entertainment -- or does this kind of violence desensitize us to the real thing?

  • How did you manage to coordinate your tactics with others? Did you find it easy? What were the main challenges of working with a team of online players?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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