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  • Writer's pictureChris J.

Helldivers 2: The Only Co-op Game You Need This Year

Updated: Apr 25

Join Chris, host of 1 Hour 1 Decision, as he shares why you should be on the front lines of Helldivers 2!

When Sony said they were going to focus their efforts on Live Service games, I rolled my eyes hard. We all saw so many of these games come and go usually because of lack of content or an overall boring game loop. They already bought Bungie, how much more blood could they squeeze out of that stone? 


And then came HELLDIVERS 2!




If this is the type of quality live service games that Sony plans on pushing out, please do. ((But also please drip feed them as I only have so much time to play these games, ok?))


If you haven’t seen the TikToks, the memes, or the constant gushing (and some frustrations which I’ll get into) about this game well then let me explain. HELLDIVERS 2 is the follow up to the respectable but clearly not as meme worthy isometric twin-stick shooter HELLDIVERS. Both deal with you dishing out “managed democracy” to planets who so desperately need it. Where they differ though is the presentation. This game grabs you by the face and force feeds you all the nostalgia and emancipation.




HELLDIVERS 2 is a 3rd person cooperative shooter (developed by Arrowhead Studios) that hurls you and 3 buddies onto a variety of ecosystems and enemy types. I do literally mean hurl because you are shot out of your ship in pods shaped like bullets to penetrate liberty on these planets. Environments can vary from lush forests, arid deserts, or frozen wastelands all filled with things that want to undemocratically put a hole through you. The lighting and particle effects are really a sight to behold. Especially considering this is built on a now defunct Autodesk Stingray engine. Shrapnel and bug parts are scattered throughout these war-torn battlefields - and it is glorious (especially in the higher difficulties). The enemy types in their various configurations all feel unique and incredibly satisfying as you lay waste - sorry - extricate these celestial bodies.




Currently, there are 3 different factions, the Humans (who you proudly represent), Terminids (icky bugs), and Automatons (meanie robots). As you explore the galactic map on your ship, you see the factions and their influence creep closer and closer to the center of this galaxy, Super Earth. But what really got me was how Arrowhead displays what you and everyone playing the game have progressed in liberating each planet. Each planet shows a progress meter and after each mission, you’re shown how much of an impact you and your squad mates have done. Who knew looking at numbers go up could be enjoyable? It’s such a fun concept that does give you the sense of scale and camaraderie that I haven’t seen since the multiplayer in Metal Gear Solid V.




What’s a shooter without different options to spread freedom? Your soldier is outfitted with a primary and secondary firearm, a grenade type, and stratagems. Stratagems are where you can really turn the tide of battle. You call them down by inputting dpad combos (they really need to get the Konami code in there) and chucking them onto the landscape. They can be offensive options like an orbital laser or a personal autocannon, defensive options such as turrets or shields, or even be a mule and carry around supplies for your fellow squadmates. You can eventually load up to 4 of them per mission. While they do pack a wallop, DO keep in mind friendly fire is always on. Before you ask if a particular weapon will kill or maim you, the answer is always yes.


Gameplay is broken up into Operations. Depending on the level of difficulty you unlock, you need to complete between 2-4 missions within each Operation. Fail a mission, you fail the Operation. Do not fail Lady Liberty. There’s a good chunk of variety in the mission types as well. And most missions even have secondary objectives which boost your overall progression. After every successful mission and operation, you’re rewarded with XP, Medals and Requisitions - two of the three currencies in the game. It’s confusing at first, but basically, you use Medals to unlock progression within Warbonds (battle passes), Requisitions to unlock stratagems, Super Credits (which you can buy with real money) to unlock new Warbonds and cosmetics. Make sense? While it’s definitely a bit overwhelming at first, the game does do a decent job of slowly introducing these concepts. Also HUGE kudos to Arrowhead for really allowing you to gain Super Credits just by exploring the planets during a mission.




The ribbon that ties this all together is the overall presentation. Yes this basically is Starship Troopers crossed with Terminator Future War battles. It’s terrifying but hilarious at the same time with basically everything capable of killing you. Sound design is top notch as bullets wiz by you or your buddy’s soldier laughs with a macabre glee as they mow down enemies or the cinematic score blaring as you make your way triumphantly back to your ship. It’s not only just the propaganda ads that play on your ship, it’s also how Arrowhead has not broken character on social media and really leans in on this premise. And I love every minute of it.


For all the wonderful things this game does, it still did have quite a few bumps along the way. For one thing, network issues were far too frequent. Clearly they were not ready for the influx of new liberators but thankfully they did work tirelessly to try and alleviate the issues as quickly as possible. *PS: if you ever wondered why after all the failed launches of live game services not ready for player capacity, do check out this episode made by a friend of the show The Elder Trolls Podcast where they had a resident cloud engineer explain! https://open.spotify.com/episode/2kOxgrRl5RJRyPnixYM0FS?si=4965fb29774f495d


The game can still be pretty glitchy as I’ve had my fair share of crashes, stats not showing up, getting stuck in geometry, or random disconnects. But as mentioned earlier, the devs are listening and are on the case.




In 2023 I was quick to call Hi-Fi Rush one of my Games of the Year. It was early, but that game really was such a nice surprise for me. We’re only a quarter of the way through 2024 and I think I’m ready to brandish another Game of the Year for me. Every time I launch HELLDIVERS 2 it puts a smile on my face. There really hasn’t been a live service game that’s captured my heart as much as this one. You can really tell Arrowhead is a special studio filled with some very special people. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for this game in the months and hopefully years to come.

 

Chris is a connoisseur of all things Xbox, especially Game Pass. He loves it so much, in fact, that he created the 1 Hour 1 Decision podcast with his buddy Tom to randomly play and review Game Pass titles!


Click the link below to enjoy more of 1H1D:




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