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  • Writer's pictureThree Dads And A Console

Is Helldivers 2 the Ultimate Co-op Action Experience for PS5/PC?

Updated: Feb 19

Helldivers 2

Today we’re going to do something different because Playstation Canada gave Three Dads and a Console both a PS5 and a PC code. This review is going to be a tandem review, with Court talking about the PS5 version of the game and Pez talking about the PC version. Court’s review will be in normal text while Pez’s PC specific input will be bold.

Court: I never played the first Helldivers game, so I won't compare it to its previous release. I was excited to jump into it from everything I saw of the game before launch. I think this is the first PlayStation published game to drop on PC and console at launch. Helldivers 2 is the first of many PlayStation published live service games we will see in the upcoming years. When PlayStation announced the plan for more live service games, I was in the camp of "this isn't going to work." I used to think I wasn't a fan of live service games at all, but in the end, I found I wasn't a fan of pay-to-win, and the good news is that Helldivers 2 isn't pay-to-win. Helldivers 2's launch has already been a success, with it becoming the highest concurrent PlayStation published game on Steam with at its peak 155,000 players playing. That is more than double what the previous record holder, God of War, did on its release.

Does this mean PlayStation will release their games day and date on PC and Console moving forward? I don't think so, but we might see their live service games do this. It allows for a larger player base to play the game, and frankly, I have had zero issues finding people to play with right now. Being in third person also doesn't give mouse and keyboard users an advantage over console users like most first-person shooters.

When you boot up the game, you're met with a highly comical intro video that sets the stage for what to expect from Helldivers 2 regarding the story or the game taking itself too seriously. It felt like a scene straight out of Starship Troopers. The story is about killing bugs and robots to save democracy and have fun doing it. There isn't much more to it, but I think that is helping the game because you can jump right into solo missions or with friends and right into blowing bugs or accidentally your teammates up.

Helldivers 2 audio menu
The sound menu could use more PC centric options

Pez: This is where I first experienced some issues with Helldivers 2 on PC. Ultimately, this was a game that was designed for console and you can tell with their sound options. Upon entering the “Audio” portion of your settings, you’re met with a standard array of options, pictured above. One of the issues I noticed immediately is that you’re unable to choose where your audio is coming from.

This caused a major issue when joining my friend on Playstation 5 because I couldn’t change where my audio was coming from in game. I was unable to choose a mic as well. These aren’t major issues, but while in the lobby with my friends, I had to run through my audio properties so I could hear them. This may only be an issue for me because I run my audio through Voicemeeter Potato for streaming purposes. If you’re on PC and can’t hear your PATRIOTS OF DEMOCRACY on PS5, go into your sound control panel and click through your playback devices. Eventually, I was able to find my friends using “Cable A”, set it as a default communication device and I was good to go.

Ultimately, I wish we could have had a set-up like Overwatch, where you're able to make some of these choices.

Overwatch's audio screen
Overwatch allows for a little more customization

Court: They start you on your ship and see a couple of characters to interact with. They genuinely add nothing to the game but have a prompt to talk to them. You will see a couple of computers you can interact with, but nothing too confusing. Everything is very simplistic inside your ship because the game is more about gameplay than anything else. You can change your loadout at the computer, rename your ship, and check out the battle pass and items you could purchase for real currency. I wouldn't say you have to, though, as you can play the game to unlock most items. I'm not too sure how much time that would take, but I didn't feel I had this huge disadvantage when I started playing the game because of what weapons or armour I had. I want to say that PlayStation Canada provided my code for the game, and I was given the Super Citizen edition of the game. The Twitch drop armour you can get is already better than the armour you get from the Super Citizen edition, and the Twitch Drop is free. Besides giving me access to the stratagem hero ship game, the Super Citizen Edition pretty much gave me the fast track to strapping your lad trophy, which is to customize your Helldiver with a new cape, armour, and helmet.

From there, you walk over to the giant world map, select a mission and drop yourself into action. You can play solo, with friends, or with a bunch of random people. After playing for a while, I would choose anything over playing solo. Playing solo in Helldivers 2 just isn't fun because I truly feel the pure enjoyment of this game comes from playing with others.

Pez: Currently, cross-play isn’t an issue between PC and PS5 and it seems to work pretty well. Your PS5 friends will have to add your PC friends via a generated friend code, but that process is very easy and straightforward. Once jumping into your friends game, everything works the same as it does on PC. My crew and I noticed some weird things like being unable to ask for redeployment strategems while I am hosting on PC, but when I died and left the game, it migrated a host to someone on console and we were fine. This only occurred once, but it speaks to the amount of issues that Arrowhead Studios is having server side. Kudos to them as they continue to work on the server issues and have been extremely communicative on their discord about what’s happening, patches, and even rolling patches back because it messed up some things PC side.

The combat is satisfying as there are many bugs to kill at any given time, depending on your chosen difficulty level. Hoards of bugs can come at you if you aren't careful, and when playing with others, remember that friendly fire hurts. You can even land your pod on enemies and even your teammates (not purposely) (maybe purposely for the lols). Using various weapons available, it is fun to blow up bugs on the screen as their carcasses even get in the way and can shield other enemies from getting hit. There is a large variety of enemies to kill within that first hour. There are more challenging enemies like robots, but I never encountered them as I tried to save democracy initially. Besides various guns in your armoury, you have stratagems to use that can help a lot when trying to vanquish bugs. Some are unlocked as you level up in the game, and some you must purchase using items collected from finishing missions or found during the missions. You start the game with the Orbital Precision Strike, which you can use to take out many enemies at once. You can unlock many types of stratagems as you progress in the game to help you and your teammates complete your missions.

I would say shotguns, sidearms, and SMGs work the best against the bugs earlier in the game, but you must change your loadouts for the enemy types you face each mission. If I have a gripe for early in the game, your soldier doesn't move too fast and has no jump button. You can dive to evade from enemies, but when you get overrun, you truly can only shoot your way out of things. You can unlock a jet pack at level 8, which helps immensely for traversal. At first, the lack of speed and jump was an issue for me, but as I played, I didn't notice any difference anymore. Dying became almost part of the fun of the game. Your teammates can request you to launch back in, and when you return, try to land your pod on top of enemies and watch them explode. When you die, you lose the resources you collected, but if your teammates don't pick them up when you die, you can pick them up again when you return.

Pez: Lastly, the game runs very well on PC. I have a pretty good rig (RTX 3070, 64GB RAM and Ryzen 7 5800X) and I have had no issues running the game, nor does the game make my rig run hot. I have to commend Sony and Arrowhead Studios for putting together a game that runs quite well and has cross-play between consoles that works quite seamlessly.

Because I was born and bred a console scrub, I do use controller and I don’t find that it limits you on anything. In case you care, which you probably don’t.

The true magic of Helldivers 2 and the reason I think it is so popular with gamers right now is having fun with friends. It's not a full-priced game so the barrier to entry is a lot easier to deal with and it's fun blowing things up. When I first realized you can be killed with friendly fire I thought that it would annoy me and yet I I'm finding some of the funniest moments is when you accidentally kill your own teammate. The load times are all but non-existent on console, so coming back into the game takes a couple of seconds for your squad mate to extract you back in. Loading into a game when you want to start is seamless and feels very quick, even when doing a quick match. I have heard some people have some issues with it not connecting, but I haven't had any to speak of. I have been booted out of games, but I think that is more based on my skill level than server issues.

Score 9/10



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