Helldivers 2 previews largely positive, but reveal major weak point

Helldivers 2 seems to have nailed its co-op action and third-person shooter gameplay, but previews are concerned the PS5 exclusive is lacking content.

Helldivers 2 previews: A Helldiver with their right hand raised into a fist. There is a PlayStation logo to the right, set against a blurred background showing yellow splashes of color.

Packed to the brim with beastly bugs and murderous automatons, Helldivers 2 is one of the most anticipated co-op games on the horizon – and it’s exclusive to PS5 and PC. Before its release on Thursday, February 8, 2024, Helldivers 2 previews are praising the drastic shift for the series and its cooperative play, yet there are some issues PlayStation players should be aware of.

Helldivers 2 is undoubtedly one of the most exciting new PS5 games, leaving its great, isometric twin-stick shooter roots behind in a dramatic shift to third-person shooting. While this brave departure could very well have been sink or swim for the PS5 exclusive, previews reveal that Helldivers 2 sticks the landing to offer what could become one of the best co-op games (if not one of the best PS5 games, regardless of genre) out there. We’ve been eagerly awaiting Helldivers 2 for quite some time, so this is excellent news to hear.

Perhaps the most praised part of PS5’s Helldivers 2 is its moment-to-moment gameplay. As we touched on, the sequel changes things up in a big way by waving goodbye to the top-down twin-stick shooting for more immersive third-person action. None of the intensity or charm has been lost in this change, however. In fact, it’s more chaotic than ever. The slick gunplay and limited field-of-view of third-person make the hordes of bugs and towering monstrosity more terrifying than ever. In the same way, friendly fire is as important as it has ever been. When things get messy, it’s easy to accidentally plant a bullet in the back of your friend – though that’s all part of the fun.

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The PlayStation Blog explains: “Arrowhead managed to translate the frenetic top-down energy of Helldivers into a smooth third-person shooter”. With a variety of punchy firepower at your disposal, as well as the ever-enjoyable Strategems – powerful items you can call in – combat is off the rails. Plus, Strategems are used by inputting codes on the d-pad almost like entering cheat codes, adding yet another layer to the fast-paced chaos that unfolds.

Likewise, the environments you’ll wage war on are stunning. With mud and bug gloop getting everywhere, it’s hard not to be immersed in the Starship Troopers-esque fun. Each mission is procedurally generated based on the planet you’re on, creating a unique environment each time including different weather and time of day. “You’ll never quite know what to expect”, Push Square says in its preview, and there’s a similarly positive reception from PlayStation Access. However, procedural generation can have its downsides, with levels occasionally feeling “a bit one-note”, according to IGN.

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Another exciting feature of Helldivers 2 is the community objectives. With no story mode and no additional game modes, the gameplay loop is all about pushing back the threats to Super-Earth with the wider community. While each mission is limited to four players, each mission you complete contributes to a community-wide map galactic map and objective. As a result, there’s a dynamic nature to your missions, with each match being a tug of war against the AI factions for control over the galactic map.

Unfortunately, this isn’t without its flaws. Or rather, having this be the core focus without any story or additional modes leaves the scope of Helldivers 2 up in the air. As IGN questions, it will be “curious how much there will be for players to do beyond grinding the same missions”. Furthermore, there is yet to be a roadmap for the game, though we know mechs will be returning in a future update.

Nevertheless, while content could be light at launch, we’re hoping this epic action and atmosphere can be supported more long-term. While we don’t need any more live-service games on PS5 in 2024, Helldivers 2 could benefit from a more robust roadmap if it wants players in for the long run.

We’ve got to wait just a little bit longer until the Helldivers 2 release date, so why not read up on these five massive unknowns from PlayStation’s State of Play showcase? Despite the many great announcements, including more Helldivers 2 footage, there were some glaring omissions. Just after Helldivers 2 crash lands in our laps, there’s the equally impressive Pacific Drive, which is on course to be a haunting hidden gem for PS5 players.