I Can’t Trust My Friends To Play Helldivers 2 Without Blowing Us All Up

I Can’t Trust My Friends To Play Helldivers 2 Without Blowing Us All Up

If Helldivers 2 proves anything, it’s that my friends cannot be trusted with access to heavy ordinance. Session after session, game after game, my character is vaporised by artillery fire called down by my friends, too eager to watch some fireworks. They are drunk with power, on a crusade to create the single-largest explosion in human history about eight or nine feet from where we are currently standing.

Friendly fire is one of Helldivers 2‘s best creative decisions. You can turn it off, but I don’t know why you would. Friendly fire adds a sense of intense comedy to the game’s chaotic facsimile of war. If you’d like to get an extremely quick dose of what I’m talking about, tell your friend to take the mortar turret next time you run a Terminid mission. The bugs and the mortars make a diabolical combination — the mortars track enemies in real-time, and the bugs prefer to rush right up into your personal space. This creates a constant barrage of mortar fire raining down on your head that, while exciting, usually ends in surprise Helldiver disassembly. Helldivers 2 does you a solid, though: it names and shames the architect of your immolation.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” laughed my friend Chris after I complained about my fourth shelling of the night. “The mortars aren’t THAT bad.” As if on cue, his Helldiver was struck on the jaw by a flying mortar, atomising him instantly.

Helldivers 2 actively encourages this kind of play. The ammo in the weapons you have on you is finite. The ordinance that can be summoned from the nearest Star Destroyer is limited only by cooldown timers of varying severity. When you’re running a full squad of four, the earth-shattering explosions never really have to stop.

We ran a hostage extraction mission against the robots the other night, and you’d never know we were trying to ferry people to safety. By the time we managed to satisfy Command’s rescue quota, the arena looked like Stalingrad at the end of World War 2. What had been a state-of-the-art human base was reduced to a lumpy, formless mud pit. We’d used up almost all of our available reinforcements because, wherever the robots didn’t take their pound of flesh, the orbital strikes would sort us right out. I was wheezing with laughter by the end, trying to imagine what on earth these hostages (much less Command) would have made of us.

The constant bombardment, and the fact that you know which of your friends last murked you, creates incredible opportunities for trolling. Aside from tossing your friend’s reinforcement beacon directly into the midst of an enemy squad, deliberately calling down a wave of napalm on their heads can be its own reward. This, in turn, leads to retaliation. Before you know it, the Helldivers have turned on one another and are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on the world’s most dangerous game of dodgeball.

Anyway, what’s the takeaway here? I think it’s that blowing your friends up, accidentally or always on purpose, will always be funny. It’s been funny since we had the nuke button on Crossfire in Half-Life Deathmatch and it’s funny now in Helldivers 2. In the event that the servers will let you in, please indulge in a little cannonade between friends. It’s fun and stupid, and you’ll be weirdly glad you did it.

Helldivers 2 is out now on PS5 and PC.

Image: PlayStation, Paramount Pictures, Kotaku Australia

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