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The Next Chapter in Alien Warfare

By Allan Tompkins

"Prosperity, liberty, democracy- Our way of life," are some of the first words heard in Arrowhead Game Studios' newest sequel, Helldivers 2.

A game that sounds as stereotypical as it gets when it comes to video games yet has taken the gaming community by storm with over 1 million copies sold in less than a week of its release, beating Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League's launch sales. The game is set on a planet known as Super Earth that recruits soldiers known as helldivers to help liberate planets across the galaxy that are fending off a galaxy-wide alien invasion.

The entire game takes a satirical approach to the government's excessive advocation for 'managed democracy' which is essentially a computer system that has civilians answer a few questions and vote based on their answers.

The game itself has a simple idea with a complex reality that challenges teams that can vary from one to four players. Players all get a personal spaceship that can travel across galaxies at the speed of light and serves as their hub. There, they can upgrade artillery and armor, meet up with friends or strangers, and start missions to exterminate the myriad of alien species found within each planet. On the actual battlefield is where the fun begins.

Players all get sent into capsules known as Hellpods that they can strategically choose to place on the map to land at. Here, they can explore the beautifully intricate biomes of certain planets such as the forest, desert or snow biome. While scavenging the land for pesky alien bugs, they can complete secondary objectives such as destroying alien eggs or acquiring samples for research back on Super Earth. After being satisfied with their heroic work, players can advance to their main objective which varies from things as simple as rescuing civilians or eliminating a certain amount of aliens to completing complicated tasks such as launching ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) or defeating the terrifying Titan alien.

Image of the Titan Alien in the Helldivers 2 Official Launch Trailer

Depending on the difficulty of the mission, players will have from 10 to 40 minutes to complete their tasks, otherwise, they miss their spaceship coming to retrieve them in a process known as 'Extraction.' While the game does sound like your stereotypical alien-killing videogame that rots the mind of every teenager who plays it, there is a very unique aspect to it that dramatically sets it apart from the rest.

Players have access to a set of requests that they can send from their ships up in space to themselves on the battlefield known as stratagems. These powerful tools build up the bulk of the game as you can make various requests from your ship that can be defensive or offensive to your gameplay. Things such as requesting rail guns or laser cannons to improve your damage-dealing chances, summoning turrets or land mines to help you stall the aliens while you reload, and ordering orbital strikes and explosive air strikes to remove numbers of aliens in a flash are all essential to your survival.

The game also raises concerns of being repetitive or having no real feeling of accomplishment yet Arrowhead Game Studios, who has worked on the game for exactly seven years 11 months, and 26 days, has given players a collaborative look at planets' liberation percentage. Whenever a squad completes a mission, that planet adds a small percentage contribution to the point til the planet is fully liberated. This is a real number and not some made-up one and once a planet is fully liberated, new sections of the galaxy are unlocked for players to liberate.

The developers' attention to detail shows the commitment and effort put into the game and gives players a sense of difference-making when it comes to missions. Another aspect of the game that has proven to already create hilarious moments between squadmates is the inclusion of friendly fire. With the intense, exhilarating action of the game, players sometimes walk in the line of fire or can even walk into a zone moments before an orbital strike is meant to decimate it which adds to the satirical mood of it all. Some might think it could be annoying though, which Arrowhead has addressed as well by giving players free, but limited, stratagems to reinforce their fallen teammates.

Within only over a week of being released, the gaming community has praised the game for its energy and fun that they've experienced and Arrowhead isn't planning on slowing down. It has already been confirmed that multiple DLCs such as vehicles are coming to the game shortly and are greatly anticipated by the Helldivers 2 community to create more, stressful cinematic moments on the battlefield. Along with this, new biomes, enemies and objectives are soon to come, and this is only the beginning of it.

Priced at a reasonable $40 on the PlayStation and Steam stores, the game is an absolute steal compared to the standard $70 price tag that is seen with games of this caliber. There is also a permanent battle pass that is a one-time, 10-dollar purchase that grants you cool new armor and weapons for seasons to come as well as a free battle pass that gives just as cool items.

Overall, this game seems very promising and has already received phenomenal reviews from many gamers around the world. From my personal experience, I have had a blast playing it in the mere few hours that I have collectively played. The game only seems to get better from this point forward and has already delivered so much in its long development. While there are some bugs and glitches that could be experienced when it comes to joining servers, it is in the works of being fixed and should only be a temporary glitch common with many online game launches.

In simplest terms, I recommend it strongly and advise you to find some friends to play with to make it even better. Helldivers 2 is a game that wasn't heavily advertised nor widely known by many but it is here now, and better than ever. So join the helldivers, become part of an elite peacekeeping force, and spread managed democracy throughout the galaxy. The fight for liberty starts with you.

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