Helldivers 2 Review | Live-Service Democratic Justice

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Helldivers 2, the third-person co-op shooter by Arrowhead Game Studios, is finally here! Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn't do well, and if it's worth buying.

Helldivers 2 Review Overview

Helldivers 2 Premise

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Freedom. Peace. Democracy.
Your Super Earth-born rights. The key pillars of our civilization.
Of our very existence.
But the war rages on. And everything is once again under threat.
Join the greatest military force the galaxy has ever seen and make this a safe and free place to live.

Helldivers 2 Overall

Helldivers 2 is a mighty fun time especially with friends, family, and anyone you might want to “accidentally” flatten with a supply package. Its transition from a isometric co-op shooter to a third person co-op shooter makes a gigantic difference in gameplay even if the goal of spreading freedom and democracy is the same.

Helldivers 2 Story

Helldivers 2 doesn’t exactly have a story to tell. It’s an elite force from Super Earth consisting of freedom fighters asking you to enlist and help spread democracy in the solar system. Other than that, it’s pretty much a gameplay-first type of deal with this game, more shooting, less listening.

Helldivers 2 Gameplay

The game is chaotic, fast-paced, and mission-based. Those who played the previous iteration would be very familiar with how the game operates, from its combat, gameplay loop, and progression. While there’s a bigger focus on battle passes this time around, it does help the player a ton to give them objectives to strive for instead of just aiming to buy stronger equipment and weaponry.

Helldivers 2 Visuals

Visually, the game is stunning! It’s a far cry from the previous iteration which didn’t really have too many details to emphasize as the game was isometric. However this time around, you get to appreciate not only your personal Helldiver but also all of the hostile enemies that are out to get you. There’s a lot of options to customize and optimize your performance and graphics, but it’s certain that the performance of the game is not an issue.

Helldivers 2 Audio

They really leaned into the parody of enlistment and military media, from the music and the dialogue. Weirdly enough, it does make me feel patriotic. Sound effects from the weapons and the enemies are great to say the least, and even elevates the experience.

Helldivers 2 Value for Money

The game is priced at $40, which is a pretty significant investment. However, the amount of fun that I’ve had just by spreading blind democracy in the name of freedom is unmatched. There’s tons of mission variety, weaponry, and even cosmetics to unlock. You may not be a fan of live-service modeled games, but for Helldivers 2, it completely works.

Helldivers 2 Review: Live-Service Democratic Justice

Helldivers 2 Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Fun and Chaotic Gameplay
Checkmark Huge Equipment Variety
Checkmark Perfect Game to be Live-Service
Checkmark Some Movement Options Feel Clunky
Checkmark Gameplay Crashes and Kernel Anti-Cheat
Checkmark Live-Service FOMO

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I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a while since I’ve played the first Helldivers game, and this one blows it out of the water. The transition to third-person is absolutely perfect for the game, and leaning more into the parody of enlisting in the military makes it even better. Helldivers always made it feel like you were expendable assets to the Super Earth elites, as you could respawn with the resources you’re provided in the game.

The gameplay is still largely similar from the first game, you choose from a list of missions with varying difficulty levels and objectives and get dropped into the map from a landing spot of your choice. You can choose to accomplish the missions immediately if you so desire, or you can aim to complete every side objective in the mission. Doing so would get you more rewards, but it may leave your timer to 0 and you wouldn’t be able to use your stratagems or support items that you call down from your ship anymore.

It’s something you would expect from co-op mission based shooters where you’d get mobbed from time to time, but Helldivers has always nailed the feeling of being overwhelmed by hordes to a tee. Did I also mention that team killing was also made less of a problem now due to the third-person perspective change? It’s amazing that you don’t accidentally shoot someone as much as before (I’m not saying that it won’t happen, because it still can).

The game offers different weapons, stratagems, and cosmetics through its "battle pass" wherein you can even trade for currency that you buy using real money. The best part about the live-service model that they implemented is that you choose the rewards you want to get albeit with some restrictions. They also added new armor types in the game as opposed to the first game, where armor is actually something that you need to optimize now as it was purely cosmetic before. To add to this, the live-service model makes the game have actual missions and goals for you to pursue. Before, you would just grind for specific materials to get the best weapons and you would be pretty much done.

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The game improved on a lot of things that I personally had gripes with the previous game. There are some crashes here and there regarding the in-game Armory and some concerns with the anti-cheat that the game uses, but if you look past those cons, I don’t think there’s too many negatives to write about. A good thing to note is that I personally did not experience any frame drops or crashes while in missions, which leads me to believe that the game is well optimized in terms of graphics and performance.

It’s a game focused on being a game, which is for you to have fun, and I think that’s the perfect way to make a fun sequel.

Pros of Helldivers 2

Things Helldivers 2 Got Right
Checkmark Fun and Chaotic Gameplay
Checkmark Huge Equipment Variety
Checkmark Perfect Game to be Live-Service

Fun and Chaotic Gameplay

The game is still as chaotic and as fun as the first game. With the added caveat that the game is now third-person so that you don’t commit as much friendly fire as before. Of course, this isn’t to say that the game doesn’t have friendly fire or even self-inflicted damage, but that’s part of the fun. With the amount of different weapons, stratagems, and other hazards there are in the game, it’s fun to just go out there and do missions for the sake of democracy and freedom.

Huge Equipment Variety

I’m a big fan of having various options for games, and this is no different. Having different unlockable items can lead to a lot of loadout options to suit your playstyle. Fancy having four different sentries? Sure, go ahead. How about four different air strikes? Absolutely. It’s a game that allows you to go wild with the amount of weapons you can have, but you have to grind for them first.

Perfect Game to be Live-Service

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Just to be clear, I’m not a fan of most live-service games. However, the implementation of the live-service model just fits the game so well. It uses a pseudo battle pass system for unlocking different weapons, armor, and emotes, with the added bonus of you choosing which items to get. Also, the game being in live-service means that you get rewards playing more as well as different missions to strive for and do. This was the missing piece in the first game, and I think they pulled it off quite well.

Cons of Helldivers 2

Things That Helldivers 2 Can Improve
Checkmark Some Movement Options Feel Clunky
Checkmark Gameplay Crashes and Kernel Anti-Cheat
Checkmark Live-Service FOMO

Some Movement Options Feel Clunky

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So the jumping dive was already implemented in the previous game, but I have found that I’ve been dying more to using the dive than just actually keeping my distance from the enemies. It’s definitely awkward to use, as sometimes you can run immediately after diving, but sometimes you get stuck in the prone position and just get mauled by the mob.

Gameplay Crashes and Kernel Anti-Cheat

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The game is no stranger to having a buggy release day. There have been multiple reports of crashes when accessing the Armory in the game and I’ve experienced these quite a bit myself. Also, some players are experiencing crashes when trying to join a lobby either via Quickplay or via private lobbies. To add to this, people are criticizing the game for its use of the anti-cheat software, nProtect Gameguard, which may put you off.

Live-Service FOMO

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The game has fully transitioned to a live-service model which means that the game aims to make you play for continuous amounts of time. A classic example of FOMO is by missing certain seasonal events and missions in other live-service games, and it may happen in this game in the near future.

Is Helldivers 2 Worth It?

Enlist in the Helldivers Now!

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For $40, I didn’t expect to have this much fun. It’s a game that’s completely unapologetically made for enjoyment as a co-op shooter and it completely works that way. It’s a perfect mix of moment-to-moment gameplay and teamwork as playing with a group is very rewarding. With a squad of 4, you can optimize your group’s loadouts as well as giving each other designated roles for what weapons and equipment to use for each mission. It’s a game that’s definitely worthy of your time and money, as I think this game is for everyone to enjoy. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to join the Helldivers and become a hero.


Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam PS IconPlayStation
$39.99
78
Story
5
Gameplay
9
Visuals
9
Audio
8
Value for Money
8
Price:
$ 39
Clear Time:
8 Hours
Helldivers 2 is a mighty fun time especially with friends, family, and anyone you might want to “accidentally” flatten with a supply package. Its transition from a isometric co-op shooter to a third person co-op shooter makes a gigantic difference in gameplay even if the goal of spreading freedom and democracy is the same.
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