Skip to main content

Final Fantasy VII Remake is (almost) perfect on Steam Deck

Square Enix surprise-launched Final Fantasy VII Remake on Steam during its 25th anniversary livestream, and it leaned heavily on the fact that the game is Steam Deck Verified. For good reason, too. Final Fantasy VII Remake is over two years old, and it’s only been available on PC through the Epic Games Store for six months.

I bit the bullet and bought the game for 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 it to be, but it still has one major flaw that I hope Square Enix addresses in a future update.

Related Videos

Playing on Steam Deck

Final Fantasy VII Remake running on the Steam Deck.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is all about fluid combat, so I was immediately worried about the Steam Deck version when I saw it defaulted to a 30 frames-per-second (fps) cap. Thankfully, it seems Square Enix was being conservative. I was able to get through the first mission and the Scorpion Sentinel boss fight while mostly staying at 60 fps.

I didn’t get there without tweaks, though, and unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII Remake doesn’t give you very much room to compromise. You have two graphics settings — shadow quality and texture quality — and they each only have two options. I had to bump both down to Low to get the smooth 60 fps. At High, which is the default, the game hovered in the 40 fps range.

An image quality comparison for Final Fantasy VII Remake on the Steam Deck.

As you can see in the comparison above, these graphics options do very little to impact the look of the game. They can improve performance quite a bit, but I was happy to turn both down to hit a higher frame rate. I wasn’t perfectly locked at 60 fps — a point I’ll address later — but the frame rate drops haven’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 clear you’re getting much less fidelity than you’d get on the PS4 (let alone the PS5). It looks great in motion, where you’ll spend most of your time, but it’s clear that there are some cutbacks 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’s an impression of more detail, but that detail isn’t there. That’s even more clear on Jessie’s face in the background, which settles into a blurry uncanny valley. The backgrounds look like they have more detail, in fact, which was probably a smart compromise. When the character models are moving, even outside of combat, those details are hard to make out on the Steam Deck’s 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.

One major flaw

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

The biggest issue with Final Fantasy VII Remake on Steam Deck is the resolution. You might be surprised to find out 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 far above 4K on the Steam Deck.

You have AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) built into the Steam Deck, so enabling it with a lower resolution like 540p would massively help smooth out the frame rate. It’s fairly consistent, but the game still dropped into the 40-fps range with big slam attacks from Scorpion Sentinel and when transitioning into combat.

Lower resolutions are all the more important considering how few graphics options Final Fantasy VII Remake has. I’ve only played the first couple of hours on the Steam Deck, but I imagine there will be frame rate dips well below 60 fps later in the game. FSR would help a lot there considering you don’t have much bandwidth to improve performance in the graphics settings alone.

Still, I’m really happy with Final Fantasy VII Remake on Steam Deck. I expected it to run terribly, but it doesn’t. This is a smooth experience with smart compromises, and I’m excited to finish my journey through Midgar for a third time on Valve’s handheld gaming PC.

Editors' Recommendations

The best video game remakes and remasters of 2022
Ellie from The Last of Us Part I stands in front of text that says 2022 Best Remakes & Remasters.

There are plenty of brand-new games to enjoy in 2022, but sometimes you just want to revisit an old classic. Game companies are keenly aware of this, so the plethora of original titles that release each year always comes with a heaping helping of remasters and remakes that update old games for a new console. Some of these updates can feel superfluous, but oftentimes they ensure that loads of people who can't play the original now have access to old standbys.
From full-on remakes to fleshed-out remasters, 2022 was full of great remasters and remakes across every platform. These seven games, in particular, stood out as the best to us.  They are rereleases worth checking out, whether you've never played them before or want to experience a classic again.
The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part I earned backlash when it was announced due its $70 pricing and how readily available the PS4 remaster of this PS3 classic is, but that doesn't mean The Last of Us Part I isn't a good remake. This is the best that The Last of Us has ever looked, with that extremely polished and graphically impressive detail that we've come to expect from PlayStation's big AAA exclusives. Its chilling tale about the lengths people will go to so they don't feel loss again is as poignant as ever, and experiencing it again may get you hyped for the upcoming HBO Max show. Most importantly, The Last of Us Part I features a massive and thorough amount of accessibility options, so players with disabilities finally have to tools to experience this masterpiece of a game for the first time. It might feel unnecessary, but The Last of Us Part I sets a standard that other remasters should follow.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe

Read more
The best live service games of 2022: 10 ongoing games we couldn’t stop playing
A Sea of Thieves skeleton sits in front of text that says 2022 Best Live Service Games.

Some games are meant to be played once, savored, and then shelved for the next one -- not unlike a book or a movie. But many other games are meant to be played and replayed over a long period of time, offering wildly different experiences each time you sit down and boot them up. There were many ongoing games to pick from in 2022, a lot of which include live service elements like online multiplayer, microtransactions, and regular content updates -- though not all are worth investing your time into.

Even though there are plenty of stinkers out there to avoid, there were also several ongoing games that kept our attention in 2022, ranging across several genres. From globe-trotting online roleplaying games to far simpler games you can play at a café bench, here are 10 games that set the bar for live service in 2022.

Read more
The most innovative gaming tech of 2022
Steam Deck on purple background

A year like 2022 would usually be considered an off year for gaming tech. We’re two years past the latest console launch, a time that tends to be dominated by peripherals and add-ons. So it’s a surprise that this year ended up being a landmark one for gaming tech. That’s because companies began rolling out new approaches to gaming technology that targeted both accessibility and portability. From devices built around cloud gaming to portables that changed the way PC gaming fundamentally works, the history books may look back at 2022 as the start of a revolution. Here’s what tech dared to push the industry forward, even if it meant taking an experimental risk to do so.

Want to see the rest? Check out our full list of the most innovative tech products of 2022!
Winner: Steam Deck

Read more