Sony may have stopped making portable gaming devices years ago, but Valve’s Steam Deck is quickly becoming an excellent way to play PlayStation games on the go. Big first-party titles like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Days Gone are now available on PC and have been verified for Steam Deck. PlayStation hits like Death Stranding and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade are verified, too. Now Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, out this week, is one of the best examples yet of how the Steam Deck is becoming the new portable PlayStation.
I’ve only played a few hours, but as far as I can tell, everything that made Spider-Man one of the best superhero games ever when it first came out in 2018 on the PS4 is still here. The swinging is still exhilarating, letting you easily traverse New York City by webbing from rooftop to rooftop. The city is still packed with secrets to find and petty criminals to take out. I was even surprised to find myself engaged in the story once again.
Making a game portable means I’m more likely to play it in bite-sized chunks
When I first zipped through Spider-Man on PS4, I largely stuck to completing the story as fast as I could. I wanted to see what happened next! But on Steam Deck, I’m swinging down every alleyway and scaling every building to find all the secrets hidden in New York City. Sure, maybe that’s because I largely already know what happens in the main story. (Though Remastered does pack in all the Spider-Man DLC packs, which include some new story scenarios.) But making a game portable means I’m more likely to play it in bite-sized chunks, and so I’ve found myself using a few minutes here and there to fix police antennas and unlock more of the map.
I remember feeling something similar while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild; that game’s portability made it a more personal experience and a lot easier to chip away at. Instead of feeling like I’m wasting valuable TV time searching the farthest corner of the map for a hidden secret, it’s easier to go on unexpected expeditions and forge my own path on a portable device. In Zelda, that meant tracking down every single shrine. In Spider-Man, it means scaling yet another building to find backpacks that unlock new collectibles.
On medium settings on my Steam Deck, I feel like Spider-Man looks a little worse than I remember it did on PS4. There’s no ray tracing on Steam Deck, either; the option is grayed out for me, even on very high settings. The frame rate generally varies between 30 and 60fps — though definitely near the lower end of that range while swinging around New York City. None of those are big issues for me, but the game does kick on the Steam Deck’s noisy fan, which can get annoying.
That all being said, I’m enjoying playing Spider-Man on Steam Deck so much that I think it’s how I’m going to play Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales for the first time when it comes to PC this fall. While Miles Morales was a signature PS5 launch title, it also came to PS4 the same day, where it doesn’t look that much better than the original. Sony and Insomniac Games haven’t officially said if Miles Morales will be verified to run on Steam Deck, but given that Spider-Man was verified more than a week before its official release, I’m guessing Miles Morales will work on Valve’s handheld gaming PC just fine.
I’m not the first to suggest the Steam Deck could be a spiritual successor to the PlayStation Vita, but I’m beginning to think Sony’s support for Steam Deck could make it a better PlayStation portable than the Vita ever was. Not only did Sony struggle to convince developers to make games for the platform but also its own first-party support was lacking. While many gamers remember Gravity Rush, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and Persona 4 Golden, only the first two were Sony games — and both arrived in the handheld’s launch window. Just three years after the handheld’s release, Sony effectively abandoned the Vita without so much as a Gran Turismo.
With the company’s growing support for Steam Deck, though, Sony has already brought multiple flagship exclusive games from its home console to a handheld device. Even though the games available now have typically arrived years after they’re first released, Sony seems to be shortening that window for future titles.
Sony’s future Steam Deck lineup promises to be quite good
Spider-Man: Miles Morales, released in 2020, is coming out this fall. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, which came out in January, is slated for this year. The remake for The Last of Us is slated for September and is in development for PC already. There are even hints that Sony may bring Returnal, a PS5 exclusive from just last year, to PC.
Sony hasn’t said if those will support Steam Deck just yet. But considering the company’s current lineup of Steam Deck-verified games, its public plans to invest heavily in PC games, and PlayStation exec Shuhei Yoshida’s open excitement for the Steam Deck, the lineup of Sony titles that work on Valve’s handheld gaming PC should get even better in the future.
If the ports turn out like Spider-Man Remastered on Steam Deck, we’ll be in for a treat. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find another backpack.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered launches on PC on August 12th. You can get it on Steam or the Epic Games Store.