Helldivers 2 Review in Progress
10.02.2024 - 00:45
Based on the first couple of days with it, Helldivers 2 strikes me as hilarious, smartly designed, and intense whether I’m playing solo, with a squad of other random Helldivers, or serving up a nice hot cup of Liber-tea across the galaxy with buddies. I still need to see more of its varied missions, unlock a wider selection of its huge catalog of weapons, emotes, armor, and abilities, and see how Managed Democracy’s campaign against alien bugs and robots plays out during the long haul, so I’m not ready to give a final review just yet. But for right now, I’m enjoying traveling to exciting new places, meeting exotic life forms, and killing them for the glory of Super Earth. God, what a sentence.
After a gut-busting opening piece of mandatory propaganda (refusal to pay attention is treason) that explains that Super Earth is under attack from the robotic Automatons and the “legally-distinct-but-still-totally-the-bugs-from-Starship-Troopers” Terminids (which are also definitely not Warhammer 40K’s Tyranids!), you’re dropped into Helldiver basic training. Your instructor tells you that he isn’t easily impressed… before letting you know how impressed he is by the fact that you’re not backing down. After mercilessly gassing you up (remember, Super Earth is run by fascists; everything they do is awesome and perfect) and telling you how invincible you are – while conveniently avoiding the fact that the average Helldiver has a lifespan of about, oh, I don’t know, about 30 seconds – you’re given command of your own destroyer space ship (I named mine the Elected Representative of Family Values) and sent to the front lines with your buddies.
Once you’re out in the Galactic War, you’re free to head to either the Automaton or Terminid front to bring Liberty and Managed Democracy to their occupied planets. Each world has multiple missions with multiple objectives, which range from destroying Termanid eggs to activating your local, nuclear-armed ICBM. Just a regular day at the office.
What’s nice is that once I’d picked my landing zone and dropped in, every mission so far has felt different, even if I’d done those objectives before. That’s largely because maps are distinct and unique, even on the same planet because of the way the terrain changes – one map might have a lot of water and hills, while another might be heavily forested. On top of that, each mission usually has a couple of optional objectives to complete, like blowing up outposts or terminating a treasonous broadcast. So especially if you’re checking those out, no two missions play out the same way.
You don’t start with a big selection of gear — a couple of primary weapon options, a sidearm, and a grenade — but shooting feels satisfyingly weighty, especially