January, 8th, 2016

Playtime: 42 hours (46 now)

Last Played: 1/10/16

Helldivers: Smells like… Freedom

Aside: I was going to do a GOTY thing where I listed out my favorite games of 2015, but then I started playing Helldivers. And now it’s the 12th… so, yeah. Maybe later?

Oh man, oh man, oh man. Helldivers. There is so much I could say about this game I don’t even know where to start!

I guess I should start by saying, this game has a LOT going for it! Like being made by the duders that made Magicka! A wonderfully fun, and funny, game that I love. And the Showdown Effect, another great game I love. Arrowhead has a great track record of really good games.

Helldivers also has a great Sci-fi setting, which I am super fond of. Better yet, it pokes fun at the classics, like Starship Troopers ( and in some ways Warhammer, StarCraft, etc.) which the devs has cited as a large inspiration. According to Reddit, anyway. Also it has a wonderful sense of humor, just like the previous Arrowhead games. And, and get this: it’s really, really, well made incredibly fun and rewarding! Triple threat!

At the time of writing I started playing this game a week ago… Look at my playtime… Yeah.

Now, what is Helldivers? Well I’m glad you asked!… Or that I posed the question? Anyway, Helldivers is a top down twin-stick shooter that has you playing as the titular Helldivers. A group of ‘elite’ soldiers sent in from orbit behind enemy lines to shuck fit up.

You do this by dropping in from orbit via hellpods. Think Space paratroopers ala the ODST, Starship Troopers, Imperial Stormtroopers, Space Marines or whatever your favorite Sci-Fi equivalent is. And then you go and perform various objectives around the procedurally generated maps on planet.

Sounds easy right? Heh… well, about that. This game is hard. Like… it can give you a headache hard.

Especially if you’re playing with Randoms who have no regard for advanced military tactics such as basic teamwork. But there are some really good players out there! And the game is brand-spankin’ new, so the community is still pretty tight knit. So that’s good, but this game really shines with a buddy. Especially in a local co-op setting. Some of the funniest moments in Helldivers are when your mech falls from orbit and unexpectedly lands on your friend splattering them into a greasy puddle of barely masked anger and disappointment..

There is a brief moment of shock as the red mist settles… “crap, sorry.”

My friend and I played fifteen hours of Helldivers over the weekend. It was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had in years.

Anyway accidental friend manslaughter aside, the game has twelve mission types which are variations on “Go here and: protect this thing, blow this thing up, move this thing, escort these things, reactivate these things, kill this thing etc.” They are rather similar, but they have enough variety to not become same-y. Which is great. The really nice thing is that the maps are all procedurally generated, so even if they have the same feel, they’re never the same. And each mission will have up to something like seven objectives to complete depending on the difficulty, so there’s never not something to do!

And there are also two different types of missions! There are the normal drops, and then ‘retaliatory strikes’. Where you are fighting waves of enemies in a smaller arena like map.
And they’re incredibly hard… Truthfully… They’re a major bitch.

Now, as well as having tons of content to do. Helldivers also has a persistent campaign!

Every time you perform a successful drop you add influence to the galactic war. Which is a three front war against the enemies of Super Earth, and Managed Democracy. Each front consists of a number of ‘systems’ with planets that need to be liberated. This is your job, and the payoff of successful drops being that you take the system and advance towards a specific enemy’s homeworld.

Currently, in war 12, we are on the doorstep of each of the three enemy factions. The Cyborg, a faction of… cyborgs. Think the Strogg from quake! As well as the Bugs, big ass unholy space lobsters bent on eating your squishy parts. They’re the bugs from Starship Troopers, and the Tyranid rolled into a nice neat package. And then there’s the Illumanite. Ancient Aliens who can teleport, have powerful shields, and mind altering abilities.

Each faction feels different, and have their sets of strengths and weaknesses. Personally I love fighting the Cyborgs. They’re really fun and their units have lots of heavy armor, meaning Anti-Tank is a high priority. The bugs are hard to kill and swarm you in seconds. Bug Spray recommended. And the Illuminate can be invisible, attack with snipers, and teleport.

Odds are you will die. A lot. Like… A lot…

And that’s one of the reasons this game is so wonderful. When you overcome the enemy and find a strategy that works it’s incredibly rewarding. Every successful mission is met with high-fives and fist pumps.

The wonderful feeling that running through a difficult mission gives is nigh addicting… Calling in mechs, tanks, rockets, artillery, frantically shooting enemies, reviving comrades, working together as a cohesive unit… It’s great.*

*Basic teamwork skills required.

There is a wonderful amount of stuff in Helldivers, plenty of weapons, lots of different ways to rain death upon your foes, and some sick cape physics, yo.

And, get this, it’s only $19.99.

Helldivers is totally worth the price. I would recommend it to anyone who likes challenging multiplayer games, and has a Sci-Fi bent. Plus Arrowhead is awesome and deserve the support. This amazing game was made by a team of 10 – 12! That’s super cool!

But, my gushing aside; This game is good. Like… If I had played it more in 2015 it would be my GOTY.

I’ve never played a game and thought “Yeah, I want to buy all of your DLC… I’m going to buy all of the DLC.”

And I did.

What do you think?

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