'Helldivers' Gives You The Chance To Save Super Earth
March 6, 2015
Finding the right co-op game for you and your friends can always be a bit of a challenge. Trying to satisfy everyone's unique sensibilities with one game can be next to impossible, as you try and hunt for the balance between subject matter and compelling multiplayer gameplay. The wrong game can be disastrous, and lead to complete and utter rejection by the group. However, the right game can mean hours of addictive gaming bliss. The first title in Sony's Spring Fever 2015 promotion, Helldivers, falls into the later category, offering up the ever elusive "just one more game" mentality after nearly every mission.
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Arrowhead Game Studios have a bit of a reputation for working on multiplayer co-op titles, with 2011's Magicka being their most well-known title. Having also contributed to The Showdown Effect and the 2014 version of the arcade classic Gauntlet, Arrowhead were well-suited to craft Helldivers. This release is a bit of an evolution of the Magicka experience, and fans of that game will feel right at home in Helldivers... as long as you're okay with shooting guns instead of casting spells.
The story is as old as time: evil alien forces need to be stopped in order to save our way of life on Super Earth. Signing up as a member of the Super Earth Armed Forces earns you the elite title of Helldiver, as you dedicate your life to venturing to alien worlds to stop any incursion before it comes home. You play as one combatant who can venture out alone, or as a member of a multiplayer team, to tackle the alien scum head-on, and do their part to bring an end to this war. Each mission that players are deployed to takes place within a procedurally generated universe, and has specific goals to accomplish in order to succeed. Whether you're capturing bases or demolition enemy strongholds, the goals become more challenging as you level up, generate a reputation, and venture throughout the universe. Different planets bring different types of enemies, but that's okay, because you can tweak your load out with weapons and strategems that you unlock and upgrade as you vanquish each world. The solo campaign is enjoyable, but the co-op multiplayer is where the game really shines, offering up some serious friendly-fire ridden action for up to four players.
Arrowhead Game Studios may be the indie development studio behind the game, but Sony stepped up to publish it. That means if you want to take on the daunting task of being a Helldiver, then you'll need a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, or PS Vita. The game is a cross buy, so one purchase gets you all three versions, and early adopters can also opt to pick up the Limited Edition bundle, which includes some sweet Ranger gear at no extra cost.
Helldivers promises a compelling, mission-based, combat game, and it delivers in spades. It's fun, easy to jump into, and addictive. The controls can take a little while to get used to, if you're into precision (and a long time to get used to if you're playing on the Vita). However, if you can work through that, and unlock some upgrades and heavy artillery, each mission is more enjoyable than the last one. While there are only a limited number of objectives across all of the planets, the way that you approach them makes each level feel fresh, leaving room for long term enjoyment and replayability. Overall, whether you're playing alone, or with friends, Helldivers is a great way to prove that you have what it takes to save Super Earth.