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Helldivers 2 review: Fun when playable

Helldivers 2 review: Fun when playable

Helldivers 2

Look, I'll be honest. Helldivers 2 is a lot of fun. But whether you can actually play it though, is another thing altogether. My review took a much longer time to publish because of server and matchmaking issues. In fact, I was about to give up when I could finally matchmake, and get in on the action.

Quick notes

  • Lots of fun with bullets flying everywhere
  • Reloads will discard a clip, so be mindful of when you do so.
  • No bestiary to explain the weaknesses of enemies, or how different weapons work against armour

And boy is it lots of action. Enemies spawn constantly, and the difficulty ramps up to give you a challenge. In fact, hard feels well, hard. You play as one of many Helldivers, defending Super Earth from invading insects and killer robots, and spreading democracy through the universe. It's heavily influenced by Starship Troopers through its over-the-top messaging, but I really dig it. The stirring patriotic music, the loud proclamations of defending liberty, and the way your characters shout out slogans as they charge into battle help sell the theme.

Helldivers 2
Screenshot: Arrowhead Game Studios

Gameplay is simple. You select a mission, join three other Helldivers, and launch down to the surface in pods that look like bullets, fired from a ship that looks like a rifle. You and your teammates then complete the mission objectives, then proceed to an extraction point. It sounds simple, and it is, but actually getting the objectives done can be tricky. The game loves throwing bodies at you to keep things exciting, and you may also stumble onto side quests to do. Clearing these will get you more rewards at the end, but bear in mind that they can be challenging, and will eat up resources that you may need to complete the actual mission. Gunplay is great, there are a ton of different weapons, and they all feel unique and fun to use.

Helldivers 2
Screenshot: Arrowhead Game Studios

You can fire lasers, burn enemies alive, snipe, shotgun, set up shields, call down orbital strikes, or set up automated sentry guns. One unique mechanic the game has is stratagems, which are codes you have to input to revive teammates, call down weapons, or bombardments. It's fun, but challenging to execute them in the heat of combat. You have to be nimble with your fingers to get them out fast. I do think it is easier on PC compared with the PlayStation 5. It's honestly quite fun. Also, be prepared to die — a lot — because that's part of the game. There's also friendly fire, and I've killed by my teammates a number of times. Sometimes, dying can help. It refills your ammo, and since you return from the dead by flying down in a pod, you can also attempt to land on your enemies to squish them.

Made by Arrowhead Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Helldivers 2 is one heck of a game. It has all the elements of a great live service game, and deserves the hype it's been getting. However, with all the server issues and bugs, it may take awhile before Helldivers 2 feels ready for prime time. But it will get there, and the developer have been constantly issuing patches to fix the problems. Get it from Steam, or the PlayStation Store for S$54.90.

See Also
Garmin Forerunner 265

Note: Review copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

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