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

It's taken a little while to get around to reviewing Baldur's Gate 3 for the Steam Deck, but there are a couple of reasons for that. The game has received major updates since its release, including the much-awaited FSR2 support, and Baldur's Gate 3 is such a big game. With such varying environments and depth, a full gameplay and performance review needed to be done right. And the long awaited day is here, let's talk about Baldur's Gate 3.

Baldur's Gate 3 Character Screen
Baldur's Gate 3's character creator allows you to create a unique character, both in terms of appearance and abilities.

If you somehow missed it, Baldur's Gate 3 is rightly considered one of the best games of all time, winning almost every Game of the Year award that it was nominated for. Why does it deserve such acclaim, you ask? Well, in my opinion, it's down to the clear passion and love the developers have put into this game. There is attention to detail everywhere. It is a true role-playing game.

Many people love the idea of Dungeons & Dragons, but organizing a game night and having someone awkwardly play a Dungeon/Game Master can be overwhelming. Baldur's Gate 3 is probably the closest I've seen a video game get to offering you the freedom of a true Dungeons & Dragons experience. Sure, there's only 1 "campaign", and you are following a set storyline, but there are so many choices to make, branching paths that can lead to numerous outcomes, there are even "choices" that aren't obvious that you can even make! To truly experience all of Baldur's Gate 3, you would need hundreds of hours.

Talking to Gale in Baldur's Gate 3
Gale is one of the first potential party members you meet.

We haven't really discussed any gameplay mechanics yet, have we? So let's get into that. I'll start with the combat system. As you can imagine, Baldur's Gate 3 bases everything on Dungeons & Dragons, so we have familiar mechanics at play here. The game plays out battles turn-based, with turn order based on an initiative roll all participants take instantly at the start of combat.

Certain attacks, whether with weapons or spells, deal damage within a range. The target can do a "saving throw" to perhaps mitigate or nullify the damage/effect received from such an attack; of course, these dice throws are all done behind the scenes in the game to keep progress steady. It all works and flows beautifully, but you might well expect that for a system that has been around for literally decades and has gradually been refined.

The combat is satisfying; when you position yourself properly on the battlefield and have that spell available that will do just the right amount of damage to defeat that enemy and the attack hits, there's no feeling quite like it. Especially if you're in a cooperative game with friends and everyone in your party cheers because you got some good RNG on your hit!

Dice rolls are handled somewhat differently when out of combat, and I'm a huge fan of this fact. While simulating every dice roll in a combat scenario would be tiresome and ruin game pacing, simulating dice rolls during conversations or when trying to complete a skilled task is a different story. Trying to persuade or charm someone so you can avoid a fight and watching the dice roll around the screen, everyone in your party on voice chat holds their breath as they await to see what number you roll. And then... it happens... the fated 1 appears on the screen, and "Critical Failure" flashes along the top. Before you know it, your entire party is in a fight for their lives.

In case you haven't worked it out yet, even though I'm not a huge Dungeons & Dragons fan myself, I am in awe at how Larian Studios has successfully brought mechanics from a tabletop game to the video game medium. Other games, such as Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, did use D&D mechanics behind the scenes, but it was never so obvious as it is here, and it works so well. If you have played Larian's last game, Divinity: Original Sin 2, a lot of this will feel very familiar.

Checking out a temple in Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3 will take you across many environments, some less welcoming than others.

I won't go into too much detail on Baldur's Gate 3's storyline here, as it's best experienced yourself, but it is well crafted and introduces interesting characters who are well voice-acted. It's key that a game like this nails the storyline because the whole point of participating in the combat, of making your character stronger, is to reach the next plot point. I'm glad that Baldur's Gate 3 rewards players' progress with a detailed and branching storyline that can go in multiple directions depending on your choices throughout the game.

The visuals are no slouch either; they aren't world-class, but they do the job very well, and the game is quite scalable, fortunately for us Steam Deck users. They allow you to get immersed in the world, with different environments standing out clearly from one another, ranging from pleasant to unnerving. Characters are also well-detailed, expressing themselves with their body and the tone of their voice.

Looking at a giant wolf in Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3 doesn't have the best visuals around, but they do a good enough job to let you get immersed in the world.

As mentioned during this review, Baldur's Gate 3 lets you experience all this with your friends. The game supports up to 4 players in cooperative play, meaning you don't have to awkwardly assign one of your friends to be a Dungeon Master and cringe as you listen to them try and play 10 different characters. You and 3 of your friends can now go on an adventure together, listen to professional voice actors, have the computer do the mathematics for you, and have a good time while doing so!

Baldur's Gate 3 - Steam Deck Performance

Baldur's Gate 3 gets off to a good start. We have 16:10 aspect ratio support, including support for the Deck's native 1280x800 resolution. We also have a well-scaled UI that's easily readable on the Steam Deck.

The game's HUD/UI changes entirely when using a gamepad compared to a keyboard and mouse. Well-designed radial menus allow you to select all your attacks/abilities and navigate all the menus in a fairly simple fashion. It handles it beautifully, considering that when using a keyboard and mouse, there can be upwards of 40 buttons to click on the screen.

Given the GPU, and at times CPU, intensity of the game, I'm only offering 1 preset for settings today, but it should serve you pretty well!

Please note: While the game does have split-screen support on the PC, the developers disabled it on the Steam Deck, so I will not be covering split-screen performance in this review. You can enable it yourself by following our guide, but it will negatively impact performance.

Recommended Settings - 30 FPS

Set the Frame Rate Lock to 30 FPS / 60 Hz in the SteamOS menu, and we'll need all 15W of TDP that the Steam Deck can deliver for Baldur's Gate 3.

Then, in the in-game settings, do the following. Set FSR 2.2 to "Quality," then you'll want to select the "Low" Preset, as most settings will need to be at their lowest possible so we can maintain 30 FPS. Dynamic Crowds can be left on, as when testing in a crowded area, it seemed to have no performance impact for the Steam Deck anyway.

You can technically run the Texture Quality above Low. I tried Ultra for a while, but it does introduce frequent stutters. The textures still look good on Low, so I opted to stick with Low and avoid most stuttering.

Here are the settings I used for reference:

Using these settings, the game runs at an almost constant 30 FPS, which was a really pleasant surprise for me. There are occasional stutters, mostly when entering cutscenes when the camera does a quick cut between angles and sometimes when an attack first hits. I also noticed some slight slowdown in very specific areas, but this was to about 28 FPS and wasn't very noticeable as you had to be in very specific places for it to occur, so if you are walking, it only represented about 1-2 seconds of play.

FSR 2.2 does cause some slight artifacts, most specifically around the hair. If you are a druid and change into a wolf, for example, there is noticeable ghosting when moving due to the amount of fur the upscaling is trying to cope with.

Battery drain varies wildly depending on your environment. You'll likely only draw about 13-15W from the battery in smaller interior areas. Outside, you'll likely draw 17-20W. There are some exceptions to this, which I'll cover in a moment. You should expect around 2 hours of battery life from a full charge.

Temperatures will be pretty toasty throughout. During a battle in an outdoor area, the temperature range was between 75-85C. In less intense situations, however, you can see drops to 70C. You should expect the fan to be somewhat loud for a fair amount of the game, though, so I would recommend playing with headphones to mitigate that.

The 'Dreaded' Act 3!

If you've followed Baldur's Gate 3, you'll probably be familiar with Act 3 and its performance. Act 3 is essentially the most intensive part of the game performance-wise. Since then, the developers have patched the game with some optimizations, which have helped, but it remains the most difficult part of the game to run, CPU-wise at least.

So, how does the Steam Deck's CPU hold up? To be honest, it still struggles. In certain areas of Act 3, I expect to see drops to the mid-20s. I noticed drops to 22 or 23 FPS occasionally, with the frame rate often hanging around 27 or 28 FPS. Do bear in mind, however, that this is a specific area in Act 3, and not the entire Act runs like this. Because of the game's turn-based nature, whenever any critical moments happen (such as combat), the frame rate doesn't have a huge impact on gameplay, and I found the game to remain perfectly playable on the Steam Deck.

Baldur's Gate 3 on Steam Deck in Act 3
An example of the framerate situation on Steam Deck during Act 3.

Accessibility:

As you would imagine with Baldur's Gate 3 and its extensive settings, it has plenty of accessibility support. I'm going to list them based on the number of options available.

When adjusting UI/Text size, a preview image is also shown so you can get an idea of the size of the text.

Here are some screenshots showing all the accessibility options available, as well as the preview feature for text sizes:

Conclusion:

In case you haven't guessed it yet, I was very impressed with Baldur's Gate 3 and what it offers cRPG fans. Having played Larian's previous games (Divinity Original Sin 1 & 2), I had an idea of what to expect here, but in my opinion, it surpasses those games by some margin. The polish the game has received, as well as a superior storyline and characters, set it apart.

What I'm most impressed with, however, is that our plucky little Steam Decks can run this absolute gem of a game. You might think that a large, possibly overwhelming to some, cRPG might not lend itself to playing on a portable device with a smaller screen and a battery life to consider. But the whole thing just works like a charm. The UI and controls are optimized so well for the gamepad that it seems like the game was designed for it from the get-go.

If you can live with the occasional dropped frame and minor performance issues during Act 3, you should not hesitate to pick this up for the Steam Deck if you've been considering it, Baldur's Gate 3 is the ultimate cRPG experience, right 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.

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.

CoralIslandStock1

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.

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!

Dave the Diver was provided by MINTROCKET and EvolvePR for review. Thank you!

Get ready for an adventure RPG where getting addicted to the gameplay loop is quite common. Dave the Diver will put in the role of Dave, a professional diver who took on a new job. During the day, you will put your diving to use and capture fish, as well as gather resources to complete missions and improve your gear. As night falls though, you will need to help man the sushi restaurant. Set the menu, enhance the meals, and wait on customers to make money and fund your expenditures. All of this while discovering the secrets of the Blue Hole.

I can’t remember the last time a review has been put off a little bit due to how addicting the game can be, but Dave the Diver definitely did. This game is phenomenal, the two styles of gameplay weave into each other in fantastic ways that highlight each one’s importance. The diving not only brings the fish you will be serving, but you can find new weapons, artifacts, gear, and complete missions to keep the interesting story going. Then we head to the sushi bar management where you will be setting the menu, waiting tables, and giving drinks to keep the money flowing. The more money you make, the more you can upgrade in both the restaurant and the diving.

Cover all of this with a gorgeous pixel artstyle with smooth animations and you get an addicting experience that’s very pleasing on the eyes. And then we have the fantastic humor injected in as well. There have been a good chunk of food enhancement cutscenes and dialog that threw me on the floor laughing. Dave the Diver is a fantastic game that I loved gameplay-wise, though when it comes to performance on the Steam Deck, that’s where things get a little iffy at times.

Dave the Diver - Steam Deck Performance

At nights, manning the sushi restaurant had no drops and runs flawlessly, which is fantastic. There were no issues I had during the night time, but diving was another issue. At first, I didn’t see many issues and diving was going well at a solid 60, but as I got deeper, that’s when trouble started brewing.

Going down into the depths of the waters brings in much more complex backgrounds, which end up taking a toll on the Deck. The framerate will start to fluctuate, getting close to the 50 FPS range. This can feel a bit jarring as the framerate dips, so setting the refresh rate to 50hz and using 50 FPS solves this for the most part. There are some areas that may dip to 48 with a 17W drain, but this isn’t that bad overall. 50 does feel quite smooth when it’s set correctly, so I’d definitely recommend keeping it this way.

Dave the Diver doesn’t have many graphical settings, really only resolution and that can’t be changed, so we are stuck with the default settings in-game. We can force the resolution down through Steam, however, the game looks arguably worse with minimal performance increases.

You can also bring it down to 40 FPS, which will be completely stable, but not as smooth. Personally, I preferred the smoothness and the few sacrifices were worth it, but if you want something fully stable with slightly better battery, bring the refresh rate and framerate lock to 40.

The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, but it supports cloud saves and Gamepad controls.

Conclusion

Dave the Diver is a fantastic casual adventure/management RPG that oozes with humor and a great visual style. Both of the main elements of the game are fantastic and really complement each others well, emphasizing making each affect the other in meaningful ways. Performance on the Steam Deck could be a bit better at lower depths, which is unfortunate, but it’s totally playable otherwise. Even with this, I would recommend the game due to how addicting the gameplay loop is.

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!

Dredge was provided to us by Team17 and PressEngine. Thank you!

Fish, sell what you catch, upgrade your boat, and brave the depths of the evil waters in Dredge. This gorgeous game from Black Salt Games will take you off a mysterious archipelago to fish and make money to help the town. From there, you will meet a unique cast of characters in different regions, each having their own secrets to discover. Be careful though, danger lurks in the fog and you'll have to strengthen your boat, equipment, and mind to handle the horrors that lie within.

Dredge is one of my favorite games to play on the Steam Deck right now. I love the graphical style, the atmosphere is moody and unique, and the gameplay is simple and addicting. The gameplay loop has been streamlined so that while it's easy, it feels fantastic. I also personally adore inventory management in games, so this sticks out to me! It takes a little bit of time to sail out to certain locations, but it feels great taking in the serene, yet somewhat offputting surrounding area, with the semi-haunting soundtrack around you.

As you play, you will upgrade your ship in a multitude of ways. You can pay for fishing rod, engine, and net upgrades with money you get from selling fish, upgrade your hull and cargo space with shipwrecked materials you find around the ocean, research new parts, and read books for some passive improvements to your skills. You will travel from island to island, catching new fish in new areas and meeting tons of fantastically designed characters that each have something to say. Overall, this game is an incredible experience.

Dredge - Best on Deck

After playing the game more and more, I can safely say the assessments from our preview still remain the same! Dredge continues to run extremely well right out of the box, making it one of our Best on Deck games!

With no settings changed, it will run at 60 FPS with an average 10W battery drain with the highest drain I saw at 1 point being 11W. While we can make some adjustments to bring it down, it is not necessary in the slightest. There were also some slight stutters when traveling, but nothing that broke immersion so far. Due to this, I am happy to say that Dredge is a Best on Deck game so far!

Dredge also comes with some nice little accessibility features. While the game doesn't have any issues with text size, works perfectly with the Steam Deck gamepad, and supports 1280x800 resolution, it does have some nice options regarding popup duration, text speed, radial menu modes, and even changing the color for the important info that you find in-game! I found this to be a really nice touch, so I wanted to point it out.

Dredge accessibility menu

Conclusion

I honestly don't have to write much about this game thanks to the preview version still being as accurate as the final. Dredge is an incredible game that feels more and more addicting the more I play. The fishing mechanics, inventory management, the characters and story, the upgrading, all of it just feels fantastic mixed with how well it performs and the accessibility features it offers. This is an amazing game and I can't recommend it enough personally!

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

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It's time to re-experience the defining game that started an entire genre! Dark Souls Remastered is a glorious return to Lordan that has been remastered in high definition detail, all designed to run at 60 FPS. Create your character and run around, killing your enemies in deadly combat to gain souls to level up your skills, but be careful, one false move and any enemy can kill you easily. Take on insane bosses and get ready to die over and over in one of the hardest games to play.

Dark Souls Remastered is an older game, but still holds up as one of the pinnacles of the notorious souls-like genre. It is a grueling game where timing of your dodges, parries, and attacks are key to survival against all the enemies in this game, including the grunts. It does feel really surreal being able to play this at such high quality and at 60 FPS on the Deck, and while it is able to hit this pretty effectively, I did notice a couple quirks.

The biggest performance one I noticed is that in most areas of the world, it drains the battery higher than it needs to. With some areas draining up to 19W - 20W, this felt significantly higher than it should be for a remaster for an old game. By setting a TDP of 7, and a GPU Clock Speed Frequency of 1200, the game was able to cap out a battery drain of 13W while keeping a solid framerate line. I did notice some instability in the framerate without any changes either, so the GPU frequency lock helps a lot.

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With TDP and Caps
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I did try lower framerates to see if I could save battery there and still feel really smooth, but there were slight stutters when using them. 55 FPS can be done, but I would say staying at 60 is going to be the best way to play.

Dark Souls Remastered controls really well already, but there are recommendations to use the "Dark Souls 3 style controls" community configuration, but I didn't feel it was necessary to enjoy the game. If you start the game when connected to the internet and go to sleep mode, it will bring you back to the main menu when you load it back up. I would recommend starting the game with WiFi turned off and then turning it back on when you load into the world to avoid this.

Overall, Dark Souls Remastered holds its own on the Steam Deck! Playing at 60 FPS feels amazing and being able to bring battery drain down to 13W max helps a ton with battery life and temps. There are still more bosses and areas I need to test, but overall, I have found no issues so far in all the areas I did try. But if the game runs through as well as it has so far, it will be another Best on Deck game!

Dark Souls Remastered Screenshots:

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Update 9/13/22: After speaking with the developer behind the Hephaistos mod, and after reading, they have clarified and rewrote the instructions on how to get the mod working. We included a small guide on how to get it working so you can utilize a full 1280x800 resolution.

Hades is...well for lack of any other term...an incredible game. As the son of Hades himself, you have decided to defy your destiny and escape hell. Using an assortment of powers and weapons, you will hack and slash your way across gorgeous landscapes while upgrading your skills and powers. As this is a roguelike game, each death makes you more powerful with new weapons to unlock and permanent upgrades that carry with you throughout your deaths. Paired with an immersive fully voice-acted story, this roguelike game is an essential to everyone's library. And it just so happens that Hades is also an essential game for your Steam Deck.

Hades Performance

Due to the art style, Hades is nowhere near intensive in the slightest. When opening the game for the first time, it will boot up at a solid 60 FPS with only 12W battery drain and sub 70c temps. If you ask me, this is pretty fantastic, though we can make it better! The game tends to drain a bit extra power than it really needs, so by just setting a TDP limit to 4 and GPU Clock Speed Frequency to 1100, we can dramatically lower the drain to 8.5W - 9W with sub 60c temps.

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With no visual or stability difference, you can clearly see the temps and battery drain go down significantly with slight TDP changes.

This tends to bring the battery life up to 5.5 - 6 hours from 3.5 - 4 hours with no sacrifices to performance at all. This is especially helpful if you are going to be traveling, but even just playing at home, this can help significantly. Keeping temps down will increase the longevity of your Deck's hardware as it won't be getting so hot. And honestly, with a small tweak like that and no reduction in quality or performance, there really is no reason NOT to.

Hades on Steam Deck
HadesRecommended2

Resolution Oddity

Now if I had to point out one thing, it is the resolution options. In-game, it says it supports 1280x800, but it actually only displays 1280x720 as you can see from the black bars at the top and bottom in the screenshots. While there is a way to patch this using the Hephaistos patch, it doesn't really feel necessary. The game runs and looks beautiful and I felt no reason to change the resolution. I did try to use the mod itself, but the file wouldn't execute so I couldn't patch the game. I will continue trying though and update this review if necessary.

After speaking with the developers behind the Hephaistos mod, we got it up and running. To do this, you will have to download the hephaistos-linux.zip from the release page. Then, extract the file and put it in the directory of where Hades is installed (you can access it by going to properties > local files > "Browse Local Files". Once the file is placed in the directory, right click it and select "Run in Konsole". Then, press "1" 3 times, which will patch the game to the 1280x800 native resolution on the Deck! We noticed no performance difference with the native res.

Conclusion

There really isn't much more I can say about Hades other than it is one of the best games I have ever played. The artwork, gameplay loop, the fine-tuning, they all work together in such harmony that it is hard to look back and not love it. Supergiant Games outdid themselves and it makes me incredibly happy to know how amazing this game works on Deck. If you haven't yet, buy this game.

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

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I have always been a big fan of Cyberpunk settings. I love the futuristic, technology heavy setting that encompasses a gritty future we could one day have. Now put that setting into a co-op friendly Action RPG that runs well on the Steam Deck and I am a happy camper, and let me tell you, I am pretty damn happy. With the ability to customize your character with cyberware, skillpoints, and even clothing, this explosive shooter is way too much fun to play.

There are some good and bad points when playing on the Deck, but I would say overall, it was more positive than negative. The good is the game has Cloud Save support (thank god) AND Accessibility options that include text resizing! This is especially important on the Steam Deck due to its smaller screen.

The Ascent accessibility settings

The Ascent itself also runs well in the first 2 hours I played, though there were a couple spots I noticed major dips. Luckily, this only happened once or twice and in all combat scenarios, it held a solid 40 FPS (some explosions caused minor dips that recovered immediately). The game is made with UE4, which does mean you will see dips when loading into new places, though this recovered immediately as well. I did also notice some minor ghosting, though because the camera is so far away most of the time, I didn't feel it impacted gameplay much. I will also make note that I did not crash once when playing the game. I am aware of others who report it, so if your game is crashing, please leave a comment so we can investigate!

The Ascent is also the first game that I felt Half-Rate Shading made a big difference in framerate stability, but didn't change visuals as much. Overall, from this first look, I would say The Ascent will be good to play on Deck!

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Comparisons:

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

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Elden Ring is an open world Souls game, which features a large variety of enemies and areas with plenty to explore and experience. With many possible builds to play your way, you will trek across a unique land that makes you want to explore every inch of it. Use magic, swords, halberds, and even prayer, to dispatch a variety of enemies that can range from giant crows to giant shrimp to giant dragons...I might be seeing a pattern here. Be ready though, this game is not for the faint of heart. Plan your strategy wisely and enlist the help of your friends, though this could be your undoing. Now, how does this open-world AAA game that came out last year run on Steam Deck?

Elden Ring Optimization

When trying Elden Ring out at max settings, it actually ran ok. It would stick above 30 FPS, which would mean capping it could be do-able. The biggest problem though was temps being around 80c just standing still and a whopping 24.9W battery drain. To me, the best way to play is a combination of high, medium, and low settings, but set to a locked 30 FPS. This was by far the smoothest and most stable way to play, while also allowing a longer battery life. Sadly, the game does have about 6 areas that I can’t list, due to spoilers, that no matter what the settings are, drop 1-2 frames. The good thing is that those frames don’t cause a noticeable stutter so gameplay felt quite smooth. I also locked the TDP to 9, making sure the battery usage doesn't go up much further than 16W almost the entire time. I also tried Elden Ring with this build while docked to my TV and thought the game was still able to look quite appealing even on the larger screen.

I really wanted to do everything I could to get a 40 FPS build up and running. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a fully stable build for it. I was able to get very close, with framerate dips down to 36-37 that weren’t super noticeable, but it did come with a cost. Pushing the resolution down to 1152x720, and turning graphics settings to lowest, got Elden Ring the closest it possibly could to a stable 40. There is a quite noticeable difference, and the framerate isn’t stable, but it is the closest I believe is possible to hit something higher than 30 FPS without the Deck overheating and losing too much battery.

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While both are stable here the recommended has much better temps and battery, while looking much more sharp.

In the end, the game finds it impossible to hit 60 FPS, but can be stable at 30 FPS and low battery usage with some compromises. Elden Ring on the deck is for people that will accept those shortcomings in exchange for portability, which still baffles me. This is a AAA open-world game that just came out and looks sharp and beautiful, but still runs at a stable rate. While it cannot hit 40 FPS, Elden Ring runs like a charm with minimal issues and will be a fantastic addition to anyone’s library for their Deck.

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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!

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