Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Mouse and Keyboard Warriors
Post Reply
User avatar
Snowy
Posts: 2495
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am
Location: Ballhang

Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Snowy » Mon Feb 12, 2024 4:25 pm

I've recently picked up Helldivers 2 on PC and thought that I would put a review in here. as this is a game that I've been really enjoying over the last few days and one I suspect will get a lot of fans on here.

It's fair to say that the launch was not without some problems. Most notably, this was mainly connecting with other players, although I did come across reports of people having broader technical issues but have not had any myself barring a couple of crashes while in-game (which I have not had since the last patch). The development team have been really proactive regarding patching with two patches released within the first 48 hours of the game being available which is really positive.

The premise of the game is pretty basic. You form part of the Super Earth Defence force. fighting on two fronts against robots on the one side and Starship Troopers style bugs on the other. It's a fully co-op title with four players supported in a squad. From your spaceship orbiting above the planet, you drop down in 'Hell pods' to the planet surface to complete a number of different objectives on each map. Each combat zone is made up of a number of different planets and you can choose which planet you wish to conduct your mission on. Each planet varies in terms of biome with different weather effects, visibility and other factors. The maps are procedurally generated, but they don't feel like it. Rather, it feels that on each mission you're dropping into a different part of the planet so you don't get to see the same rotation of maps that you might see in other titles, instead you're just seeing different elements of the world that you're conducting the missions on which feels authentic.

As you progress you unlock and buy different stratagems. These can be all sorts of different things, from defence turrets, minefields, weapons, orbital strikes and airstrikes, all sorts. You load up with a selection of these ahead of each mission and can then choose them within the game to rain death and destruction on your enemies. These are incredible fun with absolutely over the top effects. What makes them particularly exciting to use are the triggering mechanisms (you need to use a combination of up down left, right keys. to trigger each one). Each strategem though can only be targeted as far as you can throw the marker beacon. This creates some extremely close up ultraviolence as ships rain down enormous ordinance very, very close to where you are located. As your avatar is a squishy meatbag your stratagems can be just as dangerous to you as they are to the enemy and you will, and I repeat will, die as a result of your own and your teammates actions. Whether this is leaping head first into a spray of fully automatic fire being unleased by your teammate (right Dave?); or not realising that an orbital artillery barrage is about to hit the base directly in front of you and not exiting as quickly as your legs will carry you (right Dave?), death ensues. It will happen and tends to be very funny when it does.

As regards the stratagems, the arrow key triggering them is a clever mechanic. Pressing up, down, left and right in a sequence doesn't sound like anything difficult, but when you are doing so surrounded by alien bugs that are trying to rip your face off and you inadvertently get the combination wrong it can get pretty stressful pretty quick. Similarly, if one of your teammates (or more than one of your teammates) gets killed, you can call down reinforcements which allows them to drop in as a new fresh meatbag ready for the slaughter in another Hell Pod. Again though, the less teammates you have available and alive the more the enemies will be looking to rip your face off for want of other targets. This means that calling in reinforcements gets hairier the more of your team are dead as potentially all of the bugs or robots will be heading straight at you but you won't get any support until you call in the beacon. Again, it's a simple key press selection to call down a reinforcement but under pressure that can become particularly hairy.

When calling in a reinforcement, the hell pod can be steered by the player incoming, which can be handy as it will one-shot virtually any enemy it strikes. Unfortunately, this cuts both ways as it will also turn any Helldiver who happens to be underneath it into pate with alacrity.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The hell pods drop you into the battle, and you can choose whereabouts on the map you wish to spawn before you drop in. You can see the rough concentration of enemies and so avoid the worst concentrations and give yourself a little breathing space at the very start on dropping in. Generally there's a brief moment at the outset where all players call down utility stratagems they may wish to have from the get go, so weapons, jump packs, ammo packs etc. Once you've got yourself set up you mark the objective that you want to go after on the map. Everyone gets the marker and you're off..

This brings in another interesting game mechanic. You have a certain amount of time to complete the mission. However, as that time passes, the concentration of enemies increases. What might start out quite pedestrian can quickly escalate into a running battle against huge swarms of enemies, although you can choose to run away and escape. Sometimes. This gives an interesting dichotomy - on the one hand, you can choose to complete both your main and any side objectives on the map, but doing so will mean that as you close in on the end of the mission you will be facing far greater odds. If you happen to die and not get extracted, you'll lose out on a lot of the benefits that you might otherwise pick up within the mission. Cash, medals etc.

So you have dropped to the planet's surface, armed yourself, chosen an objective and headed towards it. It won't be long before you are seeing swarms of enemies. I prefer the bugs to the robots personally, just based on what I've played so far. You can see the entrances to the bugs hives as plumes of yellow smoke. These can be disposed of by orbital strikes or just running up close enough to chuck a grenade into the hole. You will want to close these off as they provide a permanent spawn of enemies left open. You will also come across patrols of enemies. These can be taken out fairly easily (dependent upon their makeup of course). However, when you aggro them, you will often see one bug stop and start to do a little dance. Kill this bug. If you don't, it will open a ground breach which is basically a bug hole that you can't destroy with an airstrike or grenade and which will spew forth baddies for a good minute or so, so kill the dancing bug before he finishes his dance and you can avoid the ground breach.

As mentioned earlier, you'll start the game with a number of different stratagems selected. All of these have a fairly short cooldown window so use them as much as you possibly can. As soon as you have a resupply cooldown complete, for example, immediately call down a resupply. You have limited ammo and reloading will discard any ammo left in the magazine. The same goes for airstrikes, orbital strikes, artillery bombardments, you name it. They're spectacular to use, great fun and hugely effective at destroying anything living that comes close to them (including you). Hoarders will want to hang on to these thinking "I don't want to use it now, I'll keep it for a better time later in the map". Don't do this. use them as often as you possibly can. It doesn't matter if you use a 380 millimetre orbital bombardment that lasts for about 15 seconds and only happen to kill one bug with it. It doesn't matter because in a couple of minutes it will be reset and you'll be free to use it again. Using the stratagems is some of the most fun you'll have within the game, so don't skimp. Use them as often as you can. Also don't be tempted to buy some of the early items you can buy - for example, a weedy little machine gun turret to defend yourself. When you hit level 5 the Gatling turret opens up which is better in every possible way. Save your money for the early levels and spend it once the different stratagems start to open up as you level up.

The stratagems really are spectacular too whether it's a napalm air strike, an artillery bombardment, a well placed turret or minefield, they all really kick some serious fucking arse and look awesome.

When you reach your mission objectives again. you will have a fairly easy button combination or little mini-game that you need to complete. As with using stratagems these are very simple, but less so when you're under massive pressure. Sometimes you can cheat, for example if you have to close off an illegal broadcast you can choose to do so via the panel on the terminal beneath the broadcast antenna. Or you can just drop ordnance on it.

Once you've completed your main objective. you can then head back to the extraction point and call in your extraction vehicle. Doing so involves using a terminal which triggers a two minute countdown. You have to hold that area for the two minutes against whatever the game throws at you at which point your extraction vehicle will land, you jump in the back and evacuate safely, home for tea and medals. Of course, every mission having a timer makes this a little more interesting. Should you happen to run out of time, the extraction will trigger automatically, and you have the time it takes for the vehicle to land to get back to the extraction point. It will only wait around for a minute or so before leaving, and once it leaves you're fucked - left behind to die, no rewards for you. Like all things in the game, your extraction vehicle can kill you - don't be underneath it when it lands or you'll get squashed. Oh, and if your timer runs out your support ship will depart - no more stratagems, resupplies, reinforcements etc - you are on your own with whatever you have left or can scavenge from the map.

I should also mention the weapons (as opposed to the stratagems). The guns all feel great, they pack a real heft and you can also customise elements of them such as rate of fire, lights/laser sights, main sights etc dependent upon the gun in question. The size and weight of the gun also has a bearing. You can move the gun site on the screen and you will see a little circular reticle which follows the crosshairs. This represents your gun barrel. Having the gun move more slowly than your aiming crosshair may seem odd or sound a bit rubbish but in actual fact adds to the heft of the weapons. It also makes for a cracking mechanic all of its own as it lets you trace lines across waves of oncoming enemies. So for example with my chunter cannon, I can draw a sweeping line across an oncoming horde with the barrel tracking the crosshair towards the completion point while mowing down everything in its path. It's just another really clever new feature that I've not seen in a title in the past and one I'm really enjoying.

That will probably do me for now. Suffice to say I'm having an absolute blast and it really is a cracking game. Yes, there are still some bugs, and I don't mean the in-game ones, but the team are working to resolve these quickly and as I have said it hasn't spoiled my enjoyment of what really is a cracking title. In discussions in our discord channel, I know that Chris in particular is concerned about the potential lack of longevity that the game has due to limited mission and enemy types. For me, I don't think this is going to be an issue. The core gameplay loop and the mechanics of the game are such that I think it will always remain fun to jump into plus having missions that run for a maximum of 10 minutes in some cases means that a quick dip in is absolutely viable.

If you do pick this up and decide you want to join us, hop over to the TGA Discord server, we tend to loiter in the TGA Ghosts channel most evenings and weekends :)
RCHD wrote:Snowy is my favourite. He's a metal God.
08/10/2003 - 17/08/2018
10501 :-({|=

User avatar
Animalmother
Local
Posts: 2897
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:44 pm

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Animalmother » Thu Feb 15, 2024 10:59 am

That sounds like a hoot. Watched a few gameplay videos and everyone seems to be having a great time. Shame it's a PC and PS5 exclusive. I have a PS5 but I'm not paying for PS+ just for one game. It should have been a multiplatform game with cross play.


User avatar
Snowy
Posts: 2495
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am
Location: Ballhang

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Snowy » Thu Feb 15, 2024 11:42 am

Honestly, other than our weekend co-op jaunts on Darktide and Ready or Not, I have been playing this almost exclusively. It is just so much fun and is so gratuitous.
RCHD wrote:Snowy is my favourite. He's a metal God.
08/10/2003 - 17/08/2018
10501 :-({|=

User avatar
Snowy
Posts: 2495
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am
Location: Ballhang

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Snowy » Thu Feb 15, 2024 7:08 pm

Another patch dropped, they are working their bits off!

Also more praise:

RCHD wrote:Snowy is my favourite. He's a metal God.
08/10/2003 - 17/08/2018
10501 :-({|=

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 3467
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Mantis » Fri Feb 16, 2024 4:10 pm

Picked it up on PS5 and have done a couple of missions following the tutorial. It is great fun, love the aesthetic of it, so hilariously over the top.

User avatar
ManBearSquid
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:46 pm

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by ManBearSquid » Sat Feb 17, 2024 12:29 pm

I really quite fancy this even though I almost never play online. The last time was literally with some of you fellas on Breakpoint about 2 years ago. Since then I've also moved and have fairly unreliable internet.

I may take the plunge and try it out at some point as the Starship Troopers/Terminator vibes are right up my alley.

User avatar
Snowy
Posts: 2495
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am
Location: Ballhang

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Snowy » Sun Feb 18, 2024 11:17 am

ManBearSquid wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2024 12:29 pm
I really quite fancy this even though I almost never play online. The last time was literally with some of you fellas on Breakpoint about 2 years ago. Since then I've also moved and have fairly unreliable internet.

I may take the plunge and try it out at some point as the Starship Troopers/Terminator vibes are right up my alley.
We are on Discord most evenings and weekends (Tuesday and Thursday tend to be the quiet days). Hop in any time mate, the 'the-ga-ghosts' channel is our little co-op haunt for chat or you will see us in the TGA Ghosts voice chat. More always merrier!
RCHD wrote:Snowy is my favourite. He's a metal God.
08/10/2003 - 17/08/2018
10501 :-({|=

User avatar
ManBearSquid
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:46 pm

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by ManBearSquid » Sun Feb 18, 2024 11:06 pm

Purchased.

I'll get my bearings with it first then hopefully try to catch some of you for a game at some point.

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 3467
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Mantis » Mon Feb 19, 2024 3:09 pm

Quite addictive isn't it. We dropped six hour on it last night and didn't even notice the time fly.

User avatar
Raid
Local
Posts: 4802
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:07 am
Location: Keep of the Lead Lord

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Raid » Mon Feb 19, 2024 7:30 pm

For people who've not picked it up yet but are thinking about it, it may be worth holding off a few days. They've added a maximum player limit to the servers as a temporary measure for server stability, meaning you now can't necessarily play when you want to. There's no queue number either so you have no idea how long you'd be looking at this message.

Image

User avatar
Animalmother
Local
Posts: 2897
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:44 pm

Re: Helldivers 2 - Snowy's potted review

Post by Animalmother » Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:32 am


That looks like such fun.

Post Reply