HellDivers review – PS4, PS3, PS Vita
For – PS4, PS3, PS Vita
Hours sunk in so far – 20+
WHAT IS IT?
In the far-flung future, on an unassuming planet named Super Earth, humanity fights a war on three fronts against cyborgs, insectoids and the sentient AI of the Illuminati. Only one thing stands in the way of total annihilation: the HellDivers.
On the surface HellDivers is a game easily summarised. Take you average four-player top-down shooter, let’s say Gauntlet for old times sake, inject the team-based multiplayer gameplay of a game like Destiny and, finally, wrap in bleak, dark humour of Starship Troopers (killer bugs and all).
Your clues to the fact that HellDivers is a little different to your average squad-based shooter come early on, though. First take a long-standing issue of mine with the way guns reload in 99% of games: ammo expelled in an ejected clip magically reappears in your gun.
In HellDivers once you reload that’s it, you simply get a full clip. Any ammo you’ve failed to fire is lost to the ether as it should be. This has the double of effect of making you more aware of the bullets in your clip than most and – thanks to lengthy reload times – makes swapping clips a dangerous business.
Then there are stratagems. These being equipment, support and defences that can be called in by signalling Super Earth’s orbital fleet. From reinforcements (the only way to respawn fallen teammates), to auto-turrets, air strikes and even mechanised armour, the sheer scope of stratagems is impressive.
What I particularly enjoyed about them though is how you call them in: by pulling out your radio before tapping in an often lengthy sequence of ups, downs, lefts and rights on the d-pad. In the heat of battle getting it right first time can be essential and this simple idea fills HellDivers full of tense gunfights, where your split-second decisions can win the day – or lose it.
Some mission objectives require similar codes to be inputted to, in order to reprogram a console, for example. While others will have you simply holding a strategic location. One thing all missions have in common is the pulse-pounding extraction, where wave-after-wave of enemies must be kept at bay while your transport arrives.
If I have one complaint to make it’s not in the fact friendly-fire is on – in fact I rather enjoy the realism this adds – but rather in the way friendly-fire is often unavoidable. This is because the extent of the area you can travel to when playing multiplayer is rather limited.
Perhaps the intention was to force players to stick together, but the detriment is that you’re just too close together when the brown stuff hits the fan, especially given the quantity of hostiles. It also limits the tactics you can employ – there’s no room here for support from a distant sniper, for example.
It also takes an age to load on Vita (but at least it’s there) while the online code across all versions is currently patchy at best.
I’ve been frequently thrown out of multiplayer matches before I’ve hardly begun, but then this is hardly a complaint that can be thrown against the developer, Arrowhead Games, alone. There is the option to go single player when times are tough, but upon online arenas is where the real fun is to be had.
QUIT OR CONTINUE?
Here’s hoping these remaining gremlins are fixed, and quick, because HellDivers is most assuredly a Continue if played as intended. That is with four soldiers bravely fighting and support each other ever onwards, for resources, peace and, above all, Super Earth.