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We’re back with a brand new article on the Steam Deck! We’ve had a busy month here; easily the most productive month I’ve had! That will hopefully continue into the final few months of this year, and I have a massive amount of content in the works to share with you all.
Today, I chat about some more games I’ve been playing on the device and my experiences with it. Three months on, it’s still one of the best handhelds I’ve ever experienced. When I ordered my Steam Deck, I wanted to do two things:
1) Experiment with as many different games as possible to see how well the Steam Deck can adapt. With my diverse Steam Library, it makes for a great experience trying out what works and what doesn’t. While I’ve had some failures with untested and unsupported games, it’s astonishing how many work with zero to few tweaks.
2) Try and get the battery life as good as possible while still maintaining a playable and enjoyable experience. The battery is important for these devices: I’d rather get 3-4 hours with a game that doesn’t look as good as a game that runs perfectly but will only run for an hour or two maximum. With chargers and power banks this isn’t a major issue, but I want to see how far I can push the device without constantly needing to power it back up. Even if I wouldn’t take the Steam Deck with me on long journeys, pushing the battery life to the limit is important for me. Besides, I love tinkering.
I still have the battery life article in production, although it’s likely to be delayed a few weeks as I work on other projects. Today, I bring two games that I’ve installed recently onto the Steam Deck and greatly enjoying. I’ve covered both titles previously on the site, and I’ll leave links to those reviews if you’re interested in a deeper dive.
Enderal: Forgotten Stories (Special Edition)
Mods and Skyrim. They just go well together, don’t they? For all the flaws Bethesda games have, it’s hard to fault their modding capabilities. Everything from giant crabs and BDSM mods to gigantic custom worlds has been created for Fallout and Elder Scrolls. And no, I’m not providing a link to those mods.
One of the best mods ever created is one of the best games period: SureAI’s masterpiece, Enderal. One cool thing: this was the very first review I ever wrote for the website! You can read it by clicking on the link down below. It’s a long review and might be a bit rough; looking back at my old articles, it’s nice to show I’ve improved.
Back then, Enderal was only through the original Skyrim, but someone was able to port the game to Special Edition, making for a more stable experience overall thanks to the better engine for Skyrim’s ‘special edition’. At least that version was worth something. I can’t say much about Anniversary Edition.
Enderal is a gigantic total conversion of Skyrim, presenting its own immersive world, powerful story, and great characters. For anyone who owns Skyrim and hasn’t tried it, I implore them to give it a try. It’s a free, separate installation on Steam that won’t affect the original game, so you can keep both separate. I won’t go into much detail here: check out my old review for my thoughts on it as a whole. It’s a lot harder than Skyrim and plays slightly differently than it, but the real strength is the narrative and quest design.
I tried to play the original Enderal on the Steam Deck a few weeks ago, but for some reason, I was unable to get that working. The launcher booted up fine but loading the game ended up crashing my Steam Deck. This is why I decided upon the Special Edition version. While it’s technically classed as ‘Untested’, I’ve played a few hours of Enderal’s beginning act, and it’s an enjoyable experience.
Just like with Skyrim and Fallout 4, Enderal requires a little tinkering. Annoying external launchers mean you’ll need the mouse and keyboard config to access the launcher. Once it’s done, it’s easy to switch to whatever configuration you want, and the Steam Deck has many available. It is slightly irritating to keep switching the config back to Keyboard and Mouse to access the launcher, but you can easily tweak the controls however you want. I’m just nitpicking. Once in-game, I find Enderal to run very well. Even on high settings, you can maintain a stable framerate, and Enderal is gorgeous to behold. It’s essentially a heavily modded Skyrim making it one of the nicest games you can play on the Steam Deck, and it’s great playing it on a portable device.
In terms of battery life, you can expect around 2-2.5 hours if you max all the settings, but it’s better to just limit the TDP and refresh rate. Limiting the refresh rate to 40HZ, lowering settings, and setting the TDP to a minimum of 5 can net you almost double the battery life. The absolute maximum I was able to squeeze from the battery in Enderal was 5 hours and 45 minutes, but this involved a 20FPS lock and reducing the TDP to 3 indoors, and 4 outdoors. Naturally, this makes for a semi-optimal experience, and I can’t recommend it for smooth gameplay. It’s much better to stick to the previous configuration I suggested. The gameplay is smooth and you still have plenty of battery life for a gorgeous game.
I covered this Early Access release earlier this year, and I interviewed the developer James Wragg about his processes. You can check out my coverage here:
Dread Delusion is a promising RPG that speaks to the old-school crowd. You know the ones; the Morrowind, boomer-shooter, good old days crowd who enjoy games from the past. I’m one of those guys too: there are a ton of games from the 2000s-2010s which are worth playing to this day. I’d wager over half the games I play are older. Don’t let the retro graphics put you off from Dread Delusion: it is a great if incomplete game with a fantastic atmosphere, decent mechanics, and a world that keeps me interested. I’m looking forward to seeing how James expands the game because it has the potential to be one of the classics. While the game isn’t finished and there’s only a moderate amount of content, there’s still a good amount to explore. It’s going to need work, but it’s worth picking up even in its early state.
I was planning on making Dread Delusion part of my next ‘Untested’ article for the Steam Deck, but it’s recently been given the Verified status. This doesn’t guarantee things will work for everyone, however: I’ve had a few games that required tweaks to run despite the Verified status, while unsupported/untested worked perfectly.
This isn’t the case here, and everything seems to work out of the box for Dread Delusion: it controls nicely, runs well, and doesn’t require a high TDP. The only issue I found is cloud saves. Right now, Dread Delusion doesn’t have cloud saving, so you won’t be able to pick up where you left off and switch between Steam Deck and another platform. Hopefully, this gets added to the game soon, but I suppose it means you can experiment with different builds without compromising the other save.
As for the battery life, Dread Delusion’s retro graphics and relatively low requirements help greatly. Even by maxing out everything and leaving things where they are, you can easily get between 3-4 hours in this mode. There aren’t many settings to tinker with in Dread Delusion to increase battery life, but by lowering TDP and refresh rate, I was able to get over 6 hours of playtime before I needed to charge it. Having a great RPG on the go is great, and Dread Delusion is a nice pick for the Steam Deck.