ChannelLife UK - Industry insider news for technology resellers
Story image
Game review: Helldivers 2 (PS5)
Thu, 15th Feb 2024

The first Helldivers came out way back in 2015, and it was a sleeper hit for Sony. The game was first released for PS4, PS3, and even PS Vita before it eventually came out for the PC later in the same year. 

The first Helldivers was a top-down twin-stick shooter, and the best part of the game was its offline co-op multiplayer option. I remember trying to play this game solo, but it was difficult because all of the enemies would kill me. 

Thankfully, the PS4 version of the game supported offline multiplayer and I was able to finish a ton of missions thanks to the help of my brother. After nine long years, we finally got a sequel to Helldivers, simply called Helldivers 2, which is out now for PC and PS5. 

Before I begin talking about Helldivers 2’s features, the first thing I have to say about the sequel is that there is no split-screen co-op multiplayer whatsoever. Unlike the first game, I am unable to play Helldivers 2 with my brother on the same couch. If I wanted to play with my brother, I would need another PS5 console and a second copy of the game!

Helldivers 2 is different from the first Helldivers mainly because the franchise is no longer a small top-down shooter. Instead, the sequel is a fully-fledged third-person shooter and only offers online co-op multiplayer for up to four human players. 

Unlike the recently released Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, this game does not allow you to play with AI bots. If you want to play the game by yourself, you sadly have to face all of the enemies solo! Playing solo is ill-advised, in my opinion, because it makes the game much harder. Playing with a full squad is recommended, as I feel there are too many enemies for one person to endure. 

Another thing you need to know about Helldivers 2 is that you will need an active PlayStation Plus subscription to play the game on PS5. I remember first booting the game up, and I wasn’t able to continue past the main menu without paying for a PS Plus account. Just bear this in mind if you’re like me and don’t usually play with a PS Plus account on PS5. 

As aforementioned, Helldivers 2 is a third-person shooter, which means the camera now takes place behind your character. Sadly, you don’t get a chance to create the look of your character because everyone is hidden under a helmet and heavy armour. That being said, you can customise their helmet and armour as you progress through the missions. 

Gameplay-wise, Helldivers 2 is an easy-to-pick-up-and-play type of third-person shooter. There is no cover system in this game, but aiming down your sights and killing enemies is accessible since the controls are mostly easy to follow. You really just need to press the R2 button to shoot and the L2 button to aim. 

The Circle button allows you to crouch, but tapping it twice makes you prone. Going prone is somewhat helpful because this could make you evade enemy attacks and gunshots. You will need to learn to press the Square button a lot because this allows you to reload your weapon. Weapon reloading isn’t done automatically, so making sure you’re armed at all times becomes important. 

Probably the game’s biggest gimmick is its use of special items called Stratagems. Stratagems can be used by pressing a special combination of the directional buttons, and helpful items are sent to you from your mother ship. 

For example, if you are playing with up to three other different players you can use the Stratagem to ask for more reinforcements if a player dies. When there are up to four players in a team, you have 20 reinforcements that you can call upon. Things are harder when you’re playing solo, though, because only five reinforcements are available. 

Another helpful Stratagem at the start of the game is calling in an air strike. Helldivers 2 has friendly fire on, so you need to be careful that you don’t air-strike any of your teammates! Another Stratagem that I found useful at the start was a machine gun that was powerful and had more ammo than the default assault rifle. 

When you progress further in the game, you get even cooler items and weapons. Returning to the game is a turret that you can position on the ground to shoot for itself. This is very useful because each mission doesn’t end when you finish all of the objectives. After each mission is finished, you need to call for an extraction, and it usually takes two minutes for the ship to arrive. During those two minutes, you need to defend the extraction zone, and the turret is useful during this moment in the game. 

One thing that Helldivers 2 doesn’t have compared to Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a proper narrative or story. Here in Helldivers 2, you just pick a planet to land on, and you just partake in random missions based on its difficulty. At first, you fight bugs but as you progress you encounter the much harder robotic enemies!

While Helldivers 2 is a fun online multiplayer experience, it sadly doesn’t have offline co-op like its immediate predecessor. That being said, the third-person gunplay is satisfying, plus the game is enjoyable when you are playing with a full squad of four players. This game is definitely worth getting if you love online multiplayer experiences. 

Verdict: 8.5/10