Helldivers - PlayStation 4

Release Date:

August 18, 2015

Also on:

PS4 PS Vita PS3

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.
8.3

Summary:

Helldivers on the PlayStation 4 refuses to take itself seriously and that lends it some major credence as the insane and zany story unfolds before us. The title is set in 2084 and features a futuristic sorta dystopian Earth. All of the countries on Earth have been homogenized to form one group known only as the Super Earth. The goal of this new, 'united' Super Earth, is to aggressively 'spread democracy' to any world that it can find. This spreading of democracy routinely involves invading alien civilizations and destroying those that attempt to stop the Earthling invaders.

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Details

Technical Information

  • DualShock Compatible:
    • DualShock 4
  • Required Disc Space:
    • 2.8GB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Game Format:
    • Blu-ray Disc
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 56 Hours
avatar name

Posted:
2015-05-01

Jamie_Hall

Writer

PS4

8.4

Helldivers on the PlayStation 4 was developed by Arrowhead Game Studios and released on all of the major PlayStation consoles. The title is a 3D space shooter set from an almost isometric view point, not unlike many arcade shooters in recent years. The title leans heavily on high octane action, rapid animations, and a focus on upgrades during combat. While we had not heard much about the title leading up to our first time playing it, we were surprised by quite a few different things, not the least of which is it's Paul Verhoeven stylized story. We dove head first into the outer space warfare with a smile on our face, so let's see if it is any good.

Helldivers refuses to take itself seriously and that lends it some major credence as the insane and zany story unfolds before us. The title is set in 2084 and features a futuristic sorta dystopian Earth. All of the countries on Earth have been homogenized to form one group known only as the Super Earth. The goal of this new, 'united' Super Earth, is to aggressively 'spread democracy' to any world that it can find. This spreading of democracy routinely involves invading alien civilizations and destroying those that attempt to stop the Earthling invaders. The allusions to modern day America are laid on there pretty thick, and that is why it instantly reminded us of the classic science fiction film, 'Starship Troopers' -- not to be confused with the book of the same name that pushed fascist ideals of space superiority. This is straight satire, through and through, and it is hilarious. Leave your political ideology at the door and just enjoy the zaniness.

Your job in this nasty democratic spreading campaign is that of a Helldiver. Put simply: you are the boots that spread blood throughout the galaxy. Your job is to drop onto alien planets, destroy everything in your path, and then move on to the next one. You have no morals. No ethics. Nothing but a trigger finger and a finely tuned mind to use it. The planets you invade start off rather tame but they get increasingly more difficult as the story progresses. The landscapes on these alien planets is procedurally generated and you'll always have something new to look at as a result. The end outcome of this goal is that you will have many reasons to push through the galaxy, bleeding blue as you go.

If you are familiar with twin stick shooters than you know what sort of experience to expect out of Helldivers . For those that haven't played the twin stick style arcade game, the premise is simple. You use your two thumbsticks to do pretty much everything important in the game. The left thumbstick moves your character and the right thumbstick shoots your weapon in whatever direction you push it. Think of an isometric Contra, if that helps. Along the way you'll come across all the typical stuff to expect from twin stick shooters. You will find special weapons, alternative items, various power ups, and even special grenades.

If you are afraid that Helldivers sounds too much like a brainless shooter, think again. Though the title very clearly presents itself in a bloodthirsty manner, there is more going on here than you may think. Progressing through these increasingly difficult planets involves you dealing with increasingly delicate objectives. In order for you to accomplish your various missions (which lead to World Domination) you will have to comb your way through strategic elements. You will have to manage the cool down timers of your various weapons all while finding the best route to move through the intense world.

The missions that you will be charged can range through various topics. Sometimes you will be sent to destroy specific alien buildings. Other times you will be tasked with activating a beacon, turning on a terminal, or even finding some special gear. Escort missions provide a change of pace that isn't exclusively dedicated to murkin' people. Escort missions can get insanely difficult in the later stages of the title and you probably will end up pretty frustrated at times. Stick with it though, once you are in your groove it is pretty hard to mess up too badly.

The biggest wrinkle that Helldivers offers gamers is the Strategem gameplay element. Stratagems are essentially power ups that you equip before your mission. You can deploy them during fierce fire fights as well, but in order to do so you will be asked to input a code. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not really, especially with the twin stick system. When you are absolutely being devoured by alien guns, it is hard to reel off the right code for Strategem deployment. When you DO get it right, however, it feels pretty darn cool.

Though the title works fine as a single player experience, it does offer an impressive amount of depth in the multiplayer world. You can play with up to four other Helldivers in order to embark on some galactic planet liberation. layers can drop in and out whenever they want and you can play locally or on the internet. Much like other isometric multiplayer games, the key to success lies in teamwork. Making sure that your allies have your back is a great way to push through the game with efficiency and enjoyment. Covering your buddy with a turret while he reels off codes or reloads is immensely satisfying when he or she is back on their feet. The difficult appropriately increases as you play with more people, so don't think that things will be getting any easier. We also applaud the enemy AI in the title too as they never seemed lost or too easy, even on the simplest planets.

We loved Helldivers because it unabashedly offered us violent gameplay in an intelligent manner. The arcade controls and constant fighting make it a sweaty controller kind of game. Fans of arcade titles or cooperative shooters need apply.

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Nov 23, 2015
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Release Date:

August 18, 2015

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