Got friends free this weekend? Want to end those friendships spectacularly? Because there's nothing quite like 'accidentally' killing your pals with a turret dropped in from orbit in excellent co-op shooter Helldivers, which is free on Steam for the weekend. Developers Arrowhead have also buffed the game up a little for this event - calling the new version "A New Hell". The sharply satirical Starship Troopers-inspired game now has three new difficulty settings for expert players, three new enemy types and a new weapon to fractionally even the odds.
If you've never played Helldivers before, you're in for a treat, especially if you can get a few buddies with voice chat (or in local co-op) to back you up. Up to four patriotic space-troopers try to complete suicide missions on alien/robot/cyborg infested worlds to spread Managed Democracy across the stars. Friendly fire is always enabled and your own supply drops have the potential to kill you. Mistakes will be made, plans will go horribly awry and you'll probably get a laugh out of it even if you fail in every way possible, because it all just feels so weighty and fun.
The new update (as detailed here) adds another three difficulty settings, named "An Exercise in Futility", "The Definition of Insanity" and "The Inner Circle of Hell". Cheerful. The three new enemies sound nasty, too. The Shadow is a stealthy Bug that can use spores to summon pals from its hidden position. The Obsidian Observer is an armed, shielded robot Illuminate drone, and the Legionnaire is a new Cyborg squad-leader soldier with a heavy shield that defies small arms. There's also a new call-in weapon, a 'disposable' heavy machinegun with 300 rounds and no reloads.
Helldivers is free to try this weekend on Steam, and half off until October 29th. The regular edition of the game costs £8/€10/$10, but I'd recommend going Deluxe for £12.50/€15/$20, which adds a ton of class, weapon, vehicle and deployable options. Oh, and a tip for new players; Machinegunners should tell their squad to duck before firing. If they don't, that's their problem.