Hardware news For all its flaws, the Steam Deck is the most portable console I’ve had
Until 2022, Nintendo is considered the only true handheld console specialist. This is absolutely true and it remains so, all the Sonys on Earth can do nothing about it. But a few months ago, a new challenger landed with a heavy, bulky product with little battery life … and still good. Yes, Valve, I’m talking to you: on Steam Deck, you’ve been able to offer me the ideal portable console.
Before revealing the arguments that I know are irresistible, even if completely subjective, let me paint you my picture of the player. Since the early 90s, I’ve been firmly attached to the PC, growing up with Pentiums, 3dfxs, Dooms and Baldur’s Gates in my living room or my bedroom. However, I have always had a major weakness for portable consoles. They always seem to me the ideal complement to my microcomputer, offering a variety of experiences, to take anywhere. I spend thousands of hours playing Nintendo DS/3DS, GBA, Game Boy and of course Switch. At this point, I’m quick to admit: Nintendo is unbeatable.
But I have yet to, until now, have a mobile machine that has been able to make the link between the world of the PC and the world of the console. However, the Switch is about to get there, in a way. If we’re going to play on the PC, we should be interested, at least slightly, in independent games and that’s good: the Switch is the ideal console for that. On the Switch I discovered – and loved – Hollow Knight, it was on the Switch that I swallowed 100 hours of Dead Cells. I got to the point where, when a new indie game that interested me arrived on the PC, I preferred to wait for it to port to the Nintendo laptop, even if it meant waiting a while… Steam Deck.
Steam Deck is the do-it-all console
We get to the heart of the matter: Valve’s portable console and its unique versatility. I will not discuss here the quality and technical defects of the machine: for that, I invite you to read the entire test published last February. Just know that Valve’s follow-up is good and a lot of things are evolving with updates. Fan noise, for example, has become quieter since a new life-saving patch, and you no longer feel like a Boeing flew into your living room when you fired an AAA.
No, here we’re going to talk about the tools and, most of all, my use of the Steam Deck. At first glance, and this is how it is presented by Valve, the Steam Deck is made for playing the latest PC hits in great conditions. And the promise is often fulfilled: yes, it’s nice to see Final Fantasy VII Remake so well, to continue your game of Elden Ring on the subway or to see Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village in a 7-inch screen. It’s nice and at the same time not really why I like Steam Deck so much. These games, I prefer to do it on my comfortable 34-inch ultrawide screen (even if the Elden Ring stays tuned to 16: 9…
For me, the interest in Steam Deck can be summed up in 4 words: Backlog, indie games and emulations. So let’s move on to point by point.
The portable console of the boomers?
Let’s remember here what’s called a PC backlog: these are all games that you’ve accumulated in various sales and that you don’t have time to launch, or very little. For me the Steam Deck is the perfect excuse to discover or rediscover these titles that are a little dated, but not very much : So I recently made The Stanley Parable for good (in its ultra deluxe version), I re-launched Skyrim, Deus Ex Human Revolution and Fallout New Vegas, with the pleasurable surprise of discovering a impeccable compatibility, although the label “perfect for Steam. Deck” is not included. Titles that are 3 or 4 years old are thus mostly fully playable, in versions that are better made than the laborious Switch ports (hello The Witcher 3 and Doom Eternal)… Throughout the exploration of my Steam backlog , I was very pleased with the number of corresponding games, albeit unofficially.
As for indie games, you don’t have to draw a picture, I already mentioned this higher up when I mentioned Switch. But to take a more personal example, in this category, I love metroidvania and rogue-lite, but these are the genres that I think are more suited to a portable console. So you wouldn’t be surprised if I just fell prey to Rogue Legacy 2 or Souldiers and didn’t have to take them to the Switch (knowing the first one wasn’t there).
Finally, for imitation, I know we will come here in a “gray” zone and I will not rely on giving you addresses and instructions. But keep in mind that there is an ultra-active community, which creates more effective “front ends”, such as Recalbox on the PC (to mention only the best-known example). Turnkey solutions seamlessly integrate with Steam OS and allow Steam Deck to be the most portable console for replaying 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, and even 64-bit versions. play. Watching Silent Hill 2 with Wind Waker and Streets of Rage 2, on the same interface, is one thing, believe me.
A “V1” that’s perfect, but even more attractive
I know my player profile is pretty special: I like to replay old titles, I like to peck at my catalog, I’m a nostalgic old man … But I like to believe not lang ako. That’s why the Steam Deck is my main gaming machine right now.. The possibilities are so many, the device is more versatile and it can only get better with time. When Valve makes it easier to install Windows 11 on “dual boot” and that we can install Gamepass, Battlenet and the Epic Game Store, the possibilities – already huge – will increase tenfold.
However, would I recommend buying a Steam Deck now knowing that, in any case, you will have several months to wait to get it? ? It is difficult to answer this question categorically. Like any first -generation product, this Steam Deck is even more perfect: large, with a standard screen, limited battery life … There’s no doubt that the V2 could be better. But for now, this V2 is gone, even as rumors start to run. What I do know is that now Steam Deck gives me great satisfaction.