Helldivers 2 Review

Bug and bot stompin' feels sooo good!

Release Date
February 8th, 2024
Developed By:
Arrowhead Game Studios
Published By
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Co-op shooter
PlayStation 5, PC
Our Score

We’re not talking about a new Starship Troopers game here. We’re talking about a sequel to one of the most underrated online (and no, it cannot be played offline) co-op shooters I’ve seen since Chromehounds on the Xbox 360! Released on the PlayStation 5 and Steam for PC by Arrowhead Studios, Helldivers 2 has become a hit thanks to its well-balanced difficulty and other important factors. 

First and foremost, Helldivers 2 is flat-out fun and funny. You play the role of a soldier (aka Helldiver) tasked with protecting “Super Earth” and “Super Democracy” from otherworldly threats. Initially portrayed as an invasion of killer bugs, these threats are to be dealt with the only way a soldier knows how—violence! 

The formula for Helldivers 2 is pretty simple. You pick a mission difficulty setting, find a planet that needs ‘freedom,’ select a mission, and decide if you want to do the mission solo or with an up to 4-man online party. While it is possible to play the game solo, you will quickly find that the game encourages co-op play. Once in a mission, you quickly encounter various bug threats requiring guns, grenades, airstrikes, and orbital bombardment to ensure mission success. Along the way, the map entices you with hidden stashes of ammo, weapons, and rewards that are often near or between enemy bases or mission objectives. All the while, enemy patrols are hunting you down and are quick to call in reinforcements. Once the primary mission is complete, you can call for extraction, and you must survive the waves of resistance until your ride comes in.

As you select higher difficulty levels in Helldivers 2, the enemy types (whether bug or otherwise) get bigger and have more armor. As a result, you either find your foe’s weak point to shoot, try to take it out with air support or use a support weapon that pierces armor or causes explosions. Of course, the more noise you make, the more reinforcements and patrols are alerted to your presence if in earshot. No matter the enemy type, the hordes of enemies thrown at you often cause you to run out of ammo at the wrong moment.

While this sounds like it could be almost any third-person action game (like Deep Rock Galactic, Mechwarrior, or Monster Hunter), the area that Helldivers 2 seems to ‘shine’ is in its attention to detail. While the environments aren’t really much to write home about, the points of interest are randomly located. Elements throughout the map can help and harm you (spore pods that slow movement, explosive plants). Friendly fire is a concept that allows and harms both you AND your foes. Even your view outside of your ship on the planet below is a LIVE representation of missions in progress and the orbital strikes called for! 

Another area where Helldivers 2 shines, aside from brilliantly capturing the feel of the Starship Troopers movie, is the exciting diversity of the enemies you face. While at launch, there are only two types of threats (bugs and bots), these two types of enemies have a lot of different variations to throw at you. The bugs mostly overwhelm you with numbers and charge at you with primarily melee threats. As you encounter increase difficulties, some bugs spit bile at you that can harm you as well as trample and bite you. The bigger they get, the more critical it becomes to find weak spots to take them down with less ammo (or use orbital/air strikes). The same is true with the bots, as many variations have minimal or rear-facing weak points. The most significant difference is that the bots have ranged and melee threats that can light the sky with lasers and rockets thrown in your direction. It will be fascinating to see what new enemy variations and threats Arrowhead Studios will have to the fray as the game garners more success.


The more and more you play Helldivers 2, the more little details you find. This keeps the experience fresh and makes it a playground you want to share and lead your newbie friend into. Since the game is crafted to encourage online co-op gameplay, hilarity will undoubtedly occur as friends accidentally kill each other (or on purpose) or missions fail because ill-equipped teams spend too long exploring or splitting up. The excellent music swells at just the right time as squadmates (whether friends or randoms) do their best to coordinate strikes, save each other, call for reinforcements, and call out threats. Without a doubt, any friend who likes shooters will probably enjoy hopping in with their crew to crank through a few missions at new difficulty levels. 

Another unique feature is the persistent online war, the Galactic War. While this feature isn’t the first time it has been done, it is a feature that ensures there is no real endgame. Even with maxed-out characters, introducing new threats ensures you can keep the fight going. No one character or even squad can win the war by themselves, so the feeling of ‘doing your part’ really keeps the interest in the game going. While this is the same ‘format’ as its predecessor, it will be interesting to see if this feature grows and changes beyond just ‘adding new threats’. Seeing clans or ‘regiments’ as a feature could be fantastic. This was attempted in Chromehounds, which worked well to group ‘like-minded’ players who may not know each other.

Obviously, at launch, the devs at Arrowhead Studios have not revealed all of the secrets and DLC planned for the game. However, it is encouraging that the devs are tweaking the difficulty and progress of The Galactic War in real-time. In a sense, the ‘war’ is considered the storyline for the game that will constantly change and evolve. There is even talk of customizing the look, lore, and feel of each of the planets featured on the map to further immerse players in the lore and love they have for their own game. Indeed, these plans to further enhance and evolve the outstanding details of this game will only make it even more of a fan favorite than it already is. After all, having a live service game should have a ton of replayability.

Game difficulty is probably one of the players’ main issues with the game. As both a blessing and a curse, the fluctuating difficulty of the game can get to some folks in the community. Since the devs are constantly watching the success and failures of the players in real-time, they often nerf and boost the effectiveness of player weapons and enemy health, numbers, and spawn types. As a result, ‘meta’ players will often kick others from a session if they deem their stratagem loadout ineffective. More often than not, these types of players often do so at some of the highest levels of difficulty.

Also, since the developers continuously add new armor, weapons, vehicles, mission types, and enemies to the game, glitches often occur. The game’s ever-growing success has often stressed out the dedicated servers, causing connectivity issues. Thankfully, the developers are quick-acting and resolve most troublesome glitches and connection issues quickly. 


Arrowhead has taken full advantage of the third-person perspective. You can purchase cosmetics (armor, helmets, capes, etc.) with microtransactions and in-game currency. Most of the in-game offerings are strictly cosmetic, but some in-game currency items also provide in-game buffs and boons. Additional guns support weapons, airstrikes, orbital strikes, and other ‘base upgrades’ enhance it. Every little bit helps in Helldivers 2. The different difficulty levels require every little bit of an advantage as possible, with multiple ‘boss-like’ enemies spawning and chasing you.

Significantly few action games can harness action-based chaos, such as Helldivers 2. By balancing the game in a way that always seems like you are running out of ammo and/or grenades, Helldivers 2 beautifully crafts the feeling of always being on the edge of, “Oh sh&t!”. Between regular enemy patrols, enemy reinforcements, and spawns from enemy bases, there’s always danger around the corner. There’s even the danger of friendly fire that can take a soldier out at just the wrong moment, causing a mission failure or loss of respawns that are all too valuable when at high difficulty levels. No matter how robust your gear is, even the most seasoned soldier can be taken down by sentry gunfire or a noob soldier panicking. Helldivers 2 is easily an instant classic that seemingly sets a new standard for PvE coop shooters.



Helldivers 2 Review
An Instant Classic that NEEDS to be experienced
The well balanced difficulty design of Helldivers 2 encourages co-op gameplay with both friends and randoms. The result is an ordinance filled playground of destruction that is sure to provide memorable moments!
A chaotic shooter that brilliantly uses the third person perspective to enhance the frenetic pace.
Well crafted difficulty levels that can be done solo and as a squad
Enemy diversity pushes difficulty without needing bullet sponges
can only be played online... no offline play
connectivity to other online missions at times makes co-op gameplay frustrating
Sometimes toxic community will kick players they don't deem good enough
Everything Set to Default when restarting game