Helldivers II

Helldivers II

Even though he never joined the army, the fate of the world is now in the hands of Conny, who has been slaughtering insects at breakneck speed for the past few days...

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Helldivers II can be summarised in a rather simple way; you land on a planet, perform a bunch of tasks and shoot lots of insects or robots, which sometimes is the main task, and then you get back to your ship. Helldivers II is quite simple at its core, but you can of course summarise almost all games in such a simple way. The reason I chose to do this, however, was that I was a bit afraid that everything Helldivers II had to offer would feel very simple and repetitive and my first jumps down to the inhospitable planets didn't do much to give me an impression of anything else. You land, you have to get to a point, you shoot and you perform the task and you get back to your ship. This is repeated over and over again and after a few playthroughs I almost felt a little full, at the same time there was something entertaining there in all its simplicity and if you are prepared for what you get here and accept this simplicity, maybe even find it enough, Helldivers II succeeds really well in being entertaining.

After a short briefing where you learn the basics, you join the army to save the Earth from the threat. What stands out most in the initial briefing is the fact that things such as new ammunition, weapons and even fire support can be summoned by entering a short combination with the digital control pad. For example, if you want fire to rain down on your enemies, you simply have to press a simple little combination, which is reminiscent of the classic Konami code but thankfully much shorter.

Helldivers II

So my first jump was solo, before I was lucky enough to realise how much more fun it was with others, but during my first solo mission I managed to do what I needed to do. Your first jump, however, is on a very simple pre-set difficulty level and the only time I managed to die was when I was leaving the plane and the ship picking me up landed on my poor head. Another hilarious scenario as my first death occurred a few missions later when I was lucky enough to have three other players show up on my ship. As well as the simple realisation that this is indeed how it should be experienced, I also realised how the missions take on a completely different feel. As you complete your first missions, you also unlock new levels of difficulty and we jumped down to a planet covered in snow to do some killing. After a successful mission, on the way back, a large insect appeared a bit in front of me and I wildly pressed the trigger, only to see how one of my poor companions running in front of me was shot to pieces. Friendly ire exists here, so you have to keep your sights on the right target. Fortunately, he took it well and without revenge.

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Helldivers II

After each completed mission, you go up in level and when you have to return to your ship, it's just to get ready for the next mission. Via a map you choose which planet you want to visit, it also shows how close to victory you are, which is a group effort by all the players in Helldivers II. The selection of planets here at release is slightly too little, although they are quite varied and offer some different missions. In one, for example, I fought against robots and with the difficulty level turned up, there was a lot more tension there than during my initial battles with the enemies. Here, every shot and grenade became important and since both ammunition, grenades and the stim packs are limited in number, it is important to use what you have until you find breathing space to push the sequence to call down some new supplies.

These ordinances you can call down are used quite frequently and even if they have a short "cool down" before they can be used again, I would have preferred that they were limited a bit. The air strikes get a bit hectic when you're in a squad of four. However, the effect is very cool with really powerful explosions and lights, which leads us to the visual part and here I think Helldivers II works very well in many respects. The graphics aren't the most technically advanced, far from it, but everything from the image and the mentioned light effects are really nice. There's also a nice splash of insects when they're shot, but a little more variety wouldn't hurt. There are also some areas where it doesn't quite reach the visual level we're quite spoilt with nowadays, but since it flows so nicely when running around on the planets, I haven't been too critical about this overall. I also like details like seeing ships in the distance shooting down towards the planet which gives the illusion that the war is going on on all fronts. However, it is mainly the smooth animations and nice light sources that I like the most visually. The soundtrack adds a great atmosphere and the sound effects are well-paced. All in all, it's not world class on the technical side, but it's definitely good.

Helldivers II
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One comparison, or rather inspiration, which is definitely noticeable and which I have deliberately not mentioned so far, is that of Paul Verhoeven's 1997 cult film. I am of course talking about Starship Troopers. In everything from the initial little propaganda film to the design and of course, the swarms of insects you fight, there's a clear nod to the film. And while I appreciate that Helldivers II is all it is, no frills, I feel like it could have been fleshed out a bit more. The ship you return to feels rather unused, the game's lore is rather thin and even though I don't demand that you fill it to the brim with activities and other things, you could have enhanced the feeling of a full-scale war going on. Some extra rooms on your ship, some NPCs with dialogue that changes depending on your progression. It would have taken very little to make Helldivers II feel fuller. I also don't like the simple fact that you have to be online all the time, even if you intend to go alone. Before finalising this text, I was going to go in and look at some small details but the servers were down throughout the evening which made it simply impossible since you can't even get past the title screen when this happens.

Helldivers II

Something that really speaks in favour of Helldivers II is the fact that it will evolve and new things will be added. The developers have already promised a lot, but even if it will be improved and get less content, I'm judging what we have now. But what will be added in the future indicates that this is something that will grow and with it, hopefully, become even better. I can imagine, for example, that the server problems that have occasionally prevented me from playing is one such thing that will improve enormously. As it is now, it is an entertaining action spectacle that is definitely best when played with others. Despite the repetitiveness, I have had a lot of fun with it and I look forward to diving into new planets to save humanity and to quote the late Toby Keith: "I'm out here on the front lines. Sleep in peace tonight." So, you can simply sleep easy, or better yet - join the war. It's quite funny actually.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
Great environments and lighting effects, good flow, really fun with others.
Repetitive, lacks variety of enemies, requires you to be constantly online
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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REVIEW. Written by Conny Andersson

Even though he never joined the army, the fate of the world is now in the hands of Conny, who has been slaughtering insects at breakneck speed for the past few days...

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