February 28, 2024

Forget the cookie-cutter space marines of modern shooters. Helldivers 2 throws you into the meat grinder as a glorified bug zapper, defending the gloriously absurd “Super Earth” from bug-eyed aliens and robot nightmares. This sequel ditches the top-down view for a more personal, third-person perspective, but retains the series’ signature blend of hilarious absurdity and strategic chaos. Buckle up, soldier, because we’re about to embark on a deep dive into this explosive extravaganza.


AT A GLANCE

GENRE: Action
DEVELOPER: Arrowhead Game Studios
PUBLISHER: Sony Interactive Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: 8 Feb, 2024
FINAL SCORE: 9/10


B-Movie Mayhem

Helldivers 2 has a Starship Troopers-inspired narrative rampage that is wrapped in glorious absurdity. Prepare to defend Super-Earth, a hyperbolically patriotic utopia, against robotic Automatons and insectoid Terminids in epic intergalactic battles.

The story itself is a tongue-in-cheek delight. Imagine Starship Troopers blended with B-movie camp, full of humor, action, and delightfully over-the-top moments. It serves as a fun backdrop to the intense gameplay, never intruding but adding context and keeping you invested in the fight for galactic freedom.

Think propaganda posters come to life, with cheesy briefings and self-righteous declarations of Super Earth’s superiority. But amidst the camp, there’s a layer of dark satire poking fun at blind patriotism and militaristic excess. While there’s no actual story to follow, the maps are often littered with small tidbits of lore and self-contained stories.

Ultimately, Helldivers 2’s narrative shines in its simplicity. It provides a clear enemy, a relatable goal, and plenty of laughs along the way. It’s about blowing up bugs and robots with friends.

Shoulder to Shoulder Against the Swarm

Helldivers 2 isn’t just a sequel; it’s a full-blown evolution of the beloved, squad-based shooter. As a seasoned Helldiver myself, stepping into this game was like slipping on a familiar, yet surprisingly upgraded suit of powered armor. While the original’s top-down view held a certain nostalgic charm, the shift to third-person in Helldivers 2 is a revelation. This isn’t just a perspective change; it’s an injection of adrenaline, pulling you deeper into the chaotic battlefield, every laser blast and bug splatter feeling more visceral than ever.

But the improvements go far beyond visuals. The mission structure feels tighter, more purposeful. Gone are the repetitive tasks of the past; instead, Helldivers 2 throws you into diverse objectives, from eradicating Termanid hives to launching nukes with fingers crossed. Each mission feels unique, demanding strategic adaptation and keeping the campaign surprisingly fresh. You’re never quite sure what hellish surprise awaits, which is half the fun (and terror) of being a Helldiver.

Speaking of hell, the enemy roster has expanded. The familiar insectoid Bugs are still there, but now they share the spotlight with the menacing Automatons. These robotic nightmares bring new tactical challenges, forcing you to rethink your approach and utilize your arsenal differently. And let’s not forget the boss encounters. Facing off against the monstrous Bile Titan, its fleshy carapace pulsating with malice, is an experience that demands coordinated teamwork and precise execution. It’s moments like these that truly test your mettle and solidify the bond between you and your fellow Helldivers.

The core combat, at its heart, remains fantastic. The controls are as tight as ever, and the new weapons and stratagems add delicious layers of strategic depth. Do you rain down hellfire with an orbital strike, or unleash a hail of bullets with a minigun? The choice is yours, and there’s enough variety to cater to every playstyle.

Helldivers 2, doesn’t relegate solo players to the sidelines. The third-person perspective adds depth and lets you truly dive into the chaos of defending Super Earth alone. But while challenging and engaging, it’s clear that Helldivers 2 truly shines under the spotlight of cooperation.

This isn’t just a multiplayer tack-on – it’s a fundamental shift. Hordes of enemies demand teamwork, transforming struggles into thrilling cooperative adventures. From coordinated assaults to covering each other’s backs, teamwork becomes the key to surviving, not just thriving.

Teamwork adds strategic layers. Constant communication and action coordination are crucial. Reinforcements, covering fire, calling down the correct stratagems – each role is vital. Beyond strategy, there’s simply more fun in shared experiences. Shared triumphs, camaraderie forged in adversity, and inside jokes all blossom in co-op.

Whether you’re teaming up with friends or joining forces with random players online, the cooperative nature of Helldivers 2 fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork offers an experience that the single-player mode just can’t match. And higher difficulty missions felt straight up impossible for me to do solo. So if it wasn’t evident, I highly recommend playing Helldivers 2 with a group of friends or at least giving the matchmaking a try if you don’t have one of those.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: does Helldivers 2 surpass its predecessor? The answer, undeniably, is yes. It takes the core elements that made the original great – the frenetic action, the strategic depth, the hilarious friendly fire – and polishes them to a blinding shine. The new perspective, diverse missions, and formidable enemies breathe fresh life into the formula, making Helldivers 2 a worthy successor and a must-play for any fan of cooperative shooters.

But this isn’t just for veterans. Newcomers seeking a chaotic, strategic blast with friends will find plenty to love here. Be warned, though: friendly fire is still very much a thing, so prepare for moments of laughter, rage, and shared groans as you navigate the battlefield together. Trust me, the camaraderie forged in the fires of friendly napalm is something truly special.

So, is Helldivers 2 perfect? Perhaps not. Some might miss the top-down view, and the launch content feels slightly slim compared to its predecessor. But these are minor quibbles in the face of the overall experience. Helldivers 2 is a triumphant evolution, a chaotic symphony of strategic carnage that begs to be experienced with friends.

Stunning, Smooth, and (almost) Bug-Free!

Helldivers 2 drops you into the fray with impressive visuals that perfectly complement the chaotic action. While not pushing graphical boundaries, diverse environments like snow-capped peaks and dense forests immerse you in the battle against robotic and insectoid threats. Intricate character and enemy designs, vibrant colors, and fluid animations bring the world to life.

The sound design further enhances immersion. Gunshots, explosions, and enemy encounters deliver a visceral experience. From whirring drones to booming orbital strikes, every detail seems crafted to pull you deeper into the action.

Technical performance shines on both PlayStation 5 and PC. Fast load times, responsive controls, and minimal lag ensure a smooth experience. Even during intense firefights, the frame rate remained consistent.

Cross-platform play expands the game’s reach, allowing friends on different platforms to team up. This is always welcome and I wish more multiplayer games continue to open up and let players from across all platforms to get together and share these experiences.

However, some technical hiccups remain. Early clipping issues and crashes were partially addressed by a patch, but occasional timeouts persist. While promising improvements exist, continued updates are crucial to squash these remaining bugs (not the in-game kind, those are up to you to kill, soldier!).

Final Thoughts

Score
9 / 10
9/10

Summary

That final stand against a tide of enemies, down to my last mag, screaming "GET SOME" as napalm rains down? Pure, unadulterated gaming joy. Helldivers 2 might not be perfect, but it's damn fun. If you crave a strategic shooter with a side of B-movie cheese, enlist today, soldier. Super Earth needs you... probably to get blown up, but hey, that's half the fun! Just remember, friendly fire is on, so watch your back... and your teammates.