June 18, 2024
Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2: I was engaged in a fierce battle with a horde of extraterrestrial beings. I was the only one defending myself and my internet acquaintance who I was partnered with at random. The chances were not on our side. Abruptly, a third soldier appears on the scene, dropping a turret to help us in the fight and to give my partner and me a moment to regroup and reload our weapons. I’m ready to join my newfound allies in celebrating our victory when I take a direct hit to the chest from a friendly fire bullet fired from the turret. If you can log in, the ending of this battle is among the funniest things that can occur in a Heldivers 2 session, even though it may sound frustrating.

You’ve likely heard—unless you’ve been living under a rock—that Helldivers 2 has had one of the best launches for a live service game in a long time. As long as you can log in, it features one of the most captivating basic game loops that is entertaining and keeps you going back for more. Alright, let me start with the worst: while there are occasional disconnections and crashes as well as difficulties logging in, these are not issues with Helldivers; rather, they are with live service games. So read our in-depth review below and pass the time till you can join in to the game!

Gameplay

Apart from fighting Terminator-style robots with chainsaws for arms and aliens straight out of Starship Troopers to save “Super Earth” and promote democracy, Helldivers 2 doesn’t have much of a plot.

You take control of your ship after a quick tutorial, and then you go right into the action. On your map, you can select your mission and make your deployment. One fantastic feature in Helldivers 2 (which I enjoyed about Outriders) is that you can start and play a few enjoyable missions by yourself. Even though the difficulty of some of them doesn’t increase with the amount of participants, they are nonetheless entertaining.

There’s usually more than 1 objective

The fact that there are typically multiple objectives makes the game so beautiful. The main goal of the game is to kill all the bugs on screen, destroy their burrows, kill the big bad boss, gather information, raise a flag, and other objectives. However, the gameplay loop remains the same: kill the robots or aliens. As I mentioned earlier, this is what makes the game so enjoyable.

Along with the main goal, there are other side missions that you may do. For example, you can find a number of random locations on the map or load missiles into cannons to get extra points that you can use to unlock better gear.

Friendly Fire and ammunition loss

Yes, there can be friendly fire, and I have accidentally killed or murdered team members on multiple occasions. Even when one of your team members is killed, you virtually instantly resume play. I also discovered the hard way that you lose ammunition if you reload your rifle and throw away a partially full clip! Thus, I advise you to load up on the few remaining ammunition in your shotgun that fires automatically! These minute details are what keep you on the edge of your seat and focused on your ammunition when the action is at its most intense. In addition, your character won’t reload on its own if a clip is empty. It requires a manual reload.

Requesting a certain weapon, turret, or just more ammunition feels like starting a minigame, which heightens the intensity. To call for an airstrike or obtain a new gun or ammo, you must press a combination of the d-pad buttons up, up, right, left, down, up, and down. In the heat of battle, this didn’t feel tiresome; rather, it felt more like I had to carefully consider how to get away from my enemies before calling for help. Needless to say, I frequently passed out while staring at the intricate combination on the screen. Yes, okay, it was annoying at times!

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The game’s arsenal of weapons is very varied. Aside from the typical assault rifle and shotgun, there were also automatic shotguns, rail guns, and sniper rifles that could penetrate armor, which proved to be rather effective against both robots and aliens. Some of these weapons might be lying about the map, but keep in mind that just because you’ve used something doesn’t mean you can access it. To unlock them, you must accumulate points.

Overall, Helldivers 2’s fundamental gameplay makes me want to join in simply for another round, either to laugh at my premature demise or to celebrate my triumph because ammo replenishment dropped right on me!

Sound and visuals

Though it’s not as good-looking as Horizon Forbidden West or God of War, Helldivers 2 is nonetheless visually appealing. The firearms have a pleasingly detailed appearance, especially while you are unlocking them, and the explosions offer a good variety of particle effects. When shot in the leg, your character likewise limps quite realistically. Although it can be difficult to distinguish one alien from the other at times because they appear to have been ripped directly from Starship Troopers, there is enough variation to keep things interesting for a few weeks. Now let’s talk about robots. They have a Terminator-esque appearance, and there are clear allusions to the Star Wars All Terrain Scout Transport, but I don’t mind.

However, the weapons—whether they be shotguns or assault rifles—sound quite conventional, with the band and the thugs audible. Some of the Helldivers’ voice acting is excellent; they play with a different voice each time. It’s a clever little way of expressing that every Helldiver you take control of is a new person. However, I didn’t realize this until someone made it clear to me. You are not alone if you missed it, then.

Verdict

You won’t get much use out of a game like Helldivers 2 if you enjoy single-player titles. I’m waiting for the devs to release a post-launch roadmap for people who have invested in the game. But Helldivers 2 is a treat if you enjoy playing multiplayer games—more specifically, live services. Even when it’s just the two of you versus an army of robots and aliens, it’s still a lot of fun to play with strangers and friends alike. Apart from server login problems, Helldivers demonstrates that the most crucial component of a live service game is a robust core gameplay loop.

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