6 things I wish I knew before playing Helldivers 2

PS5 exclusive Helldivers 2 is much more complicated than it first seems, so I’ve prepared six tips and tricks to help you dish out Managed Democracy.

Helldivers 2 tips, tricks, secrets: A Helldiver with their hand raised to their head against a blurred desert background.

Fighting back hordes of horrendous bugs and automatons in Helldivers 2 is intense, to say the least, and while the tutorial does a good job of introducing you to the mechanics, it doesn’t tell you everything. In fact, after sinking several hours into the new co-op shooter, I’ve made some wild discoveries that have helped me survive the onslaught. I present to you six important Helldivers 2 tips that I really wish I knew about sooner.

From tweaking your weapon in-game to optimizing your upgrade hunt in the exciting new PS5 exclusive, there are some elements that you won’t be told about straight away – and some that are just never pointed out. I’m loving my time with Helldivers 2 so far, and I think it’s got a chance of being one of the best co-op games of this generation, but these tips will make your experience with it even better on PS5.

You can customize your weapon in-game

Did you know that you can hold the reload button to tweak your weapon options? No? Don’t worry, neither did I for the longest time. By holding reload in-game, you will bring up a small menu to customize your weapon’s fire type, rate of fire, sight zoom, and toggle your flashlight. These features vary slightly between weapons but these are valuable options to be aware of.

For example, heavy weapons like the Stalwart light machine gun will actually let you increase or decrease the rate of fire. Up against a horde of bugs? Slow down your rate of fire so you don’t miss shots while changing targets. Got a boss charging at you? Ramp up the rate of fire to improve your DPS. Sure, upping your fire rate will affect your accuracy a bit, but the tough enemies are usually so big it’s hard to miss them.

On the other hand, changing the firing mode and zoom of assault rifles like the Liberator is a great way to dish out damage at range. You can swap to semi or burst automatic and increase the zoom of your sight for greater accuracy at range.

Helldivers 2 tips, tricks, secrets: The player reloading after defeating a group of Terminids.

To reload or not to reload

Unlike most shooters – including the best FPS games – Helldivers 2 uses a magazine ammo mechanic rather than a simple max ammo pool. Why does this matter? Well, when you reload, you’ll throw away the magazine even if there is ammo left.

With very limited ammo supplies, you can’t afford to waste even a handful of bullets. So, you’ll have to untrain your need to constantly reload as in Helldivers 2, as it will only result in you throwing away precious ammo.

When you’re in the thick of it, take a look at your equipment in the bottom left corner where you will see how many magazines you have left. When paired with the weapon options above, you can be very economical with your limited supplies.

On a similar note, when calling in an ammo resupply Stratagem, don’t be greedy. With four supply packs, it’s intended that there’s one for each player to stock back up. In other words, you’d be stealing from your friends and fellow Helldivers – treason! In fact, even if you’re playing solo, it’s generally not worth picking up more than one pack at once as you can’t carry more than your pockets can hold.

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Aim for weak spots

Do Terminids and Automatons scare you, Helldiver? Have you seen the Bile Titan? If you’re facing off against some of the larger and more threatening foes in Helldivers 2, then you’ll want to take full advantage of enemy weak spots.

You can damage and destroy different body parts to weaken your foes. For example, large bugs often have a thick layer of armor that can deflect damage. Using high-penetration weapons like railguns, you can shatter this armor to reveal weak spots to deal more damage. So, take out their legs, blast off the tail, or unload into their fleshy stomachs.

Taking advantage of weak spots is also yet another way to save ammo! You can thank us later when you move on to the harder difficulties.

There’s first-person

Yes, you read that right! By clicking the right stick in (R3) when aiming, you can swap to a first-person perspective. This is especially useful if you have a weapon with a scope, like the Liberator. Up against a tough foe? Aim down your sights for more precise firing to hopefully land a shot in the enemy’s weak spot.

Nevertheless, you’ll still be spending most of your time in third-person as the wider field-of-view ensures no enemy of Super Earth can get the drop on you, and this first-person feature only works while aiming.

Helldivers 2 tips, tricks, secrets: The armor shop in Helldivers 2, showing a character posing on the right and various items on the left.

Dress to survive

Your enemies aren’t the only ones with armor, Helldiver. By visiting the armory onboard your ship, you can unlock and equip different armor. While a lot of it is incredibly stylish, it’s not all about dressing to impress. Each armor has different armor ratings, speed, stamina regeneration, and passive effects.

Broadly, there are three main categories of armor: light, medium, and heavy. While you might be tempted to equip that flashy new chest piece, be sure to take a look at its stats before hurtling towards your next bug-infested planet. With light armor you’ll be much faster, though you won’t be able to take much punishment, unlike heavy armor.

Keep an eye on the clock

Every mission in Helldivers 2 has a time limit, displayed in the top left corner. While some missions give you just ten or so minutes to complete your objective, some have much more. For shorter missions, you’ll probably want to land closer to your objective. However, longer missions give you a great opportunity to explore and find bonus items.

Keep an eye out for various supply caches and glowing beacons as these reward you with some great items – including Super Credits to spend in the Super Store or to unlock Warbonds. I recommend dropping further away from your main objective in longer missions so that you can complete the side tasks on the way and back some extra loot.

Now, you should be well-equipped to take on the threat to Super Earth’s democracy in Helldivers 2, one of the best PS5 co-op games and arguably one of the best PS5 games. With frequent free updates planned for Helldivers 2, it’s certainly one of the most promising new PS5 games. However, things could get even more exciting for PlayStation fans with reports of major Xbox exclusives coming to PS5 soon.