Starship Twin Stick Troopers – Helldivers Review (PC)
Harsh video game experiences are becoming increasingly more popular. One mistake can end in death, hand holding is no longer desired, players have to earn their rewards. Helldivers is another example of such games, but with a little more going on behind the scenes.
Helldivers does not simply rely on its challenging nature, there’s much more on offer. The twin stick shooting is compact, yet has a fair level of scope constantly at work. Its the little things that makes Helldivers work so well.
Set across a number of planets, each with their own style and enemy type, Helldivers is all the Sci-Fi action cheese you could want. With undertones of Star Ship Trooper (be it intentional or not) Helldiver’s character makes it instantly appealing. Brandishing terms like ‘Super Earth’ never fails to produce a grin, nor does the chaos displayed on screen.
Twin Stick Shooters tend to suffer from the stigma that their nothing but mindless affairs. Helldivers provides evidence that the stigma is far from true. Friendly fire and limited ammo forces players to fight smart. Simply spraying at incoming enemies is a fast track to death. These two core elements allow the core gameplay to evolve into a much more effective form. Communicating between players, avoiding friendly fire and conserving ammo play a profound affect at the very heart of the game.
Death is a regular occurrence. Players don’t take much to go down, enemies tear and rend their targets with ease. Every single encounter carries a very real threat, there’s no time for coasting. In the same titles such as Dark Souls never allow a player to become complacent, Helldivers forces players to stay on their guard. Enemies flood players from all angles. Variations between enemy types push player’s into changing up how they play. It all mixes together to create intense combat situations which all have the potential to wipe out a squad.
Prior to each mission, players chose their loadouts. Primary and secondary weapons, gadgets stratagems and cosmetics form the spine of player options. Each primary weapon offers pros and cons, mostly depending on playing style. Shotguns pack heavy punches but are portable friendly fire incidents.
Rifles provide the workforce of the weaponry, with more exotic weapons supplying advanced players more varied approaches. Stratagems consist of various assets a player can call in. Turrets, weapons and even vehicles fall under the Stratagems umbrella, all of which can turn a bad situation into a bullet ridden good one. Just make sure not to crush a team mate when the asset drops from orbit.
Helldivers builds around it’s solid gameplay by giving players genuine motivation to progress. Additional weapons, stratagems and costumes act as the carrot on a stick. Gaining access to the good stuff requires players to complete all the missions on one planet. Drop down, destroy a SAM site, escort some civilians and repeat. The mission structures aren’t exactly anything new, but the before mentioned gameplay always makes them engaging. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction when it comes to successfully conquering a planet…and unlocking the jetpack.
With four player co-op being the desired method of play, single player feels utterly out of place. Playing solo is nothing but a frustrating exercise of quick deaths between attempts at fleeing. Helldivers isn’t pushing it’s self as solo experience. The four player drop in/out co-op works fantastically well, rarely running into any issues. Voice chat is supported, allowing players to quickly form connections, feeding into the notion of team work. At it’s best, Helldivers is fantastic co-op experience that produces intense moments of action and laughter.
There’s plenty of game time to enjoy, as long as it’s in co-op. The previous DLC packs released on the PS4 version are present in the PC port, with no extra charge. Helldivers has a lot of positive things going for it. The only real negative is some rather repetitive mission objectives. For £15.99, you really can’t go wrong with what’s on offer. It may be intense, and at times harsh, but Helldivers is always fun.