Did you manage to get your hands on a Steam deck? Congratulations, you’re one of the lucky early adopters to experience Valve’s exciting handheld spin on PC gaming. Steam Deck lets you take your massive Steam library with you on the go – but where should you start?
Steam Decks run some version of Linux, but unlike Valve’s ill-fated Steam Machines, they use the Proton compatibility layer to run many Windows games with little to no problems. However, getting a Windows game to run idyllically takes work due to the SteamOS operating system as well as the optimization process for the deck’s powerful yet portable specs. That’s why Valve created a rating system called Deck Verified, so you know how well a game performs on Steam Deck. It checks everything from input support to text readability on the 7-inch screen.
You can search for verified games while browsing Steam Deck itself, but SteamDB has a database that highlights the games that should perform great on handheld. This list already has hundreds of games and should only get bigger the longer Steam Deck is around.
We used SteamDB to put together a Steam Deck Starter Pack, a list of awesome games that every Steam Deck owner should try. They’re all verified and mostly single-player experiences, so you don’t have to worry about constant online connections or pesky anti-cheat software. We’ve also tried to avoid games that are already available on the Nintendo Switch; We’ve focused on next-gen games that we’ve never played in portable form.
Recommended by our editors
Whether you’ve never played these games or want to play them on the go for the first time, check out these PC games on your new Steam deck.
After a bitter divorce with Konami, Metal Gear Solid creator and game design legend Hideo Kojima returned to the stage with Death Stranding. In this bizarre, star-studded, post-apocalyptic world, unite America through strategic parcel delivery. It’s a bit tough to climb (literally), but playing Death Stranding wherever you want sounds like the perfect way to get into the Steam deck groove.
Death Stranding (for PC) review
Devil May Cry 5, the true sequel to the popular action game series, offers you three different characters to choose from as you crush demons to a bloody pulp. From Dante’s classic style to Nero’s robotic arms to V’s demonic familiars, you can create a playstyle that feels right for you – now on the go.
Devil May Cry 5 (PC) review.
Dishonored is Arkane’s spiritual successor to the Thief franchise, but even if you don’t love this immersive sim, you should still take a trip to the town of Dunwall. In Dishonored, use acrobatic stealth, clockwork weapons, and mysterious magical powers to root out the plague and corruption around you.
While Sony no longer makes handhelds, God of War on Steam Deck is a great consolation prize. This thoughtful reboot reimagines the series as Kratos evolves from an angry Greek god to a repentant father, quietly living in the land of the Norse gods. When Kratos must return to his violent ways, enjoy complex and satisfying melee/projectile combat with his magical Frost Axe. This former PS4 exclusive game now runs on PC, including Steam Deck.
God of War (for PC) review
Another PS4 title jumps to portable glory thanks to a PC connection. Horizon Zero Dawn is a stunning open world game where tribal people coexist with advanced technology. In other words, it’s a game where you use electric bows and arrows to hunt robotic dinosaurs. Open-world games are wonderful on handheld because you can play them as little or as much as you want, wherever you are. It’s about looking freely to the next horizon.
Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition (for PC) review
Adding Portal 2 to this list breaks one of our rules, as we recently found out that the game is coming to the Nintendo Switch as well. Still, you should play at least one Valve game on your Valve hardware, and Portal 2 is one of the company’s best. New mechanics push the portal puzzles to mind-bending limits, alone or in co-op. And the story is strong and hilarious enough to make you forget years of terrifying cake memes.
Portal 2 (for PC) review
An improved version of the original Atlus RPG, Persona 4 Golden was so spectacular that you almost forgot that there are no other games worth playing on PlayStation Vita. Take Yosuke, Chie and their friends on the journey in this outstanding PC port of an already incredible Midnight Channel adventure.
Persona 4 Golden (for PC) review
Resident Evil Village blends the spooky, haunted European atmosphere of Resident Evil 4 with Resident Evil 7’s storyline and terrifying first-person perspective. It turns out that mixing two terrible and great games creates another winner. Resident Evil Village lacks 7’s immersive VR functionality, but playing this huddled in your bed with the lights off and the Steam Deck pressed against your face is sure to give you many a sleepless night.
Resident Evil Village (for PC) review
In many ways, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is exactly what you’ve come to expect from the team behind Dark Souls. The Punishment Battle will push you to the breaking point while dying over and over again. However, a new focus on sword fighting instead of role-playing and the unique feudal Japan setting give Sekiro its very own touch. Just make sure you don’t break your Steam deck in half if you miss a critical parry.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (for PC) in the test
PlatinumGames sat down and thought, “What if Bayonetta was also Gears of War?” The result was Vanquish, one of the most memorable shooters of all time. Success on the battlefield requires more than good aim. Numerous acrobatic skills, from knee slides at lightning speed to bullet-time slo-mo, turn firefights into bullet ballet.
Vanquish (for PC) review
Yakuza: Like a Dragon begins a bold new journey for Sega’s crime epic. You don’t need to know what happened in the previous games to appreciate this one. After all, your character just got out of jail, so he doesn’t know anything either. And if you weren’t interested in Yakuza’s beat ’em up gameplay, you can now enjoy a traditional turn-based RPG between the melodramatic cutscenes. The slower gameplay makes this a long game, but you can play it whenever you want on Steam Deck.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon (for PC) Review