Before You Buy Helldivers 2

Sam Barbagallo 26’ / Emertainment Staff Writer

Helldivers 2 is a third-person shooter following its predecessor in the Helldivers franchise, the 2015 top-down shooter known simply as Helldivers. Marking the original game’s release date of February 8th on Steam and the Playstation 5, Helldivers 2 has taken the gaming media by storm.

The majority of feedback has been quite positive, “That’s the Helldivers 2 experience in a nutshell. It’s hilarious, smartly designed, and intense,” Will Borger, staff writer for IGN exclaimed. However, after the dopamine rush of killing bugs and robots, what does this game have to offer?

When starting this game for the first time, players will be put through a tutorial that properly shows them how to traverse their way through the futuristic battlefield Helldivers 2 developers Sony and Arrowhead have created. After launching into the actual game, players are introduced to the feeling and playstyle very quickly. Starting out slow, the first couple of missions consist of basic objectives and fewer enemies, as expected, and the further you progress the more complex and challenging the missions become. Playing through this constant warfare is extremely exhilarating even in the first few missions. The effects—notably the explosions and shooting mechanics—and character actions are very immersive, alongside the surprisingly gorgeous graphics of bloodshed and war that emphasize major technical details and satirical themes, hooking the player in immediately.

As was previously stated, the more a player progresses in this game, the more intense the levels get. This encourages people to play with others, preferably friends. Playing solo is very difficult due to the game’s playstyle where enemies often swarm you in waves coming from any angle. Since Helldivers 2 is primarily a co-op game including  “friendly fire” there’s a chance that you will find yourself with others who will use this feature. While this can be funny every so often with friends, there’s a likelihood that online players will exploit this and make the experience a lot less enjoyable. 

As of recently, there’s a chance that players may not be able to play Helldivers 2, with friends or not. Due to the excessive number of people playing the game so recently after its release, the developers have had to cap servers, limiting the amount of people playing. While this is a very appropriate response to the unexpected surge, it still creates restrictions on the game. Not to mention the loading bugs many people have experienced when launching a mission often requires the game to be reset multiple times, which doesn’t always work depending on the specific bug. These may be temporary hiccups in the gameplay, they still greatly affect the ability to actually play Helldivers 2.

Aside from the technical aspects that disturb the gameplay, the experience of Helldivers 2 often lacks real sustenance and purpose. It is likely that while playing this game you will be entranced by how much stimulation is occurring and at first it may feel fresh and exciting. But after a good while of repeating the process it can get repetitive, completely abandoning the feeling of satisfaction and reward. Even with friends, it leaves players mindlessly eliminating the same enemies over and over again. Although it is not the full price of AAA games—instead, it’s $40—Helldivers 2 still lacks sustainable entertainment for how much people are paying.

As much as this game seems appealing at first glance there are many aspects that deteriorate the quality of the Helldivers 2 faster than expected. Even though there are some factors that can be fixed quickly, others require a slower process. Even with the included lore of the “storyline” it is almost impossible to pay attention while actively fighting for your life every waking moment. A possible approach to solving this complaint could be to add chunks of story into the objectives that the players are carrying out, giving people more incentive to complete these missions. Without that, it is very likely that this game will have its short moment of fame and end up as something that could’ve been more.

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