Helldivers is the latest 4-player co-op sensation in the PlayStation world. Developed by Arrowhead, the same studio behind hits such as Magika, Gauntlet etc.
Helldivers is a 4-player cross-play, cross-chat top-down action shooter. The game drops you in squads of 4 on different planets of your choosing in a bid to spread democracy to various worlds. As a helldiver, your job is to protect the way of life of Super Earth, your homeworld.
A Helldiver is the most elite of the military units ever trained. As a diver, you’re trained in dealing with all sorts of weaponry, explosives, communications etc. You also get to wear Mech suits and drive tanks around killing your enemies. Your only job is to spread Super Earth’s managed democracy to the forsaken worlds out there teeming with undemocratic entities such as the bugs, cyborgs etc.
The characters look the part with cool armor and a stylish cape. The movement is pretty fluid and although they die pretty easily, there are various perks the game provides to make your diver more resilient, such as: Heavy Armour, Cardio Accelerator, Health Injectors etc. There are also jetpacks, shields, displacement perks that you can use to make your diver a cunning, precise, surgical killing machine that brings doom to the planets he sets foot on. As you complete each planet, you’ll be raking in XP and advancing in rank. You start out as a Colonel (lvl 01) and go upto Grand Lord (lvl 25). I currently am a Field Marshall (lvl 20).
There are a lot of weapons in this game. No seriously, there are a lot of weapons this game offers to kill your enemies. These include assault rifles, shotguns, machine guns, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, flame throwers etc. Helldivers also offers a truckload of stratagems to unlock. A Stratagem is basically an airdrop that lets you call in all kinds of cool stuff from your ship.
A stratagem can either be a defensive stratagem or an offensive one. You can pack up to 4 stratagems with you on each dive. You can call in Airstrikes, Ammo, Sub machine guns, Defensive Turrets, Rail guns, Orbital Strikes, Jetpacks (Yes!), Mech Suits (Yess!), Tanks (Hell Yeahh!) and lots of other stuff. Strats like Ammo are regenerating, and thankfully so considering that the ammo is painfully limited in this game (not to mention, your remaining clip gets discarded when you reload!). I’d say stratagems are the shining strength of this game. Imagine the carnage you could create with a couple of Mech suits and a continuous array of air strikes. This game is cool.
Enemies. There are basically 3 enemy races: Bugs, Cyborgs and the Illuminate. Each race has its own (brief) backstory. You go to each planet and participate in missions to ‘complete’ a planet. The planets are of different difficulties each and start from ‘Dive in the Park’ and go all the way upto ‘Helldiver’ which is basically a suicide mission. Make no mistake, Helldivers is a tough game and it always advices you to team up. Even on lower difficulties, it’s advised to go in with a squad. Plus, it’s loads of fun with 3 other players on the screen. Pure mayhem.
Overall, Helldivers is a solid game that plays fluidly with no lag and little to no drops in framerate. Occasionally, there are issues while connecting with other players and the matchmaking systems needs to be sorted out a bit for cross-play. There are a couple of other issues such as trophies not unlocking that a few people seem to have experienced, but I have never experienced them in all my hours of playing so far. Having said that, the rest of the game is pretty slick. Joining a game is simply a process of searching for available games and jumping in. Even when you’re playing solo, you can set your preference to ‘Public’ so that random divers can drop into your game. This helps a lot as there’s no need to wait for one or more to join you for the mission to start. You can start playing right away and people will join you midgame. You can also throw an SOS beacon if you’re in a tough spot on a planet, so that your game will be bumped up in the available games list, so more chances for people to join you. If you don’t want/like to play with random players, you can simply set your matchmaking preference to ‘Friends’ or ‘Private’.
In-game, there are ‘samples’ that you can collect. These samples make up an in-game currency called ‘Research Points’. Each research point lets you upgrade your weapons, stratagems etc. Arrowhead is open with its admission of the issues and is currently working on patches and updates, so hope to see them resolved soon. As a diver, you can have loads of fun with others. Once you find a couple of other divers with a similar play style, you’re set. I myself couldn’t live a day without my daily Helldivers fix these past few days. At 20$ a pop, this game is bang for buck. Oh did I mention it’s Cross-Buy too? Yup icing on the cake 🙂 It is available on PS3, PS4 & PS Vita. Get this today and do your part to spread democracy.