While many who have put down money to reserve a Steam Deck wait for their time to order one, plenty of people have gotten lucky to get theirs. Getting a new piece of gaming hardware opens the door to testing it out and seeing what's possible. Of course, not every game is technically supposed to work on the device, but some do, even if Valve says, "no."
Unsupported games can have their issues. Some require a lot of work to get it properly running smoothly. Meanwhile, others launch without any hiccups despite the label. So, even if your Steam tells you that a game in your library is unsupported, you might as well give it a shot because it might be a great experience.
Mordhau offers intense, intimate duels to epic, grand-scaled battles with plenty of players to fill up a server. It can be quite demanding when adding all of the severed limbs. That said, it maintains a consistent frame rate when being played on the Steam Deck.
The biggest consideration is how it controls. While it acts as a PC, the Steam Deck plays like a suped-up Switch. Since this Medieval action game is a PC exclusive, it feels stiffer with the joysticks. Thankfully, you can plug it into a monitor and grab your keyboard and mouse to slay rival knights on the battlefield.
9 Mortal Kombat 11
Even if you own a fighting game on PC, you likely use a controller as some genres still feel better with one rather than a keyboard and mouse. Mortal Kombat 11 requires precision and a high frame rate to turn your enemies into goop.
The Steam Deck's button layout makes for a great fighting game device. The rear buttons act like the back paddles on some high-end controllers, like the Xbox Elite Series. Set your graphic settings to low to maximize your frame rate and get to shredding in the arena.
8 Batman: Arkham Knight
With Batman: Arkham City being the only in the series to be fully supported, it is a bit surprising to see the last iteration working so well despite being considered not supported.
Say what you will about the tank battles and the plot; Arkham Knight is the most intensive of the Arkham games. With its expansive world and detailed graphics and animations, it is a good way to test out Valve's hardware. Even better, you get to do it as Batman as you beat up low-level criminals when you could easily do more for Gotham by putting your billions of dollars into something more important than punching a clown in the face.
7 Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar pushed technology more than ever before with Red Dead Redemption 2. Even as a previous generation title, it rivals anything released under the current generation so far. The vast Wild West seems to need a beefy PC to run, but even your Steam Deck can play it. Now that is the definition of polish.
With naysayers and skeptics eyeing Valve's latest venture into hardware, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a showcase for how well the Steam Deck can work, delivering mobile gaming unlike anything we've ever seen. When you get your hands on one of these, or if you already do, hopping on a horse and exploring this open-world might be the best way to put the portable PC through its paces.
6 Fallout 76
Bethesda has a reputation for putting out games that are simultaneously high quality and buggy. Fallout 76 had its issues but found an audience. Releasing in 2018, it still gets content updates because of those fans. Now, they have a new way to explore the wasteland of West Virginia.
Load times can be a hurdle, but with a good SD card, or if you have one of the higher-tiered Steam Decks with an SSD, then you should be good. Just fiddle with the settings to get the right balance of performance and graphical fidelity for the optimal experience.
5 Sunset Overdrive
If you are an Insomniac fan, it can be difficult to pin down what exactly gives the studio's games their distinctive feel. Fluid motion, wacky weapons, and a stylistic world might be a few things that come to mind. Sunset Overdrive, the Xbox exclusive that came to PC, fits right in with a more mature sense of humor than Ratchet & Clank.
The game's age might have a role to play in how well it works here, but it is as smooth on Steam Deck as it was when it hit the Xbox One in 2014.
4 Resident Evil 3 Remake
The RE Engine—which for some reason stands for Reach for the Moon and not Resident Evil—is wildly impressive, especially the way it has been used in the latest games in Capcom's goofy zombie series. The remakes look especially good, updating the aging classics for a new generation of players while keeping the core of what made them special.
The remake of Resident Evil 3 goes hard right away when it comes to Nemesis bashing through a building to get Jill Valentine. Throughout the short campaign, there is a lot of action and undead who look at you like a tasty treat. The visuals, cinematics, and gameplay may make it seem like RE3 would push the Steam Deck to puffing smoke, but the portable PC handles it like a champ.
3 Ultimate Chicken Horse
It's hard to beat a good party game. Ultimate Chicken Horse is not only adorable, but it is a great way to anger everyone you play with as you all race to the finish line.
While the game isn't graphically demanding — it seems like it could be playable on anything from a dusty console to an old generation smartphone — Ultimate Chicken Horse has an unsupported label. But, it seems like Valve misjudged this one. Grab a Steam Deck and a couple of friends and see who is the ultimate animal.
2 Warhammer: Vemintide 2
Hordes of NPCs can make even some solid PCs start to chug. Vermintide 2 throws so many rat-like enemies your way that you have to slay through with your squad. Although it may take some extra work before you load into a level, you can get through on the Steam Deck with minimal issues.
If you just got yourself the PC-like handheld, you may want some adrenaline-pumping action. Vermintide 2 is nonstop blood-gushing action as you hack away at dozens of enemies charging your path.
1 Max Payne 3
Now feels like a fitting time to boot up Max Payne 3. Remedy Entertainment is remaking the first two games with the same engine that powered Control. On top of that, earlier this month the third installment turned 10 years old.
Diving and sliding in slow motion feel great on the Steam Deck. The trackpads and back buttons give it a new dimension as you fiddle with the controls for a feeling you had not experienced when you played it back in the day. Granted, this is an older game from two console generations ago. Even then, it plays as well here as on any other platform.
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