If shooting evil alien critters is your thing, you like a bit of satirical humour and have an undying urge to watch Starship troopers and still insist its the best film ever then HELLDIVERS is the game for you, at least at PixelGamerUK we think so.
So what’s HELLDIVERS all about? Apart from being an insanely tough top down shooter you are tasked with protecting Super Earth from the enemies of mankind and for that there are many obstacles that stand in your way. You play as a soldier who forms part of an elite unit called the HELLDIVERS. That will be because ever level you play will be a different procedurally generated version of hell.
In our review we played HELLDIVERs across both single player and multilayer and found each mode to have their distinct strengths. In single player you take on the same missions as you aim to push back invading forces working their way towards Super Earth in a form of galactic war. You choose where you want to fight next and this is a great approach to level design. HELLDIVERS is a tough game but to help you get into the swing of things there’s two things the game does brilliantly. Firstly it has a basic yet does the job tutorial where you have to complete some staged activities before proceeding to the meat and bones of the game. Secondly once set free you can choose your level of difficulty with the level choice. Pick a planet and then choose from a range of missions. There is typically an easier one and each mission states the level of difficulty depending on your character level. We found going for the easy ones was a great way of getting familiar with the mechanics, level design and game modes before tackling some bigger alien nasties.
HELLDIVERS is not your typical top down shooter, many may liken it to titles like Crimsonland however HELLDIVERS is as rich in depth as it is in fun. It contains RPG elements that make this title MMO like in nature. Your progress on your character increases as you take on missions earning XP and unlockables to enhance your character. Take on some of the community missions and your rewards become even greater. Explore each planet picking up samples and you can even earn research points which you can use to enhance your alien busting loadouts. HELLDIVERS is about being part of the community and implements this in fantastic fashion from the ships on loading screens showing player names to the community influence meters you build and add to by completing missions. This game will keep you hooked for hours!
The gameplay in HELLDIVERS is super slick at first I wasn’t sure about using D-Pad input commands to complete mission objections and call in stratagems but it works and is really easy to pick up. The Stratagems are your abilities if you like and you have several at your disposal. As you progress through the game you can add tons of variety to your gameplay by ranking these up with research points or swapping them out for more powerful or useful abilities. You choose your loadout before you enter each mission thus changing up how you want to approach it. This is crucial when it comes to taking on the tougher levels with your mates. Team balance soon becomes a way of attaining success or just simply surviving. The movement and speed of the game is well balanced. Playing single player gets you familiar with the lush environments crafted by ArrowHeads team. You can find yourself exploring desert, forest or Snow planets and each one provides a great experience along with unique aliens to take on. The detail is evident from watching your footsteps leave imprints in the sand to blood pouring out your body when your downed. If there’s one thing we love its the gun play and the variety that comes with it. Our only ask would be that there at least be an option for friendly fire to be switched of. Unfortunately there is not and joining games in this constantly online procedural world will inevitably mean there’s one guy who will shoot you either in error or for their own kicks.
Playing online and with your mates is the best way to experience this. There’s nothing better than you and your three buddies fighting your way out of trouble before the shuttle arrives to extract you. It takes some strong teamwork and steady aiming to ensure you don’t shoot each other. Add in the ability for Stratagems and its a powerful cocktail for octane gameplay when the going gets a little more tough. Extracting all four of your mates can at times be hilarious especially if they find themselves underneath the shuttle when it comes down. Aliens and bugs we can kill but boxes and shuttles falling from the sky result in instant death. Apart from your Stratagems unlocking new outfits is a great way to showcase your players identity. From the armoury players can do this as well as select there loadout perks, weapons and view their overall service record stats.
Teaming up with your mates is the best way to earn additional XP and you can do this in a part with you and three others or join a random game. All you need to do is hop on the multiplayer console on your ships bridge and select a game that suits your level. Its a nice feature and ensures the player is always in control. I did experience some issues when attempting to join some games however I put this down to early jitters and once a lobby did work getting in was fast and super smooth to play on. To encourage this the game has community events where players can work together to take on missions. These are denoted by prompts on the war map and a timer which tells you how long the community has to rescue this city. Its a great addition and the consequences of not doing it have ramifications on the galactic map. Think of it being a bit like Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer galactic map and you can see where its influence lies.
Overall we loved HELLDIVERS and we think you would do. It has some great humour to keep the dialogue going even if the story is a bit weak but its the gameplay and fun that will keep you coming back as its addictive take on progression will have you returning daily to unlock those XP boosts with your buddies. HELLDIVERS is exclusive to PlayStation platforms available on PS4, PS3 and PSVita. The title also features Cross Play and Cross save which means you are never more than an internet connection away from doing your bit to protect Super Earth.
Probably the best Playstation shooter of 2015. Go it solo or join up in Co-op and take on a galaxy that will always offer a fresh and new challenge.
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