It’s been forever since I’ve touched a top down shooter of any kind, and I must say Helldivers is one that definitely does not disappoint! This PlayStation exclusive, developed by Arrowhead Game Studios, has melded co-op with hectic gameplay so perfectly, it’s unforgettable.
Set in a dystopian future, players fight to protect “Super Earth,” the Helldivers are soldiers drafted to fight an almost unexplained galactic war against three other races, the techie illuminate, heavily armed cyborgs and the bug like well… bugs and they do this just because the government says these races need to be subdued.
Each race has a totally different skillset and approach to beat. That makes Helldivers less of a brainless shooter but a one that needs tactical planning, especially when tied up with the irremovable friendly fire. You think twice about where you shoot and focus more on positioning for every encounter.
You and three other players (if you decide to play online) have a set of missions to complete on each planet–all while fending off the enemy races in order to reclaim it. Every reclaimed planet contributes to the worldwide online leader board. Meaning that if not enough players are ‘contributing’ to the cause, the aliens will start to overrun all the planets. This gives players a purpose to keep logging on to play so that the aliens do not win!
Up to four players can play together, either online or locally around the same television. HELLDIVERS features Cross-Play and Cross-Save functionality, where players on the console of their choice can fight together to survive in an unforgiving environment.
In Helldivers, you not only have guns to shoot but also some interesting mechanics such as grenades, that have to be timed and thrown carefully to prevent the killing of yourself as well as your teammates, and the stratagems, objects you can call down by following the arrow pattern for the stratagem (this adds a certain challenge and delay to calling them down). During the fight, aid is available in the form of ammo crates, Air strikes and even a turret–however you still have to be careful where you call them down. I learnt the hard way and I’m not proud of it — I got killed by falling crates and not going prone when the turret was firing many times and its definitely not funny when you’re on your last life for the round and you have to do it all over again.
Helldivers rewards players by unlocking the game’s massively impressive arsenal of weapons, as you go along, to eviscerate the enemy. But this also brings the challenge of what to use as your load out as you can only carry so much. I find it always fun to switch around the weapons for a different gameplay experience every time.
That all being said, Helldivers does not have great graphics, which to me is one of the most important factors of any game. The graphics come off a bit too cartoonish for my taste but it does compensate with great audio–whether you’re blasting the last bullet out of that magazine or even the beautiful sound of enemies being obliterated by the airstrike you called down!
Helldivers has very few flaws for a top down shooter and definitely has an understanding of what kind of game it wants to be for the audience. It also provides a substantial challenge intellectually and tactically.
Helldivers is available on the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita.