Will 2024 be a year of breakout hits for PC gaming? Helldivers 2 is suddenly Steam's top-seller

Helldivers 2 comes from nowhere to be the top-selling game, overtaking even last month's storming surprise success, Palworld. What's next, then?

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The latest PC gaming smash to come out of nowhere (in true Faith No More style) is Helldivers 2, which launched to take pole position on the rankings of top-sellers on Steam.

Helldivers 2, a third-person online co-op shooter, beat out the likes of Palworld, in fact, to grab the number one spot. And it's an especially interesting debut because the sequel - which wasn't a game we were familiar with, at all, until now - is a first for Sony in that it had a combined PS5 and PC launch.

However, as evidenced by the feedback on Steam, the PC version has had a rocky start, with a ton of reviews pouring forth, but a fair few are pretty barbed. Helldivers 2 has an overall 'mixed' rating so far on Valve's gaming platform.

What are the complaints about? Well, some gamers aren't having any luck with getting Helldivers 2 working in one way or another, for a start off - or certainly that was the case when the game first emerged.

The developer has already begun smoothing over issues, and as the top-rated most helpful review on Steam notes, they aren't experiencing crashes any longer. That's doubtless due to the crash fixes applied by a patch (see the above tweet), although there's likely still going to be trouble for some PC configurations.

That reviewer, who seems pretty clued-up, speculates that optimization isn't the problem, but that there are issues around compatibility with certain mixes of hardware, and that Helldivers 2 won't even launch for some unlucky players. Who, as you'd imagine, are getting pretty frustrated with that state of affairs.

Anti-anti-cheat players

Some of the other beef with Helldivers 2 revolves around the anti-cheat system, namely nProtect GameGuard. This is supposedly a kernel-level product, and there's been a lot of controversy about this (mind you, that's true of all kernel-level anti-cheat apps).

Furthermore, there were also problems with matchmaking that were driving folks up the wall - and crossplay too. However, apparently those gremlins in the works are now fixed - again thanks to that patch which was deployed - so getting together with other gamers to play, no matter what the platform, is no longer an issue.

We expect the reviews will settle down soon enough, by the looks of things, and the overall rating will climb to something more positive, especially when some of the niggly aspects around PC hardware are gradually addressed.

The anti-cheat, mind you, looks like it'll remain a divisive issue between those who feel it's not really any different to other similar kernel-level systems, and those who fervently object to it (and yes, it gets pretty fervent on Reddit).

With Palworld becoming a storming hit last month, and now Helldivers 2 suddenly bursting forth and creating a big splash on Steam, what's next this year?

Well, how's this for an underdog - a city builder with a medieval theme from a lone indie developer which has leapt to be the number two most-wanted (wish-listed) game on Valve's platform. It's called Manor Lords, and it looks very cool indeed - and might just be another breakout hit for the PC in 2024.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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