Payday: Crime War finally emerges from the quagmire of development

Payday: Crime War finally emerges from the quagmire of development.

Payday: Crime War nearly made it to mobile four years ago, soft launching in multiple regions before being abruptly canceled three months after the release of the US beta. However, it was hinted that it could return under a different publisher, and sure enough, we discovered in 2021 that PopReach had acquired development rights and was preparing to relaunch the game. Today this effort has finally come to fruition; Payday: Crime War is available to play for free on your mobile device.

The entire situation is somewhat reminiscent of Dead by Daylight: Mobile, which relaunched on Android to lukewarm reception. The motive seemed to be to pack in some new monetization ideas, and Payday: Crime War has the same idea. In our original hands-on, we noted that the game had particularly egregious monetization, which Popreach has enthusiastically embraced for the relaunch with in-app purchases that range up to $100 per item.

While there were issues with the original game, you would think that these extra two years of development would have ironed some of the kinks. But it’s hard to see precisely what Popreach has done with its time; the game looks the same as it did when we went hands-on in 2018.

Payday: Crime War finally emerges from the quagmire of development (1)

One notable change is that there’s now full controller support, a huge bonus, but it’s hard to find any changes to note beyond that. In 2023, the FPS genre offers some of the best graphics on Android, but Payday: Crime War’s visuals don’t come close to these titles despite some minor improvements (e.g., you can now run the game at high framerates). And, of course, microtransactions are just as obnoxious as they were back in 2019 during testing.

After a tutorial so short you might blink and miss it, Payday: Crime War introduces you to all the ways you can spend money. Within minutes I’m told I’ll need to collect Gold to earn all my post-mission rewards and that I can have the joy of collecting duplicates of weapons to earn XP. While most free-to-play games try to dress up their microtransactions, Payday: Crime War barely makes an effort.

Payday: Crime War finally emerges from the quagmire of development (2)

Despite a few token improvements here and there, Payday: Crime War is more or less the same game we saw back in 2018. There are far better FPS titles on the Play Store, which we recommend trying before this disappointing resurrection. However, the game is free-to-play, so there’s no harm in giving it a go.