Helldivers: Review

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover sage advice. But they also say some pretty discouraging things when you spend seven straight hours on a waterstones sofa really getting to know that book, having slipped off your shoes, socks, and trousers (they were chafing a bit) in the process. the point obviously is that although helldivers looks like a top-down shooter with the complexity of an untied shoelace, there’s actually a lot going on here. almost all of it very enjoyable.

The setup in which Super earth is under threat from its galactic enemies, the Bugs is as much an excuse to grin and wave at Starship troopers as anything. Fine by me. it also tees up a persistent, shared campaign in which the entire online community embarks on bitesize missions, alone or in up to four-player co-op. if everyone bands together and fills up the influence bar in a region of the galaxy map, it becomes humanity’s rightful territory. if they let that bar deplete, it’s lost.

It’s an ambitious macro-layer for a game so clearly reduced to a small budget, but still more impressive are the game’s tight controls and fresh, punishing approach to co-op. Communication and teamwork are essential, since friendly fire’s always enabled and waves of enemies rush you with terrifying gusto. ammo’s scarce and enemies infinite, so prolonged gunfights only lessen your odds, and a brilliantly panic-inducing Konami code-like control system when reviving teammates, calling in air support or hacking objectives ramps up the tension further still. the upgrade paths and gear-gating lend genuine longevity, too.

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