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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Launch feet first into ‘Helldivers 2’

Jonathan Shelby
A screenshot from “Helldivers 2” shows a player fending off a horde of bugs as they finish completing an objective. “Helldivers 2” released Feb. 8. (Jonathan Shelby | Northern Star)

After a long day at work and dealing with the everyday challenges we call life, it is nice to forget all of it, boot up the old PS5 and play some co-op shooter games with friends. 

Most co-op games are fairly laid-back, having a team of players fight with a good set of tools against relatively balanced waves of enemies. 

However, the recently released co-op game, “Helldivers 2,” presents its players with insane challenges that test their strategic thinking and teamwork skills. 

Developed and released Feb. 8 by Arrowhead Game Studios, “Helldivers 2,” the sequel of the first game released back in 2015, takes the combat system to a whole new level and resembles a more modern third-person shooter game. 

While the game does feature crossplay between PS5 and PC, Xbox console users are unfortunately left out as the game is exclusively published and owned by Sony. 

As the game is already so popular, players worldwide are asking Arrowhead Studios to make their game available on Xbox, according to an article by Forbes

Players will take the role of a newly recruited “Helldiver,” a member of an elite special forces group, and are tasked with spreading freedom and democracy to planets controlled by enemies in the form of shooting at and blowing things up. 

After completing the tutorial, players will be presented with the option of naming their ship, which serves as their base of operations. 

Here they can customize their equipment, purchase new weapons and strategies to use on the ground and upgrade the ones they already have before tackling a mission.  

Knowing what forces control each planet and the details of the mission is critical and some weapons and strategies will be more effective than others depending on the situation. 

There are two factions of enemies that control different parts of the galaxy, the “Terminoids” and the “Automatons,” and players must liberate planets from their control by completing these missions. 

Before a mission begins, players have three options for how they can choose to handle it. 

The first is by selecting the “Quickplay” option near the center of the holomap, which will have them join before another player’s mission or when it has already started. 

The second is by inviting friends or players they have gone on missions with before to tackle one of their choosing. Players can also request for others to join them during a mission by using an S.O.S. beacon. 

The third and hardest method is going solo and fighting against impossible odds alone. 

While it may seem doable in the first few difficulty levels, the game will start throwing harder and harder waves of enemies at you, with some being nearly impossible to beat without a team. 

Each mission has its own difficulty level which determines what types of enemies players will have to deal with. 

The levels are “trivial,” “easy,” “medium,” “challenging,” “hard,” “extreme,” “suicide mission,” “impossible” and “helldive.” For a solo player, it becomes insanely difficult on the “challenging” level. 

After the mission has been confirmed and all players are ready to go, they will be launched down to the ground in one of the most epic moments of the entire game. 

They travel in small landing pods called “Hellpods” with the game’s main theme playing in the background just to make it even cooler and more heroic as they fall towards the planet

The game’s combat can be so complex and satisfying, especially when on a team. 

During a mission, along with standard weapons such as assault rifles, machine guns and more, players have the opportunity to use stratagems to request support from their ships. 

They can call for different types of orbital bombardments and eagle bombing runs, useful equipment and additional supplies containing grenades and ammunition. 

Different aspects can also affect combat such as injuries or a planet’s weather and terrain. 

For example, if a player were to take a hit to the arm then it would be hard to aim unless they used a health stim. 

Extreme heat can make it easier to lose stamina while running and accelerate the buildup of heat in weapons, causing them to overheat more quickly. 

Enemies can also have certain body parts blown off, which can either cripple their movement speed or make them more aggressive towards the team.

Unfortunately, even with all of its cool mechanics and details, “Helldivers 2” isn’t free from bugs and issues. 

While some of the issues that plagued the game at launch were removed soon after, there is still the fact that the main server can’t hold more than its expected amount of people. 

This forces players to, from time to time, have to wait their turn on the homescreen for around 15 to 20 minutes until another player leaves the game, creating an opening. 

With the game gaining more and more players by the day and far surpassing the developers perceived numbers of the games sales and players, increasing the server’s capacity beyond 450,000 people has become a main focus. 

Even with one downside, the game is still well worth the wait and a ridiculous amount of fun, especially with a group of friends or even teammates you don’t know. 

Fans of the game are very receptive to having other player’s join their missions and assisting them in combating the harsh trials that await them. 

Blowing off the heads of bugs and robots, overly nuking enemy outposts and screaming “For Democracy” are traits of this game that will never get old. 

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