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Helldivers 2’s double-A energy is an antidote to video game malaise

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    Ragdoll physics! Friendly fire! Connectivity issues! On-the-nose satire! Bugs! Double-A gaming is back, baby. You could argue it never really went anywhere, but still: what a breath of fresh air this one’s proven to be.

    Helldivers 2 is a blast; a messy, frenetic, straight-into-the-action whirlwind of quickfire jokes quickplay matches (when they’re working). If you played even the slightest bit of the first Helldivers, though, none of this should come as a surprise.

    “This is also the latest game from Magicka developer Arrowhead Game Studios – a studio, right, whose logo shows an arrow going through somebody’s head. In other words, you should expect a few quirks. The biggest of these is friendly fire: it is so terribly easy to shoot your own team-mates in Helldivers. It’s so terribly easy to be shot by your own team-mates. Or stepped on by them if they’ve unlocked mechs. Hell really is other people.” That’s what we said in our review of the first Helldivers, way back in 2015, a game that was cross-buy across PS3, PS4 and – hold me – the Vita. This could just as easily be describing Helldivers 2, although I’ve yet to see anyone unlock their own mechs just yet. If anything, the biggest surprise is how little it’s changed.

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