The Destiny of another view: You Should Try Helldivers
Helldivers just released on PS4, PS3, and Vita yesterday, and our review of Arrowhead’s new game offers an enthusiastic recommendation for anyone looking for something new to try out this month. However, with its sci-fi setting, focus on cooperative play, and character upgrade options, there’s one group of gamers that definitely shouldn’t miss out on the title; players of Bungie’s Destiny power leveling should take a break from raids and bounties, and check out what Helldivers has to offer.
Destiny has been a divisive game, but there’s no denying the tremendous success it has had in keeping gamers playing since release in September. Many players have poured hundreds of hours into the shared world shooter, and continue to do so to this day. However, with a lengthy break looming between now and the next major expansion, many of our devoted Destiny players here in the GI office are looking for something else to scratch the itch, and I bet we’re not the only ones.
Enter Helldivers. Arrowhead’s new twin-stick shooter has a very different style of gameplay from Destiny, but look past the differences between top-down and first-person perspectives, and there are a number of similarities that make Helldivers a perfect distraction as you wait for the next big Bungie release.
Taking Out Aliens
Destiny’s setting is all about defending the last of humanity from multiple alien species set on wiping us out, and Helldivers is no different. From a base on the amusingly named “Super Earth,” helldivers set out to confront three distinct alien groups, each of which is trying to push through nearby solar systems to target humanity’s home.
Like in Destiny, a lot of the fun comes from learning the individual units of each alien group, and figuring out the best way to bring them down. The Bugs are torn straight out of the Starship Troopers movies, with burrowing devils that charge your location en masse and attempt to overwhelm by force of numbers. The Cyborgs offer a more traditional battle, as many of them fire off guns and engage in more traditional combat tactics, even as larger tank units barrel through defenses. The Illuminates are like a mix of StarCraft’s Protoss and Halo’s Covenant – a highly advanced alien species with lots of energy weapons and even a mind controlling unit that reverses your controller inputs.
Helldivers’ focus on changing up the action with multiple groups of combatants keeps the action fresh, and the ongoing galactic campaign communicates the feeling of working together with other players to shape the future of the game – a concept Destiny could do well to emulate.
Cooperation Or Bust
Much of Destiny’s strongest praise has been directed towards the raiding experience, where up to six players work together to fulfill teamwork oriented objectives. While the four-player action in Helldivers plays out in procedurally generated open maps rather than scripted encounters, the experience of working closely with your friends to time your attacks, fulfill objectives, and revive each other when things go wrong remains the same across the two games.
While I think Destiny players will appreciate Helldivers’ action, the cooperative vibe reminds me the most of a different FPS – Left 4 Dead. There’s a frantic quality to Helldivers’ firefights, in which enemies show up from any direction, and matches inevitably devolve into players shouting out for revives and unceasing cries that “we need to move!” Plus, each level ends with a desperate last stand as you wait for the shuttle to arrive to take you to safety.
The higher difficulty settings of Helldivers require close communication between teammates, and reward teams that move fast and stick together.