Feb 23, 2024 5 min read

Helldivers 2: Review and Best Settings for Steam Deck

Co-op shooter hit Helldivers 2 offers up a vast array of settings to customise the experience, but which are best suited for playing on Steam Deck? We've got you covered.

Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck

Co-op shooter hit Helldivers 2 offers up a vast array of settings to customise the experience, but which are best suited for playing on Steam Deck? We've got you covered.

Every now and then, a new game emerges that hits all the right spots and manages to deliver the best possible co-op experience you could have with your friends and strangers alike — Helldivers 2 is definitely such a release. What feels like a perfect homage to the 1997 all-time classic sci-fi movie 'Starship Troopers', is this third-person sequel to a top-down indie game, and its one that deserves all the praise its been getting.


In Helldivers 2, we defend Super-Earth and its surrounding systems as a squad with up to three friends (on both PC and PlayStation 5) going up against deadly aliens and robots. What might look like a generic multiplayer-shooter at first glance, actually surprises as the biggest co-op hit of 2024 — one that's constantly delighting with tongue-in-cheek humour surrounding freedom, peace and 'managed democracy'.

Dropping onto battlefields of various sizes with your friends, in order to eliminate big bug-like alien monsters while friendly fire and massive orbital strikes literally obliterate monsters and your squad alike, never gets old. The game became so popular, that it caught the devs by surprise, resulting in the servers running at maximum capacity nearly all the time.


Defending your homeland in this Galactic War is a monumental duty, and doing so on the Steam Deck could be the game-changer we need for our peace and freedom, wouldn't you agree, trooper? So, what's holding us back? Gear up, soldier, and let's bring the fight to them on the front lines of the Steam Deck! The future of Super Earth depends on you!

Spreading Managed Handheld Democracy

This always-online game requires a meaty 70GB of space on your Steam Deck's SSD and starts without any issues. Following its initial release, you had to resort to using Proton Experimental, but thankfully, that is now a thing of the past. The default preset is a mix of Medium to High settings at native resolution, with no upscaling technique applied. Don't let the initial tutorial mission fool you, though: the 50FPS achieved there is not nearly as representative of the real performance.

Taking the first steps on your very own space carrier, after giving it a fitting name (such as "Sword of Justice" or "Defender of Family Values"), paints a better picture as to what to expect. Without any tweaks, the frame rates here sit at around 20-25 FPS, a similar picture to what you'll see on the battlefield, which isn't all too surprising.

Helldivers 2 offers a vast array of settings to customise the experience and performance, and thankfully, there's enough headroom for much more stability hidden in there.

The best frame rate we can achieve, when sacrificing every single inch of visual quality, varies between 40 and 50 FPS — nowhere near a perfect 60, let alone what you would call a 'solid experience'. Not only does overall stability play a crucial part in the fight for freedom and managed democracy, but being able to actually see the enemies of Super Earth before they rip your head from your torso would be really beneficial, wouldn't it?

Bumping Texture Quality and Render Distance to Medium already results in a massive upgrade in overall clarity, but getting rid of Motion Blur and Depth of Field clears up the result even further. Increased sharpening helps a bit in this regard as well. Anti-Aliasing is a peculiar thing, as it obviously reduces the jaggedness of object's meshes, but also smoothens out the picture a bit too much.

After going back and forth comparing the upscaling setting, here called 'Render Scale', I quickly noticed why: Helldivers 2 does in fact still use AMD FSR1, which is a static scaler — in stark contrast to its far superior successors FSR2.0 and FSR3, let alone Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). Without proper spatial upscaling techniques, any upscaling taking place basically annihilates the game's picture clarity for every single frame per second gained here — so pick your poison.

After benchmarking multiple missions on an LCD Steam Deck and my OLED Deck, I think we might have found the perfect middle ground for a playable experience. I kept in mind to ensure enough headroom for these settings to perform equally well on both Steam Deck models, of course, aside from the projected battery life.

Best Settings for Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck

For Helldivers 2, we're offering two distinct frame rate targets, akin to the performance and quality modes you're familiar with from modern consoles. The first, our classic Golden 40, delivers enhanced fluidity, ensuring every shot you fire in defence of our cherished democracy hits its mark. The second, a 30FPS target, promises superior visual clarity, free of FSR1 artefacts and the typical blur of upscaling. Choose your weapon wisely, Helldiver!

Oh, before I forget to mention it — the way Arrowhead Game Studio's co-op shooter leverages button combos for calling air strikes and supply drops makes it a perfect case study for Steam Input. Imagine calling in the life-saving mini nuke just in time because you only had to press one button for it on your Steam Deck. Sounds cool, right? Keep your eyes peeled for that, as we've got you covered and will have an update soon! (I'll be sure to share on socials)

Here are the best settings for Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck, giving you a playtime of nearly two hours on an LCD, and up to two and a half hours on an OLED Steam Deck:

Quick Action Menu
Per game profiles On
Frame rate limit (Fluidity 40 FPS Target) 40 FPS
Frame rate limit (Clarity 30 FPS Target) 30 FPS
Display Settings (in-game)
High Dynamic Range Off
Vertical Field of View 55
Resolution 1280 x 800
Render Scale (40 FPS Fluidity Target) Ultra Quality
Render Scale (30 FPS Clarity Target) Native
Display Mode Fullscreen
Framerate Limit Off
V-Sync Off
Graphics Settings (in-game)
Motion Blur 0
Depth of Field Off
Bloom On
Sharpness 1.00
Texture Quality Medium
Object Detail Quality Low
Render Distance Medium
Shadow Quality Lowest
Particle Quality Lowest
Reflection Quality Lowest
Space Quality Low
Ambient Occlusion On
Screen-Space Global Illumination On
Vegetation and Rubble Density Low
Terrain Quality Low
Volumetric Fog Quality Lowest
Volumetric Clouds Quality Lowest
Lighting Quality Medium
Anti-Aliasing On

Now, get out there and repel those pesky bugs, soldier! Super Earth is proud of you—  and make sure to stay hydrated while spreading managed democracy!

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