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Helldivers 2 Review | Projectors & Gaming

Posted on May 2, 2024 by Phil Jones
Helldivers 2 is one of the hottest games of 2024!

In Helldivers 2, players join the elite ranks of the Helldivers, embarking on an intense intergalactic mission to protect the galaxy from escalating alien threats. The game playfully switches between a dynamic third-person view and a more precise first-person aim-down-sights camera, offering both a broad and detailed view of the battlefield. This duality contributes to an immersive combat experience, underlining the game's motto, "Spread Managed Democracy across the galaxy."

Set in a satirically dystopian future, Helldivers 2 masterfully blends dark humor with beautifully done single and co-op gameplay. The universe, on the brink of chaos, is filled with witty references and humorous takes on classic sci-fi elements, reminding players that "Freedom has a high price." The game's cooperative play is pivotal, urging players to work together, devise strategies, and tackle challenges as a unified force.

Each mission is a test of coordination and skill, demanding a balance of offensive and defensive strategies while utilizing a variety of weapons and equipment. The game's humor lightens the intense gameplay, providing comic relief and enhancing the overall experience, truly embodying the Helldivers' spirit of fighting for "Super Earth."

I’ve never played the original Helldivers, so I had some research to do. Based on said research, Helldivers 2 builds upon its predecessor with several key enhancements and changes, refining the cooperative top-down shooter experience. One of the most noticeable differences between "Helldivers" and "Helldivers 2" is the shift in perspective. While the original Helldivers employed a top-down view that offered a strategic overview of the battlefield, Helldivers 2 introduces a third-person perspective. This change brings players closer to the action, creating a more immersive experience and allowing a better view of the combat scenarios.

Another significant evolution in Helldivers 2 is the content and gameplay mechanics. The sequel offers a greater variety of Stratagems, which are powerful tools like orbital bombardments and Gatling turrets that players can summon to aid in combat. This variety in Stratagems allows for more specific playstyles, catering to different combat strategies. Additionally, the game provides a more tailored experience with its weapon and gear selection, streamlining these options compared to the first game.

I upgraded to the Helldivers 2 – Super Citizen Edition for the exclusive perks and one-handed submachine gun I wanted to test out.

Helldivers 2 is available on two platforms, the PS5 and PC via Steam. Additionally, the game supports crossplay, allowing for a more connected multiplayer experience across different platforms. Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios and published by PlayStation PC LLC, Helldivers 2 launched on February 8, 2024. The game, playable in single-player mode and supporting up to four online players, offered a fresh experience after my extensive time with "Baldur’s Gate 3".

I opted for the "Helldivers 2 – Super Citizen Edition," priced at $59.99. This edition includes the base game, the DP-53 'Savior of the Free' Armour Set, 'Will of the People' Cape, MP-98 'Knight' Weapon (a one-handed submachine gun), Super Citizen Status, the Hero Ship Game Stratagem, and 'Steeled Veterans' Premium Warbonds. The standout features are the MP-98 'Knight' Weapon, useful for missions requiring one-handed combat, and the Hero Ship Game Stratagem, essential for mastering the quick input of codes during intense combat situations. The standard edition can be had for $39.99.

Projector Utilized – BenQ X3100i

At Projector Reviews, we had the opportunity to test out BenQ's gaming projectors, the X3000i and TK700, which were provided for our "Best Games to Play on a Projector" segment. After extensively using the BenQ X3000i for over 755 hours and the BenQ TK700 for over 265 hours, primarily with my PS5, these projectors are now being returned to BenQ. This in-depth usage has given me valuable insights into projector gaming. Moving forward, I'll be using the new BenQ X3100i for my future gaming projector articles, continuing to explore and share experiences in large-screen gaming.

The BenQ X3100i, BenQ's latest flagship model for console gaming, takes the lead over the previous X3000i. As of February 2024, it's priced at an MSRP of $2,399. This projector stands out with its 3300 ANSI lumens of brightness, making it suitable for many environments, even with some ambient light sneaking into the room. It also boasts 4K resolution capabilities, thanks to its XPR (eXpanded Pixel Resolution) technology. For a deeper understanding of how 4K DLP and XPR technology work together, a visit to Projector Reviews' Projection Terms page would be insightful.

The BenQ X3100i is a testament to how far gaming projectors have come, representing the pinnacle of BenQ's Immersive Gaming Series. While inheriting the legacy of its predecessor, the X3000i, the X3100i introduces substantial advancements that elevate the gaming experience.

One of the key features of the X3100i is SettingXchange where BenQ says you can “Download expert projector image settings from top gamers and experience gameplay through the eyes of pros thanks to ready-made celebrity profiles. Share your projector image settings with fellow gamers to help them level their experiences, or import theirs. Experiment and find your best profile with this unique option!” SettingXChange ensures seamless syncing with your laptop, simplifying setting adjustments and changes. Utilize drag-and-drop for swift import and export, eliminating the need for manual projector operations.

The X3100i also has enhanced brightness, now rated at 3300 ANSI lumens, a 10% increase from the X3000i. This boost in brightness means that games like Helldivers 2 can be enjoyed in more varied lighting conditions.

Another significant upgrade is the projector's support for 1440p resolution at 120Hz. This resolution is becoming increasingly popular among gamers for its ability to balance high-definition visuals with smooth frame rates, a crucial factor for fast-paced games.

The addition of a fourth gaming mode adds to the versatility of the projector, allowing players to optimize their gaming experience based on the genre they are playing. The fourth game mode is called RCG/HDR-RCG (Racing Game / Racing Car Game). BenQ states RCG/HDR-RCG “makes the image clearer, smoother, and more vibrant and helps players better experience the speed and excitement of racing games. Sound Mode will automatically switch to RCG”.

Furthermore, the introduction of a substantial vertical lens shift is a game-changer for those who can’t physically move the projector into the perfect position, enabling users to adjust the image height without the image distortion often caused by keystone correction.

The X3100i is a gaming projector that shines with its impressive features. The support for 1440p resolution at a high refresh rate of 120Hz is a critical feature for modern gaming that many hardcore gamers seek out. This resolution strikes a perfect balance between high-definition detail and performance, providing smoother motion and sharper images, which is crucial for fast-paced games where reaction times are key. I’m not one of those critical hardcore gamers, but it’s nice to know that BenQ is listening to its hardcore fanbase and giving them what they want.

As previously mentioned, the X3100i comes with four dedicated gaming modes, each optimized for different types of games. These modes adjust the projector’s settings to enhance visuals and performance based on the specific needs of the game genre, whether it's a fast-paced shooter or a visually rich RPG.

The BenQ X3100i, equipped with HDR-PRO Technology, represents significant projector capabilities for gaming.

HDR technology in video enhances the detail and color spectrum, offering a more nuanced depiction of light and dark areas in images. This feature has grown increasingly vital for both media professionals and home entertainment enthusiasts. In this realm, BenQ has made significant strides with its proprietary HDR-PRO technology, designed to deliver projectors with accurate color and dynamic contrast. This technology is particularly relevant for gaming enthusiasts using projectors, as it allows them to experience games with cinematic quality, staying true to the creators' vision.

I experienced Helldivers 2 in 4K (3840x2160) @ 60Hz. Projected onto a sizable screen, the enhanced detail and image clarity of 4K, especially at common viewing distances, provided a rich visual experience that brought the game to life. This level of refinement proved particularly advantageous for the immersive experience of Helldivers 2, contributing to the game's realism and depth.

However, the debate between 4K and 1440p for gaming is multifaceted. While 4K offers impressive visual fidelity, 1440p has its own strengths, particularly in gaming performance. Many gamers argue that the slightly lower resolution of 1440p can result in smoother frame rates and improved overall performance, especially in fast-paced games like Helldivers 2. With less strain on hardware resources compared to 4K, 1440p gaming can offer a more fluid and responsive experience, which is essential for competitive gameplay.

The X3100i's commendable 16ms input lag in 4K @ 60Hz, particularly in the context of Helldivers 2, deserves recognition. This low lag competes favorably with many standard flat-panel TVs, ensuring gameplay responsiveness that meets the expectations of avid gamers and surpasses those of casual players. With this rapid response time, I could navigate the intense battles and fast-paced action of Helldivers 2 without any hindrance from a sluggish system.

On a substantial projector screen, the benefits of 4K over lower resolutions were evident. The heightened level of detail and image clarity it offers enhanced the gaming experience, adding vibrancy and realism to the visuals. While 4K provides a visually stunning experience, it's important to recognize that both 4K and 1440p have their place in gaming, each offering unique advantages depending on individual preferences and priorities.

BenQ's CinematicSound technology serves as their audio secret sauce, with dedicated Bongiovi DPS enhancing audio dynamically to craft a 3D audio realm filled with depth and distance. The X3100i, though not a replacement for a 5.1 surround system, offers a great audio experience with its two 5-watt chamber speakers providing spatial audio for more precise gaming.

While dedicated surround sound systems are often preferred for enhancing the gaming experience, the X3100i, like its predecessor, the X3000i, surprised me with its audio depth and clarity. In Helldivers 2, where sound design and dynamic range play pivotal roles, you’ll want a projector where the audio quality matches the game's visual intensity. Additionally, "Helldivers 2" provides four audio modes, allowing players to optimize the sound settings for their specific audio systems. This feature is crucial for detecting the nuanced sounds of enemies like Automatons and Terminids, especially in situations where visibility is limited.

Helldivers 2 – Projector Gameplay

BenQ underscores the fact that the X3100i is purposefully engineered with gaming consoles in mind, aiming for optimal compatibility and performance.

In crafting this article focusing on gaming with a projector, I positioned my PS5 on a nearby table alongside the BenQ X3100i. The gaming action unfolded on an expansive 110-inch (16:9) screen provided by Screen Innovations, utilizing the Solo Pro 2 with Unity AT Pure White 1.3 gain material. This deliberate setup was designed to immerse myself fully in the experience of gaming with a projector, allowing me to concentrate solely on the gameplay and evaluate the projector's performance without any distractions.

Diving into Helldivers 2, the first thing that struck me was the character customization. Starting with a basic loadout, the game gradually unfolds a treasure trove of gear options, each enhancing the gameplay in unique ways. The arsenal ranges from simple sidearms to more sophisticated primary weapons, each with its distinct feel and impact. This variety allowed me to experiment and find the perfect combination that suited my playstyle.

The game's strategic depth became apparent quickly. It demands smart play, whether in a team or going solo. The missions are timed, adding urgency to every decision. Running out of time means no more calling in powerful Stratagems – special abilities that can turn the tide of battle. These constraints, coupled with limited reinforcements, forced me to prioritize objectives and manage resources effectively. It's a challenging balancing act that kept me engaged and constantly adapting.

In Helldivers 2, the mini-map emerges as the paramount tool, surpassing even the significance of Stratagems and weaponry. When projected onto a 100-inch+ screen, this seemingly diminutive feature undergoes a transformative expansion, becoming a pivotal asset that revolutionizes gameplay. With its enlarged scale, the mini-map facilitates effortless identification of adversaries, discovery of crucial locations, and acquisition of hidden treasures such as weapons, Super Credits, and Medals. For example, on my 110-inch projector screen, the mini-map stretched an impressive 24 inches (2 feet) across—hardly fitting the description of "mini"! Leveraging the capabilities of your mini-map not only amplifies your combat prowess with handheld weapons and Stratagems but also propels your advancement through the game by revealing possible locations of those valuable Medals and Super Credits scattered throughout the map.

In Helldivers 2, the distinction between the Terminid and Automaton enemy factions adds a rich layer to the combat experience. The Terminids, with their insect-like swarming tactics, present a unique challenge. Their various types, ranging from the swift Hunters to the formidable Chargers, require players to constantly adapt their strategies to survive the relentless onslaught.

On the other hand, the Automatons bring a different style of combat to the table. These robotic foes, armed and more methodical in their approach, engage players in a more traditional battle, emphasizing gunfire and strategic positioning. This contrast in enemy types not only diversifies the gameplay but also tests different aspects of player skills and tactics.

The presence of these distinct enemy factions ensures a dynamic and varied combat experience in every mission of Helldivers 2. While the Terminids might invoke a sense of overwhelming numbers, the Automatons provide a cerebral challenge, making each battle a tactical endeavor.

Early in my Helldivers 2 journey, I quickly unlocked the capability to call in stationary Gatling and mortar sentries, which autonomously unleashes firepower. This was my first lesson in the game's friendly fire mechanics, as standing downrange of the turret can be deadly, leading to unexpectedly humorous situations. However, the turret proved to be a vital asset during intense encounters with Automatons and Terminids alike and especially for defending extraction zones. As I progressed though, my go-to became the Mortar Sentry, which has become a personal favorite for its effectiveness in battle because it can shoot up and over obstacles with devastating effect.

Helldivers 2 is known for its humorous approach, especially in its narrative elements and gameplay mechanics. Many will like playing this game just for the hilarious commentary alone. The game's humor is often likened to that of "Starship Troopers," featuring a satirical take on military and dystopian themes. A key aspect of this humor is the slapstick nature of combat, where friendly fire and chaotic encounters lead to laugh-out-loud moments. Players find amusement in the absurdity of situations, such as friendly fire from a stationary turret or poorly timed air strikes. The game embraces this lighthearted approach to death and destruction, making even the missteps part of the fun experience. The humor in Helldivers 2 is a standout feature, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the game and making it a unique title in the shooter genre. Throughout the game, my favorite thing to here being shouted out is “How about a nice cup of Liber-Tea?!”

In my experience playing Helldivers 2, the expansive projector screen magnificently animated the characters. My 110-inch screen made my Helldiver character appear as large as 38 inches, varying with the scene and third-person view camera angle. This grand scale allowed me to observe my Helldiver and his environment with exceptional clarity. Such detail was crucial for tactical decision-making in combat, especially during tense moments when I had to flee or evade swarms of enemies.

The gaming projector paired with a large screen contributed to a deeply engaging gaming session. The character's enlarged representation was especially beneficial for identifying foes, weaponry, and various game hazards, like those tricky Automatons and their landmines. A bigger screen undoubtedly enhances the gaming experience, elevating the player's connection to the game's richly detailed environment and complex mechanics.

Gaming On A Projector: Helldivers 2 Conclusion

Helldivers 2 is on its way to being one of the best games of 2024!

Reflecting on my journey through Helldivers 2 played on a large projector screen, the experience has been nothing short of phenomenal. The game blends strategic depth, character customization, and a unique brand of humor to create an engaging and challenging world. The diverse enemy factions - the swarm-like Terminids and the tactical Automatons - each brought their own flavor to the battlefield, keeping the gameplay varied and exciting.

The projector and large projector screen elevated this experience, making every mission more immersive and visually captivating. It provided a tactical edge, allowing for better situational awareness and strategic planning. The larger screen made coordinating with teammates in co-op play more effective and brought the game’s world to life in a way that traditional screens simply can't match.

In conclusion, Helldivers 2 is a standout title, and playing it on a gaming projector like the BenQ X3100i offers an unmatched gaming experience. It's a testament to how a high-quality gaming projector can enhance gameplay, making it not just a pastime, but a truly immersive adventure. Whether you're a fan of strategic shooters or just looking for a game to enjoy with friends, Helldivers 2 on a projector with a big projector screen is an experience I highly recommend.

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