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Helldivers 2 – Review

Helldivers 2 opens on a cutscene that leans heavily into its satirical nature, showcasing Super Earth, and its focus on democracy, and had me laughing before even booting up the game itself. Thankfully, Arrowhead Game Studios kept me laughing throughout playing Helldivers whether with its hilarious mechanics, voice lines around liberating for super earth, or simply diving off of a giant rock and ragdolling. Even if Helldivers was just this, I would be pleasantly pleased, however, Arrowhead Studios has developed one of the best live service games on their hands with wholly unique mechanics, ideas, and systems that keep me coming back, and based on their first month or so, show that the team has the legs to keep the game going for years to come.

Helldivers 2 is a third-person multiplayer extraction shooter that has you and your team journeying to planets to complete missions and eventually liberate said planet for Super Earth. What makes this unique however is that every person that plays Helldivers contributes to liberating said planet whenever they complete a mission, meaning that every player has the exact same goal week by week. These missions vary from rescuing civilians to launching nukes to smaller-scale ones such as simply killing a couple hundred bugs.

Have a cup of Liber-TEA

Thankfully, you are equipped with Stratagems, which you can call down by inputting quick commands to summon bigger guns, and turrets, reviving teammates, or calling down bombs to help you take out enemies faster. As you venture through these small maps trying to complete your mission, each map has sub-objectives for you to complete which help you earn more currency to help you unlock more guns, stratagems, or customization. These sub-objectives also have lots of variability, from liberating a certain number of nests to destroying signal towers, and each of these sub-objectives can be solved in a variety of ways. All put together, this means that no one mission feels the same, and as you play you unlock harder and harder difficulties which bring about stronger and faster enemies. 

Helldivers 2 is the sequel to Helldivers obviously, a cult classic top-down twin-stick extraction shooter that has you liberating different planets and killing bug aliens and robots to keep Super Earth safe. In fact, a lot of systems and mechanics aren’t changed too much between Helldivers 1 and 2, both games have you calling down Stratagems by inputting quick commands on the D-Pad, liberating planets by completing similar missions, and even have some of the same weapons, however, what the sequel does do is change the top-down perspective into a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. This change plus the overall quality of life changes, an overhauled graphics system, and incredible movement completely transforms this game from a cult classic to one of the most successful live service games yet. 


Live service games are a huge buzzword around the games industry, whether it comes from the executives believing it’s the next big thing to make lots of money, to gamers trying to play new titles such as Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and being disappointed at a lack of content. That being said, Arrowhead Studios has already shown that it has what it takes to keep a live service game going and has a lot of new ideas that seem to be paying off. For one they have an actual “Game Master” developer that controls the bug and robots, so playing the game will always feel like an actual war of taking back planets. 

Along with that, their communication with their player base has been excellent, explaining design decisions, patch notes, listening to players, and so on. While they have had their stumbles, such as some developers making fun of players complaining over nerfs, or the server problems at the beginning of the game’s life that forced half of players to sit in long queues to even play the game, they have already begun fixing any issues they come across. Even recently, the game was updated to include mechs, a game-changing mechanic that was only unlocked because the players liberated a planet from robot control so mech distribution could happen. 

Freedom… doesn’t come free!

All of this being said, like most multiplayer games this game is better played with friends rather than strangers, and even then if you don’t have a full team of 4 it seems like you are stuck with the people you have. Often I have hopped in with one friend on harder difficulties assuming more will join later and been stranded despite throwing in SOS beacons, which increase the chances of getting people to join.

Even then the overall community of helldivers so far seems to be a mixed bag, since friendly fire is in the game many players have been caught killing their teammates because they are under the assumption materials are not shared, or simply to be trolls. While the community aspect of the game is not Arrowhead’s fault of course they have done great at communicating with their player base and trying to set things right, I still want to throw this in as a warning as it has happened to me in my 20 or so hours with the game. However, this should not stop you from playing one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had in a while, and I cannot wait to be able to hop back in and continue grinding. 

9/10: Amazing!

Helldivers 2 is available now on Playstation and Steam! Don’t forget to check out Caitlyn’s article “How can we protect Young Readers Online?” and Ronny’s review of Pacific Drive. For everything else geeky stay right here on Geekwave.

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About the Contributor
Jaxson Day
Jaxson Day, Geekwave Platform Director
Jaxson loves all things nerdy, but his favorite thing is easily gaming. He is currently finishing up his Bachelor’s Degree in the Game Design track where he specializes in Producing and 3D modeling. Some of his favorite things outside of gaming include listening to and collecting hip-hop records, watching movies and anime and all things coffee. Some of his favorites include The Legend of Zelda series, The Last of Us, Cowboy Bebop, Princess Mononoke, and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.