Skip to main content

Helldivers 2 servers at capacity? Play its predecessor instead

Key art for the original Helldivers.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

Helldivers 2 has been the surprise hit of February, but it has also been surprisingly hard to get into the game. Server issues are frequent, and while Arrowhead Game Studios is actively working to resolve these issues, Helldivers 2’s online experience is far from perfect. If you’re frustrated at not being able to play Helldivers 2, but want to play something similar, there’s another fantastic option.

I’m not referencing the similar titles on Xbox Game Pass. I’m referring to the original Helldivers. First released on PC, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita in 2015, Helldivers is a game that I did not think much of before this month, as I only put about 15 minutes into it after getting the game as a monthly PS Plus title in 2016. Returning to it in the wake of my enjoyment of Helldivers 2, I found much of the charm of the sequel is present in its predecessor, albeit in isometric shooter form.

It’s fascinating to see ideas that would go on to make Helldivers 2 a hit in their nascent state in the original Helldivers, which does a lot of the same things right and still has an active online community today. So if you’re struggling to get into a Helldivers 2 match due to server issues, it’s not a bad idea to give the first game a shot.

A different perspective

The core gameplay loop of Helldivers isn’t dissimilar to that of its sequel. There’s a metagame of defending the galaxy from invading forces with the help of other players, and multiplayer is highly encouraged. You’ll even recognize some of the planet names. Before each mission, players kit out their loadout with different weapons and stratagems that can be called down midfight. You’ll recognize many of these stratagems too. Once on a mission, players need to complete objectives and then extract to collect their full rewards. The big difference: it’s an isometric twin-stick shooter.

Multiplayer gameplay of Helldivers.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

If you’ve ever played games like Enter the Gungeon, Nex Machina, or The Ascent, that’s the style of game the original Helldivers is. That means Helldivers doesn’t feel as high-budget as its sequel, but that’s not a bad thing as it still looks and plays really well for a game that’s almost a decade old. While gameplay might play out from a different perspective, it’s really not all that different of an experience. It’s always humbling when you can see where some great franchises got their start; it’s like going from Fallout 1 and 2 to Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

The original Helldivers established the hectic friendly fire-filled shootouts that its sequel would go on to perfect. Sometimes, this game even gets a little more challenging because you can’t move while inputting stratagems and throwing grenades, and throwing stratagems also lacks the precision of Helldivers 2. Within an hour of picking this game back up, I already had a couple of memorable moments where I took myself out with a turret I laid down and was accidentally shot in the back of the head by a teammate who then profusely apologized over voice chat.

Those similarities make the original Helldivers an enticing alternative to its follow-up, but some other aspects of this game warrant a revisit. There’s a bit more narrative content on Helldivers’ bones than there is in its sequel; an entire enemy faction called The Illuminate is also an opponent to take on here as well. A mechanic that gives players reinforcements after completing an objective and progression systems that apply to individual weapons and stratagems also make Helldivers a bit more enjoyable in solo play than in its sequel.

A boss fight in Helldivers.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

It’s still possible to play online in Helldivers. The servers are more stable here than they are fot its sequel, and there’s still a big enough community where you can get random help from players in matches. Hopefully, even more people will be encouraged to revisit Helldivers after falling in love with its sequel; I certainly recommend that you do so.

Because so much of the magic that made Helldivers 2 a surprise hit this month was present in the original, I’m kicking myself for letting Helldivers sit in the depths of my PlayStation game library for so long. If you redeemed the game on PS Plus years ago or don’t mind dropping $20 on Helldivers on Steam or the PlayStation Store, it’s worth a play session with friends if you’re all still struggling to log in and matchmake in Helldivers 2.

Helldivers Dive Harder Edition, the fully updated version of the game, is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. It plays great on PS5, too.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves gives Street Fighter 6 a run for its money
Tizoc pointing his finger during his intro in Fatal Fury City of the Wolves.

The past half-decade in the fighting game genre has been spent bringing back classic series and freshening them up for a new age. Street Fighter 6's drive gauge and modern controls, Mortal Kombat 1 and its introduction of assist attacks, Tekken 8's Heat system, and more have shown that even older franchises in this genre aren't afraid of reinventing the wheel. SNK also demonstrated a willingness to do this with the latest entries in the Samurai Shodown and The King of Fighters series, but after my time with Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves and its new REV system, I don't think any of the company's other new games hold a candle to the formula reimagining this long format IP is getting next year.

FATAL FURY: City of the Wolves Official Announcement Trailer

Read more
PlayStation VR2 production reportedly paused by Sony
PlayStation VR2 headset on blue background.

Sony is reportedly pausing production of the PlayStation VR2 headsets because it has a backlog of unsold headsets.

This report comes from Bloomberg, which claims that PSVR2 sales have slowed every quarter since its February 2023 release, causing stocks of the device to build up. It says Sony has produced 2 million headsets but reportedly hasn't sold through them yet. As a result, it's apparently pausing the production on new units until it works through some of that backlog, according to Bloomberg's anonymous sources.

Read more
The Finals Season 2 offers up plenty of reasons for players to come back
A The Finals Season 2 skin.

The Finals made a big splash when it launched at The Game Awards 2023, and it has maintained a healthy player base in the months since. Tomorrow, The Finals Season 2 begins and it brings new weapons and gadgets, another battle pass, a new map, and the Power Shift mode with it. Although I dropped from off playing The Finals a few weeks after its release, my early taste of Season 2’s new content was more than enticing enough to draw me back in.
New season, new content
As expected, The Finals Season 2 offers up another 96-level battle pass for players to make their way through. This season is themed around a hacker group called CNS and all things digital, so many of the cosmetics are inspired by that faction and video games like Street Fighter and Minecraft. During a presentation prior to Digital Trends’ Season 2 playtest, Embark Studios confirmed it does not plan to change the battle pass’ pricing, nor put any new gameplay-related content behind a paywall.

THE FINALS | Season 2 | March 14

Read more