I’m seeing Helldivers pop up on a lot of “best of show” lists and I can absolutely see why. This PS3, Vita and PS4 game takes the concept of dual-stick shooting and tacks on cooperative combat and a hell of a lot of strategy to push the genre in a completely new direction.

Up to four players can team up and choose their loadouts before being dropped into a randomly generated war zone with randomly generated objectives. You’ll be able to pick which weapons you bring into battle, which abilities you have equipped and what extra gear you’ll want to have access to. Balance is important here, so you’ll likely want to coordinate with your teammates to determine who should bring what onto the battlefield.

Once you’re on the ground, you’ll be able to run, shoot, dive and lob your grenades like in a third-person shooter, only this game is being viewed from a top-down, 2.5-D perspective. To keep things interesting, you’ll also have a manual reload, meaning your gun will go click-click-click until you hit the button to feed in a fresh clip. And you probably don’t want to reload before you’re empty, as any ammo still in the clip will be tossed away, too.

As you’re moving about, mowing down waves of enemies and completing your tasks, you’ll also be able to call on additional abilities by bringing up a quick menu and tapping in a set of D-pad commands to, say, drop an ammo crate or bring down a mech you can then jump in and control.

The game will also host a living universe with three enemy races from the onset. The combat will be broken into “seasons,” and how the players fare against individual groups one season will determine the strength of the enemy the next season. An enemy that is especially decimated may also disappear for good while a new war-hungry race could eventually be introduced to take their place.

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