Steam Deck after the first week

After spending my time with the Deck, I feel as if I can share some of my experiences so far. I have tried a couple of games, namely Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Running with rifles, Satisfactory and Civilization V.

Sadly, I expected a lot more from Assassin’s Creed, due to the age of the game. At least the controls were refined.

What surprised me the most in regards to performance, were Assassin’s Creed and Satisfactory. In the case of the Assassin’s Creed, I expected a lot more if I am to be completely honest. The default graphical presets look fine as they are, but the performance, considering how old that game is, was lacking. We are talking about basically the lowest settings, on a 7 years old game, and yet the FPS hovered around 30-45FPS in most areas. Hardly ideal, though still playable. The positive upside is, that since it’s a very console friendly game, the controls were just as refined on the Deck. The lack of proper responsiveness, caused by the lower performance, was noticed, however.

The temperatures were spiking up to 80c. What is the most interesting, is that the fan noise wasn’t any worse than when the Deck is idling. I suspect the fan curve is mostly static, and keeps the same or at least very similar RPM no matter if the Deck is at 60c or 80c. Battery life was estimated at around 1,5h to 2h, just as Valve had promised.

Launching the game was mostly smooth, with Ubisoft app doing everything on its own, so no need to input any login info or such. Just a couple of extra loading screens to slog through. However, one technical issue did pop up when quitting the game. I could not upload the save to the cloud, because Steam deck once again lost the connection. That is, sadly, an issue of the Deck, not the game. But more on that later.

50FPS outdoors at my factory doesn’t sound too bad.

Satisfactory, on the other hand, caught me by a complete surprise. I loaded into my old save with about 80h logged hours in it, and I spawned in the middle of my main factory. I got about 50FPS indoors, which was decent, so went to see the settings. And then just stared at it. It was set to ultra. Interestingly, though, lowering the settings to medium didn’t seem to affect the FPS that much. I could get about 60FPS indoors, and 50FPS when staring at the main road of my factory. Satisfactory is just a gem that keeps on giving. The optimization and polish of that game are off the charts, and it’s still an early release title. While it already offers more content than many AAA games. Satisfactory should be a case study on how games are supposed to be done, though that is for a different post. Controls weren’t ideal, which is to be expected from a “playable” as opposed to a “verified” title, but its a start.

Running with rifles loads for ages, but runs (pun intended) great. Just the controls need some getting used to.

Running with rifles is a mouse-heavy game. Most of the interaction is done with a mouse, so it was interesting to try it out. To my surprise, it wasn’t half as bad as I thought, however it would certainly take some getting used to to the new controls scheme. Performance was brilliant, but that was kind of expected, considering how lightweight the game is. One interesting note to mention was the loading time. For some reason, it took ages to load.

Civilization V was a very pleasant experience

And last but not least, the latest title I had tried was Civilization V. I think I will make a lot of Civilization fans happy when I say that Civilization is great on the Deck. The default control scheme leaves a lot left to be desired, but it still kind of works. At times I would use the screen touch, at other times the stick, but most of the time I used the right trackpad. And to make the great news even better, the battery was estimated to last for about 4h. Locking down FPS and tweeking the settings further down, it could surely be extended even further.

Either way, am looking forward to try a lot more games. Any suggestions on what should I try next? Jump on the discord and let me know!