Starship Troopers, er.. Helldivers was once a PlayStation 4 and PS Vita exclusive and one I didn’t get a chance to play. Thankfully, that all changed now that Sony’s PlayStation Mobile Inc. has brought the title to Steam and the PC platform. And while my joking start of the review mentions Star Ship Troopers, a no doubt classic and favorite film on most sci-fi and geek film watchers, that’s exactly what this game feels like when you play it. A top-down, dual-stick shooter that makes you feel like you’re part of the Starship Troopers flicks. Sounds good to me.
Game Name: Helldivers
Platform(s): PlayStation 4,
Publisher(s): PlayStation Mobile Inc
Developer(s): Arrowhead Games Studios
Release Date: December 7, 2015
Multiplayer: 4-player co-op local & online
Sign me up, sir!
Join the ranks of the military as you take on other planets in an attempt to liberate them and show everyone once and for all that Super Earth is the top dog. Who doesn’t want to kick some alien ass and get home just in time for tea or whatever you do for relaxation?
While I enjoyed the hell out of Helldivers, the game is really straightforward and simple, which is its charm. Select your weapon layout, select a mission, select your drop zone, and then lay hell to any and everything in your path; if it moves, then you make it stop moving. Of course, it’s not always that easy, as every mission has some objective to capture points, find stuff, or wipe out the planet’s populous and then attempt to survive once your extraction ride gets there…. and they tend to take their time. So much that you can be overrun before they get there. So much for getting to the Choppa!
Do you like enjoyable gunplay? If so, then Helldivers is likely right up your alley. With plenty of weapons to pick from, there’s something for everyone: pistols, machine guns, rocket launchers, shotguns, mini-gun placements, and more. Since I played Helldivers with the Xbox 360 controller, I was able to take advantage of the dual analog stick for movement and aiming. Aiming your weapons is easy as well, you aim with the right analog stick, which is accompanied by a red laser point to highlight your vector, firing duties is handled via the right trigger. In addition to your primary weapon, which can be changed before starting a mission, you also have access to a side aim and grenades.
The sounds of you firing rounds of deathly rain sound so good that I often find myself randomly firing my primary and sidearm at nothing to hear the sounds they make. I also like the fact that once you run out of rounds, you have to reload or die as the enemies end up bearing down on you. There’s no auto reload here, and it gives the game that realistic feeling, so get used to reloading a lot.
Taste my freedom!
Have a nice cup of FREEDOM!
There’s a huge variety of missions available in both single-player and multiplayer to take part, and each mission has a difficulty assigned to it, so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you decide to go rogue. However, the missions are just the tip of the iceberg since you gain experience from every mission you partake in and more if you complete them. Those points are then used to level up your character, automatically mind you, as well as new items that range from appearances, new weapons, upgrades, and even additional stratagems, which are those things that you can call down from the heavens during your gameplay and much more. While I haven’t unlocked it yet, I did manage to play with several people online who had unlocked an exo-suit and even a jump-pack, which made me a bit jealous.
I think Arrowheads was having a bit of fun with implementing the stratagems, especially since, to use them, you have to do a sequence of direction pad inputs while firing and dodging enemies at times. Sure, you can drop them before combat, but what do you do when you run out of ammo in the middle of a firefight? Evil Arrowhead Studios is pure evil, and I love it.
While the game won’t win any awards for best-looking graphics, they convey the sights of a down-and-dirty, balls-to-the-wall battle zone. The areas are plentiful and detailed, background objects such as trees and shrubbery move and sway in the wind, and damn near, all the planet’s environmental elements look fantastic. And many of them aren’t simply for show, such as the mini-volcano (don’t go near them when they erupt). The character and creature models look extremely detailed, the weapons exhibit some impressive smoke trails and firing effects, and even dispensed ammo being ejected onto the ground is animated with such grace that you could find yourself steering at it every so often.
I have to be really honest here, this game drags a bit when you play single player. Sure, it’s fun, but it doesn’t compare to the sheer madness of playing either locally with three other players or online. With more players comes more fun, as you’re now fighting for kills with multiple players, which can lead to hilarious results. See, there’s this thing called friendly fire, and sometimes, in the heat of battle, you or your other partners can accidentally or purposely mow you down when you wander into their sights or even if you’re on the other side of the screen. And while it seems like it may be something childish, it’s a typical occurrence, and sometimes it’s fun just to take out someone, you know, if they were stealing your kills or if you just want to rack up some kills while they lie on the ground, bleeding out.
However, there’s more than friendly fire to playing in co-op mode. In fact, there’s nothing more satisfying than having a horde of creatures ascending down on you and your squad, and you pull out all of your gun turrets and have your carry weapons at the ready. Work together, and everything goes along smoothly, and out of the 30 missions I played online, that is normally what happens unless you get someone who doesn’t want to pull their own weight, then you take said person out. I’ve enjoyed the co-op way more than single-player, with one minor exception. When you play co-op, everyone’s laser sights are the same color: red. This means that in the heat of the moment, you tend to lose track of your aim, and I would have preferred it if Arrowhead Studios had made it so that each player’s laser was a different color instead.
Since this is a PC port, I’m happy to report that during my gaming sessions, I never experienced any slowdown, no crashes, or any other issues that would hinder the gameplay. This is definitely a fantastic port of the PS4/PS Vita title. The PC requirements to play the game are quite low, and I could run it on both my main gaming PC and my work laptop, which consists of an AMD A6-7310 process and an integrated GPU, with no issues. What I’m getting at is that just about everyone can play this on their PC, laptop, or even a Windows-based tablet if they meet the system requirements.
Review Disclosure Statement: A copy of Helldivers was provided to us by PlayStation Mobile for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy.
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Helldivers is a fun, frantic, and amazing deep dual-stick shooter. Tackle it by yourself or several other players, there’s no lack of things to do or challenge, especially on the higher difficulty missions. It’s not the prettiest game out there, but it makes up for looks by providing plenty of kick-ass gunplay, satisfying weapon sounds, and a touch and gritty environment that will chew you up and spit you out if you aren’t smart about how you play.
And then there’s that friendly fire or intentional friendly fire, hilarious, unless it’s you on the receiving end.
Nice to see that Sony has started to port over at least parts of their 1st titles over to the PC and hopefully this the only title planned for a PC port. In fact, I’d love to see several others such as Gravity Rush and even Freedom Wars ported over as well.
And keep in mind that regardless if you play single player or with friends, you.. will… die… ALOT!
- Action is very intense, especially at higher mission levels
- Tons of missions and challenges to choose from
- The ability to earn and upgrade your gear, weapons and much more
- 4 player local and online co-op is a blast
- Every-time your character calls out a catching phrase…. “Freedom”!
- Single player missions are a bit on the boring side during the lower difficulties
- Unable to pause on single player mode
- Laser sights need to be different colors when playing online
- Freedom for everyone!