Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a third-person action-adventure title where you take on the role of Starkiller, Darth Vader's apprentice, intending to ultimately overthrow the Emperor. Follow Starkiller on his journey in this look at an alternative history of Star Wars.

Graphically speaking, The Force Unleashed holds up pretty well for a 2009 game. It’s nothing to write home about, but there are some nice reflections in areas such as Imperial ships. They do have lovely shiny floors in those things. Characters also have basic shadows, and there are some decent visual effects when using force powers such as shockwaves and distortions. 

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Combat is, however, what most of this game is about. I found the lightsaber to be a somewhat ineffective and clunky weapon, nor did it feel very satisfying to use. The somewhat stunted movement when using the lightsaber makes it feel useless at anything but very short range. The force powers, however, are really fun to play with. You can pick up enemies, throw them about like ragdolls, push them against objects, and throw objects into them; all are valid ways of defeating enemies. The physics system is really nice for a 2009 game and creates an environment where a lot of weaker enemies feel like toys, making you feel extremely powerful. 

But how does the game run on a Steam Deck? Well, let's find out:

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Steam Deck Performance

When first booting the game, you are presented with a launcher. You can’t control this with anything but your touchscreen. All I had to do was change the resolution to 1280x800 (which the game does support) and change the input device from Keyboard + Mouse to Xbox 360 Controller. This makes the game control perfectly fine with the Steam Deck controller. Also, make sure “High Detail” is ticked if it isn’t already. This is the only graphical setting I noticed, and interestingly, there are no graphics settings in the game. 

By default, the game has a 30FPS lock, and you can’t remove it without modifying the game. There is an FPS unlocker out there, which you can use to set your FPS to 40, 50, 60, or unlimited; however, physics bugs will appear at higher frame rates. Because of this, I’m only recommending the 40FPS executable. The physics issue is very minor at this frame rate. Having tested the 60FPS version, the physics issue could cause you to make mistakes, so I don’t recommend using it. 

Just copy the 40FPS EXE for The Force Unleashed and overwrite your current SWTFU.exe in your installation directory in Steam. 

Installation Directory:
/home/deck/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/Star Wars The Force Unleashed/

We’re using 1280x800 resolution and “High Detail” in the launcher. You should enable the frame limiter in SteamOS, as the CPU seems to work overtime if we don’t impose our own framerate limit. 

The Settings

Recommended Build - 40 FPS with FPS Fix

For 40FPS, we can set a 5W TDP and run the game smoothly. Battery life stays strong, hovering at just above 5 hours. If you’re fine with downloading the FPS Unlocker, we definitely recommend these settings. The extra FPS makes the game feel and look smoother, with hardly any compromise on battery life.

30 FPS - No FPS Fix

30FPS likewise needs a 5W TDP setting to stay stable. The game can get pretty intensive on a single CPU thread, especially when first loading an area. This can result in inconsistent frame times, but they usually clear up after a few seconds. A 5W TDP gives a solid 30FPS performance and good battery life. You can expect around 5 and a half hours of battery life at these settings. 


In terms of accessibility, the game offers subtitles for dialogue, 4 difficulty levels that can be changed during gameplay, and a couple of ways to simplify controls, such as toggling instead of having to hold certain buttons. The subtitles are also of a good size and easily readable on the Steam Deck’s screen. There are also cloud saves and controller support in this game.

Possible Issues

If you are encountering inconsistent frame times, try to pause and unpause the game; this will even out the frame pacing. I’m not sure why this happens, but it fixes it. It seems to happen each time you enter an area, load a saved game, or any form of cutscene plays. We do recommend enabling SteamOS’ built-in frame rate lock since this helps the frame time be more consistent, as the game naturally has poor frame pacing. At points, I noticed the game will suddenly accelerate to 50 or 60FPS before relocking if you don’t use the SteamOS lock. 

There are some graphical glitches in the game, although it appears that they may be the game itself rather than any fault of Proton or the Steam Deck, most noticeable on far away objects and on some liquid surfaces. 

Some graphical glitches, such as the liquid here, are present


The Force Unleashed wasn’t my favorite Star Wars experience. I’ve had a lot more fun with Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy in the past, and the newer games like Fallen Order definitely surpass TFU. But if you haven’t played this game yet and you’re looking to get a quick and cheap Star Wars fix, I don’t think TFU is a bad choice. It also runs pretty well on the Deck, especially when using the FPS Unlocker to make it feel extremely smooth. 

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

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The Expanse: A Telltale Series was provided by Telltale for review. Thank you!

Due to this game having an episodic release, we will update the review as new episodes come out and re-check how performance is.

Telltale Games is back and it's wonderful. I have always been a huge fan of deep story-driven experiences and Telltale are the masters at that. And thankfully, I am so happy to say that with The Expanse -
A Telltale Series
, they are back and better than ever.

Just like past Telltale games, The Expanse is closer to a interactive movie rather than a video game. You do have some parts where you can control your character and move around, allowing you to choose different parts of the world to interact with and expand the story past the defined narrative. You will have some quick-time events where you have to push a button or move the joystick within a certain amount of time and, of course, moments within the game's cutscenes where you have to make a decision that will reverberate throughout the rest of the episodes.


In The Expanse, all of this is here and really fantastic. As Camina Drummer, you are the captain of The Artemis where you, with your crew, will explore, scavenge, and survive the dangers of uncharted space beyond The Belt. The game is a prequel to the TV series, so you won't be missing a ton if you haven't seen the show, and it is fantastic. Without spoiling the story, which is the biggest aspect of this game, I will say the first episode sets up the story really well. It does a great job starting to show the characters and what you can expect from the rest of the episodes.

The first episode is very short, which I was surprised by, but I think it did a great job setting up the core of the story. Paired with the great-looking visuals and world building, The Expanse is shaping up to be exactly what Telltale needed to come back to. When buying this game though, don't go in looking for a 5-6 hour experience right away, this will be an investment for the other episodes, which come out every 2 weeks. This looks like it will be a worthwhile investment though, both with the game and on the Steam Deck.

Getting The Expanse Running

The Expanse is not currently on Steam, it is an Epic Store exclusive. This won't last forever though, the game will come to Steam, but you can play it right now regardless! It will require installing a new launcher, which is where I recommend the open-source Heroic Games Launcher, and there will be an error that needs to be fixed. Don't worry though, I wrote a guide to both of these and how to just get the game up and running!

The Expanse - Steam Deck Performance

To preserve as much of the story as possible, I will be limiting my screenshots and blurring out some text. I want to avoid any spoilers, even smaller ones.

Since The Expanse is an Epic Exclusive, I was worried it would suffer from some performance issues or stuttering due to the missing shared shader cache, but I am happy to say that the game is very well optimized in most areas. Most of the time when you are running around, you will sit between 11W - 14W battery drain across all builds, while most cutscenes will sit around 13W - 17W. There are a couple of scenes or spots you can look at that will crank battery drain up, but these are far and few. The worst one is a spot where Camina turns on a mirror and performance will tank, though it will go right back up after the mirror is turned off.


Overall, I am impressed by the game so far and think this is very playable on the Deck regardless! I was shocked that The Expanse can hit 60 FPS on Steam Deck with some tweaking, but in the majority of areas, the drain will sit around 13W - 18W. There are many ways to enjoy the game on-the-go, so here are the ways I would recommend:

Recommended Build

For our recommended build, I went for a mix between good quality settings and a decent framerate. For this, I set everything except Shadows and Effects quality to High, while keeping those two at medium. I was able to push a 45 FPS lock with these settings and the game looks fantastic.

I decided to keep the game's resolution down to 1152x720 to stabilize the framerate and use SteamOS's FSR at Sharpness 0 to upscale. The game honestly looks almost the same as native, maybe just slightly sharper. I personally like how this looks though as it helps the dark world stand out a bit more.

1280x800 (Native)
1152x720 (with FSR)
1152x720 (with FSR)
1280x800 (Native)

With all of that, the 45 FPS is able to stick through most of those hard scenes, with the exception of the mirror part and two others. Otherwise, I can guarantee you will have a great experience with this build!

Quality Build

Next, I wanted to see how far I could push the device with its quality settings, which I was actually able to do quite well. With resolution at 1280x800 and everything on Cinematic (highest setting) except for Effects at High and Shadows at Medium, we can get a solid 40 FPS with no drops other than the harder scenes mentioned above. The majority of the game will be between 13W - 19W, but there will be some areas where it pushes to 21W - 22W, but these are not often.

There might be some minor dips in framerate during 1-2 cutscenes, but if I didn't have the overlay on, I wouldn't have noticed. The game looks phenomenal and it is great being able to push it like this.

60 FPS Build

Finally, we get to the 60 FPS build. Personally, I am still pretty amazed that the game can hold 60 FPS at all, but here we are! There will be a bit heavier drops during the harder scenes, but 95% of the game will stick to 60 and those include the most important parts of the game. The drain is a bit higher than the other builds with an average between 14W - 20W, but it will be smooth as butter.

While the in-game resolution says it is using 1280x800 and 1152x720 resolutions, which are 16:10, the game does have those black bars, so it doesn't actually support those resolutions. Luckily, the game has full controller support. Since the game is using Epic, there are no cloud saves here either.


The Expanse is Telltale Game's first release since its return and they showed that they still got it. The first episode, while short, got me into the characters and made me start wishing episode 2 was released. The world is looking great, the voice-acting is well done, and I am hooked on the story. I am constantly thinking about what could be coming next and how the choices I made could impact the story. And I know I will be able to enjoy it on the Steam Deck, even without it being on Steam.

If you miss Telltale or want an engrossing story, do not miss this one. It will start off short, but in the coming weeks, there will be so much more to get excited about, I am sure of it!

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

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Like a Dragon: Ishin! was provided to us by SEGA for review. Thank you!

The Like a Dragon series is back and taking us to the past! Like a Dragon: Ishin! puts us in the role of the samurai of legend, Sakamoto Ryoma, in his quest to find your father's killer, restore your honor, and save your home. Use a combo of your sword and gun to fight your enemies while leveling up and upgrading the 4 different fighting styles: Fists, Sword, Gun, and Gun+Sword. It's time to join the revolution and forever change the future of Japan!

Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a remake of the PS3-era game of the same name, but has some notable updates to it! Other than the graphical overhaul, the remake comes with new bosses and attacks, new minigames, cast changes, trooper cards, and QoL additions that make it much easier to play and enjoy. While the game definitely has some roots in PS3-era gameplay conventions, the game has that same spark that RGG puts into the other games in this series and I love it. Thankfully, they also put in some fantastic optimization to get this one running on the Steam Deck.

I noticed a few things when playing Ishin that I thought were interesting. First, it felt like the settings didn't change a ton. For example, FSR 2.1 did make some minor changes, but the overall quality of the game wasn't affected. It did help a little with stability, but not nearly as much as I had assumed it would. This could either mean it isn't implemented well or the game is optimized pretty heavily already, and with how far I have gotten in-game so far, I am willing to bet it is the latter.

FSR 2.1 Off
FSR 2.1 On
FSR 2.1 On
FSR 2.1 Off

This was similar to other settings like shadow quality and geometry. The settings, from low to medium, didn't change as much as I thought, but it did affect the game's power draw. With a combo of Low and Medium settings, as well as FSR 2.1, getting a solid 40 FPS in the important areas was easy. There are some slowdowns when running through the town, or when standing still too long and your "thoughts" come on screen, but that was really it. I saw a slowdown once when doing a finisher in battle, but that was the only time it happened during fights.

I did try a couple of things like turning resolution down and using SteamOS FSR to upscale and turning FSR 2.1 down, but nothing seemed to improve performance or lower battery drain. I also noticed some cutscenes slowdown a bit as well. I did try setting a clock speed frequency to see if this would help, but it didn't seem to do much for any of the stutters or slowdowns.

I would say this is a great experience overall though and definitely enjoying the game. The slowdowns are a little bit of a nuisance, but they don't last long or impact the game where it really matters. Overall, Ishin delivers where it really counts. The game looks beautiful and runs at 40 FPS, which feels fantastic and smooth. I would consider this a great experience on the Deck.

I will continue to assess for our full review, including a 30 FPS quality build and trying to push to 45 or 50 for a framerate focus. Right now, I would consider this a safe buy to play on the Steam Deck. Just beware that there will be some slowdowns, but nothing that will harm the experience.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Screenshots:

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This game was provided to us by Inti Creates and PressEngine to review. Thank you!

When a demon turns your school into a massive demonic castle, the demon hunter Kamizono siblings must work together to save the day! Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is a 2D Castlevania-esque game set in a twisted demonic world. Swapping between the two sisters, you will slash and shoot your way through the castle and the monster that inhabit it. Save your classmates and destroy gigantic bosses to unlock new sub-weapons to reach new places in the castle.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is a game that wows on multiple different fronts. The artstyle is beautiful, the mechanics are interesting, but my favorite part by far...the animations. The developers meshed the visuals with very fluid animations that I love to see on my screen. Slicing up enemies with Maya feels awesome watching her slash them in half so cleanly with 1-2 strokes (some enemies do take more hits). Regardless, I love everything about the aesthetic and animations with this game.

I also do enjoy the gameplay, but I have some reservations about some elements. I like that Maya, the melee sister, has less health, but does more damage, while Shinobu, the ranged sister, has more health but does less damage. My biggest issue was the switching mechanic and Shinobu's movement. While I do like the idea, the switching can only be done when standing still instead of anywhere and I would have loved to be able to switch mid-jump. It also feels a bit weird that you can't move around when you are shooting your gun. These could have been done for balance reasons and it didn't stop me from enjoying the game, but I definitely tried to continually do both of these often enough.

Grim Guardians - Best on Deck

Luckily, enjoying this game on the Steam Deck is easy and optimal right out of the box! This will be a game you can play through fully with a minimal amount of drain and low temps, all at 60 FPS. I did feel a couple of times where it slowed slightly, but it seemed to be frame pacing issues and they didn't happen often enough to be really noticeable.

Otherwise, I found no controller/input lag that impacted my playthrough and the game output to a native 1280x720. I did try to force this to 1280x800, but it wouldn't budge. The game has full controller support, which you can customize as the game starts, cloud saves, and local coop that is drop-in (no online though).


Grim Guardians: Demons Purge is a beautiful and well-made game that shines in its presentation and animations. The gameplay loop is pretty wonderful as well, but there are those little nuisances that can feel jarring at times and mess up fluidity of other Castlevania-esque games I have played. Overall, this is still a competent and enjoyable game to play and, thanks to how easy it is to run out of the box, it has become our newest Best on Deck game!

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back

Wild Hearts is a monster hunting game set in a medieval Japan world. Using ancient technology, you will go out to hunt fearsome beasts that are ravaging the land. Go solo or with up to 2 friends (cross-play enabled) and gear up with countless materials and loot you will gain from the monsters you bring down. Will you be able to utilize the ancient technology you have and stop the Kemono rampage?

Before I get into the game's performance, I will say I enjoy the game itself. It looks beautiful and I love this kind of gameplay. The similarities with Capcom's Monster Hunter series are bound to happen, but I really like this vibrant take on the genre. That being said, as of right now, I would avoid getting this on the Steam Deck.

Right out of the gate, you are thrown into the tutorial and it is very heavy. Even on the lowest graphical settings, I couldn't hit 30 FPS, regularly dropping to 21 - 22 with a 24W - 25W drain. This was made worse during certain fights, and even went down to 15 FPS in a boss fight. On top of that, I did get some stutters that completely paused the game for a moment or 2 before resuming and it did crash my game completely once.

The game also has some cutscenes that need Proton GE to play, otherwise it will be the rainbow bars. I did try with multiple launch commands too, but nothing has helped bring framerate up.

Wild Hearts is also lacking some graphical options, mainly lower resolutions below 1280x800 and no upscaling methods like DLSS or FSR 2. For newer more intensive games, this is almost essential for the Deck and, according to reports from Desktop PCs, essential there as well. I tried forcing the resolution down through Steam too, but it completely shrinked the screen and didn't help performance.

It is possible that using CryoUtilities could help the performance a bit, but from the performance I am seeing without it, and the lack of options to enhance it, I would say the gains would be minimal.

Wild Hearts is an awesome game at its core and I can tell from the time I have played with it. Unfortunately, it was hard to really enjoy the great content in the game due to the inability to play at a consistent framerate. While there were some areas that could handle higher framerates (staring at a rock wall almost got me to 40), it couldn't handle the bigger areas. For that, I would say this is one to avoid for now.

We will take another look when the game is fully released and a shader cache has been built. While that is happening, we plan to test out other ways to run the game, including CryoUtilities, to see the difference it makes. Though our review will be based on the default Steam Deck configuration with no modifications. We do this since we will never expect someone else to do something more to modify their device other than what is given from SteamOS and Valve.

Wild Hearts Screenshots:

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Saints Row the Third: Remastered is a...well remaster of the original SR3 game. Think of this game like the crazy version of GTA. You run around in an open-world, kill whoever you want to, steal vehicles, and much more. You also have insane weapons like a dildo and...well I don't want to spoil TOO much, but it is a great game, my personal favorite in the series.

The game does seem to cap itself out at odd times when it comes to the settings. I found a nice couple builds that work well too, perfect for any scenario. The recommended build focuses on a mix of all of them with a slightly higher priority on battery life with primarily medium settings and a 50 FPS cap. The build keeps the game looking nice and sharp with silky smooth gameplay.

The other builds tend to have a couple odd issues, but work fine generally. There are some points where these builds will actually have better temps and battery drain than what I am reporting. I haven't figured out exactly why yet, but it doesn't last that long and everything will spike back up.

Overall, the game runs and looks wonderful on the Steam Deck. It's a great alternative...considering we can't play the new one on SteamOS (there's a possible workaround editing the EXE, but have not tried it yet).


Recommended Build:

Quality Build:

60 FPS Build:


Left ImageRight Image

Note: This was one of the times the Quality build had lower temps, these shot up as soon as I moved away from this spot.

Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image

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

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back!

Game was provided for free by THQ Nordic for review. Thank you!

In 2005, the world was introduced to Destroy All Humans. As an alien nicknamed Crypto, you arrive on Earth in the 1960s where you must harvest the brain stems of humans to continue cloning your species. With an assortment of crazy weapons, including an anal probe and PsychoKinesis (telekinesis), you would kill and fling humans, animals, and objects around, wreaking havoc and getting those sweet sweet stems. In 2020, the original game was remade, turned open-world, and expanded in almost every way conceivable, and 2 years later, the second game in the franchise has been remade.

Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed is a massive expansion over the second game too. Set 10 years after the original game, Crypto is back and bigger than ever. With new weapons, new locations, a coop mode, and body-snatch humans, the crazy is cranked up to 11! The game looks gorgeous and, while it doesn't innovate from the original game much, the possibility of coop rampages is enticing. So while I know we would all love to probe humans on-the-go, we first have to find out how well we can do it. So, let's dive right in to performance on the Steam Deck.

Destroy All Humans 2: Max Settings

At max settings, the game does look gorgeous and sharp, but your battery life will not thank you. The game will easily push the limit to a 25W drain for only around an hour of batter life with temps that will climb up to the 80c area. While this isn't terrible itself, framerate will not be stable and regularly dip under 30 FPS.

Destroy All Humans 2 Max Settings

While Destroy All Humans 2 can look great, those temps and battery drain do not!

Probing the Settings

Destroy All Humans 2 has a solid amount of settings to play with, but these definitely needed some tweaking. There were a couple issues I noticed initially, with the first being ghosting. While I was playing with the settings, I noticed that there was a ghosting trail around me where I walked. Usually, this is a bi-product of FSR, but I didn't have it enabled yet for my testing. It turns out that the Anti-Aliasing setting was causing it though. Setting it to low or medium made the game way too sharp looking (especially the grass), whereas setting it to High caused the ghosting effect. The only way to get the best of both worlds was setting it to Ultra. Generally, I try to lower AA due to how taxing it can be on the system, but I had no choice in this case.

Left ImageRight Image

In the first image, you can see right behind the character are "reflections" of her. This ghosting is prevalent on Anti-Aliasing high setting. Anything below that setting gets rid of ghosting, but becomes way too sharp. If you look at the grass, it appears to be glowing on then tips a little, but this is actually over-sharpness at play.

The second issue I came across was shadows. Shadows can be really heavy on the system and turning them down can dramatically help the internals run the game better, but in this case, the settings dramatically changed shadows way more than I expected. Low got rid of almost all of them, medium turned them all into blobs, but high gave them just enough detail to look significantly better. It helped the overall atmosphere, so I kept the shadows at High as I felt they were a happy medium for what I was looking for.

Left ImageRight Image

While shadows can be taxing, the difference between the 2 is astounding. High heavily increases the overall quality of the game.

Once finished with my settings, I wanted to try turning FSR 2.0 on, though this gave me another weird effect. It is hard to take a screenshot of, but the ghosting was back...but it was transparent. This caused a weird bubbling that wasn't super noticeable, but I felt it was enough to mention. Keeping FSR 2.0 off eliminated that though, so I opted for not using it.

With the recommended settings, Destroy All Humans 2 looks gorgeous and runs smoothly at 30 FPS. I felt this was a great compromise between stability, battery, and graphics. It can push up to a mix of high/ultra settings with sacrifices to battery life, but I felt they were miniscule compared to what you are saving here. I will mention, however, if battery life is no issue to you at all, we will provide a build that will prioritize stability at 30 FPS at the highest quality settings possible.

Left ImageRight Image

The differences feel minimal visually, but the recommended gives a night-and-day difference to battery life and temps.

I wanted to put together a 40 FPS build as well, but holding a stable framerate was near impossible. The game is made with Unreal Engine 4, which does have some issues when loading in new assets and does provide some drops in framerate. This is prevalent even in our recommended build, but you can feel it much much more in 40 as it will drop all the way down to 32. Thankfully, the drops don't last long and quickly recover. This also comes with a reduction in quality and much more battery drain to even come close to holding it at 40. This is why I can't recommend it, but I feel we may have found a sweet spot that works 95% of the time, albeit with a much higher drain.

Bugs and Glitches

I did touch on a few of the weird settings earlier, like shadow and anti-aliasing quality, but I need to mention the Unreal Engine 4 aspect again. This game will have slowdowns as you are moving into a new area, no matter what settings. I have turned the settings all the way down and even still when walking into new areas, there will be some drop. The odd ghosting effects from anti-aliasing and FSR 2.0 are a bit jarring as well, it was either normal ghosting or transparent bubble ghosting with those 2.

Destroy All Humans 2 itself played really well and I didn't encounter any bugs in my playthrough of it. It was just the odd settings that I had to choose. The game also runs offline without any issues thankfully!


While I am critical of the settings, I had a lot of fun playing the game. It brought back the fond memories I had of playing the original games on the Xbox 15 years ago. I am so glad Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed was able to run as well as it did on the Deck. There will be some unavoidable drops due to UE4, but it does recover fast. Overall though, even with the sacrifices being made, the game was a lot of fun to play on the Deck.

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

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back!

God of War (2018) is the first game in the rebooted-ish God of War series. You play as angry man Kratos who, with his son Atreus, must honor his partner’s dying wish. Along the way, you will travel across the land, encountering the gods of the norse mythology, all while training his son to be an angry boy. This game detracts from its predecessors heavily, focusing on telling a compelling story in a third person view over a beat-em-up style game. The game is phenomenal all around and is easily one of the greatest games to have ever been made. Saying this was a worthwhile experience is an understatement, so I was praying this would run well on the Steam Deck.

God of War's Max Settings

Knowing how this would turn out, I started my benchmarking with everything set to max. Lo and behold, it was horrible. Everything set to max with native resolution and no caps resulted in a 20 FPS average with a 24W+ battery drain and temps that were rising up to the high 80s. And this was in one of the less heavy areas of the game. I had no intention of using max settings though and here is where the review gets a bit tricky.

God of War Max Settings

While God of War looks beautiful, battery drain and temps are high, as well as the framerate hanging around 20 FPS or lower.

The Perilous Journey to Optimization

God of War is a super intensive game and I feel there are two ways to play this: 30 FPS with a battery/quality focus and 40 FPS with a performance focus. In my testing, having a specific quality-focus build results in battery drain that hits a bit too hard, though it is possible to play.

Seeing as how draining God of War is, I wanted to see how far I could get the drain and temps down while keeping a stable 30. Thankfully, God of War does have FSR 2.0 integration, so I didn’t have to turn the resolution down as much to save battery. I set the TDP to 9 and started reducing some quality settings to make sure the stable framerate was hit. I ended up with a nice mix of original and high settings, with 3 of them being low. With those settings and a 1152x720 resolution with FSR 2.0 set to quality, we get a fairly nice picture with a mostly stable 30 FPS. There are some framerate spikes, but I don’t feel they are noticeable in general play without the graph there. I have seen some minor slowdowns too, but these tend to happen in cutscenes or entering new areas, which don’t impact gameplay as much. Turning up TDP could mitigate some of these, but will also drain everything much faster. Even when all the settings are set to low, I still experienced some form of spike, so while these settings may cause a little more, they still don’t feel noticeable and give more to the game while saving a significant amount of battery drain.

When it comes to 40 FPS, it is possible to achieve it while still looking quite good, though at a cost to stability. I would say overall, the game is 80% stable at 40 with these settings, though there are still mini spikes which are much more noticeable due to the increased framerate. On top of that, battery drains significantly more and temps get up to 80c, which in itself is still not that bad. It is also slightly blurrier as the resolution is changed down to 960x600, and FSR 2.0 set to balanced, but the smooth framerate does make up for this. It is still decent looking, though personally, the upgrades to quality and less noticeable spikes win out for me.

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The difference in quality is clear and while 40 FPS can be hit, the temps and battery drain are massive.

There were no clear differences when using a different Proton version for God of War, so you can pick and choose which one you would like to use. I prefer using Proton GE when I can. If you don't know about it or want to install, you can follow our guide for it!

I did also encounter a couple bugs with the Deck. I noticed that after some cutscenes in God of War, my controls would stop working. This was easily fixed by hitting the "Steam" button and then going back into the game, but it was a bit annoying to deal with. I also did notice that moving the left analog stick has a very slight delay. I tested to see if this was due to SteamOS's cap, though even when Vsync in game was on with no cap, there was still that delay. It wasn't really noticeable when getting into the game though, just when I specifically stopped to test it.


I still am in shock as I tested and wrote this review, I was playing God of War on a handheld device. This game is so good and I was pleased with the performance. Of course, in terms of technicality, it could be better. It does still have framerate spikes and some bugs, but overall, this is a huge AAA game that has no business running as well as it does on Deck. If you haven't played the game before, or on the fence about it, do yourself a favor and grab the game. The compromises are well worth it.

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

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Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order was released in 2019 as a new take on the Star Wars gaming genre. Mixing “Dark Souls”-esque combat, action-RPG elements, and “Uncharted” styled platforming, the AAA release sought to immerse players in a graphically detailed environment containing new characters and a style of gameplay that is distinctly different from past Star Wars games. Having completed my first playthrough on Playstation 4 at release, I was excited to pick this up during the Steam Summer sale and evaluate how the game would perform on the Steam Deck.

Star Wars: The Maximum Settings

When I first booted into the game, I intended to push the Deck as far as it could go. I installed the game to the internal SSD (my Deck has the 256GB NVME SSD) and fired it up with Steam OS set to 60fps and all in-game settings set to maximum quality. While the game was certainly playable, I found it maxed out in the low 40 FPS range, frequently dropping as low as 25 FPS during heavy combat or cutscenes.

Using these settings, the game was consistently drawing 25+ watts from the Deck, leading to GPU temperatures in the high 80s and overall poor battery life of only 1.5 hours. Any changes to TDP essentially made the game unplayable, with it performing in the 15-20 FPS range. With this, I promptly decided to configure a 40 FPS build.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order Max Settings

While max settings can look nice, the battery drain, temps, and framerate instability make it not playable.

Star Wars: A New Optimization

I reduced the refresh rate in SteamOS to 40hz and set my framerate cap to match. Overall, the game performed better than when set at 60 FPS, even off the Micro SD card. I did notice slightly longer loading times, and framerate drops of 10-15 FPS when loading or entering areas with more than 4 or 5 enemies.

Upon returning to those areas, however, there wasn’t any lag, leading me to believe the stutters had more to do with the read/write speeds of the Micro SD card rather than the Deck hardware itself. Looking into it further, the Fallen Order PC port seems to suffer from “micro-stutters,” which could be what I was experiencing. Also noteworthy, menus seemed to behave in the 20-35 FPS range in each configuration I tried.

The framerate in Star Wars averaged around 35-40fps in this 40 FPS configuration, dipping as low as 25fps for a second or two when loading, which is more than playable for me. The battery lasted about an hour and a half pulling around 20 watts on average.

Further optimizing the 40 FPS build, I lowered the in-game resolution to 1152x720, set the display to fullscreen, applied FSR scaling with 0 sharpness, reduced the TDP to 10 watts, manually set the GPU clock to 1000hz, and lowered the settings to medium. I didn’t notice any difference in overall performance or visuals, but gained an extra 30 minutes of battery life and the Deck ran at lower temperatures, which is a bonus in itself.

While the issues at 40hz were minor, I did end up dropping down to 30 FPS on 60hz, which performed the best and bought me an extra 30 minutes of battery life. The only time these settings suffered was during the final cutscene (no spoilers) and menus, where the framerate dipped as low as 20 FPS.

I retained the resolution, FSR, and GPU clock settings from the 40 FPS build, but dropped the TDP even lower to 8. This build, by far, provided the best battery life, and the TDP drop had minimal impact on performance. I did notice some of the visuals weren’t as vivid as they were on high settings, but the increased battery life was worth it for me.

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Both the 40 FPS and 30 FPS builds performed well, but I’d recommend the 40 FPS build due to its decent battery life, low temperatures and GPU utilization, and overall performance. If you’ll be away from a charger for a long period of time, the 30 FPS build is an excellent alternative. There is also some stuttering in every build we tested, but this could be due to the PC port and there are reports of stuttering not just on Deck, but on desktop PCs as well.

As far as controls go, the default configuration works great out of the box. I found myself preferring the left trackpad over the D-pad for actions like using stims and switching lightsaber configurations. Even though my hands are rather large, it was easier to reach the trackpad with my normal grip.

I haven’t explored the possibility, but thought the rear buttons (L4-5 and R4-5) would work well mapped to some lightsaber combos, such as jump attack (A then X), double power strike (Y then Y), throwing your lightsaber (LB + Y), etc. I didn’t end up trying this in game, but did create a controller layout, details below the review. Feel free to modify it for your own uses.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with the Steam Deck’s ability to handle such a graphically intense AAA game and I found myself surprised several times during the playthrough. The visuals are stunning, even on the 1280x800 screen, and I found new appreciation in the color balance.

Notably, the blacks were “blacker,” making the areas where I needed to use my lightsaber as a flashlight much more realistic. Combat and platforming were fluid, and although temperatures and battery life varied, the experience was enjoyable overall. If the upcoming sequel, Star Wars: Jedi Survivor, plays this well on the Deck, it will be a “must have” in my game library.

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

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

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back!

Doom Eternal is the latest evolution of the grand-daddy of first-person shooters. Its "push forward combat" approach to gameplay throws a barrage of enemies, explosions, and pixels on the screen all at once which the Steam Deck handles with aplomb!  Thanks to some impressive hardware packed into the (relatively) tiny Steam Deck, as well as amazing optimization on the part of ID Software, the Deck handles this intense shooter with ease.  

Doom Eternal Performance

Right out of the box, Doom Eternal fires on all cylinders at a solid 60fps but at the expense of some higher temps (up to 89*C in my initial testing) and higher power consumption (23-24W, giving about 1.5 hours of battery life).  A little fine tuning of settings and limiting TDP gives you options for either high quality graphics with 60fps 95% of the time (Quality Build) or lower graphical settings but at a rock solid 60fps (Performance Build). I personally preferred the performance build as a consistent 60fps helped the feel of the action in Doom Eternal and lowering the graphics as noted in the performance build did not make the game visibly unpleasant at all. 

The really good news is that you can achieve both of these with greatly reduced temps and significantly more battery life. The quality build played at 50fps most of the time with minor dips to 48-49 fps for a split second. Without the Steam overlay, I don't think I would have noticed these moments, but they were most present when the screen got extremely hectic (mostly during glory kills which don't require player control in the moment). The performance build gave a rock solid 60fps, but with noticeable aliasing on some elements, like the targeting reticle, that took a while to get used to. This required lowering the resolution, turning on FSR, and adjusting the graphics settings as noted in the performance build.  The builds kept the GPU temps down to 73*C on quality and 68 for performance, while CPU temps were 75c for quality and 70c for performance.

The battery build, while does save some battery and temps, makes the game’s text very hard to read. It gets around 65c for GPU while CPU hovers around 68c-70c. FSR saves the day at the resolution used for this build, but the quality downgrade doesn’t really justify the battery that can be saved from this setup.

When using the quality build I played with motion blur on. Yes, motion blur - wait, put down your pitchforks, let me explain. Yes, I know motion blur is regarded as horrible, but with the help of DRS, it becomes much less horrible and adds to the quality of the game in the performance build. Basically, Dynamic Resolution Scaling (DRS) will adjust the game’s resolution as needed, often lowering it temporarily, in order to try and maintain a higher framerate at the expense of blurring the image some. Since motion blur seemed to be implemented on a per object basis. This made the DRS’s downscaling much less noticeable while still keeping the frame rate and temperature gains.. Turning off motion blur didn't dramatically increase stability or allow for major graphical setting changes, and even in the quality build, it added to the experience. This could be a Doom only setting, and I understand why motion blur is hated, but I feel it really helps this game shine.

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Custom Controls

Interestingly enough, one of the greatest pleasures running Doom Eternal on the Steam Deck was the ability to fully remap the buttons (an option available in the Doom Eternal setting as well, but greatly expanded with Steam). I used the back buttons for jumping, dashing, grenade switching, and flame belch which let me keep my fingers on the joysticks at all times and I enjoyed some fine-tuned gyro aiming with the capacitive right joystick.  I also set up the right track pad as a radial dial, giving each one of Doom Eternal's weapons its own spot for quick switching with a rapid light tap that just isn't possible with other console controllers. You can go even deeper down the customization rabbit hole by adding double tap weapon switching and action sets with controller chords to switch weapons even faster. It can take a little while to wrap your head (and hands) around it, but there is a very deep level of controller customization possible. I would definitely say weapon hot swapping and animation cancels are mandatory at higher difficulty levels. The controller scheme can be found in the Community Layouts and is called "Doc Jones SDHQ".


As a friend said to me when I talked about playing Doom Eternal on the Steam Deck: "That thing is so well optimized it could run on a toaster."  He may be right, but it doesn't short-change the Deck's impressive hardware. The ability to customize the button layout even more via Steam allowed me to create a layout that was much closer to keyboard and mouse precision.  There were also no game breaking or distracting graphical bugs/glitches that I noticed as I played through the main campaign and horde mode (which includes enemies from The Old Gods expansion). I ran a few multiplayer deathmatches and they ran very well with these settings. From all of my testing, I can easily say Doom Eternal is amazing and playing on Deck will be well worth your time.

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

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back!