Welcome to another Steam Deck Weekly that is earlier than expected. Thanks to an embargo from Cygames, I’ve brought this week’s edition ahead by a few days. If you’ve been keeping up with recent Steam Deck coverage, you’d know that many of the games I was looking forward to playing on Steam Deck in 2024 have been released this month. The highlight of today’s feature is my Granblue Fantasy: Relink Steam Deck review (in progress), a few surprise announcements including one major one from Day of the Devs, followed by a plethora of notable Steam Deck Verified games. Let’s get into the review first.
Steam Deck Game Impressions & Reviews
Granblue Fantasy: Relink Steam Deck Review (in Progress)
Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a game I’ve been looking forward to playing for many years. After it got more platforms added like PS5 and Steam, I was even more interested in checking it out to see how it scaled on PS5 and also on Steam Deck. When I read my friend James’ preview of the game that mentioned it would be officially supported on Steam Deck, I was curious how it would end up. We’ve seen Steam Deck Verified games that run poorly and also officially unsupported games that run perfectly. In the 15 hours I’ve spent with it so far across mostly Steam Deck and a few hours on PS5, I’m very impressed with it on both platforms, but also surprised at how much I love Granblue Fantasy: Relink in general so far.
If you’re new to the world of Granblue Fantasy, don’t worry, because these console games are still worth playing. I got into it through Granblue Fantasy Versus, and loved Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising while not having played much of the mobile game initially. With Granblue Fantasy: Relink, I was most curious to see how varied the characters would feel, how the boss fights would play out, and whether the team had it in them to deliver a competent action RPG that didn’t feel repetitive.
After multiple delays, Granblue Fantasy: Relink has arrived, and it has been one of the nicest surprises of the year so far. The characters barring a few feel great and varied, the missions change quite a bit for the story, you are constantly unlocking things, and it has solid multiplayer. I haven’t seen the ending of the story yet, but I will say that my only complaint after the time I’ve put into Granblue Fantasy: Relink so far, is that the online multiplayer isn’t cross platform. I would’ve loved to be able to also take my PS5 progress to Steam Deck and sync back when I got home. Those weren’t promised features, but you kind of expect these things now in big console games.
My complaints aside, Granblue Fantasy: Relink has been a much bigger production than I expected with great voice acting, amazing music, stunning visuals, and more. I wasn’t sure how the gorgeous character designs would translate into a 3D world, and while I think Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising still looks better, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is eye candy almost throughout with its environments, animations, and most importantly character models. In this review, I’m going to focus on the Steam version, but will also cover how the PS5 version is for those who have access to both platforms.
Out of the box, Granblue Fantasy: Relink didn’t boot up on Steam Deck. I switched to Proton Experimental (bleeding edge) as the first alternative, and it booted up fine. I didn’t bother testing other Proton versions as the game worked perfectly here. I imagine these fixes will eventually make their way to the default Proton version through an update. Oh and the game correctly invokes the Steam Deck on screen keyboard when prompted for name entry. It also has Steam Cloud support.
The Granblue Fantasy: Relink PC port includes options for resolution (720p, 900p, 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with nothing in between), frame rate target (30, 60, 120), screen mode (windowed, borderless, and fullscreen), graphics presets (ultra, high, standard, and custom), texture quality (ultra, standard), rendering quality for effects and models (ultra, high, standard), lighting quality (ultra, high, standard), a brightness slider, motion blur toggle, v-sync toggle, and colorblind options (off, Protanopia, and Deuteranopia). It is worth noting that resolution, texture quality, rendering quality, and lighting quality can only be adjusted from the title screen options and not while in-game.
On Steam Deck, I’d recommend setting everything to standard and using the 30fps target frame rate at 720p native resolution for the best experience. You can have a higher frame rate and try 40hz, but the game with these settings doesn’t hold a locked 30fps in some parts though it can go well above. The areas I experienced the most drops were in-engine cut-scenes and some open non combat portions where it sometimes dropped to the mid to low 20s. It held 30fps well during online multiplayer sections as well in my testing, and felt great to play across the board in the main story on Steam Deck based on the time I’ve put into it so far. I played online with James Galizio from RPG Site while I was wired and on wi-fi across the world and it worked perfectly in the quests we tried. We had no disconnects and even tried some later quests. I’m very impressed with how it holds up online and offline on Steam Deck.
Granblue Fantasy: RelinkOn PS5 feels very polished throughout. The only disappointment is the 1080p target for 60fps gameplay. I was hoping for something closer to 1440p in that mode. Barring that, it has superb DualSense features, PS5 Activity Card support, and even includes the mobile game item code which isn’t in the Steam version. Given the option, I’d probably play Granblue Fantasy: Relink on PS5 myself for the gorgeous big screen visuals and DualSense support, but if you want a competent portable experience, Granblue Fantasy: Relink on Steam Deck delivers.
In future updates, I’d love for proper 16:10 support in patches and a way to force DualSense button prompts. Right now, regardless of the controller, it displays Xbox prompts. It does have keyboard and mouse button prompts, but I didn’t test that input method on Steam Deck. It would also be nice for Cygames to optimize the cut-scenes better so they can hit 30fps on Steam Deck consistently. Barring that, it turned out better than I expected across the board.
In its current state, Granblue Fantasy: Relink feels and looks great on Steam Deck. Given the PS5 version has 4K 30fps and 1080p 60fps graphics modes, I wasn’t surprised that the Steam Deck couldn’t do a locked 60fps, but the game delivers lovely visuals and a stable 30fps for the most part in gameplay. It also loads quite fast and has been a joy to play on the go. I need a bit more time to check out the final moments of the story and do the postgame, but I love Granblue Fantasy: Relink on Steam Deck right now, and will be updating this with a full score once I’ve had the chance to play more of it.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink Steam Deck review score: TBA
Day of the Devs has launched a non-profit fundraising campaign to continue highlighting video games from across the industry. I’ve enjoyed watching and covering the Day of the Devs showcases over the years because I almost always discover at least a few games I want to buy from them. As of this week (January 29th to be specific), Day of the Devs is now a fully independent 501c3 non-profit organization. A fundraiser has been set up with Steam keys included for those who back the organization. Details for the tiers and upcoming events are on the official site here.
Square Enix announced that the original Dragon Quest Builders is coming to Steam on February 13th. The game debuted on PS4 and PS Vita before seeing a Nintendo Switch port. It was then brought over to mobile which is the best current version of the game despite some issues. The Steam version is up for pre-order here for $27.99 and even includes a discount if you own Dragon Quest Builders 2. This version includes upgraded crafting features and DLC from past releases from the get go. It is also already marked as Steam Deck Playable by Valve. I look forward to playing it for review on Steam Deck soon.
Bandai Namco had multiple announcements over the last week. Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash revealed its English dub in a new voice actor interview. This features Robbie Daymond, Kaiji Tang, and more. Watch the video below ahead of the game’s launch this week:
Spy x Anya Operation Memories from Bandai Namco Entertainment launches on June 28th for consoles, but will come to Steam later. This is a rare miss from the publisher who usually brings games to PC day and date with consoles. Check out a new trailer for the game below:
The final announcement from Bandai Namco is the new gameplay trailer for Dragon Ball: Sparking! ZERO showcasing many characters and gorgeous visuals. This one is due for Steam, PS5, and Xbox Series X. A release date is yet to be announced. Watch the new trailer below:
Ys X: Nordics from Falcom is getting a Steam release targeted at Asia on March 14th bringing in new PC-exclusive features like higher frame rate, FOV, and other graphics options. It also will be Steam Deck compatible. This version will not have English or Japanese text options, but it will support Japanese audio. Until we get a localized release, I likely will try this out on Steam Deck out of curiosity. I bought Ys X: Nordics on Switch from Japan already and tried the PS5 demo where it is a much better experience. Watch the trailer below:
Apple Arcade game The Lullaby of Life is finally coming to more platforms following its 2020 launch on Apple’s gaming subscription service. The exploration and musical puzzler hits Steam and consoles in Q2 2024. Check out a demo here on Steam.
New Steam Deck Verified & Playable games for the week
- Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story – Verified
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) – Playable
- DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS – Playable
- GRAVEN – Playable
- METAL GEAR SOLID 2: Sons of Liberty – Master Collection Version – Verified (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
- METAL GEAR SOLID 3: Snake Eater – Master Collection Version – Verified (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
- METAL GEAR SOLID: MASTER COLLECTION Vol.1 BONUS CONTENT – Verified
- Momodora: Moonlit Farewell – Playable
- NASCAR Heat 5 – Verified
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms III – Unsupported
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – Playable
- Ticket to Ride – Playable
That’s all for this week’s early edition. As usual, you can read all our past and future Steam Deck coverage here. If you have any feedback for this feature or what else you’d like to see us do around the Steam Deck, let us know in the comments below. I hope you all have a great day, and thanks for reading.