Helldivers PS4 Hands-on

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Helldivers PS4 Hands-on

Helldivers on PS4, PS3, PS Vita

Helldivers marries real-life laughter and video game death better than it should. Within ten minutes of top-down mayhem, my team and I were mauled by a wild praying mantis, trampled by beetles, evaporated by ordinance, and crushed by our own orbital supply pod. And we couldn’t stop laughing along the way.

This absurdly entertaining co-op shooter is coming to PS3, PS4, and PS Vita later this year, courtesy of Swedish developer Arrowhead Games. A brutally difficult experience spritzed with Starship Troopers aesthetics, Helldivers reminds us that some of the best multiplayer still emerges from couch co-op. And a countless array of untimely deaths.

Helldivers establishes its dystopian future with a sly wink. It’s just serious enough to keep players on the battlefield, but only just. The inhabitants of Super Earth — under a “managed democracy” — face a three-pronged attack against a host of dangerous enemies. Deadly bug hordes included.

As a Helldiver, players will drop into procedurally-generated environments in order to drive back the alien menace. Their objectives include destroying bug nests, securing contested zones, and even protecting supply containers as they move from one station to another. And these missions can be handled with four players across local and online connections — or any combination of the two.

Helldivers on PS4, PS3, PS VitaHelldivers on PS4, PS3, PS Vita

Before a sortie, players customize their loadouts on the Helldivers ship, which hovers ominously above world. A whole slew of weapons, explosives, and special support skills can be unlocked through play. Once on-world, the Helldivers are assaulted by baddies from every angle. With friendly fire a constant danger, we soon found ourselves causing more damage to our own team than to the slithering bugs in our way. It takes real coordination to push from objective to objective, but getting blown away by a friendly trooper has its own charm.

Like other top-down shooters, the sticks on DualShock 4 handle movement and aim separately. Players are expected to get comfortable with the setup right away, as Helldivers spares little expense in sending lethal aggression towards the team. Enemies flood the battlefield like a true infestation, and even friendly equipment poses a threat. The aforementioned support abilities call down critical aid to player troops, but can literally crush any unfortunate soldiers meandering underneath (instant hilarity).

These skills are activated by heart-pounding d-pad inputs in the midst of combat, reminiscent of fighting game commands or Konami codes (or, for Final Fantasy enthusiasts, Sabin’s Blitz attacks). When entered correctly, players can call for extra ammo, revive fallen troops, or even place devastating sentry cannons. Friendly note: these sentry guns will not detect a player if he or she is standing between it and enemy bugs. So stay out of the way, or face another gruesome death. And more hilarity.

Missions are fast and fun on their own, but there’s a sort of metagame to be found in the overarching Super Earth conflict. Arrowhead plans to create community-wide wars that last for two real-life months. If players can collectively rise to the task and push back the alien invasion, the difficulty for everyone will rise. If the community fails, the difficulty drops. These massive engagements will allow the global Helldiver populace to decide how future battles will be waged.

Despite how difficult Helldivers is in its early state, this brutal shooter will get players laughing. And that’s a real accomplishment when those players are being eviscerated by giant insects. Think about it.

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4 Author Replies

  • Any new vita game is a good thing, and this one looks pretty good. Loving all the indie games on my vita!

  • I love me some Starship Troopers and was a HUGE supporter of Savage Moon. Definitely anxious for this, reminds me of a top-down version of EDF.

    Who could say no to that?!

  • I watched colin playing this on the IGN app, looks cool. I hope they release a demo, so i can try it before i buy it.

  • Will all versions be out at the same time? Will it be Cross Buy/Play?

  • Still hoping for cross buy. Regardless, the game looks great.

  • It’s one of the Vita games I’m keeping on my radar.

  • It’s one of the Vita games I’m keeping on my radar. (2X)

    Also, i would like to see a gameplay video too. It would be great.

  • Hey Ryan where is the PS Vita Hands-On? I suggest you to do it too and it would be good for success marketing of vita,not only for this game but also for other upcoming vita games ,you should do it and support it for vita owners

    Trust me this is the Marketing :)

  • Cross-buy would be nice, but you had me at couch co-op. There aren’t enough games that the wife and I can play together.

  • Probably my most anticipated PSN release. Reminds me of a glorious blend of Crimsonland and XCOM. Plus it’s a natural evolution for Arrowhead from Magicka to Helldivers, so I really think they’ll pull it off. First day purchase for me.

  • @ #7 Malkavilis – http://video.lmgtfy.com/?q=Helldivers

    Looks great btw. I love me some top down shooters. Dead Nation was a surprise I didn’t see coming, I hope I see the same from this. Day one buy.

  • Can I ask where it receives it’s M rating. i.e. blood and gore, cursing or both?

  • Could be good.

    Killzone for PSP looked fun for multiplayer,
    too bad they shut it down and did not add support for downloading the rest of the game. (Vita users are unfortunate)

    Not overwhelmed enough, to make it a retail purchase.

    Will be waiting for a price drop, and look forward to the reviews / gameplay.

  • An old school favorite was Command and Conquer.

    It would be nice to see either competitive multiplayer or at least enough strategy, to make this more than looking for overpowered weapons and run and gun style gameplay.

  • Now this I like & it’s also for the PS Vita this will be a game that I can get into for sure!!!!!!!

  • I’m really looking forward to this…except I really don’t have many couch co-op chances. The wife and kids don’t play much on console. I assume it’s online, as well? Is single player still fun? And, for Vita, will you need to be connected to play?

  • Couch co-op! More games need that. You got my interest raised just with that.

    So… is the game going to be cross-buy and/or cross play (That would be awesome as I have a Vita and I’d love to be able to play on both rather than make a choice)?

  • A cross buy option would be Beyond! awesome. Either way, definitely getting this on PS4. Love me some Twin Stick pleasure.

  • This is about Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn, since there’s nowhere else to post it:

    I was looking forward to playing the beta version of Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn on PS4, but there’s just one problem:

    You can’t play it.

    This game is so passworded up that trying to get in is a frustrating and futile experience. You can spend hours just trying to register and you won’t be able to play.

    So, if you got the time, go for it. Me, I deleted it and probably won’t buy it. Also, under no circumstances do you give a bank account or credit card number. They will charge you over and over again and you can’t stop them, because you can’t contact them. Their customer service line doesn’t even pick up.

    This game is real junk, Square Enix and so is your company. You’d better get to work on repairing both.

  • Release date?

  • Ryan, what does it feel like when you fire the weapons? Being a twin-stick shooter do the weapons fire when you press a direction or do you aim, and then press a button to fire?

    Either way, I really hope the weapons have a good feeling “punch” to them when they fire. Do they have a good interaction with the controller, and sound effects, to achieve a great feel?

    Really happy about couch co-op!

    Thanks and have a great weekend!

  • Man if I get my ps4 for my birthday this year(2014) then I’m getting helldivers anyway even though I don’t have it, is it for sale on playstation store right “now”?

  • Hey Ryan, I really cannot say it was good to see you back on the Podcast Beyond because I am a fairly new listener. I do understand though why everyone is saying “Beyond” on your posts. So now I will start doing so myself so…BEYOND!!!

  • One more for Couch co-op! It’s my favorite thing about gaming.

  • Good article – I’ll be looking forward to playing this on my PS4. Clements, you the man – BEYOND!

  • I also saw quite a bit of actual gameplay over on IGN (for those who want to see the game in action) and from what I witnessed, this game looks incredibly fun!! I absolutely love these twin-stick top-down shooters and when they’re done right… as this seems like it is (also see Dead Nation)… it makes these type of games some of THE BEST around. Add-in a ton of multiplayer options such as cross-play, couch co-op, and I’m assuming online co-op and you have a game that will be fun for years to come!!

    For me, I’m most likely going to go with buying the PS4 & PSVita versions (one version for the best possible visual experience and the other version for portability). My ONLY concern is in regards to the Vita version… and that is, because the Vita is no where near as powerful as the PS4 or even the PS3, how much of hit have the visuals taken overall (frame-rate/textures/sound/controls/etc.) in the Vita version?

  • ^^^^continued^^^^

    Because if the disparity is too large, I just wouldn’t be able to play the Vita version without knowing how much I’m missing from the PS4 version. I know that sounds like I’m a graphic “whore,” but that’s not the case… I just would like to know that since all 3 versions can all play together using cross-play, I don’t want to be playing someone who is on their PS4 while I try to compete while having to deal with bad frame-rates and inferior controls using my Vita.

    I’m sure the Vita version is pretty much on par with the other versions and none of what I said above is at all true… I just want to make sure before I buy both versions. You guys over at Arrowhead Games have obviously put a LOT of hard work into this game and I really think it shows in all of the articles I’ve read and in the couple of gameplay videos I’ve watched!! Good luck with the rest of your development!! I’ll eagerly be waiting for the final product! :)

  • Buying this on PS4 day one! Also hoping there is a cross buy option.

    I wonder why more developers don’t at least offer additional versions for reduced prices. Like if you bought it on PS4 for $15 the other 2 versions would be $5 each.

  • release this game already skirmish is good, but add some survivor gameplay will be fun.. definitely buying this on my ps vita..

  • Will this game support cross-buy?
    Because then I can play it with my friends on the ps4 and on the go on vita!

  • I want this. I want it so very, very much. In all seriousness, it looks like a good time. Looking forward to it!

  • DAY 1. LOVE these types of games. Especially with couch co-op!


  • It doesn’t sound amazing to be honest; just sounds like any other top-down co-op shooter. Super fun, yeah, but I’m not quite sure I get the enthusiasm here. Especially when there’s games like Assault Android Cactus that look way more colorful, fun & eye-catching in this regard. But I’m not writing it off yet – I was just hoping for a trailer or something; I want to see more, I guess.

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