Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the sequel of Black Ops and the predecessor of Black Ops 3 from the popular First Person Shooter franchise and is full of nostalgia for those of us raised on all the earlier COD titles. BO2 comes with a somewhat lengthy campaign that goes back and forth between modern and futuristic combat, a gratifying multiplayer experience filled with iconic maps, and the evolution of the well-received zombie gamemode introduced from World at War, Black Ops 2 gives players an incredible experience.

The 45 FPS build for me was the smoothest of them all, which is why it is my recommended build. I used native resolution since lower resolution with FSR was causing micro-stutters for me (1-2 fps drops consistently), but I had it tested with another person who didn’t get the micro-stutters so take it with a grain of salt.

The reasoning behind not capping the wattage is mainly due to the game not using a high wattage 90% of the time anyways, except for certain cinematics that require the wattage to not stutter throughout. For the setting used in this build the game would reach up to 68fps at times if not capped which does give the player wiggle room if you prefer better shadows or something of that nature.

Fair warning though, there will be select heavy parts of the game where you might get around 40 instead of 45 fps due to this. If shadows are necessary for you, I would lower the 8x MSAA to 4x MSAA. But for me, the 8 times was easily worth the shadow loss. I felt the scopes on turrets or snipers would look blocky, but in 8x that was not the case. With this build, the battery length is 4.5 hours depending on the mission at hand.

I didn’t encounter any big issues in Black Ops 2 except on some cinematics where the game will not have a stable fps, likely due to the game’s cinematics not optimized for Linux. If you are looking to play multiplayer and zombies, you are going to need Proton GE 7-22 or above installed. For zombies and multiplayer, all the settings will need to be on low all, while leaving the TDP Limit at 15W to try to help against the lag/stuttering. With that, it is currently possible to get a stable framerate if you change the refresh rate and cap to 40 FPS. Playing solo works well, but I experienced a lot of lag during any connection to a server in multiplayer and zombies, so I can't recommend playing them at this current state.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Conclusion

In the end, Black Ops 2's game’s campaign worked perfectly and it was great to re-experience it, but any multiplayer modes left something to be desired. While I could play Zombies alone without issues at 40 FPS, it was not enjoyable to play online, which I believe will deter a lot of players. If you are wanting to play through the Bo2 campaign, the deck would be a great way to do so. Otherwise, I would put more hope on the other CoD games for a better multiplayer and zombies experience. While I could play Zombies alone without any issues whatsoever at 40 FPS, it was not enjoyable to play online due to overwhelming connection issues.

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

Hitman 3 is the newest game in the rebooted hitman franchise. Taking the role of Agent 47, a man with a barcode slapped on the back of his bald head, you head to exotic places to assassinate elusive targets however you can. Feel like shooting them? Go ahead. Poison them? Be my guest. Throw a can of spaghetti? Oh you’ll be making Chef Boyardee proud. Using their new engine, each location is beaming with beautiful vistas and creative gameplay. And if you own Hitman 1 and 2, you can import the missions and campaigns into Hitman 3 for no extra charge! With all 3 games in 1 package, this is an incredibly fun game to screw around in.

Reviewing Hitman 3 was tough. This game actually runs really well on the deck out of the box, but there are a few caveats like high temps and battery usage. Through my testing, I found two efficient ways to play the game, a focus on temp/battery and one on quality. The main difference for these ways is the in-game FSR settings. Turning FSR on ultra quality blurs the resolution a little, but saves on battery a LOT while turning it off keeps everything sharp at the cost of battery.

The game can run 40 FPS pretty consistently at medium settings, 30 FPS lock actually kept temps and battery life down a chunk. This was most apparent when there are crowds of people. At 40, crowds could bring temps up to 80c and battery to 22W, while 30 would spike it to 70c and 17W generally. Medium in-game settings felt like a good balance of quality while still keeping temps and battery in check. I also found limiting TDP can mitigate some spikes, but it comes in most handy when shooting for higher framerates.

I didn’t experience any audio issues, but there were a few glitches I encountered. The mildest one would be some random black boxes appear when turning the camera too quickly, but they also disappear near immediately. When the in-game FSR is turned on, there is sometimes a visible halo around Agent 47 and there’s some ghost trails when walking.

I also have been noticing some framerate lag, but it isn’t picked up in the system so I believe it is the game’s engine and not the frames it brings out. I see this much more when FSR is turned off as well. I also noticed that, even though the game is verified, some steam deck button icons don’t show up in game.

There is a launcher for this game as well. You have to either use the touchscreen or set one of the trackpads to control the mouse. Though all of the settings from the launcher can be changed in-game, so I would just hit play and change settings after the game is launched.

Hitman 3 - Conclusion

Overall, the game runs surprisingly well. This is a new-ish release that still takes a lot to run, but the Steam Deck handles it like a champ. Being able to play Hitman 3 in a stable environment on the go, albeit with some compromises, still astounds me. This was a game I never imagined I could play on a portable device, yet here we are.

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

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