Helldivers

helldiversSince I am currently a bit annoyed with the various antics going on in Star Trek Online, I have followed Skeleskully and started dabbling in another game called Helldivers, developed by Arrowhead Game Studios.

Helldivers isn’t actually an MMORPG; it’s a top-down shooter game. And it’s not Star Trek – if anything, it has a very strong Starship Troopers feel to it (wait till you see the opening sequence). Players are soldiers of Super-Earth, fighting on three fronts against intergalactic enemies that threaten humanity:  Cyborgs, Illuminates, and of course, the BUGS. As players level up, they gain access to new equipment: firearms, sidearms and strategems – catchall term that includes a wide variety of combat abilities, ranging from jetpacks, defense drones, barbed wire, vehicles, mechs to artillery strikes. All of this can also be upgraded with Research Points, which are gained as bonus rewards as well as picking up Samples on maps.

The missions are not linear; players pick a front, and then a planet, which is procedurally generated with several objectives on each map; objectives include things like capturing an area, defending an installation, rescuing civilians, etc. Once objectives are complete, players head back to an evac point and call in a shuttle… then wait for it to arrive. This tends to be the most hairy part of any given mission!

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Caveat: This is not my screenshot. But it does show what the interface looks like.

Combat is fast, furious and brutal. Friendly fire can and does cause major bodily harm; comically, in the last few days that we’ve played, Skully and I have lost more soldiers to friendly fire than to the enemy. In particular, watch where the air drops are landing!

Sounds simple enough? Yeah, it is. But a few things set this game apart from most shooter games.

Most importantly, this is meant to be a multiplayer game… and it shows. Yes you can solo missions, but you are likely going to have a pretty tough time. Having one or more teammates makes a huge difference in your success rate – as long as one player remains alive, they can always bring the others back by “calling for reinforcements”. In addition, some vehicles require several players to properly man. Often, you just can’t effectively defend against the bugs swarming in from all directions!

The game actually takes multiplayer a step further — any progress you make in a mission is counted against the overall war effort. There is an overview “Galactic Campaign” map that lets you see how the war is progressing on the various fronts, and it keeps count of the casualties suffered both by humanity and the assorted enemies. This cute mechanic does help maintain a sense of being on the front-lines of a major conflict, and that you’re helping out with the war effort.HELLDIVERS™_20150225233018

If you have an open game going, other players are free to join up to a full team of four… which can be both a blessing and a curse. In fact, we’ve learned to set our games private, because if you end up with someone who isn’t a good teamplayer, they can really mess things up such as going off in a random direction and squishing you against the map’s edge, or worse, shooting you by mistake all the time. If we can get a full team of four players who we know, we’d do it all day!

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Another screenshot that’s not mine. DIE BUGS DIE!

We got the bundle during the Steam Black Friday sale for $15, and I have to say it was totally worthwhile. I’ve never been very good with shooter games but I love the co-op aspects of Helldivers. Highly recommended!

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8 thoughts on “Helldivers

  1. Looks cool. I can’t play first-person perspective games, so top down always appeals to me. And the galaxy map feature seems quite cool.

    I’d love if STO could have something like that going for the delta war vs vaadwaur and for the Iconian war. In helldivers I can see how it feels like a community effort because of that simple thing. I might have to give it a try some time after my finals are done.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will, but I live in Hawaii so my active game hours don’t sync well with anyone. I get home at 9pm pacific time for example, midnight eastern.

        I looked into the Reddit, forums, and reviews, seems like a pretty decent community. Lot more positive than negative posts from what I saw, biggest complaints seem to be lack of variety in gear because some options are so good. That and mechs/vehicles being more likely to kill teammates than enemies 😄

        Like

  2. this is a legitimaly fun game. the devs did a good job of balancing having fun plating with the toys you want against progress over time. the dlc is mostly a good value, haven’t tried everything though. it is challenging but you have a lot of control over difficulty. the three enemy factions play very different so thete is variety, and you are never forced to do things just one way or hit with an artificial time or dps barrier. Very casial friendly, and from what ive seen the difficulty 12 planets are quite hardcore.

    i not only am enjoying this, i bought a copy for my brother. ^.^

    Thanks for recommending it!

    Liked by 1 person

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