Steam Deck Review: A Game Console for the Quintessential Gamer
There are some rare gaming consoles this year that are not PlayStation or Xbox. It only sells online. Most regular gamers probably have not heard of it.
It’s a $ 400 Steam Deck, the console is as utilitarian as it sounds. The handheld device is a large black plastic disc with a built-in game controller, a supercomputer and a touch screen. It looks like a gaming computer and the Nintendo Switch have rockets.
Valve, a company based in Bellevue, Wash., Known for its online gaming store Steam, began ordering for the Steam Deck last year and consoles have recently arrived. The company did not release sales figures, but estimates indicate that hundreds of thousands were shipped. People who try to order today will not receive the device until spring.
Steam Deck is the result of Valve’s ambitious efforts to combine the benefits of modern gaming devices. Includes a computer dedicated to gaming; Nintendo’s hand-held Switch, which focuses on family-friendly games; And Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, a living room console with faster computer chips for more intense gaming.
Steam Deck tried to be the jack of those trades. It runs Linux, an open source operating system, which allows it to load a lot of new games, including themes built for personal computers and some PlayStation and Xbox games. And just like computers, Steam Deck can be customized to run older games by installing emulation software, an app that can run digital copies of games for older consoles.
As someone who grew up with toys, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games, playing games. Verdict: This is a console that I recommend for serious gamers who do not care to do some tinkering to enjoy new and old games. But it has major drawbacks, and it certainly is not for those looking for the plug-and-play experience offered by traditional gaming consoles.
Unlike regular players, such as PlayStations and Nintendos that can play games stored on discs and discs, Steam Deck is fully digital, meaning it only plays games downloaded via the Internet. Major gamers will get their name through the Steam app store. So to get started, users set up a Steam account to download games.
From there, there are many options. Gamers can choose from the Steam library of tens of thousands of games, including popular games such as Counter-Strike and Among Us. Some of the biggest PlayStation prequel titles, such as Final Fantasy VII: Remake, are still available on Steam.
Those who feel adventurous can move outside of Steam to get more games. This involves switching to desktop desktops, transforming Steam Deck into a compact Linux computer that can be controlled by a slider keyboard and built-in trackpad.
Here, you can open the browser to download some files to set up Steam Deck to work with Xbox Game Pass to play Xbox games, or install emulators to run games built for older consoles such as the classic Atari from the 1970s and PlayStation. Portable from 2005.
Tinker, if you dare
In my tests, Steam Deck was fun to use for playing Steam games. It runs modern games with intense graphics like Monster Hunter Rise, and the controls, which include triggers, joysticks and buttons, feel comfortable to use.
But investing in it to run games outside of the Steam store is a daunting, and sometimes daunting task. I watched several video tutorials to run EmuDeck, a script that installs emulators on a device. The process takes more than an hour. Eventually I had to plug in my own keyboard and mouse because the Steam Deck tracks and keyboards often did not register clicks and keystrokes.
Valve says it also improves desktop navigation and that there are situations where people have to plug in a keyboard and mouse.
After I finally got the running emulators, I had a sweet install of new, new and old running games, like Vampire Survivors, Persona 4 and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
Steam Deck lacks the polish and practicality of gaming devices in the mainstream, which makes it difficult to recommend to casual gamers.
Even if it’s good to have at home, I will never take one with me on a trip or a coffee shop, which destroys its purpose as a mobile device. Critical among its shortcomings, its battery life is subpar. In my forums, Steam Deck takes about 90 minutes before it needs to be plugged in, even when I am playing games with minimal graphics, such as Vampire Survivors.
For the other, it is larger (about 12 inches long) and heavier (1.5 pounds) for a portable gaming device. That makes the smaller and lighter Nintendo Switch, which takes up to four hours to charge, more portable.
While tinkering is a pure alternative, it is a major selling point of Steam Deck – and compared to gaming PCs, customizing Steam Deck is not fun or easy with keyboard, mouse and desktop software.
Finally, while some may be unaware of Steam Deck’s digital-only way to buy games, many who prefer to own cartridges and discs – which can be easily shared with friends and resold to others – will see it as a dealbreaker.