Enshrouded was provided by Keen Games for review. Thank you!

This game was tested with a Steam Deck LCD. OLED testing is coming soon.

Enshrouded is a curious game. It seemed to launch into Early Access with a bang, and yet I had somehow never heard of the game before it launched and was suddenly being mentioned everywhere. The privilege fell to me to try and get this sudden sensation running well on the Steam Deck, and I couldn't wait to see it for myself.

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Enshrouded takes place in a vast open-world

At first glance, Enshrouded seems like a more visually detailed version of Valheim, and in some ways, it is. It takes place in a very large open world, with the ability to construct bases out of various materials and building parts you scavenge, go exploring, craft furniture, weapons, and armor, and defeat various enemies throughout the many biomes.

I like the building system. You can choose from only a few building blocks for each material type, but you can also choose what size you want. This allows you to create structures with more intricate details in them. The structures also snap together well and can alter appearance slightly depending on what structure pieces are placed next to them, making it all fit together.

The combat is another plus point and is probably the most fleshed-out part of the game so far. The combat leans more towards the tougher side, and when you're at a low level, most enemies will kill you in 2-3 hits. This means learning to dodge and parry attacks is essential. The movement system allows you to maneuver fluidly while engaged, feeling similar to soulslike combat.

You have a variety of weapons you can use, from melee to ranged, and although it's frustrating when you die to an enemy and respawn at your base, the penalties applied aren't harsh.

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The game's combat can be harsh, but at the same time, fair.

Enshrouded is still in Early Access, and it's fairly obvious to see why. Although the open world is vast and sometimes beautiful, the world is quite empty. There are specific places you are guided to when on a quest, but a lot of the world feels barren currently. While playing, I didn't encounter any friendly NPCs besides ones that can work on your base. It feels like a shame that there aren't friendly villages/towns you can encounter, and I hope something like that is planned for the future.

Another thing that frustrated me is that digging with a pickaxe, for example, can alter terrain by mining. I thought, "Wow, what an awesome feature," but when I quit the game and reloaded my save, all the terrain editing and rocks had returned to their previous state. I understand this might be done to create infinite resources for players, maybe even to prevent grief, but having the feature present and not permanent makes me think they might as well not have had it present.

This is a bit of a common theme, sadly. Whenever you log off and back on, all the enemy and neutral animal spawns restart. Enemies always appear to spawn in the same locations, meaning there's no sense of surprise. You KNOW a wolf will spawn over by those trees, that a group of enemies will be by that ruin. It would make sense if this was a single-player RPG, perhaps, but on a game designed to be played on a dedicated server for 16 players, it feels very strange at how "scripted" and static it can feel.

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You can dig holes through rocks like this, but upon saving and reloading the game, it will return to its natural state.

Enshrouded is an Early Access title, and features can change. From a fairly empty open world to some curious design choices, the game has its issues. But does it have potential? Given that the developers have created a game engine from the ground up to make this game, they're in it for the long haul, and Enshrouded could become a fantastic title once it gets fleshed out with more content and polish, a game to watch for sure!

Enshrouded - Steam Deck Performance

Enshrouded gets the basics right for the Steam Deck, it has full controller support for both menus and gameplay, and it supports 16:10 resolutions, including 1280x800 which is the Deck's native resolution.

However, things start to fall apart a little when we get to performance. The developers have stated that optimization is one of their key concerns right now, as even players using GPUs such as the RTX 3080 have reported difficulties playing the game at decent graphical settings. Unfortunately, that means, for now, at least, Steam Deck users need to make heavy compromises to make Enshrouded "Playable."

Recommended Settings - 30 FPS

Start by setting a 30 FPS lock in your SteamOS settings, and removing any TDP limit, we'll need all the power we can get.

In the in-game display settings, set your resolution to 1280x800 (Native), adjust the Resolution Scale to 65% (520p), and then select the "Max Performance" Quality Preset to set all other settings to their lowest. Ensure FSR2 is your selected Anti-Aliasing method and FSR2 Quality is set to Performance.

Because we're able to run at 800p and just use the resolution scale, we get to keep a crisp UI with readable text, only the gameplay is reduced in resolution. Performance is mostly steady, often holding 30 FPS, with occasional dips into the high 20s, usually in combat or heavily forested areas, with some minor stuttering.

Battery drain depends on where you are. It can be anywhere from 20-24W but tends to lean towards the higher end of that range. As such, I wouldn't expect more than 90 minutes of battery life while playing Enshrouded. Temperatures tended to stay around 75-80C, so it runs a little on the hot side, but that's to be expected given that this game pushes both the CPU and GPU.

Whether this represents a "playable" experience is up for debate. As you can see from the images, the low-resolution scale makes for a very soft image. I would use the Deck as a "secondary" device, where I can log on and do some quick resource gathering or base building but not take on major quest lines or serious combat, as a sudden drop in performance could easily lead to unnecessary death and frustration.

Accessibility:

Enshrouded doesn't offer too much in the way of accessibility. There are a few options in the accessibility menu. Most of these are related to how the camera moves, such as removing camera swaying and shaking. There's also an option to add symbols to item rarity, so the rarity isn't just defined by a color, which would be helpful for those with color blindness.

Conclusion:

Enshrouded is a bit rough around the edges as of writing this review, but it has the potential to be one of the best survival sandbox games out there. Given the effort the developers have put in to lay the groundwork and the positive reception they've already received, I'm hoping they'll stick by this game and keep improving it until it's a great experience. The combat and base building are pretty much there, but exploring the world feels a little unrewarding right now, and some elements of the game feel very static when a more dynamic approach would have been appropriate.

As for how it runs on the Steam Deck, I'm undecided as to whether or not this is a "playable" game. Before this review was written, Valve declared the game as "Unsupported" on the Deck due to performance issues. Perhaps the game receiving this grading will encourage the developers even more to optimize the game. With a little optimization here and there, we could easily achieve a solid 30 FPS experience and maybe up that resolution, scaling a notch or two.

This game is one to watch, but I'd skip it now if you want to play primarily 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 of 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.

This game was tested with a Steam Deck LCD. OLED testing is coming soon.

I'm back again, with another Yakuza review, the third this month! Every time I close my eyes, I see Kiryu...

As usual, if you're interested in the Yakuza series, you should definitely start with Yakuza 0. All the games are inter-linked, and if you start the series at number 6, you're going to be confused as to who all these characters are and the background behind them. But trust me, the time commitment to play all of these games is worth it thanks to how well-rounded and meaningful the stories are.

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Yakuza 6 focuses back onto the series main protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu

Yakuza 6's story takes a page out of the Fast & Furious book, it's all about family. Family has been a running theme throughout the Yakuza games. There's probably a family member protecting another one, or you know, killing another one in every game. But Yakuza 6 is very much based around Kiryu protecting those closest to him, even if they aren't related by blood.

Story-wise, a lot of your time will be spent running around trying to gather information on what happened to your "family" member, whom I won't disclose to keep from spoiling. The information gathering is pretty painfully slow, so you might want to mix it up with some intriguing side stories before you get frustrated about being told to go somewhere to get information and finding out that person doesn't know what you wanted to know, but they do want you to help them out with something!

Yakuza 6 actually turns in as the shortest game in the mainline Yakuza series (If you count Kiwami 1 and 2 as replacements for Yakuza 1 and 2), but it's still a good length. You'll likely still be plodding your way through the story at the 20-hour mark, and that's not including all the side missions and minigames that Yakuza games always have in abundance.

Combat gets a bit of a re-vamp with the newly introduced Dragon Engine. For the first time in the series, we actually get proper ragdolls, which are put to great use given that Kiryu can punch and kick people with the power of a thousand intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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Kiryu, punching a man with the power of an ICBM, as described above. Onlookers are stunned.

However, I found some frustrating points/issues with the game. The new combat system feels more fluid but seems to suffer from a bit of "looseness." This is most noticeable when locking on a target in combat. In older Yakuza games, the lock-on felt instant. If you were locked on, close to the target, and threw a punch, that punch would connect if the opponent didn't dodge. Now, although the combat feels more fluid and natural, it also means features like lock-on don't always work as well, and even when locked on, you can simply miss a punch or a kick and end up kicking to the side of an enemy, even if they didn't dodge.

Ultimately, it isn't a deal breaker, and most of the hitboxes are generous with Kiryu's moves so that attacks usually connect regardless. Still, on the odd occasion where Kiryu does kick thin air right next to an enemy, it is frustrating.

Regardless, it still doesn't excuse the developers from putting minigames like calming a crying baby every 30 seconds as you move through the city. Thankfully, it's only in a small portion of the game, but boy, was I getting annoyed by the end of it.

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Yes, this is a minigame within Yakuza, you'll get used to it, unfortunately.

But let's get onto what you're here for: how the game performs on the Steam Deck.

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life - Steam Deck Performance

Don't ask why, but while Yakuza 4 Remastered supported 16:10 resolutions, Yakuza 6 still does not. It uses the same trick as Yakuza 5 Remastered, where the game runs at 1280x720, and then artistic borders are put around the top and bottom of the screen to make it up to 1280x800. It's a novel idea, but it's still annoying that the game is restricted to 16:9 aspect ratios.

As we're accustomed to for Yakuza games, we have full controller support, and as always, it works without a hitch, so you won't have any difficulties playing on the Steam Deck itself. It's worth noting that Yakuza 6 does allow the player to pause the game at most points and save anywhere, and also allows players to reload at basically any point too, so having a long battery life isn't quite as urgent here as it was in the previous games.

Yakuza 6 is a little more customizable in the graphics settings than Yakuza 4 and 5 Remasters, so let's take a look and see what we can get out of our Steam Decks with this game. The basic graphics settings are the same across both presets we have here. Fortunately, one improvement Yakuza 6 does have over the remasters is that game logic is not tied to frame rate, so we can run at 40 FPS if we desire, not just 30 or 60.

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The basic graphics settings used by both of our presets.

Recommended Settings - 40 FPS Quality

This newfound ability to run at 40 FPS comes in handy because, regardless of what we do, we cannot maintain 60 FPS in Yakuza 6 on the Steam Deck, sadly. These settings are for the best-looking experience while still maintaining a smooth framerate, and are my preferred way to play Yakuza 6 on the Deck.

Set your Frame Rate Lock in SteamOS to 40 FPS/Hz and remove any TDP Limit, we'll need the full 15W for this. Then go into your advanced graphics settings and make sure they are configured as they are below. I found that keeping shadows on Medium instead of turning to Low helps prevent some strange artifacts on shadows when moving, which can get distracting. SSAO is a bit of a killer on performance, but it also improves how the game looks, especially the darker alleyways.

Yakuza 6 also gets a Resolution Scale option, and we're setting that to 85%, as it's hard to notice the drop, and it gives us the extra bump in performance we need for those Shadows and that SSAO.

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My recommended Yakuza 6 Settings

With these settings, our power draw varies between 18W - 21W, which means we can expect around one and a half hours of battery life, maybe just a bit more, from a full charge. Temperatures reach around 80C in intensive areas, which can be a little hot, but it's only for brief periods, and the game often runs closer to 70C than 80C.

As you can see from the frame time graphs (upper left corner) of the above screenshots, in certain intensive battles, you will get slightly erratic frame times, but for 99% of the game, it is a fairly consistent experience. The 1st screenshot is an extreme example, where you are in a battle of over 20 individuals, once there were around ten remaining, the frame-pacing evened out, and most battles are with less than ten fighters.

Battery Life Settings - 30 FPS

First, we'll set a 30 FPS / 60Hz lock in our SteamOS settings, we can set an 8W TDP Limit here and hold the 30 FPS we need for a playable experience. We're losing out on the shadow quality and SSAO of the quality preset above, and we're also lowering our resolution scale to 75% here. While these are fairly big compromises on the visual quality of the game, they greatly reduce power draw. Because of the "Low" setting on shadows, though, you will likely notice shimmering/artifacts.

Yakuza 6 BatterySettings

With this TDP limit, we get a power draw of around 10-12W, which gives us around 3 hours from a full charge, more than I expected to get, if I'm honest. The frame rate is pretty stable, and the game still looks decent, although far-away objects will appear aliased and slightly pixelated due to the lower resolution scale.

Personally, I'd rather play at 40 FPS and have greater visual quality than play at 30 FPS and gain an hour or so of battery life, but if you want to sit down for a longer play session, then this might be the right preset for you.

Issues with the Puyo Puyo Minigame

This is just a small note, but one worth making. Currently, the Puyo Puyo minigame will crash your Steam Deck if you attempt to play it. I tried it with Proton and Proton Experimental, and they resulted in an immediate crash back to SteamOS, Proton GE didn't crash, but resulted in garbled graphics inside the minigame, so you'll need to avoid it in Club SEGA venues.

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Puyo Puyo's garbled graphics on Proton GE

Accessibility:

Yet again, the only accessibility option in Yakuza 6 is subtitles. You can also limit the amount of gore shown, which I don't believe has been an option in previous Yakuza games, but you can't disable it entirely.

Conclusion:

Yakuza 6 is a pretty short experience in the grand scheme of the series. It brought in a new game engine with pros and cons that would later be refined by its successors. While I don't think it's the best Yakuza game out there (that goes to Yakuza 0), it's another decent entry. In my opinion, Yakuza had a bit of a streak of "Good, but not great" games from Yakuza 3-5. Yakuza 6 has started to make changes to pick things up, but it's not quite there yet. That could have prompted the developers to completely change to a new protagonist and a turn-based combat system in the next release.

Regardless of the gameplay itself, I can't help but feel proud that the Steam Deck can handle every Yakuza game we've thrown at it. Even now, we still have some flexibility and can go for 40 FPS with nice visuals or drop down to 30 FPS and preserve battery life.

Yakuza 6 has received "Very Positive" user reviews on Steam and has a Steam Deck Compatibility Rating of "Unsupported." However, we found that it runs just fine without any tweaking, except the Puyo Puyo Minigame.

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 of 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.

This game was tested with a Steam Deck LCD. OLED testing is coming soon.

After reviewing Yakuza 4 Remastered, I went right into Yakuza 5 Remastered. Initially released for the PS3 in 2012, this is an updated version of the game, released in 2021 for PCs. Even though visually it doesn't quite hold up to newer titles, it still passes by, and to be honest, the game not having all the visual features of a newer AAA game does benefit the Steam Deck's limited hardware.

Before getting into this, I highly recommend playing the earlier games in this series, starting with Yakuza 0. The games constantly reference past events, and all play into each other, so to get the most out of the game, I would go back and start from the beginning. It's a heavy time investment, but if you're looking for a franchise that can be both serious and humorous and provide you with an emotional rollercoaster, then this series is the one you want.

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Yakuza 5 takes place across multiple locations and protagonists, with the first being Kazuma Kiryu.

The story again begins with our lovable protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, desperately trying to keep his nose clean since leaving the Yakuza behind. It seems that trouble follows him everywhere, and through a series of circumstances, he's soon back into the Japanese criminal underworld. I won't spoil the storyline, but you're in for some of the usual Yakuza drama here, much like previous entries in the series.

Dotted between the serious story missions, we have Yakuza's famous minigames and sub-stories that often find their way onto the internet in funny clips. One of my favorites in Yakuza 5 Remastered is the Taxi Driving minigame. In his bid to escape the criminal life, Kiryu is working as a Taxi Driver. You get a neat little minigame to play, essentially a Taxi Driving Simulator, and I love these mundane simulator-style games! It was quite a surprise to see such a game in Yakuza, but I quite enjoyed driving for a change.

Like Yakuza 4, which featured four playable protagonists, Yakuza 5 features five playable protagonists. Wow, I wonder if there's a theme building here? Regardless, Yakuza 5 gets split into fairly evenly-paced parts, each representing a different protagonist in a different area of Japan. This helps keep the game from feeling stale and opens up new areas and opportunities as you play through the game's storyline.

Combat is, as always, a staple of the Yakuza series. Yakuza 5 Remastered has identical combat to Yakuza 4 Remastered. It's fluid and satisfying, giving you that sense of power without feeling too powerful. Building up your heat gauge and unleashing a powerful, sometimes comical, attack on your foes is one of the most satisfying moments in a Yakuza game. The combat system hasn't quite reached the heights of what it had before Yakuza became a turn-based game (Like a Dragon), but it's still a solid system nonetheless.

I love the series, so this game continues that trend and feels extremely satisfying. Now, if you've read the Yakuza 4 Remastered review, you'll know how it runs on the Steam Deck, but Yakuza 5 Remastered does differ in a couple of ways.

Yakuza 5 Remastered - Steam Deck Performance

Please Note: While the game does run fine using the default Proton, cutscene audio and some cutscenes themselves won't play correctly. You should use Proton GE 8-24 or later to play this game. You can follow our guide to get Proton GE on your Steam Deck.

Like Yakuza 4 Remastered, when booting Yakuza 5 Remastered, you're greeted with 16:9 menus. And just like Yakuza 4, you can select 1280x800 as a resolution in the graphics menu. But unlike Yakuza 4, you do not get a 16:10 playing area when you're in gameplay. For whatever reason, Yakuza 5 is permanently 16:9 with border art, even though the previous game in the series did support 16:10 when in the game.

We do, however, have full controller support, with the game even recommending that "Real Yakuza Use Gamepads." I can't interview one to find out if that's true, though...

We have some graphical options to choose from, much like its predecessor. This allows us to create a quality and battery life preset for you today!

The same as Yakuza 4, there's a basic graphics menu, but I will only be changing things in the "Advanced" menu for the two builds I will discuss. Here is what the basic menu looks like:

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The basic graphics settings used by both of our presets.

Much like Yakuza 4 Remastered, if you wish to lock your frame rate in SteamOS to 30 FPS, you must change the FPS Cap in-game to 30. If you keep it at 60 or Auto and lock it to 30 FPS, you'll play at 50% speed.

Recommended Settings - 60 FPS Battery Life

First, we'll set a 60 FPS/Hz lock in our SteamOS settings, we can set a 7W TDP Limit here and still maintain an almost constant 60 FPS. For the in-game graphics settings, choose the "Low" preset and apply it, then go into the "Advanced" menu and set the Texture Quality to "High," Texture Filtering to "16x", and the LOD Distance to "Mid."

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With this TDP limit, we get a power draw of around 12W - 14W, translating roughly into two and a half hours of battery from a full charge. You can expect an almost constant 60 FPS from these settings, other than occasional drops from scene transitions and camera cuts. Even in a huge battle, as shown in the 1st screenshot below, the game holds 60 FPS pretty well.

Much like Yakuza 4 Remastered, you can't just save whenever you want in Yakuza 5 Remastered, so having a decent battery life is essential. Getting caught in a cutscene or a story sequence is deadly, and if you can't get to a place to charge, say goodbye to any recent progress you've made. So, just a friendly reminder to keep your battery level topped up when playing Yakuza 5 Remastered.

Quality Settings - 60 FPS

For those of you wanting the best experience on the Steam Deck, these settings are for you.

In SteamOS, make sure your FPS Lock is set to 60 FPS/Hz and disable your TDP Limit; go to your in-game settings, select the "Ultra" preset and apply it, then go into the "Advanced" menu, lower Shadow Quality down to "High" and turn Anti-Aliasing to "Off."

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Running with these settings costs us a lot of battery life, sadly. We are now drawing around 21W - 24W from the battery, meaning you can't expect more than 90 minutes from a full charge. Much like Yakuza 4 Remastered, you could lose progress if you get into a story sequence where you can't save and your battery is running low. Your best bet, then, is to suspend your game and try to find a place to charge before resuming.

Accessibility:

Accessibility isn't Yakuza 5 Remastered's strong point. Just like Yakuza 4 Remastered, your only real accessibility option is subtitles. The game again features QTEs, which are mandatory to succeed, and the combat system is the same, meaning you will need to pull off combo attacks to be effective in combat. However, lower-difficulty choices are available to make combat winnable mostly by button mashing.

Conclusion:

Yakuza 5 Remastered continues the run of solid but not exceptional Yakuza games. It progresses the drama unfolding from the beginning, and it does it reasonably well. The graphics on the Steam Deck are still pleasant, and it controls beautifully. Aside from the disappointing lack of true 16:10 aspect ratio support, I couldn't ask for this game to run better on the Deck than it already does.

Performance-wise, regardless of which of the above presets you use, you should expect a fairly locked 60 FPS experience, with the quality settings allowing us almost to max out graphical settings and the battery settings sacrificing some visual quality to get a reasonable battery life.

Yakuza 5 Remastered holds a "Very Positive" rating on Steam and is currently graded as "Unsupported" on the Steam Deck compatibility rating, but, like Yakuza 4 Remastered, the game runs perfectly fine as long as you're using a new version of Proton GE.

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 of 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.

Ever since the success of Stardew Valley, we've had a plethora of farming 'simulators' launching what seems to be almost every month. You'd be hard-pushed to watch a gaming show or event and not see at least 1 of these types of games make an appearance. Coral Island is no different, and it follows the formula closely, perhaps to a fault.

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Coral Island starts off with a familiar storyline: you're someone from the 'big city' and looking to live a simpler life as a farmer in the countryside. There's also a big evil corporation in the game that's threatening the peaceful rural village life, a direct line from Stardew Valley. You start off with a basic house, a set of farming tools, and some seeds with a goal to gradually clear up your farm, sell crops, earn money, upgrade your house and tools, and expand into other areas of farming. You can also go fishing or catch bugs. Really then, the game seems to be a hybrid between your classic farming game and Animal Crossing.

One area where Coral Island does stand out from the crowd is the villagers themselves. Harvest Moon-style games tend to keep a fairly concise list of villagers, often no more than 20 whom you can interact with, but Coral Island boasts a much more lively village. You'll likely still be meeting new villagers for the first time after several in-game days, which helps make social interaction in the game feel a bit more interesting and helps break up the slight monotony of talking to the same people over and over. You can also choose from a larger variety of pets, instead of just cats and dogs, which I don't see in many other similar games.

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The general gameplay is, however, identical to its peers. You farm in the same way, using a grid system, you can chop down trees and cut rocks for resources, and there's a mine/cave that provides the combat portion of the game, similar to Stardew Valley. The combat system, however, feels a lot more fluid than Stardew Valley's, allowing you to move around more when attacking. The mines also have more varied and visually appealing environments.

One thing I did find odd about Coral Island is the sound design in some areas. While the music is pleasant, it's been treated like ambient sound. It fades in and out as you play the game and walk around your farm or through the village, and when it does completely fade away, it feels like something is missing. I would recommend lowering footstep volume from 5 to 2, as otherwise, you'll be hearing your footsteps above all else often.

That's not to say that all these similarities are a terrible thing, this is the formula for a reason. But, if you're expecting Coral Island to break any new ground, you'll be disappointed. The game sticks closely to tried and true mechanics, and it does a good enough job at it. There are plans for continued updates in the future, with developers assuring the community that co-op multiplayer is planned for 2024.

Coral Island - Steam Deck Performance

It may surprise you to know that Coral Island runs on Unreal Engine 4. While this might make some of you groan, it does provide a fair amount of scalability which does translate here. Because of this, we're able to offer 3 different presets to suit your needs.

The menus work well on the gamepad, with the D-Pad offering quick access to essential menus. We also have 16:10 resolution support, so we can run the game at the Steam Deck's native 1280x800 resolution and avoid those nasty black bars, which is thankfully becoming more common thanks to the growing handheld popularity. I do also recommend setting the UI Scaling to 110%, and Font Size to 2. To make in-game text and UI easier to read.

We're also turning the in-game "Frame Limit" off in the options menu. Although sometimes in-game frame limiters work better than the one we have in SteamOS, I noticed that the frame limiter in the game seems to cause inconsistent frame times which can make the experience feel stuttery. There is some traversal stutter in the game, as it seems to load the world in "chunks" as you move, and when a new chunk loads, there is a brief stutter. This happens regardless of any graphics settings or any TDP Limit, so it's sadly unavoidable.

Recommended Settings - 30 FPS

While a 60 FPS experience is always ideal, in a top-down game like this, I found myself preferring nice quality visuals over the additional frames, so my recommended settings are going to aim for 30 FPS.

We're basically going to keep almost everything maxed in terms of quality, but we lower Shadow and Foliage quality down to "Ultra.". We also completely forgo Anti-Aliasing, as it's barely noticeable on the Deck's smaller display:

In SteamOS, set a refresh rate and Frame Lock of 30FPS/Hz. We can also lower our TDP Limit down to 10 to save on battery life.

Using these settings, we generally draw about 12W - 14W for between 2.5 and 3 hours of battery life. Long enough for a good play session with the bonus of beautiful-looking visuals. The Steam Deck also stays relatively cool, rarely exceeding 70C, so your Deck should stay comfortable in your hands.

Performance Settings - 60 FPS

If having a 60 FPS experience is your focus, then these are the settings for you. We do have to make significant visual compromises to reach 60 FPS, and we're also going to be pushing the APU as well, so expect low battery life.

Most settings are staying on "Medium" here, except Textures set to "Epic," and Anti-Aliasing set to "Off":

I found that lowering the settings to "Low" instead of "Medium" didn't help save battery life, so we might as well go for the extra graphical detail. At these settings, you can expect around 2 hours of battery life. The Deck might also run a bit on the warmer side, with temperatures hitting 80C. If you want 60 FPS, or are playing docked, this is how I would play.

Battery Saver Settings - 30 FPS

If you think battery life is king, or you're just away from power for a while and need your Deck to last to your next stop, these settings should tide you over. We're putting all the quality settings to "Low" here, except Texture quality which is kept on "Epic" and Anti-Aliasing set to "Off".

In SteamOS, we're able to lower our TDP limit all the way down to 6W here. And apply a 30 FPS Frame Limit.

While we're losing shadows and a fair amount of visual quality here, it's great to have the option to strip the game back this far. With these settings, we get a perfectly playable experience with an estimated battery life of just over 4 hours! The APU uses just 10W on average, plus the Steam Deck barely exceeds 60C, keeping it nice and cool in your hands.

Accessibility:

Coral Island has a few accessibility features. There are different colorblind filters for different types of colorblindness. You can adjust the UI scale, as well as the general font size, to make menus easier to read and see. There's also a Dyslexia setting, which adds a little bit of extra space between letters to help distinguish them.

While this is not technically under the accessibility menu, I think it's worth mentioning that the game does allow you to slow down the passage of time to 50%, so if you find your day is progressing too fast for you to handle, you can give yourself double the time in the day.

Conclusion:

Coral Island is a solid little title. It doesn't tread any new ground, but the ground it does cover, it covers well. If you're a fan of Stardew Valley, Rune Factory, Story of Seasons, or Harvest Moon, Coral Island will be right up your street. The familiarity makes it feel like another entry in those series, just with a couple of extra nice-to-haves and a slightly wider variety of content. Whether you want to spend your days fishing, farming, searching for artifacts for the museum, or just getting to know your fellow villagers, Coral Island will let you sit back, relax, and enjoy the freedom it offers.

To top it all off, the game performs well on the Steam Deck. Whether you want the game to look beautiful, or last a long time while you're traveling, Coral Island will perform and feel great in your hands.

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 of 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.

ARK: Survival Ascended (ASA), a remastering of ARK: Survival Evolved (ASE) using Unreal Engine 5, has just launched onto Steam Early Access. Although it seems to have been a bit of a rough launch, which we're getting used to in the PC space, the game provides a huge amount of scalability, which is great for handheld users.

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ASA isn't just a simple graphical upgrade however, although the map is largely similar, it has been updated and redesigned in some areas. There are improvements to the UI, making it much more simplified and easier to control with a controller. We're also treated to other improvements such as dynamic foliage/water that reacts to dinosaurs and players moving through them, as well as baby dinosaurs in the wild.

The core gameplay experience of ASA remains unchanged from ASE. You will still be crafting your tools, building bases, taming dinosaurs, and progressing through the game's extensive technology tree. This is a plus in my book, as I enjoyed these aspects of the original, and I'm glad they've transferred into the remaster. ASA also makes a huge improvement over ASE in the visuals department. When you can set the graphics settings high, it takes advantage of Unreal Engine 5 features such as Lumen and Nanite to create a truly beautiful world.

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The game supports up to 8 players on private multiplayer servers and up to 70 players on dedicated servers. It also supports up to 4 players in split-screen, a first in the series for a PC version. And since a recent patch fixed BattlEye support on the Steam Deck, we can fully take advantage of it! Now, let's take a look at performance.

ARK: Survival Ascended - Steam Deck Performance

While the game itself appears to be fully playable from our testing, making a character might be out of the question. So you can't name yourself or choose how you look as it stands, which is a shame, especially for online play. But, outside of that, it is quite playable.

Right out of the gate, ASA is a much nicer experience than ASE to control with a gamepad. The menu has a simple layout, the buttons are bigger, and there are fewer of them, which makes the whole experience surprisingly pleasant to navigate.

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16:10 resolutions are supported, so Steam Deck users don't have to suffer with black bars here. There's a large array of graphics settings at our fingertips, and we also have some UI scaling, although I found the default UI scale to be adequate for the Steam Deck.

Recommended Settings - 30 FPS

Right off the bat, we're going to want to select the "Low Preset" to get some settings in place. Studio Wildcard has also said that choosing Presets changes background settings that aren't visible to the end-user right now, so choosing a preset can impact more than we can easily change. After a preset has been chosen, set all other settings to "Low" and disable the optional extras at the side, like Light Bloom and Light Shafts. For resolution, we're running at 960x600 with a resolution scale of 65 and in fullscreen mode. We can lower the resolution further, but the text becomes very difficult to read, so unless you know the UI by heart, keep it here.

On your SteamOS, you'll want to select a frame rate lock of 30FPS and make sure there's no TDP limit, the GPU really needs all the power we can give it. We're also applying the FSR filter to improve the visual quality of the game a bit.

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Once you're in the game with your unnamed character, open your Steam on-screen keyboard with STEAM+X, and hit the Tilde key. Once the console opens, type 'r.volumetricclouds 0' and hit enter. This will disable the game's volumetric clouds, it boosts the FPS by quite a bit. I personally prefer the game without the clouds, as they degrade in quality a lot at lower frame rates.

When using these settings and running around a multiplayer server with about 30-40 players online, I found that the Steam Deck mostly held 30FPS. At certain times of day, the frame rate does drop, mainly during early morning and late evening when there are a lot of shadows on the screen. I would describe the experience as Playable but not ideal.

It's worth noting that having large amounts of tamed dinosaurs or large structures will affect the performance. Given the type of game that ARK is, players can do some crazy things, especially online, so if you run into an army or encounter a tribe stronghold, your experience may vary. For single-player or a small server with a few friends, though, the Steam Deck should hold up for you.

Optional INI Edits

If you want to maximize performance, there are also some edits to an INI file you can make. As always with INI files, you edit at your own risk, it could cause glitches/errors in the game, and game updates in the future might stop them from working. These INI edits made it so I was almost always hitting 30FPS, and the visual quality was still pretty decent.

In Desktop Mode, navigate to /home/deck/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/ARK Survival Ascended/ShooterGame/Saved/Config/Windows/

Now open the GameUserSettings.ini. Once in the INI file, edit the following lines:

sg.ShadowQuality=0
sg.ReflectionQuality=0
sg.ShadingQuality=0

Those lines were likely on "3", as ARK currently offers no way to change these from in the game. Shadows should be able to be changed in-game, but for whatever reason, mine was still set to 3.

Further down edit the following lines:

HighQualityMaterials=False
HighQualitySurfaces=False

Accessibility

There are some accessibility features in ARK: Survival Ascended, like subtitles for the few voiced lines in the game, increasing the scale of some of the UI elements, the ability to disable view bobbing, and you can adjust the camera's FoV.

Controller support is pretty good, from what I can tell, and I don't think the experience is much different from using a keyboard and mouse. There is also a chat filter to filter out profanities in online play, but it is worth noting that the game carries a PEGI 18+ rating, and the chat filter didn't seem very effective anyway.

Conclusion:

If you own the original game, you may not want to dive straight into Ark: Survival Ascended. Much of the content is the same, and right now, the DLC hasn't been added yet. But the graphical upgrades and QoL improvements are a great addition, and in time, ASA will become the clear choice. Performance on the Steam Deck is acceptable and should only improve as the developers make optimizations. We hope that the crash in the character editor is resolved soon. We will keep an eye on this game and update this review accordingly if improvements are made for Deck users throughout early access!

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

If you enjoyed this review, check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety of 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!

Armored Core 6 was provided by Bandai Namco for review. Thank you!

It has been ten long years since we last saw Armored Core, and I can't explain how good to play the third-person mech shooter again! Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is a fantastic return to a franchise that has been dormant for too long. FromSoftware is known for creating the souls-like genre and, with the lessons they’ve learned creating Dark Souls and Elden Ring, they have mixed the customizability and multi-directional combat in and created something magical.

The highlight of the game is easily the combat and how you can change it through the way you outfit your mech suit. On the field, you will be able to fluidly move in all directions while automatically locking on to enemies and shooting with one of 4 weapons you equip. These can range from plasma rifles and swords to machine guns and bazookas. You can control all four weapons at the same time and you can buy new weapons and gear from the parts shop using money you get from missions. The combat is addicting and feels fantastic. And with explosions and attacks that are flashy, you create these cool-looking moments that keep you in the zone.

ArmoredCore6Customizing

As for the story, it is primarily told through missions that are given in chapters. As you complete more missions, you unlock new ones and you can replay the older ones. Each mission either takes place in a different zone or has different objectives, but each feels really enjoyable to play with a story I felt engaged with as it progressed. You play as an unnamed merc who is fighting on the planet Rubicon, where different corporations and rebel groups are trying to secure the energy source called Coral.

Speaking of the missions, you can replay every single older mission and try to aim for a higher score or ranking. You can keep getting money from these replayed missions too, so if you gotta grind to get a specific weapon you want, you totally can. I found myself replaying missions to get money and buy specific weapons just to test out on bosses and see which builds work best on them.

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Armored Core 6 is at its best when you are flying through the air, shooting at enemies all around you, and playing around with different builds to see what weapons and armor combos work best for you. Thankfully, this is the bulk of the game. The game is streamlined to get you in missions fast with little-to-no bloat and it works wonderfully. And with the right settings, playing on the Steam Deck is a fantastic way to enjoy the fast-paced mech shooter.

Armored Core 6 - Steam Deck Performance

Armored Core 6 on the Steam Deck is a bit of a wildcard at times, but it can be stabilized with some compromises. In some missions, and in closed areas, the game can run extremely well, hitting an almost solid 50 FPS. This is really awesome, but it doesn't hold throughout. In larger missions with open areas, the game will consistently drop down to the mid-30s, even on low settings. I went even further down and set the resolution at 800x450 with low settings and the large areas couldn't consistently break 40 FPS.

Due to this and the consistency of these missions, I elected to stick to a 30 FPS lock. For some missions, you will be able to set it at 45 or 50 FPS and be able to hit it, but for a solid experience throughout the game, 30 FPS is going to be your way to go.

With a mix of medium and low settings, 1152x648 resolution, and SteamOS FSR, we can get a near-solid experience that looks fantastic and plays well. There are a couple of drops here and there when there's too much going on near you, but these are far and few. I found that we can also set a TDP limit of 11 to make sure the battery drain doesn't drain too much.

Since anything above 40 FPS isn't going to be stable throughout the game, I can't recommend a build that would include it. If you want to play at a higher framerate, I would just use this same build and remove the TDP limit. You will get a solid 40-50 in some missions, but others will drain it. I feel this build is a great balance between quality, solid framerate, and battery drain when taking into account how big of a game this is.

Armored Core 6 doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, but it does have full controller and cloud save support.

Conclusion

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is an incredible game that feels best when you have perfected your build and can see it in action through the combat. It’s epic to be able to fly around the battlefield in all directions while shooting and slashing the enemies. Pair it with the streamlined style to just get you in to the battles, as well as an awesome customization system, and you have a recipe for an addicting game well worth your time.

On the Steam Deck, there are some compromises that need to be made, as well as a 30 FPS lock, but even with these, the game feels and looks incredible. I was in the zone, destroying mechs, getting destroyed by bigger mechs, and customizing my suit without feeling much compromise. Overall, this is an amazing game to play on the Steam Deck and definitely worth your time.

If you enjoyed this review, check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety of 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!

Atlas Fallen was provided by Focus Entertainment for review. Thank you!

Earlier this year, I had the incredible opportunity to go to PAX East and it was there that I played Atlas Fallen for the first time. I left feeling quite excited for the game, the action, world, and story intrigued me. There was a lot to look forward to and after talking to Deck13 and Focus Entertainment reps there, I left feeling confident that not only would this game be one to really enjoy, but also one that will be at least decently playable on the Steam Deck. Now that the game is almost here, and I had the chance to play through and review it, I have a bit more to say on the game.

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Atlas Fallen is a large-scale Action RPG where you will surf across the sands to face ancient dangers, hunt monsters, and become the ultimate champion. After playing through the game and being able to experience what it has to offer, I feel it did a great job creating an addicting and enjoyable adventure, even with a couple of hiccups.

The story of Atlas Fallen is passable. You are a random person that is able to wield a powerful gauntlet, infused with enough power to rival Thelos, the god-like antagonist of the game. The narrative is told through cutscenes, dialogue, and journal entries you find throughout traveling. While I didn't find the story to be anything ground-breaking, I did enjoy the journey. Traversing around the world is pretty fun as well and sand surfing is the real highlight of this. Finding slopes to surf down and accelerate to go as fast as possible is a ton of fun. Though at times, the world itself did seem a little bland and bare at times. Luckily, there are side quests and random chests to find, but it didn't do much to change the overall feeling of the world.

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The combat is where things got really fun for me. While the fighting can feel a bit slow at times, wielding gigantic, shape-shifting weapons is a blast. I loved being able to swap between two different styles at once, with each having their own strengths and weaknesses, and watch them grow the more you fight with the Momentum Gauge, which fills up as you attack and land hits. As it fills up, you will be able to execute different special attacks and get passive bonuses, which you equip using Essence Stones. You can also execute a Shattering Strike, which drains the Momentum Gauge for an ultimate attack.

Deck13 found a nice balance of simple mechanics and deep customization here. The Essence Stones are great for fine-tuning your build, while a lot of the stats like attack power, defense, and your shatter power, are tied to your armor. Your armor can be upgraded, which gives you perk points to further passively make your character more powerful. I also really like the blocking mechanic included here. You can dodge enemy attacks, but if you block at just the right time, you can crystalize enemies and bosses, making them vulnerable to attacks for a little. Blocking doesn't interrupt the flow of your attacking either, so you can attack, block, and attack without the flow ever ceasing.

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Even with the little nuisances here and there, and an ok story, I really enjoyed Atlas Fallen. It didn't break any molds or try to get too crazy, but it added some nice mechanics that gave it a nice balance between too simple and too complex. There's something addicting about gaining momentum and turning your axe into a gigantic axe that can just demolish multiple weakpoints of a big boss in one swing. I had a lot of fun playing, and while I didn't get to try it, I can only imagine playing the whole campaign in co-op will be even more fun! Though, if you're going to play on the Steam Deck, there will be some compromises that need to be made.

Atlas Fallen - Steam Deck Performance

There are a couple things I found a bit odd when it comes to Atlas Fallen performing on the Steam Deck. First, the game settings have a couple of unique settings. For instance, there are separate window and resolution size options, as well as different intensity level sliders for post processing effects. The resolution size changes the game's rendering resolution, while the window resolution changes some of the text size (but not all). While the intensity sliders did change some of the visual effects you see, though for my enjoyment, I elected to keep them lower as it did help performance enough to justify.

Atlas Fallen also has FSR 2 that only works if both resolution and window size are 1280x800, but it doesn't help performance as much as just changing resolution size down while keeping window size at 800p. I also found that while changing resolution down helps performance significantly, it didn't change visuals as much and kept things looking relatively okay. The biggest change from this settings is text legibility for essence stones, armor details and quest text.

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In the beginning, Atlas Fallen runs pretty okay. Keeping it at a solid 30 FPS, and even getting to 40, was very possible. But as I played the game more, and the world started to open up, it became harder to run. With this being a gigantic world that you can traverse quickly, there are some slowdowns when going around to new areas too fast. If you are running or surfing around in the immediate area, the game will keep a consistent rate, but other than that, it will slow down a bit as it loads in new areas.

I have also seen some framerate drops when in some combat scenarios. Fighting a gigantic enemy is usually okay 1v1, but when other enemies show up, and they all start using moves that kick up sand, it can start slowing down a bit.

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In my opinion, these drops seem to be engine or game-related and not the Steam Deck's fault. I noticed that, whenever there were drops, the battery drain of the Deck didn't spike and CPU, GPU, and RAM usage was under 99%. This leads me to believe something isn't optimized within the game, causing these issues (and I did see similar ones on the ROG Ally). I believe we could see a lot of this patched up and the shader cache could help iron out some stutters when loading in new areas, but only time will tell.

Without any caps, and everything on low, Atlas Fallen still has some trouble sticking to 30 FPS completely stable in the open areas, but when in corridors, caves, or confined areas, the game can hit higher framerates running around and in combat. So, due to this, I actually only have 1 build for the game. Hitting above 30 FPS isn't viable, so my build is a mix between battery and performance. I have the resolution set to 960x600 with the window at 1280x800, lower intensity post processing effects, and low quality settings. I do have textures set to medium as they don't affect performance as much, but do help the game's visuals a bunch.

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These settings, with a TDP limit of 10, allow the game to stick around 30 FPS most of the time with a battery drain between 11W - 18W depending on the area. I also found Proton GE helped a little bit in some harder scenes to keep the framerate stable. With these settings, some text will still be small, but I found the performance improvements to be too great.

The game does have 16:10 resolution support, so there are no black bars, and has full controller and cloud save support. I did test the game with CryoUtilities and the UMA Buffer set to 4GB, but I didn't see any discernable difference with either of these changes. I did also test the DirectX 12 version of the game, but it wouldn't launch no matter which Proton version I chose.

Conclusion

Atlas Fallen is a solid action RPG that gave me a bit of a mixed bag at times, but I loved the mechanics. The story is alright and does have an interesting tale woven in the desert world, though it pales in comparison to other deeper stories. At times, the world can feel a bit barren and dull, but surfing and going down slopes at an accelerated speed can be really cool. Combat itself can feel a bit slow at times too, but there is something extremely satisfying when fighting bigger enemies, or many smaller ones, when your momentum gauge is filled and your weapon grows in size, hitting multiple weakpoints or enemies at a time.

I love the simple nature of the armor system, perks, and the momentum bar. Atlas Fallen does well balancing out its simple systems and makes each different set of equipment, weapon, and essence stone feel special and impactful. As a game, I really enjoyed Atlas Fallen, even with its faults.

On the Steam Deck, it was a bit hard to play due to some of the performance issues it has, but with the tweaks, it becomes a lot more playable. It isn't perfect and still has compromises, especially with some readable text, but it is playable. It is very possible some future patches and the shared shader cache can help with some stuttering going into new areas, so I will evaluate again in a couple days when the cache is built, but if you are buying or pre-ordered the game, this will be the experience you get out of the box.

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!

Get ready to partake in the ultimate Lego Star Wars adventure! The Skywalker Saga spans all 9 of the mainline Star Wars films, allowing you to play through the entire series with over 300 characters, 100 vehicles, and 23 entire planets! The game takes a giant leap forward in Lego games in general with open-world gameplay, a new camera angle, side missions, upgradable abilities, and much more! If you're a fan of Lego games and Star Wars, this is the game for you!

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game was the first Lego game I played and it still sticks with me today. I fell in love with the gameplay and, being a fan of Star Wars already, it was awesome to experience the world in this way. Now, The Skywalker Saga takes that gameplay to a gigantic new level and MAN is it great. I absolutely adore the changes they have made with this entry and hope this is something they stick with for future releases. I can go on and on about this, but I believe a first look on the Steam Deck is in order!

In my initial tests, I found that resolution is the biggest contributor to performance, but also has minimal amount of visual impact (compared to other games). The stutters or performance issues came into play during extensive scenes or when fighting/breaking tons of objects. Going from 1280x800 to 960x600 with FSR Sharpness 0 seemed to have minimal impact on how everything looked overall, but significantly helped with stability of the framerate on a TDP limit of 9. The other graphics options have little to no effect on the performance, so keeping them at high and medium was okay.

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There are still some minor stutters when breaking objects or fighting, but having a GPU Clock Frequency of 1200 helped most of them. Other than that, the game looks and feels phenomenal in most areas I have played so far. 40 FPS feels fantastic and with the battery averaging around 11W - 13W, I am extremely happy with the drain! Waking up the Deck with the game on did change controller prompts to KB+M, but pressing a button changed them right back. No controller issues I have encountered so far!

Overall, I would consider this a gem to play on the Steam Deck. The game itself is a ton of fun and with a couple tweaks, it runs fantastically too. Other than the small dips from time to time, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga shined at 40 FPS with good looking visuals and a great battery life for an open-world game. We will play more and try to create a higher framerate and quality build, but so far, 40 FPS is definitely going to be the way I play.

Screenshots:

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Get ready to immerse yourself in the wizarding RPG of your dreams! Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world RPG set in the land of Harry Potter. As your own created character, you will explore Hogwarts in the 1800s, discover magical beasts, master spells, craft potions, and become the wizard you want to be. Who will you befriend? What spells will you master? What legacy will you leave behind? Only time will tell!

Before I dive into the game, I wanted to take a moment to address the elephant in the room. SDHQ unequivocally denounces the horrendous comments made by Harry Potter's creator, JK Rowling. There is no place in this world for harassment or persecution in this manner and we will never accept it. Knowing this, we have still decided to review Hogwarts Legacy on our outlet. We are a gaming outlet first and we will never endorse or partake in any actions that go against our morals.

The developers at Avalanche Software have put in a lot of work and time to develop a gorgeous RPG that fulfills the dreams that many have had regarding the cultural phenomena. We have no reason to believe the developers share these views, and as a gaming outlet first and foremost, that is something we feel is important to cover the game. That being said, let's dive into the game on the Steam Deck!

VIDEO (Written Article Below):

Hogwarts Legacy starts out on a good foot, running pretty well at the 30 FPS mark on the recommended low settings. The first thing I noticed though is the game being set to FSR 1.0 instead of 2.0. Using 1.0 not only resulted in a worse image, but also created a lot of ghosting when moving around. Changing this to 2.0 quality seemed to fix this and have much better visual quality, with around 1-2W extra drain. For me, this was significant enough to keep and the game was able to handle a solid 30 FPS like this...for the most part. I also didn't really notice much difference enough between FSR 2.0 versions to justify bringing it down to performance.

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Due to this being a new game, the shader cache hasn't been built yet. This means the game is more prone to stuttering, which Hogwarts Legacy has in spades. Walking around still stutters a bit, but the biggest ones come from casting spells in fights. There were 1-2 fights where it didn't, but most of the others created big stutters whenever I casted the spell. The game also had moments where framerate would become erratic or tank, which happened when selecting my house and the scene right after.

HLStuttering

While the framerate counter says 30, the green bar below is very erratic.

While the game can handle medium graphics preset, I settled on keeping low as some areas tended to drain much more and keeping at the recommended still looked great while keeping stability. This also allowed a TDP limit of 10 to keep drain below 18W. I noticed a couple of odd things though, including almost no visual changes from low to medium. I also noticed that on Ultra, it could run at 30 in a lot of areas with high battery drain, but using Lumos cut framerate in half. Turning Lumos off went back to the normal framerate, which was a bit weird.

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Overall, I’m actually quite impressed. Hogwarts Legacy is a new open-world game and, for the most part, holds its own while utilizing FSR 2.0 quite well. There still needs to be more testing, and hopefully the shader cache will smoothen the stuttering out in a couple days, but overall, this is going to be a solid experience on the Steam Deck! I will be going back in a couple of days once a patch and shader cache are out to go through it again, so stay tuned for an update!

Hogwarts Legacy Screenshots:

Comparisons:

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Stills:

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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:

Comparisons:

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Stills:

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

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