Welcome to an early edition of the Steam Deck weekly. This might happen when I have a game for review or preview that has an early embargo. What I will end up doing in this case, is updating the feature with news or any other information towards the end of the week if applicable. In today’s edition of the Steam Deck weekly, a Persona 5 Tactica Steam Deck preview, many reviews including Ghostrunner 2 and Videoverse, new sales, and more.
Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II from Aksys Games and Experience Inc will launch worldwide on Steam, PS5, and Switch on February 15th, 2024. I loved Spirit Hunter:Death Mark and Spirit Hunter NG from Experience Inc, and I’m very excited for Death Mark II. I’m not excited about it releasing in a crowded release season though.
FAITH update version 1.4 is out now as well bringing in the Survival boss rush mode and some secrets. The update also adds in new animated cut-scenes, a new song, and more. FAITH is one of the perfect games to play in this spooky season, and now is a great time to grab it on discount if you don’t have it yet.
The brilliant Lies of P is getting a new balance update this month, and the developer’s teased the first DLC for the game in a new Director’s Letter video.
Barring that, Metal Hellsinger got a free update adding in music from DUSK by Andrew Hulshult. There’s supposed to be a DUSK HD trailer, but it isn’t up yet. I’ll update this with the trailer when New Blood uploads it.
New Steam Deck Verified & Playable games for the week
Salt and Sacrifice launches next week on Steam and Switch following its debut on PS5, PS4, and PC via the Epic Games Store. The Steam version is already Steam Deck Verified ahead of its launch. I’ll be covering this on both Steam Deck and Switch in the near future.
Valve’s Steam Deck Verified search on the web is currently busted, but TouchArcade reader Mor helped me out with a few of the recent ratings. On the puzzle side, Chants of Sennaar that I recently reviewed on Switch and recently released racing game Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 that Shaun reviewed are both Steam Deck Verified as well. The other notable game is The Talos Principle II getting marked as Playable by Valve. It isn’t Verified because some text might be too small. I’ve been playing this for review, so look forward to my impressions of it focused on Steam Deck and also covering the PS5 version as a point of comparison next week.
Steam Deck Game Impressions & Reviews
Persona 5 Tactica Steam Deck Preview Impressions
As I said above, this edition of the Steam Deck weekly is early thanks to an embargo. That embargo is Persona 5 Tactica’s preview embargo. I loved Persona 5, Persona 5 Royal, Persona 5 Strikers, and even enjoyed Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight. I initially was skeptical of Persona 5 Tactica, but the recent trailers gave me hope for it. Having now played the opening hours of Persona 5 Tactica on Steam Deck and Xbox, I’m a believer, and I can’t wait to play more. In this preview, I’ll be focusing on the PC port and how it is on Steam Deck.
Just like other spin-offs, Persona 5 Tactica has its own story with the large cast returning and some new faces. So far, I’m glad it isn’t a throwaway like the Persona 5 Dancing “story". Combat is the real star of the show. Not only is there a surprising amount of story with voiced dialogue, but the game seems like a much bigger production than I expected for a spin-off. I’ll be covering more of the gameplay mechanics and story in my full review closer to launch. The opening makes a very strong impression even as a tutorial with the story setup and early stages of gameplay.
Persona 5 Tactica’s PC port (Steam version) features uncapped frame rates (30,60, 120, 144, 165, 240, and unlimited), render scale (up to 200%), texture quality, shadow quality, and anti-aliasing settings (off, SMAA). You can also adjust the button prompts that will be displayed. I set it to display DualSense button prompts on Steam Deck. While I didn’t test these myself, Persona 5 Tactica features keyboard and mouse controls with rebinding options. Speaking of the keyboard, it correctly invokes the on-screen keyboard when required. This will definitely be a Steam Deck Verified game in the near future.
I had no trouble running Persona 5 Tactica at 60fps on Steam Deck with fast loading when played on the system itself. Trying to play docked on my external monitor, I managed getting about 90-100 fps over DisplayPort at 720p. When running the game at 1440p with low settings, I was still getting 70 fps or higher. Persona 5 Tactica scales really well, and I think the Steam Deck will be my favorite version of the game. I also have access to the Xbox Series X version which supports Quick Resume, but I don’t think I’ll play much here with how good it is on Steam Deck.
The only complaints I have with the opening hours are the font is kind of boring by Persona 5 standards and the background effect during dialogue is a bit disorienting. I hope a patch can let us disable that blur or misaligned effect.
Even with just the opening hours of the game under my belt, Persona 5 Tactica is shaping up to be special. It feels like the kind of spin-off we’d see Atlus do on 3DS, only at a larger scale with bigger production values on modern platforms. As a tactical RPG, I was hoping this would be a great experience on Steam Deck, and it plays perfectly so far. I can’t wait to dig deeper into it.
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story Steam Deck Review
Having recently covered Convergence and The Mageseeker from Riot Forge on Switch and Steam Deck, I was quite excited for Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story because it was developed by Tequila Works who did the excellent RIME.
As with prior Riot Forge games, Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story has been a brand new experience to me with no real connection to the characters outside of other Riot Forge game appearances. Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is a touching adventure with interesting puzzles, great voice acting, lovely music, and some repetitive combat. Usually these games are on the shorter side, but I found Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story’s longer than expected. The core gameplay involves exploring, platforming, taking on foes, boss battles, and more. Everything is accompanied by great music, lovely locations, and a surprisingly large amount of voiceover.
On Steam Deck, Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story feels superb. I played it on the Deck screen and on my external monitor. It looks and runs amazing on the Deck, and can even do well over 60fps when connected to an external monitor. I opted to play at 60fps with better visuals when docked though. But there are some later areas where it drops below 60fps. This seems like a game to push for better visuals at 40hz, but I stuck to 60fps with drops in those areas.
Some of the platforming and camera angles bring the experience down, but the major complaint I have with Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is in its combat not really evolving through the journey. It feels a bit too repetitive and simple. The puzzles freshen things up with the flow though. One stealth section also annoyed me, but you know how much I hate those in games.
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story is a heartwarming and accessible adventure puzzler that I recommend on Steam Deck over Nintendo Switch if you have the option. I’m glad to see Riot Forge changing up genres like this as well, and while this release feels more suited to a younger audience, it is a great game that has been a joy to experience on Steam Deck over the last week.
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story Steam Deck review score: 4/5
Ghostrunner 2 Steam Deck Review
I didn’t play the original Ghostrunner until it had its PS5 and Xbox Series X releases, and ended up loving it. When Ghostrunner 2 was announced, I knew I wanted to play it as soon as possible. Thanks to early review codes, I’ve been playing it on both PS5 and Steam Deck with the latter being the focus of this review. I will also cover a bit of how it is on PS5 since I know there are many who have the option to play these games on either Deck or a modern console. Regardless of the port and technical differences, I ended up loving most aspects of Ghostrunner 2.
In a lot of ways, Ghostrunner 2 feels like it delivered on everything a good sequel should do. It is bigger, better in most ways, builds on the original, adds a story, and basically feels superbly paced throughout with its bosses, new mechanics, and design. You will die a lot, but Ghostrunner 2 makes you want to keep coming back for more of its gorgeous world, amazing music, and precision. If you skipped the original, you can even watch a recap in Ghostrunner 2.
Ghostrunner 2 on PC offers quite a few graphics options and upscaling methods as well. I ended up opting for AMD FSR 2.0 in Performance mode for my main playthrough with most settings set to either medium or low. I set the fps limit to 60 and left everything else on default. I did change the button prompts to display PS5 button prompts since I’m better with QTEs on those. I also played in DX12 mode. I’ve been pleased with the 60fps target here, though you can play at 40hz or even 30 if you want crisper visuals.
On PS5, Ghostrunner 2 has a 120hz mode, good DualSense support, and PS5 Activity Cards support to track progress. I ended up playing on the 120hz mode for my main playthrough and the performance was mostly great. I can’t wait to see how the developers build on this with potential future DLC.
In its current state, I hope Valve can push out some shaders or that the developers can actually compile all the shaders since there are some shader-related stutters on Steam Deck. Barring that, I don’t have any major complaints with the game. Try the demo and see how you feel before buying it. Even though it was released later in the year, this is one of the better games of 2023 for sure.
Ghostrunner 2 ended up surprising me. While I wasn’t too pleased with the opening levels initially, it ended up hooking me quite a bit throughout, and I love how it feels on Steam Deck. This will likely be the only portable version of the game for a long time now, so I’m glad the team at One More Level made it such a great experience on both Steam Deck and PS5.
Ghostrunner 2 Steam Deck review score: 4.5/5
Videoverse Steam Deck Review
There are a few times in the year where I end up playing a game and regret not playing it sooner. With Kinmoku’s Videoverse, I’m conflicted on that front. I absolutely wish I played it sooner so I could experience its amazing narrative, but having played it directly on Steam Deck when it was updated to support the platform made my initial run through with it so good. Either way, Videoverse blew me away, and it feels perfect on Steam Deck.
As I said in my news story about it, I finally started playing Videoverse a few weeks ago, and ended up loving it. It is very much a game that I recommend to anyone who grew up with the early days of the internet, forums, early online games, and more. It plays out like an interactive adventure game, but has so much love put into different aspects, that I’m shocked about how it has all been done by one single person. It will make you think of older friendships, reflect on life back then, and even might improve your current mood. I know I want Videoverse to hit Switch so we get a nice physical release. It is that good.
Developer Kinmoku has done Steam Deck-specific work on this release because the controls even show you a special Steam Deck menu for the various in-game actions like interacting with the Videoverse, scrolling, or interacting. I had no trouble with the game on Deck, and played with a combination of button and touch controls (to progress dialogue).
While Videoverse might not hit as hard for you if you weren’t around back then, it absolutely delivered in making me think fondly of the past, and delivered a heartfelt story with the closest time capsule experience to the early 2000s internet there has ever been. I can’t wait to see what developer Kinmoku does next. This one is special. The only game to get me nostalgic like this before was Gone Home, and I think Videoverse ended up excelling over that in just about every way. If the premise sounds interesting, just grab it. You won’t regret it.
Videoverse Steam Deck review score: 5/5
Little Goody Two Shoes Steam Deck Review
With this time of the year so packed with new releases across most platforms, I almost missed AstralShift’s Little Goody Two Shoes. It got on my radar when I noticed it was Steam Deck Verified, and then seeing it was published by Square Enix Collective who also handled the brilliant PowerWash Simulator was enough to get me interested in the demo. Fast forward to today, Little Goody Two Shoes has launched, and it is a superb example of how a developer can release a throwback horror adventure game that still looks and feels modern.
Little Goody Two Shoes obviously has a striking aesthetic, but it isn’t just all looks. This is a game that manages to deliver a compelling story, multiple endings, interesting puzzles, great characters, horror, and more together. Even the simulation elements are made into mini-games so that everything you do in Little Goody Two Shoes feels like your time is being used properly. I was also surprised to see it has a Japanese voiceover option. I played through the game with Japanese just to see how I felt, and the team did a great job with it.
Little Goody Two Shoes is Steam Deck Verified by Valve, and I was surprised at that because of the control issue I ran into. Right now, regardless of the Proton version used, Little Goody Two Shoes didn’t let me use the Steam Deck’s controls unless I first played with an external controller, and then unplugged this. I tried reinstalling the game and it made no difference. I hope this can be fixed. Barring that, Little Goody Two Shoes runs and looks great. It supports 16:9 only, but still is a fantastic experience with high quality visuals on Steam Deck.
If you aren’t a fan of older RPG Maker-style horror adventure games, the structure of Little Goody Two Shoes might not be for you, but I urge you to download the demo and try it for yourself. This is a gem of a game, and I hope it does well enough for the team to get a physical release in the future.
Barring one annoying control issue I ran into on Steam Deck, Little Goody Two Shoes is a superb experience, and really timed perfectly given the season. The trailer and screenshots make it look great, but it really is on a whole other level in person on a good display. Not only does it have great art, voice acting, and music, but it also feels like the best modern take on an older-style horror adventure game. This is a game that deserves your time even in this busy release season.
Little Goody Two Shoes Steam Deck review score: 4.5/5
Wizard with a Gun Steam Deck Review
Wizard with a Gun from Galvanic Games and Devolver Digital is an action adventure roguelike that is equal parts awesome and disappointing in its current state. That might sound harsh, but I really wish Wizard with a Gun did more with its systems. Right now, it feels like a polished early access experience rather than a full game.
It makes a very strong first impression with its aesthetic, music, and combat, and I loved the bullet customization and builds, but the enemies need work right now. Progression also feels a bit grindy, and not in a way I like in roguelikes. Wizard with a Gun’s exploration and resource gathering come together well for the most part, but it just feels lacking overall right now. The premise almost had me wonder why this game wasn’t titled “The World’s Longest Five Minutes", but we already have a game with that name. I will revisit the game after a few updates, but right now it feels like a polished early access game rather than one ready for a full release.
On Steam Deck, Wizard with a Gun runs without issues, and looks great. I played it both docked on my 1440p display and handheld on the Steam Deck itself during the review period. Everything works as it should, and the game runs well. If you were hoping to buy Wizard with a Gun to play on the go through Steam Deck, it is a fine way to play it. Just be warned that the game itself will be massively better after a few updates. Wizard with a Gun is marked as Steam Deck Playable.
Depending on how you find the combat, Wizard with a Gun might hit harder for you. I found this aspect repetitive given the enemy attack patterns, and to not sound like a broken record, Wizard with a Gun can be so much better after some aspects are tweaked or built upon.
I also got Wizard with a Gun on PS5, and I was surprised to find it has more technical issues across the board than even playing on Steam Deck. The latter was a much smoother experience now. One thing I did like on PS5 was the Activity Cards implementation, but the lack of good DualSense features made the choice to focus on Steam Deck easier.
Wizard with a Gun has a lot of potential. It absolutely could reach the highs I expect from a quality Devolver Digital-published game, but right now it feels like it needs more time in the oven. I love the visuals, movement, and music, but it feels a bit too grindy and lacking in other ways. It perfectly suits the Steam Deck though, and I recommend getting it to play on Deck over even PS5 if you have the option right now.
Wizard with a Gun Steam Deck review score: 3.5/5
Steam Deck Game Sales & Discounts
Steam Scream The Revenge is still on for another day. I’d recommend checking out Resident Evil, Cult of the Lamb, DUSK, FAITH, and more in this sale. If you do end up buying something you liked, let us know in the comments.
That’s all for this week’s early edition. As usual, you can read all our 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 weekend, and thanks for reading.