As we wrote in our review, Helldivers is a great downloadable game. Taking the fight to aliens across a multitude of different planets, there's little more satisfying than taking chunks out of big beasties with a barrage of bullets. Sadly, not everyone can adapt to the life of a Helldiver so easily. Starting out can be tough, even with the title's well judged difficulty curve, so we've put together a handful of hopefully helpful hints and tips to support Super Earth's new recruits.
Yes, there is friendly fire
Some would argue that this is obvious, but our first point is worth reiterating: there's no way to turn friendly fire off. You can gun your own team members down, blow them to bits with a grenade, or even squash them into a bloody paste with an incoming supply drop.
It's therefore paramount that you stay aware of where your allies are, and where you're pointing your gun. Likewise, you should never sprint in front of someone else's line of fire, unless you want them to accidentally put a hole in the back of your skull.
Fortunately, if your friends are bit trigger happy, you can always push square to dive onto the ground. This prone position allows you to avoid both enemy and allied fire, but you'll be unable to retaliate while you're down there.
Use ammo wisely
For a game that's all about massacring extraterrestrials, you actually don't get much ammunition to work with in Helldivers. This is because the game incorporates stratagems, which can turn the tide of battle when used correctly.
Still, though, there's usually something that needs a few bullets put inside of it, so it's important to keep an eye on your ammo at all times. Unlike other shooters, reloading your weapon makes you lose that clip's remaining rounds, so make sure that you always work through the whole clip before you chuck it.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to actually get around the relatively low ammo count. For starters, you should make sure that at least one ally has the resupply stratagem equipped, which calls in two ammunition crates when used. It may also be worth considering an extra weapon stratagem, so that you can make use of three armaments instead of two. And finally, there are some guns that don't need regular bullets, such as laser weapons that only use up ammunition when they overheat, meaning that you can fire them indefinitely as long as you don't hold down the trigger for too long.
To start with, focus on upgrading your favourites
No matter what rank you are, from pitiful foot soldier to elite warrior, you'll always be scrounging for upgrade points. When you first start out as a Helldiver, however, these points can seem quite rare, as later in the game, they're mostly gained from picking up material samples, which become increasingly common as you tackle harder missions.
As such, it's probably best to spend your initial few points wisely. Try upgrading your favourite weapon or stratagem as much as you can, so that you're at least kitted out in a specific way, instead of spreading your points over a wide number of bits and pieces. But don't worry about specialisation and maximisation too much – it won't be long before you're geared up and ready to take on some of the title's toughest challenges.
When in doubt, run like the wind
Things can get really intense in Helldivers. All it takes is for a group of enemies to pop out of the ground below your team, and you're suddenly in a desperate fight for survival. If you can see that things are about to become incredibly pear shaped, then our best advice is to run like hell.
Sprinting allows you to outrun most enemies, and it's all but necessary when you need to find some space to turn around and open fire on your aggressors. Most importantly, though, you should never stick around when you're clearly outnumbered. If your squad starts to get swarmed from all directions, it's only a matter of time before one of you bites the dust, unless you've got things under control with heavy fire.
It's largely ambushes that are problematic, then. Many foes like to appear right next to your position, whether they're beamed in, or they burst forth from below the planet's surface. Running isn't just about your own safety, however, as you'll also need to put some distance between you and the enemy in order to call your deceased allies back into battle via the reinforce stratagem.
Place your stratagems with care
There's one thing that always results in more accidental deaths than anything else, and that's careless use of stratagems. Not only can supply stratagems crush you and your team when you're not paying attention to where their landing beacons are, but things like automated turrets won't think twice before shooting straight through you in order to obliterate encroaching enemies.
The battlefield's certainly a dangerous place, then, so always think before you throw your stratagem beacon down. For instance, you really shouldn't be placing turrets right in the middle of an area that needs capturing. Instead, you should try putting them at a choke point, or in a place where they're not going to be pointing in the general direction of you or your buddies.
If things are tough, request backup
Helldivers is a title that's meant to be played with others. Fortunately, it's a pretty seamless online experience, and by setting your game to public, other players will be able to join your squad at any time when you're on a mission.
You'll need to team up, too, because as you progress, things get increasingly difficult, with later foes requiring some decent teamwork to bring down. By entering the multiplayer teleporter, you'll be able to see a list of available games, so if you're stumped by a specific difficulty spike, try jumping into someone else's mission, and then requesting their help once you're finished. Of course, you can bypass this by finding a good group of mates to play with, but don't be too disheartened if you're forced to fight side by side with strangers – not all of them will be out to shoot you in the back.
For God's sake, be careful with that bomb
Ah, the good old Hellbomb. You'll need to deploy this device when it comes to destroying alien nests, and, as its name suggests, this is a rather explosive contraption.
After calling one in, you'll need to wait until it arrives, and then comes the hard part –especially if you're playing with others. Once it's on the ground, you'll be able to arm the bomb, but for the love of God, make sure that everyone knows what you're doing. When the Hellbomb is armed, you'll only have a few seconds to get out of the blast zone, while anyone still within it will get annihilated.
Coordination, therefore, is crucial. Helldivers operates on one screen regardless of the number of players, which means that at all times, the rest of your squad will be seeing the same screen as you, and none of you can wander away from the team. Unfortunately, when it comes to Hellbomb activation, the single screen system demands that you and your pals will have to run in roughly the same direction, lest most of you get caught on the edge of the displayed area, and disintegrated by the blast.
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