Helldivers 2 has been out for simply over a month now, and the conversations across the meta have lingered totally on one explicit problem: gee, these tanky enemies certain are a ache within the butt. 

In case you have not been combating for Tremendous Earth, let me clarify. Enemy armour in Helldivers 2 does not simply cut back harm, it completely nullifies it—should you’re utilizing the unsuitable gun, that’s. Bullets will ricochet off your foes, laser cannons will spark gloriously towards sheet metallic and chitin, and you will get a helpful little reticle marker to let simply how screwed you might be. 

Although a patch this morning ramped down the presence of those enemies significantly at increased difficulties, the mechanic nonetheless stays. For those who’re dealing with down a flamethrower hulk, and you do not have the suitable weapon for the job? You are screwed. Very similar to the game’s reinforcement system, it is a huge distinction when positioned side-by-side with different horde shooter video games—particularly Left 4 Lifeless 2 and Warhammer 40k: Darktide.

Plink, plink

Helldivers 2 warbond

(Picture credit score: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Darktide—and Vermintide 2, to an extent—each make use of heavy armour. Typically, enemies will waltz up with riot shields and fits, however their weak spots are usually one thing you’ll be able to intention at. You additionally are likely to have a very good instruments to take care of them baseline, it is nearly execution. 

Conversely, Left 4 Lifeless’s largest, baddest risk—the Tank—is beefy and intimidating sufficient that its iconic theme is stamped into my mind. But it surely’s nonetheless only a sack of hitpoints. You must use an terrible lot of gun to carry the bugger down, however no less than that each shot you are taking has an influence. 

Helldivers 2, in the meantime, is content material to say “no, you do not truly get to do something right here.” Whereas most of its heavily-armoured enemies do have huge, shiny weak spots, in addition they are likely to activate a dime. You may run circles across the Automaton hulk should you get fortunate, but it surely’ll often be accompanied by bots saturating the air with bullets. Equally, the Terminid charger has a fleshy bottom. But when it is centered on you, you are solely more likely to get a few potshots in earlier than it about-faces and makes you are taking a dive once more.

Preventing a Left 4 Lifeless Tank or one in all Darktide’s boss enemies is a scary, tense affair—however you are often solely overwhelmed in case your moment-to-moment selections are dangerous. In Helldivers 2, nonetheless, you solely actually lose fights with tanks should you’re underprepared. 

It owes this, partly, to the truth that it is also an arcadey tackle the navy sim, where preparation and squad ways are a requirement. Nonetheless—not having the suitable weapon on you, the proper loadout chosen, or a spare stratagem to-hand selections you make fairly a couple of minutes earlier than that bile spewer melts your face off. 

If a participant can hint their steps again to a selection they made and say ‘sure, that is my fault’ whereas their bones flip to steaming goop, I feel this design selection guidelines. However in making that selection, Arrowhead’s driving a really slim line between enjoyable and frustration.

One tank, ah ah ah! Two tanks, ah ah ah!

A horde of automaton bots from Helldivers 2 marchers mercilessly on.

(Picture credit score: Arrowhead Video games)

The beefcakes of Helldivers 2 don’t take care of setpieces. In different horde shooters, boss enemies will often clear the room over the course of the encounter—both attributable to AI director wizardry or as a result of they wind up swatting their very own guys.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule, in fact. However even should you’re swarmed, you’ll be able to often use corridors, excessive floor, and sensible play to corral them right into a extra manageable space. To not point out, the smaller guys are simpler to mow down and fewer unfold out.

In distinction, Helldivers 2 is not afraid to encompass and overwhelm you. Its hulks, tanks, bile titans and chargers do not announce themselves with their very own theme music—they only show up, usually with back-up and generally in batches. The quantity of occasions I’ve stated “oh come on, one other one?” Too many occasions.

The mad scramble to tug one thing FUBAR below management is superior while you even have methods to do this. I feel, nonetheless, that it’s extremely telling how most participant complaints after the autumn of the Railgun adopted the tune of ‘can an Arrowhead Dev inform me what I used to be alleged to do right here?’ 

That query was usually accompanied with a screenshot of 5 bile titans, crowded round a corpse like a flock of seagulls tearing right into a dropped portion of chips.

A giant bile titan, a towering insect from Helldivers 2, lets out a vicious scream as it stomps over the landscape.

(Picture credit score: Arrowhead Video games)

Prone to repeating myself—Helldivers 2’s manner of doing issues solely actually works if, the vast majority of the time, it is the participant’s fault they’re up bug creek with out an orbital paddle. 

Hindsight being what it was, I feel the problem of tank saturation turned such an issue as a result of, with out the Railgun’s ease-of-use and financial ammo rely, gamers had been simply working out of pebbles to sling at their goliaths. The identical story goes for these heavy-hitting stratagems, with lengthy cooldowns made worse by mission modifiers at increased difficulties.

The heavily-armoured nightmares of Helldivers 2 genuinely elevate the entire game, even when the stability hasn’t fairly been struck but. That being stated, I hope Arrowhead’s continued modifications do not tip the size too far within the different path—as a result of the sheer hopelessness you get to really feel dying to an Automaton tank, is simply matched by the frenzy you get moments afterwards, while you angle your drop-pod to land completely on its turret, scramble to the again, and dump your complete magazine into its warmth vents for Tremendous Earth.