Note: The Pocket Tactics team at large would like to disagree with Kayleigh on this hot take.
PC players and prospective PC gamers continue to rejoice at the release of Valve’s Steam Deck, even more than a year after its initial release. In February 2022, Valve launched its very own handheld device, a piece of hardware that’s full of hope and promise for those that enjoy PC gaming.
You see, the Steam Deck allows you to access and install games from your Steam Library, which means you no longer have to sit at a desktop to enjoy your backlog. Instead, you can push the boat out and sit on the couch or even lie in bed. Actually, you probably could take it on a real boat, just don’t drop it overboard. Or do, it might serve a better purpose as an anchor?
That’s right, my friends, I would throw a Steam Deck in the ocean to become Poseidon’s plaything. I mean, I didn’t, I took it back to the shop for a refund, but the principle is the same. Before you jump up in anger, allow me to explain why I’m right about how the Steam Deck isn’t anything special.
I’m joking, of course. Not about me not liking the Steam Deck, that part’s true, and if you happen to like it and get a lot of use out of it, that’s not wrong. The device is good, but I’m about to tell you why I couldn’t justify the £530 the Steam Deck cost me, that doesn’t mean that yours isn’t worth it. If you like Valve’s latest piece of hardware, fantastic. This is just my experience. Anyway, let me regale you with my afternoon with a Steam Deck.
So, there I was, walking through a shopping center, minding my own business, singing Under the Sea after watching The Little Mermaid, when suddenly, there it was. The glorious enigma that is the Steam Deck. Little did I know that in mere hours, my thoughts on the hardware would change, unravel, and turn to notoriety. Look, things got off to a good start. After a bit of charge, I could turn it on and feel all giddy at the thought of playing Elden Ring on the go.
Yes, I can admit From Software’s masterpiece is the cause of this mess, but I don’t have it in me to hold it against Elden Ring (I have to save any and all annoyance for my next journey in The Lands Between), so the Steam Deck must answer for the crime of not being able to see the dang screen outside.
To be clear, it’s not the base version of Steam Deck that put a dent in my bank account. It’s the 512GB with anti-glare glass technology that has my bank account cursing me and my impulsivity. To start with, I put my account on the hardware, getting instant access to my library of games, then I had a crucial decision to make – what game do I christen my new pride and joy with?
Should it be Dragon Age? Mass Effect? Five Nights at Freddy’s? Nah, Portal got the honors. In theory, this puzzle game is perfect for the Steam Deck. It’s not overly demanding, has a great aesthetic, and is one that many like the idea of playing on the go. Well, this is all well and good until you take it outside. Anti-glare glass, my sweet patootie. The Steam Deck glared at me so hard I could feel it in my soul. Before I knew it, a staring competition had begun, one I couldn’t win. Quite honestly, the Nintendo Switch looks better outside, and that’s saying something, as it doesn’t feature anti-glare technology.
Not only that, but the performance just isn’t as good as I expected. The best way I can describe it is like a steak. You think it’s going to be rare, juicy, and succulent. Then bam, it’s overdone, chewy, and reminiscent of a sandal. Now, I’m not delusional, I know that the Steam Deck is never going to match a decked-out desktop PC, but I still expected a little bit more.
So far, my experience with the Steam Deck has two glaring issues, but now it’s time to dive into the layout of the device itself. I can say with absolute certainty that the Switch is a lot more comfortable to hold, especially if you have Hori Split pads. The Steam Deck, however, feels clunky, and the analog sticks feel misplaced. Having both right at the top of the device is a choice.
Yes, I get that this is so that the touchpads could feature, but I have zero interest in using those. From my brief time trying to use the touchpads, my camera began to act like it’s at a disco – You Spin Me Right Round comes to mind. Then there are the awkward buttons on the back of the device. It feels like I’m stretching so much to reach them that I could become a yoga instructor.
So you see, the design of the device leaves me with both achy breaky hands and an achy breaky heart, the anti-glare glass has me glaring more than Karen glares at a store manager, and the performance makes me want to return to my desktop. Where’s the steam in this Steam Deck? If it looked good outside and I could see the screen, I’d be much more inclined to say yeah, it’s worth it.
But alas, this isn’t the case. My impulsive nature upset my bank account to the highest degree, and for that, I can’t apologize enough. Now, please excuse me while I hurt my account in a different way and go and buy another limited-edition controller that I have no intention of using…
If you’re firmly in the ‘Kayleigh has lost the plot and is wrong camp’ our sister site PCGamesN likely agrees with you, so pay them and their best Steam Deck games guide a visit.