Steam Deck PlayStation 1

Always dreamed of a next-gen PS Vita handheld? Well, it’s beginning to sound like Valve’s super-powered portable PC, the Steam Deck, may actually be that. With Sony’s recent strategy of porting tentpole PlayStation 4 titles to storefronts like Steam, games like Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War are proving interesting benchmarks for the handheld. And the results? Remarkable, really.

Death Stranding, for example, is running with PS4 equivalent settings in 720p at a sturdy 30 frames-per-second. Remove the framerate cap and you can reach highs of 45 frames-per-second, which is impressive to say the least. The same is true of both Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War, in fact the latter actually outperforms the framerate of its console counterpart – albeit at a lower resolution.

While the resolution drops may sound disappointing on the surface, it’s important to remember that the system has a 7-inch screen, so this is much less noticeable than it would be on a large television or monitor. There are drawbacks with CPU, which means that games like Days Gone see their framerate plunge during horde encounters, but the results are still impressive overall.

This analysis comes by way of Digital Foundry, and there is an important caveat: the Steam Deck is not a console, and you’re at the mercy of your own technical expertise in order to get your games running. The system gives you unprecedented freedom to tinker, but if you’re a “plug-and-play” gamer, then this may not be the portable for you. After all, it is, effectively, a PC in your pocket.