Now Payday has a patch ho-ho-ho

, | Games

I never got into the Team Fortress 2 hat craze, but you can bet I’ll get behind my mask collection in Payday: the Heist. A recent patch added new Santa masks that look delightfully creepy. There’s also something about collectible Christmas presents that I don’t quite understand, but I was delighted to find one among the money in the bank heist. A brief snow flurry ensued.

The patch also offers some new features. For instance:

You can now join an ongoing game! You will no longer be locked out of games just because they have already started or because you dropped out during play. Just rejoin and continue collecting those precious dollars and gems!

A lot of the changes involve new animations. I was so surprised to round a corner and nearly trip over a SWAT officer in mid animation for a fancy slide that I almost forgot to shoot him with the shotgun I just unlocked. The patch also lists a whole lot of AI work that seems to come down to this point:

Combat will now be more mid ranged and not run-in gun battles

Fair enough. Fortunately, this is one of those Rainbox Six: Vegas style shotguns that works just fine as mid range. Perhaps my favorite change is this:

Slaughterhouse and Diamond Heist are now available in the Normal difficulty setting setting

These maps were previously available only as difficult missions for leveled up characters. Now it’s as if developer Overkill has unlocked two new maps. And what a boon, since I think Diamond Heist might be my new favorite map. It’s obviously based on Die Hard, featuring a big atrium plunging through the middle of multi-storied offices at the top of a skyscraper. It has you moving around the map a lot, which is a much more interesting space that the boxy crackhouse that plays similarly. It also starts with your gang hiding from guards, so like the bank heist, you can decide when to start hostilities. But unlike the bank heist, you can actually push through several of the objectives without alerting the guards. I’m guessing Diamond Heist could go for quite a while as a stealth mission, which would mean the silencer on the pistol is actually useful. I really like the objective progression as well. Nothing in Payday taps into the zeitgeist quite the grisly end the CFO meets in Diamond Heist!