The much-anticipated embargo on reviews and coverage of Bethesda’s forthcoming RPG, Starfield, has been lifted, resulting in a deluge of opinions and videos. As the gaming community dives into the pros and cons of this awaited title, players hoping to experience Starfield on Valve’s portable Steam Deck might want to rethink their decision, as recent reviews suggest it doesn’t offer an optimal gameplay experience.

The Buildup to Starfield’s Launch

Announced at E3 2018, Starfield’s momentum has been mounting with each promotional material, from trailers to interviews. Gamers who have opted for early access will get their hands on this expansive open-world adventure on August 31, while Game Pass subscribers and others will need to wait until September 6. Initial reviews present a mixed bag of impressions: while the game promises vastness and a plethora of activities, whether they resonate with the player remains to be seen. Unfortunately, the consensus for those hoping to embark on this space odyssey via the Steam Deck is relatively bleak.

The Steam Deck Experience

Preliminary assessments of Starfield on the Steam Deck have highlighted a plethora of issues. Destructoid has pointed out prolonged loading times, multiple game crashes, and fluctuating framerates, especially during intense gameplay sequences and battles. TouchArcade’s experience was similarly underwhelming, noting that the only viable way to play Starfield on the device currently involves setting all game settings to the lowest and activating AMD FSR2. However, even with these adjustments, framerates reportedly plummeted to the 20s when navigating larger urban areas. Such feedback led Bethesda to advise against reviewing Starfield on the Steam Deck.

Realistic Expectations

It’s essential to understand that Starfield was probably not designed with the Steam Deck in mind. Given that it operates at 30fps even on the Xbox Series X and challenges even some desktop PCs, it’s foreseeable that the modestly-powered Steam Deck would struggle to run it smoothly. Bethesda’s Todd Howard hinted at this potential issue earlier in the year during an interview with Kinda Funny. When questioned about Starfield’s compatibility with the Steam Deck, Howard provided a non-committal answer, suggesting future discussions on the topic. As it stands, playing Starfield on the Steam Deck doesn’t seem to be the recommended route.

Looking Forward

While the present scenario isn’t ideal, future game patches or interventions by the modding community might make Starfield more compatible with the Steam Deck. However, for the moment, the game appears to function best on other platforms, with particularly commendable performance reported on the Xbox, including the less powerful Xbox Series S.

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