Thursday, April 2, 2015

Helldivers Impressions


Have you ever seen the movie (or read the book) Starship Troopers?  More importantly, do you enjoy "accidentally" shooting your friends, yelling some asinine statement about liberty, and taking on the impossible odds and hordes of bugs, cyborgs, and the Illuminati (ahem... The Illuminate)?

The game looks beautiful and fluid on ps4.  It's fun to just jump in and kick some ass (or get your ass kicked).  The real kicker is that friendly fire is always on.  So, if you come between a squad mate's gun barrel and an enemy-- be ready to hit the deck!  There is actually a button to hit the deck for just such an occasion.

In true militaristic fashion, you are able to call in for reinforcements, supplies, airstrikes, and vehicles.  These all have a cool-down timer on them and have a limited number, but are all extremely satisfying.  This is especially true when the payload lands on top of an enemy smashing them into little bits.  So great!  I should also note that your payload can also crush squad mates, so be careful... or not.  These are called in when you kneel, bring out a radio, and enter a code.  It is a wonderful throwback to the time you entered codes to cheat and get more ammo!  Up, Down, Down, Up gets you... something.  I forget. But all interactions, from raising SAM sites to disabling generators, are done in this manner.  It's feel pretty awesome rushing to enter a code with hordes of enemies breathing down your neck.

The more you play, the more you kill, the more missions you run will all contribute to leveling up your character.  It also contributes to an overall "war" against the bugs, cyborgs, and illuminate that is semi persistent.  The missions are randomized, but generally involve doing similar activities.  I never grew tired of playing though.  It's incredibly polished gameplay.

The game looks pretty much the same on ps3 with lower resolution (especially shadows).  It is still completely playable and just as fun.  The VITA version is a bit annoying in the controls department.  There aren't as many buttons and therefore touch controls come into play... which I don't like.  Using touch controls while aiming a grenade toss is not my bag, but to each his own.

My biggest problem with this game is matchmaking.  It's a pain to get into a match with random people.  There is no way (that I am aware of) to search for games by the amount of people already in it.  Your best bet is to jump on a game that has 1 or 2 people in it and hope it connects before someone else gets in.  If you see a game with 3 out of 4 slots full you will most likely not have time to join before someone else.  I feel like this could be handled better, such as an auto-game finder thing that keeps trying until it finds a game.

My second problem is with the UI.  I feel like it takes up too much of the screen.  Complaining aside, it is a very clean and elegant interface... I just wish it was smaller.

This game is cross-buy and cross-save and... almost cross-play.  They are working on it.  So, for 20 bucks you get this wonderful game on all three Sony platforms (ps3, ps4, and Vita).  Hooray!  It is still totally worth it if you only have one of those consoles.

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