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Helldivers 2 mechs are glass cannons, absolutely dominate bugs, and 8 other things I learned after an afternoon with the EXO-45 Patriot

 Helldivers 2 mech patriot.
Helldivers 2 mech patriot.

We did it, helldivers: Super Earth liberated the exosuit factories on Tien Kwan so quickly that we even impressed Arrowhead, which apparently expected the emergency mission to take four times longer. Our reward is the long-awaited release of mechs. There is currently one exosuit on offer: the EXO-45 Patriot, a bipedal walker equipped with rocket pods on its left hardpoint and a minigun on its right.

Exosuits are a new class of stratagem for Helldivers 2—it's the game's first vehicle, and a significant jump in power, versatility, and mobility compared to support weapons and airstrikes. The catch is that you only get one (or two) per mission, and despite all that armor, they are far from invincible. To celebrate the launch of mechs, Super Earth command is letting everyone call down the EXO-45 Patriot for free for a limited time. After that, you'll have to unlock it like any other stratagem (and it's not cheap).

I've spent a handful of hours with mechs today as everyone's been logging on to try them out, and I'm having a blast. Here are my takeaways that might help you get a headstart in the cockpit:

Mechs rule against bugs

I played with the new mech on difficulties 5 and 6 as a baseline. At 5 difficulty, the exosuit was hilariously overpowered against standard bug grunts and the occasional Charger. The smallest bugs seem almost unable to hurt the mech, or do so little damage I didn't notice. Level 6 ramped things up with more Chargers and Bile Titans, but the Patriot can take a decent beating from Terminids.

…but Automaton rockets (or your own) can scrap one instantly

Automatons are another story. Standard grunts are just as easy to mow down with the minigun, but only rockets will penetrate the heavy armor of Devastators and tanks. Speaking of rockets, they're a mech's worst enemy. Every mech I lost on an Automaton mission was because I was either hit by an enemy rocket or fired my own at point-blank range.

Conserve ammo

You get 14 rockets, 1,000 minigun bullets, and then that's it. There is no resupplying a mech. If you own the stratagem and aren't using the Super Earth-supplied freebie, then you get a maximum of two for the whole mission.

3 rockets to destroy a tank

Maybe less if you hit its weak point.

And 1 rocket to kill a Charger (if you aim well)

A single rocket can knock the armor off a Charger's leg. Pelt its exposed leg with bullets and it'll go down in seconds.

Snipe stuff

The Patriot's weapons are very accurate and have decent range. Use that advantage to pick off hordes from far away.

You can lose an arm (and the gun attached to it)

This only happened to me once over several hours, but I was surprised that right-click suddenly didn't do anything. It's only fair: we do it to the Automatons all the time.

Mechs are the first 20,000 Req stratagem

The Patriot exosuit costs twice as much as the previously most expensive stratagems at 20,000 Req. You also can't unlock it until level 25.

Don't waste your ammo on these small bugs: just step on them

If you're on a low enough difficulty that you see these little orange bugs everywhere, don't bother shooting them. It's easier to just step on them.

An ammo-less mech isn't totally useless

A dry exosuit is still an exosuit. Use its armor to create distance between hordes without taking personal damage, but be sure to bail as soon as it starts smoking—there's very little notice before a mech blows up.