Helldivers 2 might be top of the Steam sales charts right now, but it's having a hellfire of launch issues

Helldivers 2 gameplay
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Helldivers 2, a new co-op third-person shooter from Arrowhead Game Studios, launched today on both PC and PS5, the first Playstation console exclusive to do so.
  • The launch sales have surpassed many expectations as it currently tops the Steam charts, but the reviews are showing as 'mixed' due to major matchmaking issues and frequent crashes on both PC and consoles.
  • Developer, Arrowhead Studios has already released a hotfix to address the issues but some players remain unhappy with the anti-cheat software and problems with multiplayer connectivity.

Helldivers 2 wasn't even on my radar until yesterday, when it began gaining significant traction on social media and in the Steam charts. Despite being engrossed in the latest phenomenon, Palworld. Yesterday, we reported that Helldivers 2, the first PlayStation console exclusive to launch simultaneously on PC, had surpassed Palworld on the Top Sellers chart, as well as other popular newcomers like Enshrouded. Ok now it had my attention.

However, the launch hasn't been entirely smooth sailing. Users flooded Steam with negative reviews, citing server issues, frequent disconnects, bugs, and concerns about the nProtect GameGuard anti-cheating software, which reportedly causes performance and compatibility issues with other programs and devices. While such issues are common on launch day, they've given me pause regarding my purchase decision.

Standard launch day growing pains?

The reviews are currently Mixed on Steam for Helldivers 2 (Image credit: Steam)

Completely oblivious to all of the above, I picked up my Steam Deck to give the game a try. I noticed that since launch, the reviews had become Mixed, with only 60% being positive. Despite its initial popularity, Helldivers 2 seemed to have stumbled when it came to review scores. For comparison, Palworld maintains a Very Positive with 94% of the reviewers agreeing it's a certified banger.

Many negative reviews of the multiplayer shooter stem from frustrations with server and matchmaking issues. While we don't have confirmation, this could be attributed to the overwhelming interest in the game as PlayStation's first simultaneous PC launch of a console exclusive. Arrowhead Studios CEO, John Pilestedt, acknowledged the challenges, stating, "It's been a bit of a crisis mode in the studio today," on Discord. Pilestedt continued "We are seeing the matchmaking issues as well as some of the unfortunate stuck on login screen/crashes. I just wanted to let you all know we're working as hard as we can on resolving these, the volume of players exposed some shenanigans in the system that went past many, many, many hours of testing,"

Later the game director took to X/Twitter to put out an official message that a patch was coming soon to alleviate the issues players were experiencing. Reviews have been left mentioning crashes, getting stuck in menu screens and possibly the funniest review I've read "How many of these do I have to buy in order to get Bloodborne?" Preach my friend, preach.

Lest we forget, Palworld had launch issues too

While Palworld enjoys Early Access status and thus benefits from leniency regarding any bugs or crashes, it's worth recalling that the game faced a tumultuous launch too, particularly with server and connectivity issues.The unexpected surge of players exceeded Pocket Pair's highest expectations, prompting an emergency meeting with Epic Games to swiftly update the backend. While Helldivers 2 may not be having a influx of players quite on the same scale, it certainly surpasses initial projections and likely poses its own set of challenges behind the scenes. Regarding the anti-cheat software problems, immediate resolution may not be feasible for players apprehensive about Nprotect Gameguard and it's compatibility with their systems.

For now, I'm happy to sit back and not give into my fear of missing out, and let Arrowhead Game Studios work out the kinks. If you absolutely want to hell(dive) in first though, make sure you are running the correct PC requirements for the task.

Helldivers 2 is available on both PS5 and PC, and might just end up being one of the best PC games of the year. The game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC.  It's currently on sale at GMG using the discount code provided below.

Helldivers 2 |  now $33.19 at GMG (Steam) with discount code FEB17

Helldivers 2 | was $39.99 now $33.19 at GMG (Steam) with discount code FEB17

Team up with friends to fight aliens across PC and PS5. Hordes are attacking, and humanity needs defenders. This third-person shooter appears to evolve the formula of the original arcade-like experience, and cross-play ensures players can stay together.

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.