Helldivers 2 was an unexpected treat in the busy month of February

Sony Interactive Entertainment

It’s only February and 2024 has already taken another unexpected blow. Hell Diver 2 revels in knowing exactly what it’s doing, offering one of the most approachable extraction shooters around.

Extraction shooters are a new subgenre of gaming that focuses on letting players dive into intense missions, completing objectives, earning loot, and extracting without too much fighting or dying. Hell Diver 2 takes that formula and redefines it by applying its basics to a more traditional mission-based sci-fi shooter that feels one licensing deal away from being a direct adaptation of Starship Troopers.

In a month full of new live service game launches with less than stellar results, Hell Diver 2 is the one I recommend the most, especially as it may be leading to a more mainstream and approachable future for the popular genre.

Easy to extract pleasure

In the Hell Diver 2, players control soldiers fighting for Super Earth, a military-focused fascist coalition intent on eliminating a perceived threat as a scourge. Currently, that requires bug-like Terminid and Automatons. If you’ve ever watched or heard of Starship Troopers, this is a shameless homage to the premise. This is also reflected in the gameplay, as every time you die, you start playing as a new soldier who has signed up and is 100% fighting and dying for Super Earth. At times, it feels like a more apt Suicide Squad story in comparison Kill the Justice League.

Helldivers 2 cooperative gameplay.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

Players do all this in various missions on planets under the control of enemy forces. After setting up a payload on a starship, players choose a mission on an available planet that has not yet been completely “liberated” by Super Earth, alone or with friends, and are put into a pod and forced to complete the objective (or die trying). Objectives vary in difficulty and scope, avoiding a common problem faced by live service games: lack of variety. As the Grand Orders and planets players can fight on continue to change from week to week, developer Arrowhead Game Studios seems poised to maintain that sense of diversity.

Hell Diver 2 The controls are a bit heavier than today’s third-person shooters and friendly fire is always active, but that means every move the player makes has to be more deliberate. If you overexert your character and run out of stamina and ammo in the middle of a group of enemies shot by your teammates, you will probably die. It features a lot of hidden depth as players learn the ins and outs of combat.

For further assistance in the midst of battle, players can summon Stratagem. These can offer resupply, contain weapons, or barrage attacks that take down entire groups of enemies. However, Super Earth can’t do it just by pressing a button. Instead, you have to enter fighting game-like combos on the D-pad to call up Strategy or interact with objectives during missions. Add to that a multiplayer setting that has all players working towards the same goal, and the game reinforces the thematic feeling that the players are working for a fascist government that doesn’t care about them individually.

A player runs from robots in Helldivers 2.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

That doesn’t mean constantly doing these extraction missions isn’t entertaining. Hell Diver 2 allowing players to dip in and out of missions as involved or as simple as they want. The core combat and Strategy system make it fun enough to achieve the main objective alone, but there are optional missions and hidden resources to be found in each mission for tougher teams and players willing to risk their limited number of respawns on a few tense combat encounters for the sake of greater experience. rewards.

A small problem

Of course, there are some launch window issues to be aware of. On PS5 specifically, its public matchmaking system consistently fails to find matches despite a healthy player count. The developer is actively working to fix this issue, but for now, it’s best to discuss it Hell Diver 2 with a group of friends if you want to experience the multiplayer. Narrative content is also almost non-existent at this point, so the game doesn’t actually do much to criticize the fascist government players do beyond a satirical presentation of the game’s ridiculousness. I hope Arrowhead starts to question Super Earth’s actions as much as its story and lore Hell Diver 2 develop.

Luckily, these are all minor issues, not major systems that require a complete rework. Something about Hell Diver 2 it’s clearly been loved by players, with tens of thousands of players now flocking to play it on PC, making it the most played PlayStation PC release of all time. I think that’s because Arrowhead understands the satisfying core elements of the extraction shooter genre and distills those strengths into something that, while more basic and focused on co-op than your standard extraction shooter, is an intense experience that’s fun in quick bursts and also gives players a sense of duty. bigger thing to do.

Hell Diver 2 now available for PC and PlayStation 5.

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