Game Details
Developer Luminous Productions
Publisher Square Enix
Available on PS5 · PC
Reviewed on PC
Release Date January 24, 2023

Square Enix and Luminous Productions’ Forspoken has been an interesting game to follow from a tech perspective. As one of Square Enix’s first built for current generation games, I was curious to see how it would run on Steam Deck given its hefty PC requirements, and with how rough the game could look on PS5 in parts. I’ve been slowly making progress and testing the game across different graphics options and replaying a few areas to see how Forspoken scales on Steam Deck. I did play a bit on my laptop, but this Forspoken Steam Deck review will focus on how Luminous Productions’ newest plays on Valve’s portable system.

Forspoken was shown off on Steam Deck at TGS, and Square Enix has showcased it on the system as recently as last week. I was very curious to see how it would run, if at all. While the game has booted up since the start on Steam Deck, a recent update to Proton Experimental and some experimentation with the settings have resulted in a decent experience for Forspoken on the go. Note that the game is listed by Valve as “Unsupported” when it comes to Steam Deck Compatibility as of this writing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it move to the “Playable” rating very soon.

Forspoken PC requirements

Forspoken’s PC requirements are quite high. The game is very demanding despite it not looking amazing given the requirements. For Steam Deck, the minimum requirements are relevant, but they don’t tell you the complete story as usual.

Forspoken PC minimum requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit (After November 2019 Update) or Windows 11 64-bit
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (3.7GHz or better) / Intel Core i7-3770 (3.7GHz or better)
  • Memory: 16GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 150GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 720p 30fps

Forspoken PC recommended requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit (After November 2019 Update) or Windows 11 64-bit
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (3.7 GHz or better) / Intel Core i7-8700K (3.7GHz or better)
  • Memory: 24GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT 12GB / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8 GB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 150GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 1440p 30fps, SSD 150GB

Forspoken Steam Deck settings, Proton version, and more

I played Forspoken with Proton Experimental over the last week on Steam Deck. I set it to 800p, capped at 30fps in-game, with v-sync on. For graphics, I used a custom preset that was mostly the low preset with a few changes like model level, texture filtering, and reflections set to standard. Check out the screenshot above. I also set FSR 2 to performance and tried a few sharpness settings. I currently have it set to 1.00. I didn’t change anything else in the display or graphics options.

Forspoken Steam Deck performance – frame rate, final boss performance, and more

Forspoken with all its shader updates currently uses over 123GB of storage on Steam Deck. Because of this, I wanted to see how it would run from my SD card. Barring long load times compared to the SSD, it ran better than I expected. The FSR 2 performance setting helps a lot. The final boss fight has a ton of particle effects, and held the 30fps target quite well with some dips. Things did get blurry though as expected. The open areas held up a lot better. Looking at the PC requirements, I’m surprised it can even hit 30fps for more than a few seconds during the visually demanding boss fights on Steam Deck, but FSR helps a lot. It would likely be even better with Ultra Performance, but I wasn’t happy with how that looked.

The downside of the postprocessing and upscaling is that character hair looks quite bad alongside some of the facial expressions in some scenes. The pre-compiled shaders really helped with Forspoken. It still isn’t an amazing experience or even close, but you can now play it on Steam Deck. I assume it would run a lot better from the internal storage, but I wasn’t able to test that now. I might do that later this month and update this story.

Should you play Forspoken on Steam Deck?

Barring the performance and visuals, Forspoken reminds me a lot of Crackdown 3, which I also enjoyed for the traversal and its open world. I don’t think Forspoken is worth its high asking price in its current state on any platform, but the game itself is one I’d recommend on sale if you enjoy open world experiences and liked the traversal and magic in the demo. Forspoken needed more time, especially on PC. I’m still looking forward to checking out the story DLC when it releases later this year. If you’d like to try the game yourself, you can download the Forspoken free PC demo here.

A copy of this game was provided to us by the publisher for this review.

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