Monday, 6 April 2015

Helldivers: PS4 Review

Helldivers: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Arrowhead Game Studios

It's Starship Troopers, the console version in this shoot'em'up co-op game.

Set in 2084, Super Earth is now under threat, its carefully balanced managed democracy facing a fearsome foe in a war.

Thankfully, you're part of an elite unit known as the Helldivers, a gung-ho gun toting group who head down to the various planets, under threat, shoot some bugs and try to save the day. Along the way, there are tasks to perform, such as setting up weapons systems, capturing posts and then being extracted before it all goes to hell in a hand-cart as the bugs threaten to overwhelm you.

And that's really it for this game.

Except to say, whether it's one player or co-op, it's a lot of silly, bitesize fun, with levels taking very little time to complete.

Tactics are an important part of Helldivers, with simple maps betraying the effort that's actually needed to achieve your mission goals and to ensure you end up back in the skies, ready to fight the next battle.

Sure, there's your basic weapons, such as your guns and grenades (all of which only have a limited amount of ammo), but part of the pleasure of Helldivers comes from organising weapon drops and ensuring you use your guns to maximum impact and effect.

Controls are fairly simple - as are the graphics - but none of the core gameplay is sacrificed for the basics. Dualshock controls are nicely used, and reloading your weapons is easy enough, but discarding incomplete ammo clips is not the smartest way to use your shooters, with ammo being more of a rarity than you realise.

Fortunately, you can activate drops, by using the D pad in a series of controls a la Parappa the Rapper (up, down, left, right in various combos). Sounds easy enough, right? Try it when you're surrounded by creatures, out of ammo and then you can see how the challenge emerges. Plus, you have to be careful when activating drops, as quite simply, they can fall your way and leave you squished like the bug you're trying to oust.

With limited re-spawns, missions that seem deflatingly easy suddenly become infinitely harder when your attempts to survive see you squished because you weren't paying attention to the drops, or the rescue craft lands atop you. To have to start all over again, having lost your life, your XP and your strategies is a major niggle....but hey, that's war, right?

Equally, the multiplayer side of things means you have to be on top of your game. I've played a couple with offsiters in Helldivers, and while a lack of headphones and chatters makes strategy hard with others, but the game functions equally well in either mode.

Totally disposable fun, Helldivers is a great piece of shooty fun that challenges a little more than you would have expected, but rewards in equal measures.


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