Helldivers 2 review for PS5, PC

Platform: PS5
Also On: PC
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

I’d like to start off by saying that I have not gotten around to playing the first Helldivers game yet, so my experience and comparisons will have to be to other games in a similar genre pool that I have played. Helldivers 2 is an intense co-op hoard shooter a la Left 4 Dead, but to me a much higher difficulty curve. Maybe I didn’t play a lot of that game on a hard difficulty, but Helldivers is not afraid to pull punches and really make you feel like you’re fighting against an overwhelming foe. From airstrikes to mounted sentry guns to support weapons, you will have no lack of arsenal to wipe the floor with the alien threat.

Before I get into anything, I’m sure we’ve all seen the ongoing issue with the servers for the game, whether that be rampant disconnects, inability to get into crossplay lobbies, frequent crashing because of crossplay, crashing upon mission launch, etcetera. Luckily, the devs have been very hard at work to fix those issues, sometimes multiple times a day, and you shouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. As of February 12th, I have had little to no issues getting into games or joining my friends’ lobbies. To summarize all of that, if you’re worried about server issues, you can rest easy!

Gameplay in Helldivers is just downright fun. I can’t really find other words to describe it, honestly. It’s just genuine fun and it feels great. You’re in third person with a reticle that somewhat drags behind your view almost like a plane, it’s got some meat that feels almost like Gears of War (strange comparison for the bug game, I know), and the gunplay just feels so smooth. It’s one of those games that’s hard to describe how it feels outside of “yeah it’s great”. If you want something that emphasizes mowing down hordes of aliens and that feels amazing doing it, this is for you.

Guns aren’t your only options to lay waste to your enemies either. I played on PC, so my popup is my Control key, but you will be using a button to call in all sorts of things like reinforcements for ammo, airstrikes, stationary machine gun turrets, and so much more. As you play, you unlock a plethora of new ways to obliterate the bugs, whether that’s 500kg bombs, strafing runs, laser force fields, and anything else you can really think of. It’s a bit more of a niche title, but when you think of the possibilities of support for complete devastation, think of the Earth Defence Force series. It’s got that constant rush of fighting for democracy and freedom all the while encouraging you to use the most destructive tools you can get your hands on. Oh. and there’s friendly fire, so try not to drop an airstrike on your teammates, they might not appreciate that too much…

I did mention unlocks, so let me go over them because I was confused at first. You’ll acquire a couple different types of upgrade materials. You’ll get “Warbonds” for completing various objectives around the map, and a generalized currency for buying your support abilities like mentioned earlier. The Warbonds are how you’ll be unlocking new weapons and cosmetics. I do feel that it is pertinent to mention there is a 2nd upgrade path accessible via the “Super Citizen” DLC, retailing for $20 USD. I do not believe the Super Citizen unlocks are available in the base tree, but I haven’t made it far enough in the upgrade paths to find out. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about locking progression and weapons that may or may not be better than the defaults behind DLC, but at least it’s a one time purchase and there’s no battle pass like most live service games.

Speaking of DLC and extra purchases, Helldivers 2 does contain microtransactions. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, as it seemed somewhat unnecessary, but we can rest easy knowing it is ONLY for cosmetic items. The game has a rotating shop similar to everyone’s favorite live service game: Fortnite. The difference being that as far as I can tell, these paid cosmetics (via a premium currency) are at most $5. I’m still not enthused about having a cosmetic shop in a paid game, but at the end of the day it’s live service and they’re significantly cheaper than basically every other game I’ve seen with the same systems. Regardless of your or my own opinions on microtransactions in games, I can gladly say these are incredibly unintrusive and don’t affect my enjoyment of the game whatsoever. They exist on their own, in a separate tab, away from anything I’d normally be interacting with.

All in all, Helldivers 2 is a fantastic co-op game with lots of content (and arguably the best structure to live service I’ve seen in a long time) wrapped up in a nice $40 package. The price point is right (even if you take into consideration the additional $20 “upgrade”), the content is plentiful and it feels like a game that respects your time. I genuinely have a hard time saying anything negative about the game, especially now that the servers are stabilized and the developers are active on Twitter (X, if you care about that detail) updating the community about game updates and stability hiccups. It is a bit on the difficult side if you’re not playing with at least a friend, but I highly recommend a full group of 4 for the best experience. There are a good few types of missions, and some of them are very challenging as a solo player. If you don’t mind a good challenge, however, or have friends you can party up with, Helldivers 2 is a fantastic time and I sincerely believe you will enjoy yourself.

Note: Sony provided us with a Helldivers 2 PS5/PC code for review purposes.

Score: 9

Helldivers 2 - PlayStation 5

Price: $39.88

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