Firewatch

Posted:  June 18, 2022
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Some Bugs
Moddable
SDHQ Settings
Review
Game Info

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
40 FPS
Limit
40
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
No
Scaling Filter
Linear
GPU Clock
Disabled
Proton Version

Proton GE 7-19

Game Settings

Resolution at 1152x720

Overall Quality High

Motion Blur Off

World Detail Medium

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
12W - 14W, max 17W when running
N/A
~2.5 Hours

Review

Firewatch is a single-player story game that tells a engrossing tale about a man dealing with overwhelming grief. Without spoiling too much, he takes up a job to watch over a forest to spot fires and, with the help of his sarcastic and unprofessional boss, uncovers a disturbing turn of events that changes everything. The game hits you in the heart real quick and turns into a powerful narrative about pain, guilt, and sorrow. For such a small game, it was a wonderful experience and playing on Steam Deck was a fantastic way to see the story unfold.

Firewatch Settings

Overall, performance on deck was mostly fluid. I went through the entire game using the optimized/recommended settings and didn’t feel much holding me back. At 40 FPS, and using Proton GE 7-19, I was able to play the entire game without any huge slowdowns. I would get framerate drops and some battery usage spikes when running quickly in the forest, but it would quickly bounce back. Firewatch has full controller support and does show Steam Deck icons in-game.

This also means that the official gamepad layout works extremely well for the game and I felt no awkwardness using the controls. The only gripe I have is trying to change the resolution in-game. Doing this with just the deck controller is aggravating and near impossible. The right trackpad is mouse cursor control by default, but there’s no keybind for a left mouse click, which is essential. I just binded the left click to pressing the right trackpad down and it made changing resolutions and navigating some menus easier.

The Bugs of the Forest

I encountered a couple bugs in my playthrough, but they were more slight nuisances and nothing game-breaking. The biggest bug I found was one time starting up the game and it went to a black screen and stayed there. This was easily fixed just by putting the deck into sleep mode and waking it up right after.

Another little bug includes some minor framerate dips and audio crackling when coming out of sleep mode (which fixed themselves shortly after), but that was all I experienced in my playthrough. In my testing, I was also not able to ideally hit 60 FPS without battery being drained incredibly quick and quality being on the lowest setting. I also noticed, when I was testing the maximum battery build, that it didn’t seem like FSR or Half Rate Shading did anything to affect quality of the game. A little disappointing, but not the end of the world.

Firewatch on Steam Deck - Conclusion

Overall, my experience with Firewatch was a positive one. Framerate drops were not very noticeable and any bugs were generally fixed after a couple seconds. Adding the binding for left mouse click to the right trackpad solved my biggest gripe of going through the settings menu for the game. With a verified rating from Valve, which I agree with, this is definitely a great game to add to your deck library.

Need some help understanding how we got to our score? Check out our Guide to Steam Deck HQ.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

The forest is strong with this one. Apart from minor framerate hiccups and average battery life, Firewatch is a fantastic fit for the Steam Deck.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
BarbecuedKitty
Steam Profile
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$19.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Review

Firewatch is a single-player story game that tells a engrossing tale about a man dealing with overwhelming grief. Without spoiling too much, he takes up a job to watch over a forest to spot fires and, with the help of his sarcastic and unprofessional boss, uncovers a disturbing turn of events that changes everything. The game hits you in the heart real quick and turns into a powerful narrative about pain, guilt, and sorrow. For such a small game, it was a wonderful experience and playing on Steam Deck was a fantastic way to see the story unfold.

Firewatch Settings

Overall, performance on deck was mostly fluid. I went through the entire game using the optimized/recommended settings and didn’t feel much holding me back. At 40 FPS, and using Proton GE 7-19, I was able to play the entire game without any huge slowdowns. I would get framerate drops and some battery usage spikes when running quickly in the forest, but it would quickly bounce back. Firewatch has full controller support and does show Steam Deck icons in-game.

This also means that the official gamepad layout works extremely well for the game and I felt no awkwardness using the controls. The only gripe I have is trying to change the resolution in-game. Doing this with just the deck controller is aggravating and near impossible. The right trackpad is mouse cursor control by default, but there’s no keybind for a left mouse click, which is essential. I just binded the left click to pressing the right trackpad down and it made changing resolutions and navigating some menus easier.

The Bugs of the Forest

I encountered a couple bugs in my playthrough, but they were more slight nuisances and nothing game-breaking. The biggest bug I found was one time starting up the game and it went to a black screen and stayed there. This was easily fixed just by putting the deck into sleep mode and waking it up right after.

Another little bug includes some minor framerate dips and audio crackling when coming out of sleep mode (which fixed themselves shortly after), but that was all I experienced in my playthrough. In my testing, I was also not able to ideally hit 60 FPS without battery being drained incredibly quick and quality being on the lowest setting. I also noticed, when I was testing the maximum battery build, that it didn’t seem like FSR or Half Rate Shading did anything to affect quality of the game. A little disappointing, but not the end of the world.

Firewatch on Steam Deck - Conclusion

Overall, my experience with Firewatch was a positive one. Framerate drops were not very noticeable and any bugs were generally fixed after a couple seconds. Adding the binding for left mouse click to the right trackpad solved my biggest gripe of going through the settings menu for the game. With a verified rating from Valve, which I agree with, this is definitely a great game to add to your deck library.

Need some help understanding how we got to our score? Check out our Guide to Steam Deck HQ.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

The forest is strong with this one. Apart from minor framerate hiccups and average battery life, Firewatch is a fantastic fit for the Steam Deck.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
BarbecuedKitty
Steam Profile

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
40 FPS
Limit
40
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
No
Scaling Filter
Linear
GPU Clock
Disabled
Proton Version

Proton GE 7-19

Game Settings

Resolution at 1152x720

Overall Quality High

Motion Blur Off

World Detail Medium

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
12W - 14W, max 17W when running
N/A
~2.5 Hours
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$19.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Other Builds & Information

Maximum Battery/Coldest Settings

SteamOS:

30 FPS Cap with 60 Refresh Rate

Half Rate Shading OFF

TDP Limit OFF

 

Proton Version:

Proton GE 7-19

 

Game Settings:

Resolution at 960x600

Overall Quality at Medium

Motion Blur OFF

 

Battery Life:

11W - 13W with some spikes to 14W

Around 3 hours of gameplay

Quality/Max Performance Settings

SteamOS:

40 FPS Cap with 40 Refresh Rate

Half Rate Shading OFF

No TDP Limit

Proton Version:

Proton GE 7-19

Game Settings:

Resolution at 1280x800

Overall Quality High

Motion Blur OFF

Battery Life:

18W - 19W with spikes up to 21W

Around 1.5-2 hours of gameplay

Optional Mods

None used!

2 comments on “Firewatch”

  1. This is a native Linux game, you don't need proton... enabling Proton does nothing to it. The game should run at native full screen resolution and out of the box capped at 40fps limit runs at around 12-15 W with everything on high.

    1. It is native, though I am curious about the 12W - 15W you had with native resolution and everything on high. I will redownload and double check the settings. Thank you!

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