Arrowhead Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment come together and bring across their new top-down shooter, Helldivers. Top-down shooters do not really appeal to me but for some reason, Helldivers seemed to stick out, advertising a gameplay experience that seemed fun, yet quite addictive. Would becoming a Helldiver be an enjoyable experience? Read my full review to find out!.
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
(review code provided by Sony)
When new titles come from smallish indie developers, I am always interested to give them a go. Helldivers was no different and I am actually really glad I did. I feel that their reputation will continue to grow after this release and, of course, massive credit must go to Sony for backing indie studios like Arrow Head, giving them a place to showcase their talents.
First thing is first, if you are looking for a title that will utilize every bit of graphic power that the PlayStation 4 beholds then your going to be set up for a bit of a come down when you play Helldivers. It doesn’t shine visually, but I actually love the way these indie studios present their games. That is not to say that visually it is poor, of course it isn’t, let’s rule that out right now. As you visit different worlds in Helldivers ‘Super Earth’, each one feels and looks unique to the next. Playing as a actual Helldiver, detail isn’t that great, relatively simple in design, but all coming together, fits Helldivers perfectly.
You may have noticed that I haven’t really mentioned the story in Helldivers much. There is one, but it’s not really the deepest to say the least. You are recruited (Recruited meaning a hilarious, yet alarming opening scene of the game) as a Helldiver, which along with other Helldivers, are tasked with saving the ‘Super Earth’ from a group of terrorists. Yup, that is the story in one sentence, but with all the action, fun and complete madness occurring inside the missions, let you quickly forget the lack of story attached to it.
Helldivers is a game that is full of fun, right from the start to the very end. I do advise, actually stress that you play with at least 2 other people via local multiplayer or via the fantastic match making system online. Helldivers screams out co-op play, and that is exactly the best way to play it. Going it alone will just result in a rather frustrating experience, giving yourself no chance against the hordes of enemies that come your way. I started the first few hours playing on my own, and because the game wasn’t officially out at the time, the servers were empty to say the least. The first few missions, I thought to myself, hang on, this is fine. Get past the very easy missions then you will find out exactly why you need a couple of friends to help you along the way (maximum 4 per mission). You do get a tutorial mission right at the very start of the game, teaching you the basics of how to progress through missions. It is a pointless exercise, but one that sets you up for the awaiting missions nicely, as you get to grip with all the controls you will need.
When starting a mission, you are able to attach yourself 2 weapons. You will have a main weapon at your disposal, say a powerful machine gun at your disposal with a short ammo’d pistol at your side ready to use when you are low on ammo. Aiming can be quite hit and miss, more miss than hit in my case, fast paced action really makes you think strategically about how you are going to approach the mission. The fact that you can choose where you want your drop-off point in the map to be is crucial, letting you and your allies devise a strategy to get around the map easier and much more efficiently.
It is not just weapons that you have at your disposal. Make sure you remember the word ‘Stratagems’. They will be yours and your friends best attempt in completing the mission that you have in front of you. However, it is not going to be as easy as you think to use them. The game requires you to press a combination of directional buttons, with the addition of L1. If you think of it like quickly inputting a cheat code into the early Sonic the Hedgehog titles, you will be on the right path!. Even once you have called for a Stratagem, the game requires you to wait an amount of time before your help eventually arrives. This wait can feel like absolutely ages, especially when enemies are coming from every corner of the map!. Stratagems include things like ammo for your weapons, an automatic turret that will take out everything in their way. The emergance beacon is one I used the most, which alerts other online players that you need help very urgently. More powerful Stratagems are also available as you progress through the game, letting you build up quite an arsenal of weaponry at you and your team’s disposal!
Helldivers is a fun, action-packed and utterly addictive experience. The game isn’t perfect, with little gripes here and there, but on the whole, you really can’t complain. I have to applaud Arrowhead Game Studios. It can be fun on your own, but the game really turns up once you and a couple of friends get together. The level of addiction on offer will keep you coming back for more time and time again. Helldivers is an experience that you really shouldn’t miss out on, and one that will really gravitate Arrowhead Game Studio’s status as one of the best up and coming developers out there.