PS5 Review: Helldivers II

Is this the PS5’s most buggiest game?

Freedom. Peace. Managed Democracy. Your Super Earth-born rights. The key pillars of our civilization. These are under attack from deadly alien civilizations, conspiring to destroy the Super Earth and its values. You’ll step into the boots of an elite class of soldiers whose mission is to spread peace, liberty, and Managed Democracy using the biggest, baddest, and most explosive tools in the galaxy. Team up with up to four friends and wreak havoc on the alien scourge that threatens the safety of your home, Super Earth. The Helldivers must take on the role of galactic peacekeepers in this Galactic War and protect their home planet, spread the message of Democracy, and liberate the hostiles by force.

I’m naturally joking about the headline. Helldivers II has plenty of alien bugs for you to annihilate with your arsenal and teammates. In terms of actual bugs/glitches, I didn’t come across that many and the ones I had seen have since been patched. Now with that out of the way, let’s look at the game itself…

Helldivers II lets you choose a number of missions for your character to dive into. These can vary from clearing out an enemy nest, resupplying energy to a base, taking out specific enemy targets or even just raising the flag on enemy territory. You can either play these missions solo, with friends or even with random players online if you throw a “stratagem” grenade for assistance.

“Stratagems” are the game’s version of supply drops. These can vary from weapons, health, assistance from other players and so on. You unlock more as you go and these are activated by holding down L1 and inputting a d-pad combination before getting a flare/grenade to throw for where you want the drop to be. I was a bit confused with it at first but actually thought it was quite clever and amusing after a bit. D-pad combinations also apply to other machines such as requesting a pickup from an evacuation zone and there are even some puzzles for some like redirecting power supplies.

The game definitely never takes itself too seriously. It has plenty of humour in the form of one-liners and just cheesy dialogue. It naturally takes inspiration from the likes of Starship Troopers in all these little nods. Even the music, which is dramatic, is slightly cheesy and over-the-top. It’s brilliant.

I honestly don’t think the team at Arrowhead realised just how popular the game would be at launch. There have been a number of issues trying to get online and since the game can only be played online, its unplayable when you can’t access the server either through downtime or server overload. Things have improved since launch, but each weekend since has still had it’s fair share of problems. It’s also multiplatform with Steam users, so there are a lot of users wanting to get in. I’m still confident that things will continue to improve over the coming weeks.

The visuals are superb and the game runs at a solid framerate throughout without any drops. Load times are short and the game also lets you customise not only your character, but even lets you name your ship. The DualShock is used particularly well with the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which I always commend if it’s done right. All in all, incredibly impressive from a performance point of view.

The Verdict

Helldivers II is simple alien bug-killing fun. There’s no other way to say it. It may have server issues sporadically at the moment, but it’ll pass. In the meantime, if you can get in, then dive in!

Score: 9.0