I've got bad news about Helldivers 2's coolest new Warbond weapon: "It's atrocious"

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Helldivers 2's new Democratic Detonation Warbond has gone live, and the first primary weapon you can unlock in it is a rapid-fire DMR called the BR-14 Adjudicator.
  • It looks like a cross between an AK and a Mass Effect weapon, and is arguably the gun players were most excited to get from the battle pass. However, now that I've tried it, I've got some unfortunate news: it's terrible.
  • The Adjudicator has high recoil and awful handling despite its damage, and its ammo reserves are bad, too.
  • A post about how poorly the weapon performs is one of the top ones on the Helldivers subreddit right now, with many disappointed to learn that yet another new primary weapon is underwhelming.

On Thursday morning, Helldivers 2 players were treated to a number of fancy new toys from Super Earth's patriotic arms manufacturers. Not only were some new Ship Module upgrades added — almost all of them are awesome, by the way — but the Democratic Detonation Warbond was released, too. The new battle pass includes three new sets of state-of-the-art armor as well as three explosive and armor-piercing primary weapons, along with a grenade pistol secondary, a thermite grenade, and some other unlocks.

I've been hyped to get my hands on all of these since the battle pass was announced last week, but the weapon that piqued my interest the most is the BR-14 Adjudicator — a medium armor-penetrating DMR battle rifle with rapid-fire capabilities that looks like the gun you'd get if an AK and a Mass Effect Avenger had a baby. It was arguably one of the most exciting pieces of kit in the entire Warbond, but now that I've actually tried it out, I'm sad to say that I've got some unfortunate news: it's bad. Like, it's really bad.

For something classified as a marksman rifle, the Adjudicator's damage is pitifully low to the point where it can't even reliably one-shot basic enemies like Terminid Scavengers or Automaton Raiders. You'd at least expect something that weak to come with tons of ammo or be easy to shoot, but nope; it burns through its reserves like crazy and has poor handling and high recoil. The only good thing about it is its medium armor penetration, and that's something you can get with far better weapons like the JAR-5 Dominator or even the AR-23P Liberator Penetrator. 

Put simply, it performs terribly and feels terrible to use, and I'm not the only one who thinks so as evidenced by one of the top posts on the Helldivers subreddit right now:

Damn, this thing is ASS!!! from r/Helldivers

"This was actually the gun I was looking forward to the most and uh ... man," wrote u/RaptorPegasus in the most upvoted comment on the post, expressing their disappointment at how pathetic the rifle is. "After three games I can say it is utterly and completely outclassed in every single regard. Feels awful to use," says u/Brother_MaceCraze. I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment — if you want a DMR primary for fighting from afar, you'd be much better off with the vanilla R-63 Diligence, the R-63CS Diligence Counter Sniper, or something like the JAR-5 Dominator or the PLAS-1 Scorcher.

While the Adjudicator's damage is underwhelming, the biggest issue players have with it is how hard it kicks and how sluggish it feels to use. It's as u/Comprehensive-Taro-9 says: "Gun isn't good, not because of damages, but because it's handling and recoil make it wayyy worse than the diligence for semi auto, and penetrator liberator for auto." The low ammo reserves have been pegged as a major problem, too: "You’ll be lucky to have ammo left after a bot drop if your using full auto lol," notes u/Affectionate_Sea_474.

Many have also pointed out that the release of underwhelming weapons like the Adjudicator has arguably become a recurring problem for Helldivers 2, which I'd say is generally pretty true. I can't think of anything people seemed to really jive with from the Cutting Edge Warbond other than the LAS-16 Sickle and the G-23 Stun grenade, and many of the primaries from the game's vanilla and Steeled Veterans Warbonds still aren't great, either. Balance tweaks have certainly helped — the Punisher and Slugger shotguns got fairly popular after some notable buffs — but Arrowhead should be doing more to make sure gear is actually worth getting when it releases.

The Adjudicator looks so cool, but it feels terrible to use. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

Hopefully the developers give the Adjudicator the buffs it sorely needs in a patch soon, but until they do, I'll be sticking with my usual Sickle and Dominator. I was looking forward to using it to battle the Automatons as their huge invasion fleet continues to advance, but it's simply not good enough at the moment.

The good news is that I'm hearing positive things about the R-36 Eruptor, a hard-hitting scoped rifle that fires fragmenting explosive rounds capable of dealing solid area-of-effect damage. I haven't gotten far enough in Democratic Detonation yet to try it out myself, but those that have say it's a fun addition to the Helldivers 2 sandbox. Ironically, it sounds like it's a better DMR than the actual DMR in the Warbond.

Helldivers 2 is available now for $39.99 on both PS5 and PC, and so far, it's one of the best PC games of the year. Notably, the game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC.

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Battle aliens, robots, and other beasts in humanity's quest to spread democracy through an unforgiving galaxy. It's 4-player co-op at its absolute best, and its most refined.

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.