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Final Fantasy VII Remake Is (Almost) Perfect On Steam Deck

Square Enix launched as a surprise Final Fantasy VII Remake on Steam during the 25th anniversary livestream, and it relied heavily on the game being Steam Deck Verified. For good reason too. Final Fantasy VII Remake is over two years old and has only been available on PC for six months through the Epic Games Store.

I bit the bullet and bought the game a third time to answer one question: is it worth spending $70 again just to play? Final Fantasy VII Remake on the steam deck? It’s a solid version of the game, much better than I expected, but it still has a major flaw that I hope Square Enix addresses in a future update.

Play on Steam Deck

Final Fantasy VII Remake runs on the Steam Deck.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is all about fluid combat, so I immediately became concerned about the Steam Deck version when I saw that it was set to a limit of 30 frames per second (fps) by default. Fortunately, it seems that Square Enix was conservative. I was able to get through the first mission and the Scorpion Sentinel boss fight while staying at 60fps most of the time.

However, I did not get there without adjustments, and unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII Remake doesn’t give you much room to compromise. You have two graphics settings – shadow quality and texture quality – and they each have only two options. I had to knock both down to get Low to get the smooth 60 fps. Bee High, which is the default, the game hovered in the 40 fps range.

A picture quality comparison for Final Fantasy VII Remake on the Steam Deck.

As you can see from the comparison above, these graphics options have little impact on the game’s appearance. They can improve performance quite a bit, but I was happy to decline both in order to achieve a higher frame rate. I wasn’t perfectly stuck at 60fps – a point I’ll discuss later – but the drop in frame rate hasn’t hurt the experience so far.

A great look…for a handheld

Character models in Final Fantasy VII Remake on the Steam Deck.

Final Fantasy VII Remake plays great on the Steam Deck, but it’s still obvious you’re getting a lot less fidelity than on the PS4 (let alone the PS5). It looks great in motion, where you’ll be spending most of your time, but it’s clear that there’s some cut in quality if you stare at character models for too long.

Everything looks a bit too basic. Take Cloud’s face above as an example. There is an impression of more detail, but that detail is not there. That’s even more evident in Jessie’s face in the background, which nestles in a hazy eerie valley. The backgrounds look like they have more detail, which was probably a smart compromise. When the character models move, even outside of combat, those details are hard to discern on the Steam Deck screen.

The good news is that those lower-resolution assets don’t show up in the game’s many cutscenes. There’s a lot more detail in cutscenes, so unless you stop and really look for problems, you probably won’t notice them.

A big mistake

A boss fight in Final Fantasy VII Remake on the Steam Deck.

The biggest problem with Final Fantasy VII Remake on Steam Deck is the resolution. You might be surprised that it’s not too low – it’s actually too high. While 720p is the minimum resolution you can set for some reason, Square Enix allows you to set the resolution well above 4K on the Steam Deck.

You have AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) built into the Steam Deck, so enabling a lower resolution like 540p would help immensely in reducing the frame rate. It’s pretty consistent, but the game still fell into the 40fps range with Scorpion Sentinel big slam attacks and when transitioning into combat.

Lower resolutions are all the more important given the limited number of graphics options Final Fantasy VII Remake has. I’ve only played the first few hours on the Steam Deck, but I can imagine there will be framerate dips well below 60fps later in the game. FSR would help a lot there as you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to boost performance just in the graphics settings.

Still I’m very happy with it Final Fantasy VII Remake on the steam deck. I expected it to go horribly wrong, but it isn’t. This is a smooth experience with smart compromises, and I’m excited to conclude my journey through Midgar for the third time on Valve’s portable gaming PC.

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