'Operation Clean-up' begins for Helldivers 2 players as Sony's PSN plans lie in rubble, with over 70,000 (and counting) positive reviews landing on Steam

The Super Earth Spokesperson wears a merry smile as positive reviews spike on Helldivers 2 on Steam in the background.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games / Steam)

Helldivers 2 players completed what I can only describe as their first real-life Major Order over the weekend. After Sony revealed that it would be going ahead with its initial plans to require the monstrously popular co-op shooter's Steam players to link themselves to a PSN account, an uproar of furious divers retaliated with military coordination.

The major thorn for most players? The requirement would shut out around 177 countries unable to make a PSN account under this returning rule of law. Over 200 thousand negative reviews later, Sony backed down. Cue the fist-bumps, the chest-bumps, and the hoo-rahs. It's a vindication of one certain community manager's suggestion to make their upset known via a 500kg review bomb—one that 'almost, but not quite' had them fired. 

But when you drop a bomb, you're left with rubble. While I'm sure the many screengrabs of red lines circulating the internet—threatening one of Sony's biggest PC wins ever—absolutely contributed to the reversal, they also left a red mark on the game's review score. 

However at the time of writing, its "Overall" review score is now Mostly Positive, while its "Overwhelming Negative" recent review score has climbed back up to "Mixed". That's because of an initiative the community's calling "Operation Clean-up"—with over 70,000 of divers flipping their negative reviews back to positive so far.

50,000 reviews changed (and climbing) since Sony reversed their decision from r/Helldivers
Commence Operation Cleanup from r/Helldivers

It's a fun twist in the narrative, for the better—in Helldivers 2, the soldiers of Super Earth glass entire planets willy-nilly, not caring about either the local ecology or the destruction left in their wake. Here, players are setting to work repairing some of the damage they did to the game's reputation.

As for why they feel the need to do clean-up work, that's simple—while Arrowhead Games certainly isn't blameless, having had plenty of opportunity to communicate a change it knew was coming for months, it also doesn't really have control over how its game is sold. It's said it takes two to tango, but this whole debacle felt like more of a waltz with Sony acting as the lead. 

Plenty of public statements have generated sympathy for Arrowhead, such as the openly-expressed frustration from besieged community managers trying to chase Sony up over the weekend, or the downright poetic tweets from the studio's CEO Johan Pilestedt who was (understandably) a little bummed out at seeing Arrowheads' meteoric success evaporating overnight.

There's a general belief in the community that Helldivers 2's creators shouldn't suffer for the sins of the father—or publisher, in this case. From where I'm sitting, that absolutely bares out, even if this entire situation could've been avoided with some more effective communication. Still, I also don't know if Sony would've retracted its forced PSN plans without the massive backlash. All things, perhaps, are as they were meant to be.

In terms of actually clearing up the rubble, however, this particular real-live Major Order still has some ways to go. Over 211,000 reviews came in over the weekend and, at the time of writing, 72,250 positive reviews have counteracted them. That leaves the community a little under halfway to mopping up.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.