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【Game-Time News】

What is the most popular new online game during the Spring Festival this year?

There is no doubt in my mind that it is Hellraiser 2, produced by Arrowhead Games and published by Sony.

After the game was officially released on February 8, this shooting game that focuses on “killing giant alien bugs” has continued to rise at a pace that completely exceeded my expectations. As of February 27, the number of people online at the same time on Steam has exceeded 450,000, entering the top 20 of the peak number of people online on Steam. This does not include players on PlayStation. It can be said to be another game after this year’s “Phantom Parlu” A successful product.

What is frustrating but interesting is that perhaps the production team did not expect players to have such high enthusiasm for “Helldiver 2” – the server exploded.

From the Spring Festival holiday to now, there are a lot of news every day about players’ criticism of the server, official expansion of server capacity, and the fact that the server is overwhelmed again after the expansion. But such “negatives” did not make players give up completely. Instead, they complained and understood. Johan Pilestedt, the studio’s CEO and creative director, said that the average play time of the game has reached nearly 18 hours, which shows how lingering players are.

Faced with the overnight explosion, the official has expanded the server capacity limit to 800,000 people this week, while continuing to respond to players’ support with humor and sincerity.

Johan Pilestedt even advised players in the comment area to spend rationally and not buy games when there are server problems: “If you are short of money, buy it later. Although we have made a very interesting game, I also hope The game should be as profitable as possible, but it would break my heart if you spent the last of your fortune and still had to queue for a server.”

After avoiding the most severe server fluctuations, I finally had time to play hard on the PS5 for a few days – I have to say, “Helldiver 2” is worth this wave of results.

It is urgent to clean up the alien scum

The perspective has changed, but the essence of the gameplay has completely evolved.

I actually have a lot of feelings for the first generation of “Helldiver”.

In 2015, every day after get off work, I would play with my friends on the PSV (who still remembers this handheld console) despite the poor Internet speed. We were troubled by the difficult tasks and laughed at the “accidental kills” in each game. We always love to have a good laugh about deliberately knocking each other out after completing a mission so they can’t board the plane for evacuation.I am not particularly fond of playing “network brush” games, but I was attracted by the uniqueness of “Hell Diver”

“Helldiver” first generation

But to be honest, when I first saw “Helldiver 2”, I was more skeptical than surprised – because the game seemed to have become a common TPS that was lost to everyone.

A big reason why the first generation impressed me so much is that its top-down perspective design is highly consistent with the game mechanics and audio-visual expression. It’s fun to have an overview of the movements of each teammate from a God’s perspective, to see clearly everyone’s shooting angle, and to better cooperate or harm them.

But after I played a few rounds of “Helldiver 2” in the jungle, I threw those preconceived opinions behind me.

The overall framework of “Helldiver 2” is basically the same as that of the first game. Players will play the role of upright and united Helldivers and go to various planets to clean up “alien scum” and bring “democracy” to the entire universe.

But after actually playing it, I can clearly feel that the game is seeking comprehensive innovation in the familiar experience.

First of all, after the game changes to a rear-facing perspective, the immersion in the scene and the sense of combat presence have indeed been greatly improved.

In the TPS gameplay, whether it is the swarms of insects coming from all directions or the shadowy killing machines in the jungle, they all become very oppressive, as if they are about to attack my face in an instant. Coupled with the adaptive trigger of the PS5 DualSense controller, the shooting feel of the game is handled extremely delicately and solidly, thereby taking the thrill of shooting a large number of enemies to a new level.

The shooting feel of the PS5 version is excellent

At the same time, the ecology of different planets in this work has become more realistic. Weird insect lairs, dangerous jungles, shocking explosions after launching missiles… The running map part of a single game undoubtedly has a better sense of adventure and exploration fun than the first generation. These are all new perspectives and Significant improvements brought by the new gameplay.

The atmosphere is particularly good when encountering robots in the jungle

Secondly, the essence of the design of the first generation has been well preserved and optimized, which not only enhances the sense of presence, but also allows the unique atmosphere of the IP to be further evaporated.

As a shooting game, the player’s individual combat capabilities in “Helldiver 2” are not very strong. Compared with many FPS games, the game does not emphasize the upper limit of operations such as good marksmanship and strong movement. Instead, it uses limited supplies and realistic character performance to set certain restrictions. For example, reloading will throw away the entire magazine. If you only fire a few shots and throw it away, it will be a complete waste. At the same time, when the character’s limbs are injured, it will cause inconvenience and difficulty in aiming, seriously affecting the operation.

Under such a setting, the thrill of calling “strategic equipment” to assist in the battle is ready to come.

The second-generation strategic equipment is extremely rich, including weapons, orbital cannons, aircraft, bridge attacks, etc., and the functions are also divided into details. For example, orbital air bursts are ineffective against heavy armor, 380MM high-explosive bomb firepower nets will directly destroy large areas, electromagnetic shock waves will stun enemies, and Gatling sentry guns will… hit friendly forces indiscriminately. Therefore, we need to have a clear judgment on the battlefield situation and enemy types in order to better choose strategic equipment and choose the right time to call.

Just like the first generation, when calling for strategic equipment, players need to quickly input a series of QTE commands, which tests the player’s operational proficiency in emergency situations. If you can prescribe the right medicine and call for backup correctly, it will have the effect of winning with one blow and turning the tables against the wind. Imagine that the enemy is approaching the city, you call for help in time, and the intensive firepower falling from the sky saves the entire team. Who wouldn’t call you a hero at that time?

There are also mini games for practicing hand speed in the base.

But at the same time, the various chain reactions and damage to teammates caused by the different strategic equipment used by players can be said to be intensified in this game. The change of perspective and the unprecedented expansion of the scale of the battlefield have caused the chaos index to skyrocket during fierce battles, making it difficult for you to see clearly what your teammates behind you are doing.One second I was sharing the same hatred with the enemy, and the next second the mines thrown by my teammates or the clearing fire from the sky blew up all my limbs. This was so common.

Having a limb broken by a hit unlocks a trophy…

As a result, unscrupulous friendly damage gave birth to wonderful teamwork. This gives this science fiction-themed game an extremely realistic tactical experience.

We need to re-establish our understanding of the battlefield situation and teammate cooperation, constantly judge the shooting direction and strategic equipment trends of our teammates, avoid the muzzles of friendly forces, and practice silky flying and crawling skills. The essence of these first-generation gameplays have been carried forward in this game, and the real battlefield of chaos, fierceness, and instant death is vividly depicted.

And what touches me the most is,The sense of humor in the game is still there, too.Everyone is struggling to move forward amidst constant mistakes and hilarious accidents.

“Helldiver 2” may be one of the most atmospheric multiplayer games at the moment. Its gameplay is inherently fault-tolerant and playful.This is why although the difficulty is high, it is not easy to cause frustration and quarrels. Instead, players are willing to turn the small setbacks on the battlefield into positive feedback to entertain themselves.

teammate?I’m beating my teammates

It seems now that the first generation was released too early, and the excellent concepts did not fully catch up with the trend of live streaming and the explosion of the number of players. Now the timing of the second generation is just right, and the mature and unique gameplay is enough to make it a genre of its own. .

How can service-based games become popular?

In the past two years, we have often seen the news that “Sony expects to launch XX multiplayer service games before 20XX”, including the acquisition of Bungie and Firewalk, which are also interpreted as “preparing for multiplayer service games”.

Although Sony has not responded directly to this, it is normal to have such a layout. After all, today, when the buyout system seems to be reaching its ceiling, major manufacturers are actively developing their own GaaS (Game as a Service), hoping to have several projects with strong vitality that can be iterated over the long term to retain players.

But now it seems that how to operate a successful service-oriented game is still a somewhat metaphysical proposition.

The ones that can survive in the market for a long time are still those old-brand products. If I want to pick an excellent work to try on a whim, IPs such as the latest “Call of Duty”, “Fortnite”, and “Destiny 2” are still the first choices. Newer products such as “The Finals” and “Bubble Star” are either short-lived and the number of people online will soon be unable to support them, or the gameplay itself is not satisfactory. That’s why new entrants like “Helldiver 2” are even more exciting.

The short-lived “The Finals”

So what do players pay attention to when choosing service-based games?

The first core focus, I think, is whether the gameplay framework of the game is solid, or whether the core “gimmicks” can support players to consume it repeatedly.

The daily experience of GaaS is basically a “continuous loop” process. If the core gameplay cannot be established, it is easy for players to lose motivation. The high mobility of “Apex”, the free construction of “Fortnite”, the ink dyeing and ink infiltration of “Splatoon” are all core features that attract players to try again and again. In addition to the solid shooting gameplay, these games have built some “new rules” or “eye-catching points”. With enough differentiated appeal, players can invite friends to play again and again, and are eventually willing to pay long-term for commercial content such as game skins or passes.

This core driving force can be diverse, and there is no single solution in the industry, nor is there no room for innovation. Although many innovations after MOBA and Chicken Fighting seem to be small efforts, I am still very excited about works with exclusive designs such as “For Honor” and “Forever”. Even last year’s “The Finals” could use tricks like exploding gold coins to gain popularity. New ideas are welcomed by players, but whether they can hold up is another question.

Selling pass content is the mainstream model of GaaS

Therefore, the second focus is undoubtedly to test the long-term operational strength of the manufacturer. This involves content updates, pass design, balance adjustments and other dimensions, which are difficult to analyze thoroughly in one article. But looking at it simply and crudely, when players can be retained by your core gameplay, continuing to provide new content becomes the first challenge that GaaS must face no matter what.

Whether it is an FPS that focuses on combat or an action game that focuses on cooperation, new maps, new characters, and new levels must be arranged with high quality and quantity. Otherwise, even with the nearly phenomenal popularity of “Overwatch” back then, it would have lost its popularity in the subsequent mediocre operations.

From these two perspectives, “Helldiver 2” is currently full of hope and still has the potential to become a further hit.

The core gameplay of “Helldiver 2” is unique and entertaining enough. It does not require strict adjustments and ecological construction required for strong competitive products. The overall degree of freedom is high and the atmosphere is relaxed.

Even though the current content is limited, players can still find their own fun in repeated missions but different battle situations. The diverse interactions when players face challenges together have become the focus of an experience that won’t be boring easily. After solving the server problem, the official also stated that the subsequent season content updates will be promoted as planned. In addition, the design of the pass is also smooth and not too “forced”. Spending time to slowly unlock new equipment will not make people too anxious.

From the gameplay, atmosphere to paid content, “Helldiver 2” is filled with a relaxed tone and considerable room for updates. It’s no wonder that many players have said that “the current completion level of the game is actually only about 7 points, but considering the subsequent development, it can be given 9 points.” The service-oriented game matrix that Sony has been thinking about has finally been given the first shot by “Helldiver 2”.

I believe that both the industry and players are looking forward to more whimsical GaaS, which will guide players to pay for unique gameplay content and high-quality social ecology, rather than just being able to “harvest users” in the long term. There is no original sin in GaaS. It is not a deformed product form that some stand-alone fundamentalists say lowers the experience. However, it should not be a pass and skin vending machine completely dominated by commercial thinking. It should receive a conceptual upgrade in the next generation. .

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