Posted:  Jan 25, 2023
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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 Square Enix for providing us with a copy of Forspoken to review!

A young New Yorker is hitting rock bottom right before she is transported to the beautiful, broken land of Athia. Now, with her newfound magical abilities, she must traverse the desolate land and find her way home. Forspoken will have you traveling all across the open-world with magic-enhanced parkour and taking down monsters in real-time combat with a range of flashy battle and support spells. You will also level up from your encounters and grow stronger while unlocking even more abilities to enhance the way you decide to play. Will you be able to survive the twisted monsters that await and make your way home?

From my time with Forspoken so far, I have actually been enjoying it gameplay wise. The game is flashy in the right ways and I like the real-time combat. It can feel a little repetitive at first, but after more magic was unlocked, I started to feel the variety and liked mixing and matching. The world felt a little bland in its color scheme, which the vibrant plugin helped fix, but it wasn't horrible. As a game, Forspoken is one I am enjoying much more than I thought I would, due to the reviews coming out for it, but let's take a look at how it runs on the Steam Deck so far.

For a game that recommends a RTX 3070 and 24gb of RAM, I am genuinely impressed how the game runs. There are a lot of compromises to make, which makes sense seeing as how new and intensive the game is, but it is ultimately playable! The game starts you out on the lowest settings, which makes sense given how much power this game asks for, but I elected to change FSR 2 to Balanced instead of performance. The game looked significantly better and didn't add to the overall power draw. Quality was also a step up, but not enough to justify the draw.

The game was still dropping more than I would have liked it to, so I forced the resolution down to 1024x640 and upscaled through SteamOS FSR. It didn't take much away from the visuals and did help keep stability down. This also allowed the game to stick below 18W, which is pretty amazing seeing as how most other builds I am seeing have a high 23W-27W drain. There will still be some drops, and you can raise the TDP limit to account for those if preferred, but the drops to 27-28 FPS weren't noticeable due to the 30 FPS cap.

I did experience one crash when I was playing, but this was most likely due to using too much RAM as I was playing with the settings (both the texture and model streaming was set to standard). I did also experience more slowdowns and battery drain during cutscenes, but most actual gameplay held up pretty well.

One big noticeable issue is loading. The game can take a long time to load into some cutscenes and the menus. It takes about 5 seconds to fully load everything in when going into the menu and sometimes coming out of it, which can be a bit annoying, but it isn't game-breaking.

Overall, I would consider this a success for Square Enix. Forspoken does have some optimization issues across the board, which patches could definitely help, and the shared shader cache is still being put together and should help a bit too in the next few days. The game itself is more fun than I expected and it is playable on the Steam Deck. It won't look as beautiful as it would on more powerful devices, and sometimes takes a bit to load, but to be able to play this on-the-go, I felt this is a good trade-off.

Forspoken Screenshots:


FSR 2 Balanced
FSR 2 Quality
FSR 2 Quality
FSR 2 Balanced


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

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Forspoken is a surprisingly enjoyable game that keeps me coming back and, with some compromises, this next-gen game can be enjoyed on the Steam Deck.

Build Score

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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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