Death Stranding: Director's Cut

Posted:  Jan 23, 2023
Death Stranding: Director's Cut has been flagged by members of our community to be re-evaluated.
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Disclaimer: This is an initial impression of the game. Our review and recommended settings will be updated when we've completed a full and thorough analysis of how it performs on Steam Deck. Check back soon for our full analysis!


Thank you to Jimmy Champane from Deck Ready for helping me test late-game scenes for this first look and TheFirstJosh for providing a save game I could test with.

Will you be able to bring this shattered world back together? In Death Stranding, you are Sam Porter Bridges, a delivery man who travels across a post-apocalyptic America to reconnect cities and society. The game features elements of stealth, as well as open-world exploration and a variety of missions to complete as you deliver packages and fend off enemies in this third-person experience.

Death Stranding is directed by Hideo Kojima, and with some of his signature storytelling and world building. The story can feel a bit convoluted at times, but is overall a fantastic experience, which the Director's Cut expands on. With new items, expanded combat, more customization, new missions, new structures, and more, the Director's Cut is the best way to experience this world, but on the Steam Deck, some compromises are needed to enjoy all it has to offer.

With Death Stranding Director's Cut, I had a mix of feelings. First, it started off with excitement as the 30 FPS with XeSS seemed to be holding up under a 17W drain, but as it got a bit more intense, the cracks started to form. They formed so hard that my game crashed about 3-4 times, all with different setting configurations I was testing and in different spots. Turning off all caps was a little bit better, but also drained a significant amount more that I didn't feel justified the slight increase in stability, and that's just regarding the opening areas.

Death Stranding: Director's Cut is a weird egg. The power draw is stagnant and doesn't change much with any graphics setting changes. On top of that, setting everything on the lowest possible settings with FSR 1.0 at performance mode only saved around 1W of drain and when caps were turned off, it still drained really high. I also tried forcing resolution with Steam and while it technically worked, it only decreased the size of the game's window and didn't change any battery drain or temps.

FSR on
FSR on

Jimmy from Deck Ready helped test this on his end. In one of the late-game factory scenes, he confirmed that regardless of the settings, there were drops no matter what. From multiple reports, you will start to see this more and more towards the late-game, making it near impossible to play at times with crashes and framerate drops. This kind of performance degradation started becoming a bit more noticeable after the patch that added in XeSS, so I decided to try the game in a pre-updated state to see how much the performance changed.

Death Stranding Director's Cut - Before XeSS

Before I go into the findings, I was able to go backwards in version by using the Steam console and downloading the corresponding manifest for the game and replacing the game files. I found this using SteamDB and going to the correct game depot. I will post a small guide on how to do this yourself soon because, as I thought, performance can be improved by downgrading Death Stranding: Director's Cut to the previous version. Due to borrowing a save from TheFirstJosh, I also had to hex edit the game's .exe file to bypass any corrupted save checks.

Just for transparency, this is the console command I used in Steam to download the old version of the game, which I then used to replace the files stored in the local area:

download_depot 1850570 1850571 7865482309805580274

While more testing needs to be done, I was finding the game to hold framerate much better in the older version, especially at 30 FPS, and at lower battery drain. When riding around on vehicles, I noticed a significant reduction in drops at a similar graphics setting with Ultra Quality on FSR. I did encounter bigger drops when it started raining and the BTs showed up, but switching "Available Video Memory" to Low and changing FSR quality to "Quality" did help bring this back up to 30 (TDP Limit of 9). Overall, more testing needs to be done, but I believe downgrading the version will be the way to go.

For comparison, I also tried a bit of the original game, which seems to run better than the DC version completely. This makes sense since it is using older graphical tech that isn't as demanding, but since it isn't on sale anymore, it doesn't matter too much.

Conclusion (For Now)

There is still a lot to test and go over with Death Stranding, but I believe the best way to play this currently is pre-XeSS update. With lower settings, it was able to handle the rain and BTs much better than before and still looked pretty decent with FSR on quality. If you want to just play without the downgrade, be prepared for late-game areas or spots where it is raining and BTs show up as it will slow the game down, possibly leading to crashes. Death Stranding is an awesome game and I highly recommend buying it just because of the content, but enjoying it on the Steam Deck in late game areas will require a bit of finessing.

Extra Screenshots:

Just some cool shots I got while I was testing:

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Death Stranding: Director's Cut is an awesome game and it can be played, but there will be a lot of issues later in the game on Steam Deck.

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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16 comments on “Death Stranding: Director's Cut”

  1. Playing this game atm. These settings are not the best experience. The loss of model detail from default to medium is staggering enough and this game is heavily CPU bound due in part to poor optimization. FSR and XeSS implementation is also extremely poor as rain is not even rendered anymore (FSR 2.0 not 2.1 or 2.2) and BTs and holograms lose a lot of detail. This game is a visual experience and lowering the graphical fidelity hinders the experience.

    In game options:
    Until such time as they update the upscalers to FSR 2.1 or above, I recommend native res, default quality for models (this will impact the quality of visuals a lot!), low streaming (on the small screen of the Steam Deck, you will not notice the pop in and lower texture details as you would on a bigger screen), shadows on Medium no post processing besides AA.
    TAA looks way better than FXAA and performance is not bound by it anyway so I would keep TAA on. VSync on as the frame pacing improves drastically and set limit to 30 fps.

    Deck Options:
    Pin GPU to as low as you can while keeping a 30 fps cap. You can go as low as 1200 or even 1000. This allows any extra "juice" to go to the CPU and generally improves performance leading to less stutters.
    Set the frame limiter to 30 fps and don't even think about 40. If you can tolerate the heavy artifacts the upscalers introduce, you can go to 40 but for me personally, they are useless. I haven't tried it at 1080p on an external monitor yet so I don't know if due to the bigger sample size available on a 1080p display glitches like unrendered rain and barely visible BTs get fixed but for 1080p, I would unlock the GPU and keep the 30 fps target. Mayne lower the AA option to FXAA.

    These options will give you an average framerate of 30 fps. Not locked sadly (big difference). Similar to the OG game on the PS4. With more up to date scalers and some CPU optimization on the game engine we might get 40 fps locked as a possibility but as is, I don't think it is possible. A very enjoyable experience and you can get about 2h battery life with these settings.

  2. After finishing the game on the steam deck here are my best settings
    Texture streaming default
    Everything else on medium
    In game fps cap 60
    Antialiasing fxaa
    V sync off

    On steam deck
    Pin gpu to 1000
    Set fps cap to 30
    Dont limit tdp !

    Playable at 1080p with in game fsr set to performance

  3. could you share the guide you are talking about in the review, about downgrading the death stranding version?

          1. Sorry for the super late reply (I never bothered to check back if you had replied) I have a question, I'm currently in the late game so I'm wondering if I downgrade will steam delete my progress due to the cloud save feature and put me back to the beginning?

  4. I just finished my first playthrough on SD using the Epic giveaway version and Heroic Launcher. Had a couple crashes, especially early in the game, but on low settings I was able to get 30 to 40 FPS through most the game and non of the crashes were game breaking.

  5. It is weird that the review mentioned so many issues and crashes with the game in the steam deck. It is true, that the load is higher than the regular version, but im playing the actual version with online connection most of the settings between high and medium and 30fps fix. I would like to lower the resolution in game more to get more benefits from using fsr what works nice so far. Beside this the game works just wonderful on my steamdeck and is one of my favorite games I play while commuting

    1. Hi! What do you mean by the actual version? The Director's Cut or the original? It would be awesome to be able to effectively lower the resolution and upscale that way though.

      1. The actual updated directors cut. So with the newest patch that seemed to cause issues in the test above.

        I own both versions on steam (the standard and the directors cut) and I transferred my save games to the DC. It was a but annoying on the steamdeck because you have to do it manually in desktop mode but then it worked. Really no issues with both versions of the game on the steam deck and I play it a lot right now.