Helldivers 2 Logo Game Cover
Helldivers 2 Logo Game Cover

Helldivers 2 has been gaining attention for its compatibility with the Steam Deck, Valve’s portable gaming PC. Players are finding that, despite Valve’s own rating of ‘Playable’, the game performs well on the device. This compatibility expands gaming options for users who prefer the handheld experience. With a focus on co-op multiplayer, Helldivers 2’s performance on the Steam Deck is particularly important.

The game supports the Steam Deck’s native resolution and includes UI scaling and a variety of graphics settings. This ensures that the game is not only accessible but also enjoyable on the smaller screen. The settings adjustment can cater to the Steam Deck’s capabilities, balancing visual fidelity with performance. Additionally, support for features like HDR contributes to an enhanced gaming experience.

Can You Play Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck?

Yes you can, but a lot of users turn down settings to make sure it runs smoothly. There have also been significant improvements to the Steam Deck experience. Here’s what you need to know:

Steam Deck Verification Status

Helldivers 2 boasts a “Playable” rating on Steam Deck. This means the game works on the device, but might require some manual adjustment of settings, controls, or compatibility options for the best experience.

What to Expect

Overall, Helldivers 2 can offer a fun and action-packed experience on the Steam Deck. Here’s a breakdown of what works and where there might be some bumps:

ControlsGamepad controls generally work well but may require some re-mapping in the Steam Deck settings for optimal comfort.
GraphicsYou’ll need to tweak graphical settings to balance performance and visual fidelity. Expect to run the game at lower settings for a smooth framerate.
PerformanceDepending on the intensity of the action, framerates may fluctuate.
Battery LifeExtended play sessions will drain battery life relatively quickly.

Recommendations for Playing Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck

If you’re considering playing Helldivers 2 on your Steam Deck, here are some tailored recommendations based on extensive user feedback and settings optimizations:

General Settings:

  • Performance: For a balance between performance and battery life, it’s recommended to manage your expectations regarding framerate, especially on higher difficulties. A target of 30 FPS is reasonable, with adjustments to settings to maintain playability without significant drops.
  • Resolution and Scaling: Set the game resolution to 1280×720 to prevent black artifacts and utilize FSR scaling when connected to an external monitor for improved clarity.
  • Graphics Settings: Optimize your experience by setting Motion Blur to 50 to help mask low frame rates, and adjust Sharpness to your preference. Keep most settings on medium to balance performance and visual quality.

Specific Tips:

  • GPU Settings: Adjust the manual GPU clock around 1300 MHz to optimize performance without severely impacting the CPU. Experiment with slight variations to find the sweet spot for your specific gameplay conditions.
  • Battery Management: Expect high battery drain; typical playtime on a fully charged Steam Deck is around 90 minutes. Adjust your settings to improve power efficiency without compromising too much on performance.
  • Controller and Keyboard Settings: Enhance control responsiveness by setting a low deadzone and adjusting sensitivity. For keyboard and mouse users, disable mouse acceleration and smoothing for better precision.

Gameplay Experience:

  • Difficulty Levels: The game is quite playable on lower to medium difficulty settings but expect performance to decrease on higher settings due to intensive CPU and GPU demands.
  • Community Feedback: Players have noted that while the performance may not match that of a PC, the portability and convenience of the Steam Deck provide a satisfactory experience for casual play and lower difficulty levels.


  • Remote Play: If performance on the Steam Deck is unsatisfactory, consider using Steam’s Remote Play feature to stream the game from a more powerful desktop PC. This could provide a way to enjoy higher settings and smoother gameplay without the hardware limitations of the Steam Deck.

Tips for Optimizing Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck

  • Lower Graphical Settings: Focus on resolution, shadows, and texture quality for the biggest performance gains.
  • Utilize Community Layouts: Check the Steam Deck community for shared control configurations that might improve your experience.
  • External Power: Consider plugging in a power bank for longer gaming sessions.
  • Proton Compatibility Tool: If you encounter issues, trying a different Proton version in the game’s properties can sometimes help.

Key Takeaways

  • Helldivers 2 is compatible with the Steam Deck with support for its resolution and features.
  • Settings adjustments enable optimized performance on the portable device.
  • The game’s multiplayer aspect works well on the Steam Deck, extending its playability.

Technical Analysis and Compatibility

When gaming on the Steam Deck, understanding how Helldivers 2 runs and how to adjust settings for optimal performance is key. This section breaks down the game’s requirements, setting adjustments, and compatibility with Steam’s Proton layer.

System Requirements and Performance

Helldivers 2 requires a system capable of handling its graphics and gameplay for a smooth experience. The game is demanding, with a dedicated GPU recommended for PC play. On the Steam Deck, Helldivers 2 pushes the hardware. Players might experience framerate variations depending on the game’s difficulty level. The handheld’s APU, which ties together the CPU and the GPU, works overtime to manage the game’s needs.

Battery life is also affected by the game’s demands. An average Helldivers 2 session can significantly drain the Steam Deck’s battery, especially when compared to less demanding titles. On the OLED model of the Steam Deck, one can expect about two hours of gameplay with moderate settings, while the original model might provide less.

Optimizing Game Settings for Steam Deck

The Steam Deck, while powerful, benefits from fine-tuning Helldivers 2’s settings for an improved experience. Users should focus on adjusting graphics settings such as render scale, depth of field, and bloom to balance visual quality against performance. By lowering settings like texture quality, shadow quality, and particle quality, players can achieve better framerates. Turning off or reducing space quality, ambient occlusion, vegetation and rubble density, volumetric fog quality also helps maintain smooth gameplay.

Players should experiment with their Steam Deck’s settings, such as avoiding a framerate lock at 30 FPS. Instead, setting a minimum framerate goal of 45 FPS or higher can make gameplay more consistent, albeit with varying success depending on in-game action.

Proton and Proton GE Performance

Proton, a compatibility layer enabling Windows games to run on Linux-based SteamOS, is integral for playing Helldivers 2 on the Steam Deck. The game’s performance on the Steam Deck depends on Proton working effectively. Sometimes, Proton GE, a community-made version of Proton with additional tweaks, can offer better performance or compatibility for certain games, though this varies by title and the nature of updates or hotfixes applied to the base Proton framework.

For the best experience with Helldivers 2 on the Steam Deck, players should ensure their device’s version of Proton or Proton GE is up to date. This ensures maximum compatibility and access to recent improvements which can affect gameplay fluidity and system stability.

Multiplayer and Anti-Cheat Support

Helldivers 2 offers engaging multiplayer gameplay on the Steam Deck. The key to a smooth experience lies in understanding the anti-cheat compatibility with Proton.

Steam Deck Multiplayer Experience

Helldivers 2 supports vibrant multiplayer modes. Gamers can team up with friends for cooperative play or join others in a larger community. The Steam Deck’s portable nature ensures that players can enjoy matchmaking and connect with others from anywhere. The device’s performance does vary based on settings, with the display brightness and speaker volume affecting battery life and, consequently, play time.

  • Battery Impact: With 50% brightness and volume, the Steam Deck OLED can last for approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, while the original model may run for around 1 hour and 12 minutes.
  • Frame Rate Tips: For a better gaming experience, players should avoid limiting the frame rate to 30 FPS. Instead, setting a threshold of 45 FPS or higher can prevent significant frame drops.

Anti-Cheat Compatibility with Proton

Proton, a compatibility layer, enables Windows games like Helldivers 2 to run on the Linux-based Steam Deck. Initially, Helldivers 2 faced challenges due to the SteamOS’s incompatibility with nProtect GameGuard, an anti-cheat system. This hampered the multiplayer aspect that is central to the game. However, a special hotfix now allows compatibility, enabling the anti-cheat system to function correctly with Proton.

Players should note these steps for proper setup:

  1. Start in Desktop Mode to install updates or hotfixes.
  2. Employ Proton or its derivatives (such as ProtonGe) to ensure compatibility.
  3. Keep an eye on the community forums for ongoing updates and tips from other players.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Steam Deck is becoming a go-to for gamers on the move. If you’re among those wanting to play Helldivers 2 on this device, you’ll find answers to common questions below.

Is Helldivers 2 compatible with the Steam Deck?

Yes, Helldivers 2 works on the Steam Deck. The game supports the handheld’s native resolution and includes UI scaling for easily readable HUDs.

How can I resolve issues when playing Helldivers 2 on a Steam Deck?

If you run into problems, try running the game in desktop mode first. Make sure to have the latest version of Proton installed to help with compatibility.

What are the optimal settings for running Helldivers 2 on a Steam Deck?

Avoid locking the frame rate at 30 fps. Instead, set it to 45 or higher. This should give you a smoother experience, with frame rates between 40 and 60 fps on lower difficulties.

Are there any known performance differences when playing Helldivers 2 on the Steam Deck versus other consoles?

The Steam Deck OLED model offers enhanced visuals with its HDR support. It also lasts longer on a single charge compared to the original Steam Deck.

Does Helldivers 2 support cross-play with Steam Deck users?

Currently, information about cross-play support for Helldivers 2 is not detailed. It’s best to look up recent updates or check official announcements for the latest info.

What steps are required to ensure the best experience when playing Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck?

For an optimal experience, use Proton or a compatible version of it, like ProtonQt. Start the game in desktop mode for the first boot and ensure you have the required thermal pads applied if you’re playing on an OLED model.

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