I don’t want to make it sound like every mission ends like the evacuation scene from Starship Troopers, but in the later levels every mission ends exactly like the evacuation scene from Starship Troopers. Just replace bugs with cyborgs or psionic energy creatures two thirds of the time. It’s pretty dope.
At the end of the mission players will all earn equal rewards no matter how they performed, as scoring is based off of survival and completing objectives. Kills don’t matter, which is nice because it keeps players focused on the mission instead of trying to go lone wolf on heavy targets. The end mission recap screen is painfully slow, displaying each player’s stats, rewards, and promotions individually. It really kills the flow of what should be a pick-up-and-play game.
I’ve experienced a few minor annoyances with the co-op system, but nothing rage-inducing (so long as the servers are cooperating). Games are easily joined, but you have to join individually, so you’d best make sure everyone you’re playing with is already on each other’s friends list. Figure out who’s hosting then everyone can either meet up on board the ship or on the planet’s surface.
Players can drop into games at will, so long as there’s an open slot. There are two lobbies available from your ship’s bridge, one for random games and one for friends. If you see a buddy in a game you can simply choose your loadout, drop in, and blaze away. There isn’t an in-game invite system, which is a little irritating, seeing as how there are SOS beacons which can give your game priority in the public lobby.
Joining random games is a pain. Finding a group can be a challenging, since most games on display are already full. Once you’re with a team the game rolls right along. As far as getting random players to join your own game, who knows? I’ve played a few dozen solo games to gather research samples for upgrades and I have never had a random player drop into my game. I’ve even solo’d through some challenging missions which offered some pretty good rewards. Nothing. I pop my SOS beacon for kicks at the start of every mission, too. If you have three friends willing to play you will likely never notice these little snafus, as long as you’re on the same system.
Helldivers was advertised as a cross buy, cross save, cross play game. I’ve had no problem with the cross buy and cross save features, having played on my Vita, PS3, and PS4, but I have yet to hear of anyone playing with friends on different systems. Random players seem to be able to cross play, but Arrowhead and Sony have had some difficulty integrating players’ friends lists from all three systems. This is a serious issue for players who thought they’d be able to play with their friends on different systems. The devs are aware of the issue and are working on it.
Personally, I’ve had a few dropped connections, but nothing I haven’t experienced with most online-focused games. If the network is down you can always play with up to four players in a local co-op game. Combo co-op is supported, too, for those of you who have both real friends and online friends.
The planets and missions can get repetitive, but with a $20 price tag ($18 for Plus members) I can’t really complain. There’s also a whole meta-campaign that each victory feeds into, but I don’t know if the game community will be strong enough to feed its planned six week cycles. I feel like I’ve gotten my $18 bucks worth and it’s only been a week. I’ve also read several online comments about progression and network issues, but I haven’t experienced anything glaring myself.
I’ve enjoyed my time with Helldivers. Bring some friends. This game is fun as hell.
The Co-Op Experience: Helldivers supports four player co-op. It also supports cross save and cross play between the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita versions. Two players can play on a PS4 with two others joining in on Vitas in the same room.
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