Humanity was never known for its subtlety. Especially when it comes to freedom, democracy and crushing our enemies. From our home base on Super Earth, we set out to spread our way of life to neighboring planets and “force” our point of view onto the local inhabitants… One way or another.
The premise of Helldivers is straightforward: you are a soldier from Super Earth sent out on missions all over the galaxy to colonize the planets and rid them of the local dwellers. Though it appears relatively simple, it’s the genius behind the execution that is rather impressive. You start the game in your very own spaceship, which serves has a sort of lobby for you and your team of 3 other solider. From there, you’ll have access to your inventory, the games encyclopedia, the mission status and multiplayer launch pad. The inventory gives you access to all your usual weapons, side-arms and Helldivers way of presenting special attacks and upgrades, the Stratagems. Stratagems are deployed during missions by inputting key on the controler. They can be anything from extra ammunition for your guns, to raining hellfire from above on your ennemies. Stratagems selection are crucial to the success of your mission as the game is brutally unforgiving.
This is not run and shoot game. You will have to work closely with your teammates to execute proper strategies and more often than not, avoid combat altogether if you want to survive. When starting the mission, you select the drop point on the map. You can basicly drop down directly onto your objective, although it might not be the best idea since objectives are usually crawling with buggers that will quickly overrun you and your party. It’s best to drop a bit further and work your way to the first objective slowly with your team. Communication and fast reaction times are a must when playing in multiplayer, as friendly fire is always activated. This means that a poorly timed grenade or a misplaced air strike will take down friendly players. More often than not, I found myself getting killed by a fellow soldier, rather than the buggers, which can be frustrating when playing with less than savvy people. The objectives during missions are simple and can become quite redundant. Capture this point, deploy the array, escort a soldier, etc. However, when you do succeed in your missions, it is very rewarding. You unlock many upgrades for you guns, new stratagems, new clothing items and all sorts of interesting things to keep you going and coming back. The better your get, the harder the missions get, which in turn, gives better rewards. It’s that eternal grind to the top that so many people enjoy and gives this real sense of advancement.
What’s even more rewarding, is seeing the global progress of other soldiers playing the game. All the missions you do go towards one goal: taking control of one of the three alien homeworlds. Each mission that you and players all over the world do brings you one step closer to taking control of that homeworld. The end result being an all out attack that each player must participate, in order to achieve victory. The concept of an ever changing universe controlled by players is brilliant and very well executed. You actually feel like you have an impact on the world and that your work is not for nothing. Needless to say, when you start off, you are almost invisible. But as you get higher in ranks, you start to have more and more influence after successful missions and you feel like you are doing something for the cause, reinforcing that feeling of advancement even more. The game looks good and feels good. The controls are responsives and you have this sense of crispness in everything you do. It’s not going to win awards for it’s graphics, but they are solid enough to keep you interested and get you laughing in some areas.
For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the heck out of that game. It’s challenging enough to keep you on toes but rewarding enough that it keeps you coming back for more. Combine that with a pretty awesome arsenal of weapons and the online global advancement, it’s easily worth the 20$ price point.
Helldivers is now available on the Playstation store for PS3, PS4 and PSVita